The ability to breastfeed your baby, is without question, something that is very important to many mothers. Reducing this possibility for both the woman and child is avoided at all costs. The original state of the breasts must be looked at prior to the surgery as this can be an indication of how much milk a mother might be able to produce after surgery. The physical size of the breasts does not have a correlation with milk production; however, there are some breast types that have a lower tendency to produce milk. These breast types include widely spaced breasts (with more than 1.5in between them), tuberous shaped breasts, underdeveloped breasts, and significant asymmetrical breasts. The three most common breast surgeries are augmentation with implants, breast reduction, and breast lift.
Placement of implants during a breast augmentation should not decrease the ability to breast feed for patients without underlying breast disorders. There are a variety of locations that the incision can be placed, Dr. Rodger’s most commonly goes through the inframammary fold (IMF) below the breast. This is far away from the nipple and is an extra precaution to preserve the important ducts and nerves for breastfeeding. Implants can also be placed directly behind the glandular tissue or beneath the muscle of the chest wall. Dr. Rodger’s prefers to place the implants below the muscle so that the integrity of the natural breast remains in-tact and there is added support to the implant. Patients with breast augmentation are also able to use a breast pump as implants are well below the ducts.
Patients who also require a breast lift can also sometimes successfully breastfeed after surgery. In most cases, there is little to no damage to the ducts and nerves necessary for milk production. The nipple is repositioned, but uncommonly separated, keeping important structures intact. Some patients may require more extensive reduction in natural breast tissue due to size, neck and back pain.
This would require a breast reduction where more glandular tissue is removed. With significant advances made in surgical technique, Dr. Rodger’s is often able to preserve milk-producing tissue that can allow patients to breastfeed normally. Many techniques exist for breast reductions, ones that do not involve complete separation of the nipple and areola are preferred for patients who would like to breastfeed in the future. Of course, with any surgery it is not a guarantee that breastfeeding will not be disrupted after surgery.
Nipple sensation is important for proper milk let-down and can be affected by surgery. Patients with underlying conditions such as tuberous breast shape, widely spaced breasts, or significant asymmetry may have been at risk for less milk production prior to surgery. Dr. Rodger’s will fully examine and discuss options with you to determine what type of surgery and when will be most beneficial to you and your family.
It is important to set yourself up for success after surgery. Meeting with a lactation consultant is a great way to establish healthy latching and eating habits for your little one. Some additional ways to help boost your milk supply are:
- Nurse often and on demand
- Pump between feeding sessions
- Try and produce as much as you can the first 2-3 weeks
- Switch nurse: switch sides multiple times during a single feed
- Stay hydrated and get plenty of rest
- Try supplements approved by your OBGYN to naturally boost milk production
Consulting with your surgeon is the best way to determine if you are a candidate for breast surgery. Dr. Rodgers spends lots of time examining health history, assessing goals and answering questions for her patients prior to scheduling surgery. Call our office today to schedule your consultation at 303-320-8618.
Written by Kendall Peterson