Breastfeeding After Breast or Nipple Surgery
If you have had a breast augmentation and wonder if you can safely breastfeed, the simple answer is yes!
If you have had a breast implant, it is safe to breastfeed. Since the implant is behind the glands, the milk ducts and glands are “rarely affected”, according to plastic surgeon Dr. Ortiz.
According to the CDC, “most mothers who have had breast or nipple surgery are able to produce some milk”. The CDC explains, “The amount of breast milk made will depend on the number of connected ducts and functionality of the nerves that enable lactation”.
For example, if your breast augmentation incision is below the breast, then it should not affect the ducts which will not affect nursing. However, Dr. Ortiz explains, “if the incision is made through the areola, the nerves and ducts may have been separated, and sometimes this can block the letdown reflex that tells your body when to release breast milk.” The CDC notes, “over time, ducts that were severed during surgery may grow back together or form new pathways…enabling the other to produce milk.” Keep in mind, this is not the most common procedure. The most common procedure is when the surgeon makes an incision along the crease where the breast and chest meet.
Women who have had a mastectomy can still breastfeed, although you may have less of a capability to produce breast milk. According to the CDC, women with a total mastectomy of one breast can still unilaterally breastfeed, which means just using one breast to nurse. Unilaterally breastfeeding is still possible as “a single breast can produce enough breast milk for healthy infant growth”. The CDC also states, “women with partial mastectomy and radiation therapy should expect significantly reduced milk production”. While it is possible to breastfeed after radiation, “Infants may refuse to drink breast milk from the previously radiated breast due to altered taste” (Breastfeeding Medicine).
It is advised to continue to monitor your infant and speak with your doctor about your infant’s growth, as supplementation may be advised for adequate weight gain. You are still encouraged to breastfeed, as we know nursing provides many positives, even if you need to supplement. You’ve got this, mama!
Both the CDC and Dr. Ortiz, as well as mothers around the world, suggest meeting with a lactation consultant to give you more help with your specific challenges. You can schedule with one of our Milky Mama certified lactation consultants here!
Did you find this information useful? Let us know in The Official Milky Mama Lactation Support Group. This is your place to get advice from our team of Milky Mama experts and seasoned breastfeeding moms. And remember, you’ve got this, mama!