Is it Possible to Breastfeed After Breast Surgery?

Many women wait to get breast surgery until after they have finished having children. However, some women may get pregnant unexpectedly after having surgery on their breasts while others choose to have the surgery earlier in life before they start a family. If you fall into one of the latter two categories, you may be wondering how a breast surgery will affect your ability to breastfeed. The answer depends on two things: the type of surgery you have performed and the method in which it is performed. Here is more information on what you will need to consider if you want to breastfeed after breast surgery.

Different Types of Breast Surgery

There are a number of different breast surgeries available depending on your needs and wants. If you have small or sagging breasts or have lost volume in your breasts due to weight loss or childbirth, you may want a breast augmentation. And if you are embarrassed, inconvenienced, or have health problems due to large breasts, you may benefit from a breast reduction surgery.

In the case of breast implants, your ability to breastfeed should not be impacted if the aesthetic surgeon takes care to preserve the milk ducts. During a breast reduction surgery, tissue is removed to reduce the volume of the breasts. It is common to reposition the nipple during these surgeries. This can impact milk ducts as well as affect the blood supply and nerves in the surrounding area and harm your ability to produce milk and effectively breastfeed an infant. Though many women who have had this surgery are still able to breastfeed, some are not able to produce enough milk supply to keep up with their newborn’s demand.

How Surgery Affects Your Ability to Breast Feed

As discussed above, the method and technique of your breast surgery largely determine the success of a woman’s ability to breastfeed afterward. Though breast reduction surgeries usually have the largest impact on breastfeeding due to the predominance of nipple adjustment and removal of breast tissue, any type of breast surgery can have an effect on milk production, nipple sensitivity, and the ‘let-down effect’ that is needed for successful breastfeeding.

Successfully Breastfeeding after Surgery

The vast majority of mothers who had cosmetic breast surgery in the past breastfeed their babies without difficulty. One of the most important tips for new mothers is to get as much milk as possible out of the breast in the first two weeks after birth. Working with a lactation consultant can be incredibly helpful for mothers who have breastfeeding issues that are either related to or completely unrelated to their surgery.

Scheduling a Breast Surgery Consultation

Whether you want to increase, decrease, or lift your breasts, the first step is a consultation with a professional cosmetic surgeon such as Dr. Stephan. During your consultation, you can explain to the surgeon that you would like to have the opportunity to breastfeed after surgery and he can provide you with information and answer any questions that may impact your desires. You should also be aware that, in some cases, Dr. Stephan will advise you to wait until after you are finished breastfeeding to have your breast surgery. If he does so, his advice is based on what is safest for you and will achieve your goals for breastfeeding.