Breastfeeding after breast reduction surgery

Breastfeeding after breast reduction surgery

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Breast reduction surgery

The potential problem

Surgical reduction of the breasts can damage nerves and milk-producing ducts and glands, making breastfeeding difficult.

Can I breastfeed?

Probably. If your nipple and areola are still attached to the breast tissue beneath them, there's a good chance you'll be able to nurse. However, if the nipple was removed and then placed on a reconstructed breast, damage to the nerves, milk ducts, and breast tissue may limit your milk flow and diminish sensation in your nipples. Nerves are vital to breastfeeding because they trigger the release of prolactin and oxytocin, two hormones that affect milk production and letdown.

In general, the longer it's been since the surgery, the more sensation you're likely to have in your nipple and areola and the more milk you're likely to produce.


You won't know exactly how your milk supply is affected until you start trying to nurse. If you still have feeling in the nipple, you have a much better chance of having a full supply. Ask a lactation expert for guidance and support.

Also let your baby's doctor know about your surgery. She'll need to keep a close eye on your baby's weight gain to make sure he's getting enough to eat. (Learn how to tell if your baby's getting enough milk.)

On the third day postpartum, you can try pumping for five minutes on each breast after every nursing session to help build your milk supply. It's likely that you'll need to use a fully automated pump that pumps both breasts at once to stimulate your letdown reflex.

If you're able to produce only part of the milk your baby needs, you'll need to supplement with banked breast milk or formula.

In the first few weeks postpartum, you might consider using a supplemental nursing system (SNS). The device consists of a plastic pouch to hold breast milk or formula attached to thin, flexible tubes that run down the breasts to each nipple. Since your baby takes both nipple and tube into his mouth when he suckles, he benefits from all the breast milk that's available while stimulating your breasts to produce more.

If you're thinking about having your breasts reduced but want to be able to nurse your babies, postpone surgery until after you've weaned your last child. This is a good idea anyway because your breasts can change so much when you're pregnant and nursing.

Watch the video: Can I breastfeed after breast reduction surgery? (July 2022).


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