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Can You Breastfeed After Breast Reduction?

can you breastfeed after breast reduction

Medically reviewed by Mr. Omar Tillo MD, MS, EBOPRAS, FRCS (Plast)

Whether you can breastfeed after a breast reduction is a common query for anyone planning to have children in the years following their cosmetic surgery.

Thankfully, modern surgical techniques allow most women to breastfeed without issue after a reduction, but it is important to understand that careful pre-surgery planning with an experienced surgeon can help to determine how well you breastfeed post-operation.

Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction

In general, women are able to breastfeed successfully after a reduction surgery, with some women able to produce more milk than others. However, a small percentage of patients may not be able to produce any milk at all. 

Milk supply can be affected by the types of surgical techniques used, among other important factors.

Factors that Impact Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction

Concerns regarding breastfeeding after a reduction can best be addressed by fully understanding which aspects of the surgical process impact breastfeeding the most. 

Finding a Qualified Plastic Surgeon

Collaborating with an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon will be crucial for ensuring an individualised surgical plan that takes family planning into account. 

A surgeon who specialises in breast reduction surgery can take the necessary care to ensure the greatest possible outcomes for postoperative breastfeeding through their choice of preparation, method, and recovery strategy.

Removal of Glandular Breast Tissue

A breast reduction – or ‘reduction mammoplasty’ – requires the removal of breast tissue in order to lighten and reshape your breasts to create the desired results. This includes the removal of fat, skin, and some milk-producing glandular tissue. 

The fewer of these milk-producing structures that are removed, the more likely it is you will be able to generate quantities of milk sufficient for breastfeeding.

Completed Recovery

After your reduction, you may be asked to avoid strenuous physical tasks for around 6 weeks, after which you should be able to go back to your daily routine.

With regards to breastfeeding post-surgery, the longer your period of recovery, the better chance the milk producing tissues in your breasts will have of recuperating their previous capacity. An extended period of recovery will, therefore, help to deliver the highest quantity of milk for your baby.

Milk Ducts

Today’s advanced surgical techniques mean surgeons are often able to preserve the lactation ducts which bring milk to the nipple. However, if these ducts are damaged, given time, it is possible for previously severed ducts to rebuild themselves. This is called ‘recanalization’, and it can increase the chance of successful breastfeeding.

Nerves

Nerves vital to the process of lactation can also be affected by a reduction surgery, but the affected nerves can also undergo a process of recovery – or ‘reinnervation’ – if given sufficient time to heal, thus recovering their previous strength.

How to Maximise Milk Supply After Breast Reduction

There are no specific steps needed to improve milk supply after your reduction. However, there are techniques that will allow you to boost milk supply as much as possible after your reduction.

Breastfeed Within the First Hour of Birth

The mammary glands create supply to match demand; as such, you should try to breastfeed your baby in the first hour of their life. This will help your body to start naturally increasing its supply of milk.

Feed Frequently

On top of feeding as early as you can, it is also crucial to feed as often as you can. Regular feeding will aid milk production, so it is important to keep an eye on the cues your child gives you whenever they are feeling hungry.

Breastfeed Both Breasts

Offering your baby both breasts during a feed is a good way to ensure increased milk supply. Finish feeding with one breast, then alternate to the other to help encourage the body to produce more milk.

Is Breast Reduction Worth It?

Choosing breast reduction surgery is a deeply personal decision with many different factors worthy of consideration. 

Nevertheless, it is important to recognise that a reduction can have hugely transformative benefits for women, reshaping the breasts with natural-looking results, providing relief from chronic back pain and drastically improving quality of life.

For this reason, many patients regard their breast reduction as a worthwhile endeavour.

Schedule a Consultation with CREO Clinic Today

The CREO Clinic’s double board-certified plastic surgeon is a specialist in breast reduction surgery. Dr. Tillo’s extensive experience in such cosmetic procedures enables him to create a bespoke cosmetic treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

If you are interested in breast reduction surgery, contact us today to book a consultation with Dr. Tillo at London’s CREO Clinic.

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