Part II of Dr. Whiteman’s Intern Blog Series: “Can I still breastfeed after breast reduction?”

The second blog in a series of guest blogs from Dr. Whiteman’s interns.

In simple terms, breast reduction surgery involves removing part of the breast tissue in order to decrease the size of the breast. It is one of the most common cosmetic procedures performed on young women today, and has an extremely high satisfaction rate. Most of the young women who are considering breast reduction surgery are simply tired of the neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, uncomfortable attention, peer pressure, lifestyle limitations, poor self-image and sometimes sexual harassment. Upon having the breast reduction procedure, these patients can significantly regain a confident self-image and increase their self esteem. Breastfeeding is often an uncommon concern at the time of breast reduction surgery; however, when the time for breastfeeding arrives, there are some common questions that arise. “Can I breastfeed my baby at all after breast reduction?” “Would my decision to have a breast reduction years ago affect my ability to feed, nurture, and bond with my baby at the breast now?”

To answer those burning questions, one must understand what breastfeeding really means. Breastfeeding should not be viewed as an “all or nothing” event, but should rather be viewed as how much milk a mother can produce. When the question is viewed from this perspective, breastfeeding after breast reduction is a very viable possibility. Breast reduction surgery, or any type of breast surgery, will almost always compromise a woman’s lactation potential to some extent, but the good news is a woman can still breastfeed her baby even if she cannot produce a full supply of milk. Breastfeeding a baby is not just about milk; more than that, it is about the special bonding created naturally between the mom and her newborn at the breast. Therefore, it is absolutely worthwhile to attempt breastfeeding even if breast reduction surgery causes reduced milk supply during lactation. It should be noted that there are ways women can increase their milk supply such as a supplementer, breast pump, etc. Education, support from family and doctor, reassurance, and patience are key factors needed for successful breastfeeding. If a mother is able to breastfeed, she will increase that special bond with her child allowing her to better nurse, comfort, and soothe her child. No matter the amount, as long as a mother can give her child any human milk at all, it will be well worth the effort.

Therefore, it is extremely important for young women to express their desire to maintain their breastfeeding ability when consulting with a plastic surgeon prior to breast reduction surgery. Mothers will have more successful breastfeeding capability if their surgeon takes care to preserve their mammary tissue, vital nerves, and ducts during the breast reduction procedure. Lactation capability is influenced by the type of breast reduction surgery a mother had done as some surgical techniques will preserve more lactating breast tissue than others. It is never too late to learn about the type of breast surgery you have had, or plan to have, and its impact on your breastfeeding capability.

At Southern Plastic Surgery, Dr. Whiteman and his staff are dedicated to making you comfortable and confident in your decision for a breast reduction procedure by making sure that you completely understand the procedure, expectations and possible outcomes. Dr. Whiteman and his staff are glad to answer any questions you may have before and after your surgery. At Southern Plastic Surgery, we are here to make your life easier and more meaningful in any way possible. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at (770) 622-9100 or visit www.southernplasticsurgery.com to learn more about breast reduction surgery options.