Breastfeeding after a breast reduction

Bethany - posted on 06/30/2010 ( 6 moms have responded )

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Hey I need some advice. I have one daughter who is a year old and I breast fed her until she was 8 months old, although i wish I would have done it longer. Now I'm thinking about getting a breast reduction because I have extremely large, saggy breast and I bad back injury so I'm always in pain. However I want more children down the road and want to breastfeed them. Has anyone gotten a breast reduction or know anyone that has? Could you still breastfeed afterwards. Part of me wants to wait til I'm done having children to get it done and part of me wants to not be in pain all the time. Also I have some weight to lose before I could get the reduction done, does anyone know of good exercises that could reduce my breast size. Thanks, all points of views are welcome, I want to make an informed decision. Thanks again. Bethany

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User - posted on 02/11/2014

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I'm currently trying to exclusively bf my 8 week old baby. I had a breast reduction 18 years ago. I definitely have milk but am struggling. I'm taking Domperidone, Fenugreek, Blessed Thistle, Goat's Rue, etc. Does anyone have any tips?

Mary Renee - posted on 07/12/2010

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I had a breast reduction when I was 17 and had my first daughter when I was 23 (two months ago)

I was very fortunate and have been exclusively breast feeding. From what I've heard... the longer amount of time between your reduction and your pregnancy (and subsequent breast feeding) the longer time the connections within your breast can heal and function.

I talked to two other women who had breast reductions probably a decade before I had mine (mine was in 2003) and they had a lot of trouble breast feeding. One could not breast feed at all, the other breastfed while supplementing with formula until the baby was 3 months old and her supply dried up.

My advice is to hold off having the reduction until you're done having children. I mean, you'll have the reduction, then even if you CAN breastfeed, you might find that your breast are big and saggy again just as a result of breast feeding and then you'd be wanting ANOTHER surgery... why not just splurge on a really great bra and wait till you're done having children?

Also, if you go ahead and have the surgery talked to your surgeon before hand about the type of surgery he/she will perform. I asked in advance because even at 17 I knew I wanted to breast feed. You have a much better chance if the nipple remains in place (and they just remove fat from underneath, rather than removing the nipple and putting it higher up)

By the way, after reading these other comments, I feel so blessed that I'm able to exclusively breastfeed! It was so important to be able to do so. I think part of the problem might be that breast feeding is difficult, it was very difficult for me, my daughter was ALWAYS hungry (she ate every hour and a half for an hour straight from the time she was 5 days old until she was 4 weeks old!) and my pediatrician even told me to supplement (which I did NOT do, thank god) She is now two months old and beautifully chubby and the pediatrician says she's the perfect weight for her age. I don't think supplementing is a good idea because pumping isn't as efficient as a baby and your milk supply will be hurt and cause you more trouble in the long run.

I think if women doubt that they can breast feed then it'll give them an out from a difficult situation and I think the mental doubt can also hinder you. I think believing that you can feed and sticking with it is half the battle!

I would definetly wait if I were you. Good luck!

Jennifer - posted on 07/11/2010

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I would say 50% chance is high. Most women who have reduction surgery have SIGNIFICANT problems breastfeeding.

Consider your choice carefully. I understand that this is not just a cosmetic issue for you, but could you not hang in there until you have completed your family? Breastfeeding is very important for both your health and that of your baby. Are there some things you could do in the meantime, to help get you through delaying surgery?

If you do decide to have surgery now, some key things to discussing with your surgeon:

1. Preserving the 4th intercostal nerve is critical. this is the nerve responsible for stimulating the let-down reflex. no let-down=no milk. (moving the nipple and insisions around the areola almost always sever the nerve. it is located just under teh lower outside quadrant of your areola.

2. Preserve as much ductal and glandular tissue as possible. This is the tissue that is responsible for making milk and transporting it to the nipple. When ducts are severed, they become dead ends, trapping milk in the breast, causing that portion of the breast to loose funtion.

Diana West IBCLC has a great website on the subject: BFAR.org

She has info about the surgeries as well as info for moms trying to breastfeed after. it may be good to see what other moms are going through before you make your decision.

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Bethany - posted on 07/12/2010

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Thanks everyone for the advice and help. I will go buy a few very supportive bras and wait til I'm done with having babies. Breastfeeding is very important to me.

Angie - posted on 07/11/2010

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Lisa-Marie is correct, there is about a 50/50 chance that someone could produce a full milk supply after a breast reduction. A few things that really play a large roll is how the reduction was performed and the length of time since the reduction (you have a much better chance of being able to produce a full supply if it has been more than 5 years since your reduction and the odds get better and better as you approach 10 years).

Lisa-Marie - posted on 07/11/2010

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Hi. I had a breast reduction when I was 15 (g size cup and pain) After a breast reduction you have a 50% chance of being able to breastfeed. The most important thing if you have to get it done is that you let the doctor know that you intend to breastfeed as they will then try not to remove the nipple as part of the surgery.
As for me I was sort of able to breastfeed my two boys for 2 months and supplemented with formula and pumped too. Not all my milk glands survived the operation and some are not in the correct possition. I am due my little girl in couple of weeks and will try again as I have learnt some new tricks :) so hopefully I will have a little more success this time.
I understand your pain but my suggestion would be to wait til you have finished your family before getting the proceedure done. Good luck.......

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