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Does Breast Reduction Surgery Affect Breastfeeding?

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Do you plan to breastfeed after breast reduction surgery? If you're not sure how this procedure may impact your ability to nurse, take a look at what you need to know about your options.

Can All Women Breastfeed After Reduction Surgery?

There's no easy answer to this question. But that doesn't mean this procedure will make it impossible to nurse in the future. Keep in mind, it's not always possible to breastfeed—even if you haven't had reduction surgery.

Whether you can nurse after surgery or not depends on several factors. These include the specific type of procedure you have, whether the surgeon had to remove the nipple (and reattach it) during the procedure, the length of time in between the surgery and when you want to nurse, and how many babies you've already had.

Is There a Way to Increase the Odds of Successfully Breastfeeding?

You want the reduction surgery. But you're still not sure about whether you should schedule it or not. If the possible inability to breastfeed is your primary concern, you can take steps to maximize your chances of success. Education is key when it comes to your ability to nurse your baby after surgery. While information won't change your body's physiology, it can help to reduce the possibility of unnecessary problems.

Talk to your surgeon, your OB, and a lactation consultant before the procedure. The professionals can help you to make the most informed decision possible. You'll need to outweigh the risks and benefits of the surgery versus breastfeeding.

A lactation consultant may recommend supplements or a diet that can maximize your milk supply. This can increase the chances of successfully nursing your baby. You may also need extra help with finding the correct position to nurse or helping your baby to latch on to your breast. A lactation consultant or medical provider can help you with these issues too.

What Happens if Breastfeeding Isn't Possible?

Some women experience decreased milk production after breast reduction surgery. If the lactation consultant's suggestions don't help, you need to consider alternatives. While it's normal to feel a sense of disappointment, your baby's health is the most important issue. If your milk supply doesn't provide an adequate amount of nutrition, you'll need to either supplement with formula or stop breastfeeding entirely.

Are you considering breast reduction services? Even though this type of surgery may present some challenges, it won't necessarily stop you from breastfeeding. If you have concerns, talk to your medical provider before the procedure. The expert can help you to make an informed decision and better understand your options.