Can I still breast feed my future kids if I get a breast reduction?
Can I still breast feed my future kids if I get a reduction?
It is possible to breast feed after a breast reduction, but there are no guarantees that you will still be able to. The architecture of the breast is changed during a reduction so women may be able to produce milk and breast feed a reduced amount, or not at all. I tell my patients that they should be able to try to breast feed, but will likely need to supplement with formula if they don't produce enough.
An excellent reference regarding BFAR (breastfeeding after reduction) is a book by Diana West called Defining your own success: Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction Surgery. It is recommended by La Leche League as "an incomparable resource" regarding this topic.
From a surgical point of view, the technique used can have a significant effect on the future ability to breastfeed. If the nipple and areola are removed and replaced as a skin graft, there is a much lower chance of being able to successfully breastfeed, but interestingly, it is not zero, due to amazing processes called recanaliization and reinnervation. This refers to the body's ability to actually repair severed mammary ducts that carry the milk from the glands to the nipple and repair the nerve damage done by surgery, restoring both the ability to lactate and the sensation to the nipple areola complex. Studies have shown that overall, the more modern techniques of surgery such as the inferior pedicle breast reduction will give you the best chance for BFAR.
Timing is also important, with better chances at breastfeeding with increasing time between the surgery and the pregnancy.
I hope that this is helpful to you. Good luck with your pregnancy!
Breast Feeding After Breast Reduction - One can breast feed after breast reduction. In many cases it depends on the volume of breast tissue removed. I tell my patients there is a 50 50 chance of being able to do that, but in my experience it’s much higher than that.
It is often possible to breastfeed after a breast reduction. One of the risks of the surgery is the possibility to lose the ability to breastfeed, but the exact percentage is unknown as it depends on whether you would be able to breastfeed in the first place, technique, and amount of breast tissue to be removed.
This is a very common question. Breast feeding can be reduced after a breast reduction. It can be dependent upon technique, resection weight, etc. Consider addressing your concern with your breast surgeon before your surgery.
Gary R Culbertson, MD, FACS