breast reductions and breast feeding... — The Bump
3rd Trimester

breast reductions and breast feeding...

Just wanted to see if there are moms-to-be-out there or new moms who have had a breast reduction and what they've heard about breast feeding or if you've been trying to breast feed.  I know I'm going to need to supplement but was wondering if any of you have been able to express some milk.  I knew having a reduction would greatly reduce the chance of breast feeding but I'm hoping to make a small amt of milk especially for right after the delivery.  Just curious!  Thanks!! ;-)

Re: breast reductions and breast feeding...

  • I wouldn't underestimate your possible production so soon... If you work at it and don't limit yourself I wouldn't be surprised if you can produce enough or almost enough milk for your LO...

    I would ask the breastfeeding board as they may have more info or contact your la leche league...

     Good luck with everything!

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  • It really depends on a lot of things. I was unable to, but I had my reduction 10 years ago and had A LOT of tissue taken out. My surgeon warned me that I wouldn't be able to and my milk never came in.

    This site has a lot of good info

    Annelise 3.22.2007 Norah 10.24.2009 Amelia 8.7.2011
  • I highly recommend getting this book--Defining Your Own Success: Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction Surgery by Diana West.

    Also google "BFAR"---breast feeding after reduction web site/forum.

    I've found both of these resources incredible and I have now a much better outlook and a sense of optimism about it all..the reality about it all is that everyone woman is different--which means, success rates are all over the map...the key to all these stories though is patience, a good attitude, and never giving up. Also--as BFAR moms, we have to realize that our idea of success and how the routine of breast feeding works is just VERY different from other moms.

    I had my reduction over 15 years ago and am really hoping that I've had some re-canalization occur--I got a good sign the other morning when I woke up and noticed a few droplets of clear fluid on my nipples (YIPEE!!)..

    I am working mostly on not getting my hopes up too much, staying positive about ANY amount I may produce, and establishing confidence within myself that even though I may have to supplement, it's okay---no matter what, I'll still be able to bond with my child, regardless of the amount!  One last note--I am looking into getting a supplemental system that will hang around my neck and drop a tube down to the nipple, which will still allow my baby to suckle. ;)

    Good luck to you!

  • I have a friend who breast fed after her reduction. She did it successfully for about 2 months and then her supply went down to the point that she stopped. I don't know too much about it, but I do know that its possible!
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  • I asked this same thing on the breastfeeding board last week. I had a reduction 12 yrs ago. With my daughter she had latch issues so I pumped but I never really got a good supply going. I would only get about an ounce each time. Im hoping to be able to BF this baby as well, but I have heard you might need to suplement also. Good luck.


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  • image Bridgetkaryn:

    I wouldn't underestimate your possible production so soon... If you work at it and don't limit yourself I wouldn't be surprised if you can produce enough or almost enough milk for your LO...

    I know you may not have meant it this way, but this type of attitude drives me crazy with this subject. It is not a matter of having to work at it, it is how her body is going to respond after having significant trauma to that area. Even my lactation consultant never made me feel like it was my fault or something I could do better when my supply was low.

    OP, I had a reduction about fifteen years ago and had my DS 2.5 years ago. My milk did come in, but it was not enough to exclusively BF. I was able to get at least a full bottle (4 ounces) or more to him each day and the lactation consultants at the hospital and at the pediatricians office both stated that there was a marginal difference between babies who were EBF and those that at least got some breastmilk everyday (I'm sure some on here would argue that and perhaps they were making me feel better but I think their point was, hey, there is a benefit to even the small amount DS was getting). I would breastfeed him during the day when I was home on maternity and top off with a bottle. Most times he drank the whole bottle because he wasn't getting a whole lot but at least he got a little. I would pump after I bf'd him to try to increase the milk supply (to no avail). I was able to do this for about three months. My son is incredibly healthy and I did the best I could.

     Couple of tips -

    1. Don't get yourself down about it, you can only do what your body allows you too. Also, and I guess I will find out soon enough, it is possible that your supply will increase with each child as the connections may continue to form,

    2. Go to the website others listed below and that book is also great.

    3. Make sure your nurses in the maternity ward are aware of your previous surgery and make them tell you the babies weight the entire time you are there. My DS had no problems latching on and it appeared as though I had to offer. He would stay on longer and longer each feeding. By the time we were discharged he lost more than the recommended 10%, was getting very sleepy and the pediatrician made us give him a little formula before we left. Turns out he was hungry and he sucked down the formula right away. I didn't know he lost that much weight until we were being discharged and it broke my heart that he was hungry and I didn't know. I kmade it clear to the nurses I had no problem supplementing but they thought because he was on for so long he was getting enough. I am going to be much more assertive about that this time.

     Best of luck, it is a trying journey but also one with benefits on both ends. I did what I could for my son and DH helped out with nighttime feedings so he got to bond with the baby as well and I got a little more sleep ;)

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