Breastfeeding After Breast Surgery

Breast milk is the best gift a mother can give to her newly born baby. Rich in various antibodies, breast milk fulfills all the nutritional requirements in babies up to 6 months. But due to various reasons, mothers are unable to give this gift to their babies. These reasons can be due to some disease or their own willingness. Other than that, many of the mothers who have undergone any surgery find it difficult to breastfeed her baby. There is a certain impact of the surgeries on the mother’s body and the production of milk in the milk ducts gets reduced.

So, let’s answer some of the common questions in the minds of such mothers in detail below. Along with that, we have also provided relevant tips for such mothers. Read further to know more:

Can A Woman Breastfeed After Breast Surgery?

Yes, a woman can definitely breastfeed her baby even after the surgery. Various body organs work together for the formation of breast milk. It is very important for the proper functioning of these organs, including milk ducts, nipples, and areola for the production of milk. If these organs are not harmed due to the surgery, the mother can surely breastfeed her baby.

The breast milk production will be significantly affected if the glandular tissues and nerves in the breast are damaged during the surgery. The location, the length, and the depth of the incision made during the surgery play a key role in determining the effect of surgery in the breast milk production.

Effects Of Different Breast Surgeries On Breastfeeding?

It can be quite challenging for the mother to breastfeed her baby after the surgery. In several cases, breastfeeding is not affected due to the surgeries. If surgery does not affect the functioning of areola, milk ducts and nipples, the mother will not face any obstacle in breastfeeding the baby. Other than that, there are few cases in which mother have to take supplements to boost their milk production.

Here are different types of surgeries and their effect on breast milk:

  • Breast Augmentation Surgery: Breast augmentation is done to increase the size of the breast. It involves the procedure of breast implantation. However, implantations do not affect the production of milk, unless it harms any of the other breast tissue or areola. The site of incision plays a vital role in breast milk production. Likewise, the reason you underwent the augmentation surgery is also a decisive factor. In case you done it to enhance your very flat breasts, you may have been at risk for low milk supply. On the other hand, if all you need is a small enhancement for the normal shaped and reasonably symmetrical breast, then, you may not encounter with low breast milk production.
  • Breast Reduction Surgery:  This surgery involves reduction of breast tissues to decrease the size of the breast. Somehow, it affects the production of milk as it involves removal of breast tissues and the shifting of the areola. Likewise, if the nipple and areola are removed and then positioned on a reconstructed breast, it will get detached from the breast tissue beneath them. This will weaken the sensation in the nipple as the nerves are affected. This will limit breast milk flow and production. However, if the nipple is still attached to the underneath breast tissue, and much of the glandular tissue is retained during the surgery, breast reduction surgery will not significantly affect the breast milk production.
  • The Mastectomy: This surgery involves removal of breasts. It is merely done to treat breast cancer in women. In dual mastectomy (removal of both the breasts) mothers have no other option than to bottle feed their babies. However, in single mastectomy (removal of one breast) mothers have an option to feed their baby with one breast.
  • Surgery To Correct Inverted Nipple: Inverted nipple itself can stand in the way of breastfeeding your baby. However, mild inverted nipples are harmless as it will pop out when stimulated. In severe cases, it necessitates surgical correction. The surgical process demands the cutting through the milk ducts so the nipple can be pulled out. This will severely affect breastfeeding. In less severe cases, the skin is stretched to pull the nipple out. This may keep your milk ducts unaffected.
  • The Lumpectomy: Lumpectomy is a surgery that is used to treat lumps in the breast. These lumps may or may not be cancerous. If lumps are cancerous, they are treated through radiation therapy that affects the ability of the mother to breastfeed her baby.
  • Breast Biopsy: Biopsy is a surgery that is performed to extract any specific region of breast tissue harmed due to an infection or illness. In 99% of cases, it does not possess any bad effect on the mechanism of breastfeeding.
  • Nipple Piercing: Nipple piercing is the same piercing mechanism used in any other body part. Piercing is just done on the nipple and doesn’t involve any other breast tissue. It does not affect the ability of the mother to breastfeed her child. However, it is suggested to take away the piercing once you are pregnant, preferably by the second trimester of pregnancy. This will give ample time to make sure it is well healed and devoid of any infection.

How To Increase Breast Milk Supply After Breast Surgery?

In the cases of mastectomy, it is not possible for the mother to breastfeed the baby. However, in other surgeries, milk production could be low.. However, always remember to continue breastfeeding irrespective of the quantity of the breast milk produced. All the normal means you follow to increase the breast milk production is applicable to increase the breast milk production after the breast surgery a swell. Mothers can try the under mentioned methods to increase breast milk supply.

  1. There are various herbal products that enhance the production of milk. But do not use them without consulting your doctor.
  2. Milk production in the mother is carried out by the suckling process of a baby. So don’t stop your baby from breastfeeding.
  3. In some cases, mother’s milk is not sufficient to fulfill the satiety of the baby. In such cases, you can go for formula feeding. Nowadays, breast milk banks are also available from where you can get breast milk for your baby.

Tips For Breastfeeding Moms Who Had Breast Implants Or Breast Surgeries

Mothers undergoing surgeries face various problems in breastfeeding their babies. They need some extra care than other mothers. Here are some crucial tips that should be considered by those future moms:

  1. Make your doctors and nurses aware of your surgery from the starting of your pregnancy. They might help you with upcoming complications.
  2. Mothers-to-be who have undergone piercing should remove the jewelry article during the first trimester of her pregnancy. It would be beneficial for her and her baby.
  3. Ask your surgeon. They can help you find better ways to enhance the production of breast milk after the surgery.
  4. Follow the doctor’s advice. Doctors advise breastfeeding the baby right after the birth. Suckling by baby carries out stimulation that gives a kick start to production of milk.
  5. Check out the bowel moment and urine output of baby. If it’s normal, you don’t have to worry. In case, it is insufficient then, ask the pediatrician and go for other feeding methods.

FAQ

Does A Breast Augmentation Surgery Help To Increase The Breast Milk Production?

You cannot increase your breast milk production simply by increasing the breast size. Actually, it is not your breast size, but your breast state that determines the breast milk production. Therefore, the condition of your breasts prior to augmentation (like the extent of functional breast tissue) is very important in predicting the breast milk production after breast augmentation surgery.

So, my dear mothers, it would be challenging, and in some cases, it could be painful too. But don’t let your child thrive for her mother’s milk. It has also the antibodies that will protect him from various infections and diseases. Colostrum- the first milk of mother is highly rich in antibodies and vitamin A that is very beneficial for the baby. So, go with the mother’s milk for all the vital nutrients to enter into the baby’s body.