View Full Version : Breastfeeding after breast reduction??
04-05-2006, 02:07 PM
I am a first time mom & 19 weeks pregnant. I had a breast reduction 10 years ago, when I was only 22, and was told by my ob/gyn that I probably wouldn't be able to breastfeed. Obviously when I was 22 and had the surgery, breastfeeding was probably the furthest thing from my mind. Anyway, I'm wondering if anyone here (or anyone you know) has had any success at being able to breast feed after having a reduction.
Thanks in advance!
04-05-2006, 02:12 PM
Try BFAR.org and there are 2 members here that I know of who did: DebbieJ and IMariana . You can do a search for them and email them directly!
04-05-2006, 02:14 PM
Thanks for your speedy reply. I'm heading over there right now :-)
04-05-2006, 04:53 PM
Kudos to you for getting on top of this early! I, like you, had my reduction about 10 years ago and felt the same way...couldn't let future ability to breastfeed be a deciding factor to me at that age.
Unlike you, I went through my pregnancy assuming that BFing would be a breeze and didn't do advance work. Sadly, I never produced enough. We started supplementing formula late in DD's first week and I gave up entirely after about 6 weeks.
However, I believe there are a number of things I could've done to improve my chances. I keep this mental list (I should write it down, I guess) of all the things I'm going to do next time.
As the other poster suggested, get in touch with the ladies who have been successful. Go to a La Leche meeting beforehand. Line up a lactation consultant beforehand, if your hospital doesn't have one on staff (or maybe even if they do!). Make sure she can be there to visit you ASAP after the birth. Rent a hospital-grade pump and have it ready to go. Find a pediatrician who is SUPER supportive of breastfeeding and is willing to let you do what you need to do (within reason, of course...ours let us keep trying for most of the first week before insisting that we supplement with formula.) Make sure you know about the alternatives to a bottle for supplementing...we did a cup (briefly) and then a SNS, a device made by Medela that you attach to your nipple. Baby continues to suck at the nipple, but gets formula as well.
Most importantly, remember that whatever you do, you've done your best. This was the most difficult for me. I had weeks of guilt and feelings of failure, but ultimately I realized I made the right choices for me and my DD. At 5 months, she's happy and healthy and thriving!
I hope this is helpful...feel free to contact me privately, if you'd like!
04-05-2006, 09:40 PM
I had a reduction on only one side to fix asymmetry. I was told by my doctor that if she moved/reduced my arreola, my chances of successfully breastfeeding would be much lower, so I opted out of that portion of the procedure. (Who was going to see my nipples anyway?!) Like you, breastfeeding wasn't the first thing on my mind, but I figured I was better safe than sorry. My DS is four months old and I've been very successful thus far, but I've noticed a difference in production from each side. Each time I pump, I get an ounce or two less from the breast that was reduced. However, I produce a lot in general, so while I notice it, it hasn't affected my son. I've never had to supplement.
Breastfeeding takes a lot of determination in the beginning, whether or not you've had surgery, so I admire your desire to learn more! This community is a great resource and very supportive. I wish you luck! It can be done.
04-06-2006, 08:03 AM
It's me! I had a reduction in 1996 and successfully nursed my son for 20 months! You can do it!
To get started, I would suggest you read Diana West's book, Defining Your Own Success. You can order it through www.bfar.org, I think. Otherwise La Leche League and Amazon carry it as well.
I think the number one factor that determines breastfeeding success (in all moms) is your decision to keep breastfeeding no matter what and your commitment to continuing to do it in the face of difficulties.
BFAR is not easy, let me tell you! It's a HUGE emotional rollercoaster and that is the hardest part of it all (at least it was for me).
So for now read the book, find out what kind of procedure you had (they are described in the book), and then come back with questions. I think the best thing you can do now is arm yourself with information. Let me tell you, there are a lot of medical professionals out there who know VERY little about breastfeeding.
There are boards at www.bfar.org, or you can come back here, or you can email me here through the boards. I'd be happy to help!
DS born at home 12/03
2 year check up: 25 lbs with clothes on and 35 inches!
BFARed for 20 months and 6 days
(Breastfeeding After Reduction is possible! www.bfar.org)
04-06-2006, 08:35 AM
Thanks so much for the advice and support. I will look into the La Leche meetings and the lactation counselor. I know that getting my reduction was the right thing for me to do, but I do feel like it was selfish of me to get it done. It’s good to know that I’m not alone!
I wish I knew whether or not the Dr reduced the size of my arreola, but since the surgery was done so long ago I have no way of finding out. For some reason I don’t think that they did reduce them because my arerolas are still extremely huge for my size C-D breasts. It’s good to know that you were successful at BFAR!
It’s great to hear that you were successful, too! It brings tears to my eyes knowing that there is hope for me. I will definitely check out those books. I might even try to contact the hospital that I had the surgery at to see if they have any records of what technique was used on me. Thanks again. I’m sure I’ll be back with lots of questions.
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