Breastfeeding after reduction surgery

Discussion in 'Pregnancy - Second Trimester' started by littlenic, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. littlenic

    littlenic Well-Known Member

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    I've just been reading the breast feeding thread with interest so as I'm going off on a specific tangent, I thought it best to set up my own thread!

    There were two ladies on there - Stefani1 and Moonmelody - that both mentioned they've had breast reductions so I thought it would be good to connect.

    For me, I had a reduction 7 years ago and was told by my reserved surgeon, not to expect to be able to breastfeed (although I just had a regular reduction where my nipples stayed attached to the breast tissue). Everything healed fine, although I was left with greater sensitivity in my right nipple compared to my left.

    I'd absolutely love to be able to breast feed - I literally dream of being able to provide for my child in that way and to establish what I think will be an intimate connection (I'm also very attracted to the side benefits of saving money on formula feeding and burning tons of calories!)

    What I'd like to ask the other ladies that have had a reduction is whether you've had a baby before and been able to feed, or whether this is your first and you've seen some positive signs that your boobies may be working - mine seem to be looking good as I've managed to squeeze colostrum out of them for the past two weeks but as I haven't been pregnant before, I don't know whether this is a sign I'll be able to feed or not.

    I'll stop here as I could keep waffling all night! Really hope to hear some success stories, or tips that you know about how to improve our chances...
     
  2. PrincessBaker

    PrincessBaker Well-Known Member

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    I'm really interested in this too!

    I had my reduction 12 years ago. Everything went fine, my nipples however were removed for this. I actually have one that positioned badly and is much bigger than the other!

    My nipples have definitely darkened in colour lately but I haven't had any leakage yet so no sign on that front.

    I really hope I can breastfeed. It never really bothered me before but now I know I'd really like to. I want that bonding with my lo. (I also like the saving money and losing weight perks!)

    Keep me updated on anything you find out?
     
  3. marie1112

    marie1112 Well-Known Member

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    This is my 1st and I'm only 14 weeks along, so I don't know if I'll be able to yet, but I hope I can. I had my reduction when I was 15... so, that was 11 years ago. Mine was the regular one too where the "stuff" stays attached lol, so I'm hopeful that I'll be able to! I hope you get replies from people who have already had kids so we can find out what to expect. :winkwink:
     
  4. LilSnowflake

    LilSnowflake Well-Known Member

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    :flower: Sorry i cant be of any help, but i had a breast uplift and implants behind the muscle about 2 yrs ago and ive been worrying about whether i'll be able to breastfeed or not, too.

    My boobs have definitely swelled a lot, and my nipples have grown & darkened, and they have sensitivity, but no leakage yet and as im only 19wks ive still got a while to wait before i find out if they're in good working order for baby-feeding purposes. I sooo hope they are. xxx
     
  5. DaisyBee

    DaisyBee Mom of 2

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    I had a reduction when I was very young (17?) & had Megan when I was 30 ( I think - LOL brain isnt working!) So there was more than 10 years in between. THe drs acted like it wouldnt be a problem - breastfeeding.

    Well when I was in labor when the nurses found out I'd had a reduction they all said - make sure you pump right after delivery to try to help my milk come in. They said it was because of the reduction they recommended that. So I tried to breastfeed right after Megan was born - it didnt work. So then I pumped colostrum. I continued to pump and kept trying to breastfeed. She wasnt latching well - we were getting lots of help & I was using a nipple shield and that helped only a bit. By the time we were to leave the hospital Megan's pediatrician wanted me to supplement formula as my milk wasnt in yet & Megan was so hungry by that time. I had heard they wouldnt be hungry til you get your milk in - but she was. So we supplemented but I continued trying to breastfeed & was pumping. I was pumping every 2 hours -24 hrs a day + attempting actual breastfeeding. After a few days the breastfeeding wasnt going well so I did only pumping and fed it to Megan in a bottle. We had a pediatric appt and the dr asked how much milk I was producing - my milk had come in - but it was such a small amount it wasnt enough. I also was having a lot of pain in my scar tissue under my breast as things werent connected in my breasts as they are in someone without a reduction.

    I was told after I decided to formula feed that very few women with reductions are successful at breastfeeding. Those that are- quite a few have to supplement some formula as they arent producing enough.

    :hugs: I wish you all the best of luck & hope that you are the lucky ones that breastfeeding will work for. I am very glad I tried but tried not to beat myself up when it wasnt working. It was hard & I felt like a failure but Megan was ok - and we bonded in other ways.
     
