Breast Surgery

Breast Surgery

There are many reasons why a woman may have had breast surgery: to increase the size of her breasts, to decrease the size of her breasts, to remove lumps & tumors, or reconstruction after an accident.

Can you breastfeed after breast surgery? It depends. To be able to breastfeed, you need:
    – the nerves around the areola to be functional, and
    – the milk ducts to be intact.

Breast Reduction Surgery
If you have had breast surgery where parts of, or all of your breast, has been removed, you may not be able to breastfeed. The milk making machinery may have been destroyed or removed. The milk ducts that deliver milk to the nipples may have been severed. If this is you, then you will have to formula feed. Don’t worry: millions of babies have been raised on formula and they grow up into perfectly happy and healthy children.

Some women who have had breast reduction surgery can still breastfeed. It is not impossible: read this success story. La Leche League has a number of articles related to breastfeeding after breast surgery. You can find more information from the breastfeeding after reduction web site.

Breast Augmentation Surgery
Implants added via the armpits or added from under the breast may still be okay for breastfeeding. Implants added around or below the areola may not be amenable to breastfeeding. Here, the nerves around the areola or the milk duct themselves may have been damaged. Each case is different, so do discuss it with your doctor – better yet, try breastfeeding your baby and see if it works. Here is one success story.

Breast implants do not last forever, in time, they will leak or rupture. Will chemicals from the implants harm a breastfeeding newborn? Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that the silicon used in breast implants will leak into the breast milk. And if it did leak, there is no evidence that silicon is harmful to the baby. Saline breast implants are less of an issue. If they leaked, the saline would be harmless since saline is simply salty water. Read about saline vs silcone breast implants here.

breast surgery