  6. littlenic

    littlenic Well-Known Member

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    Wow 15 - that's so young! I would have loved one then but they like you to wait until you're older where I am. Are you in the US?
     
  7. littlenic

    littlenic Well-Known Member

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    Lilsnowflake and princessbaker - I take every good sign as a positive step so your darker nipples and swollen boobs are certainly looking good.

    From doing some digging around on the Internet, I've found an American site called BFAR. It's a little dated but there is plenty of support and advice. The main thing they recommend is pumping extra to encourage your supply so it looks like we'll be working the full on milky cow image!!
     
  8. littlenic

    littlenic Well-Known Member

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    Hi daisybee, thank you for posting your story - it does give me some hope that I could at least give lo my colostrum but I suppose every case is different and we'll just have to wait and see.

    I'm really trying to keep a positive attitude and to see every small milestone as an achievement. Even though I'd love to be able to exclusively breast feed, I'm fully expecting to struggle as you did and to have to pump like a mad woman to get my supply up. It sounds tough though so I'll just take every day as it comes.

    Thanks for the tips re the nipple shield. I hadn't thought of this so will make sure I have some to take into hospital with me.

    Would you do it again?
     
  9. littlenic

    littlenic Well-Known Member

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  10. marie1112

    marie1112 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I am in the US. We weren't sure if we could do it when I was so young, and the doctor's only concern was that they could still grow after the surgery, which they did a little, but nowhere near what they were. We were actually able to get our insurance to cover the surgery too. I was very lucky.
     
  11. DaisyBee

    DaisyBee Mom of 2

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    I have told my husband that the next baby I will not be trying to breastfeed. It was so emotionally draining for me and the fact that it ended up not working was so hard on me - I assume I would have the exact same issues next time. My breasts just werent cooperating! Pumping + breastfeeding + bottle feeding after breastfeeding as she wasnt getting anything breastfeeding usually + cleaning all of the pumping equipment took me forever (like an hour?) and then I'd only have 1 hour before starting it all again as every 2 hrs is all the time - so 12 times in 24 hrs. By the end of even a few days of that I was just drained.

    I have decided what I'm going to do is pump while at the hospital to give the baby the colostrum but then stop pumping by the time my milk comes in.

    I know where you are coming from though that you want to really try. I'm glad I really tried with Megan otherwise I would regret not trying.
     
  12. littlenic

    littlenic Well-Known Member

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    Wow, that sounds exhausting. It's great that you're going to try again just for the colostrum - at least there will be an end in sight!
     
  13. Stefani11

    Stefani11 Well-Known Member

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    Hi! Yup I had mine in 2009 and was the best thing I've done for myself. I'm not hopeful about breastfeeding. Got no sensation back and they haven't grown any, but we shall see. We can only try though, a lot of women who haven't had boobie surgery still struggle to bf.. If we try and fail, we still have our lovely (smaller) boobs lol. :)
     
  14. holl1109

    holl1109 Mum to 1 & baking the 2nd

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    I had an uplift on one breast where the nipple was taken off and I could breast feed fine from this one, and an implant in the other which sylvie would not latch on too because my nipples differ in size she foundit hard going between the two. I hope this baby is not so fussy. X
     
  15. littlenic

    littlenic Well-Known Member

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    I agree, it's a life changing operation and even if I struggle to bf I won't regret having it done. It does make me chuckle though when I see posts from less well endowed ladies getting excited about their growing boobs - I'm petrified that mine will grow back! To be honest, in terms of growth so far I'm finding that my back is growing quicker than my cups although I reckon this will change soon enough!

    I think the important thing for us is to go into bf without any expectations and have an open mind...
     
  16. littlenic

    littlenic Well-Known Member

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    Well that's a good sign for us reducers! How was your milk supply in the uplifted breast?
     
  17. holl1109

    holl1109 Mum to 1 & baking the 2nd

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    Tbh not good, but it might of been different if I could of gone between the 2 but she wanted to be latched on all the time which my poor little boob couldn't cope with. X
     
  18. Nyn

    Nyn Well-Known Member

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    I don't know about reduction, but I have a friend who had implants and was about to BF her 2 girls no problem.
     
  19. littlenic

    littlenic Well-Known Member

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    I've heard that too, but I think it's because implants are a simpler operation as no breast tissue is removed. A reduction is pretty horrific if you ever see one performed on tv as they literally cut a big chunk out of the bottom and take the breast away from the skin to reposition the nipple higher - yuk! Depending on the skill of the surgeon, they may leave the milk ducts intact, or they may make a bit of a mess.
     

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