Breastfeeding a baby can be a special, bonding experience. If you’re planning on having children in the future, but want breast surgery now, will you still be able to breastfeed? Here’s what you need to know about breastfeeding after breast augmentation, reduction, or lift.
Breast Surgery and Milk Supply
The breasts are complex anatomical structures, filled with fat, glandular tissues, nerves, and milk ducts. Milk is produced in the glandular tissues, also called alveoli. When the nerves are stimulated by your hungry baby, milk travels through the milk ducts to the openings in the nipple. Incisions in the breast can sever nerve connections and milk ducts, potentially compromising your milk supply. The type of breast surgery you receive and the techniques your plastic surgeon use can impact your body’s ability to produce milk.
- Breast Augmentation- The most common location for breast augmentation incisions is under the breast, in the fold where the breast meets the chest wall. This location provides minimal disruption to the breast tissues and ducts. Most women breastfeed successfully with breast implants. Incisions around the areola are more likely to lead to future breastfeeding complications than other incision types.
- Breast Lift- Breast lift surgery is more invasive than a breast augmentation and breastfeeding complications are more likely. Many women can successfully breastfeed, although milk supply may be reduced.
- Breast Reduction- Of all the breast surgeries we offer, breast reduction is the most likely to cause disruption to breastfeeding abilities. Breast reduction removes glandular tissue and often severs nerves and ducts. Most breast reduction patients will require nipple repositioning which can complicate breastfeeding. Many women are successful at breastfeeding after this breast surgery.
The only way to know how your breast surgery will impact breastfeeding is to give it a try. Some women will have reduced milk production, others will not experience any problems. Working with a trained lactation consultant that is experienced helping mothers after breast surgery can dramatically increase your odds of success.
How Does Breastfeeding Affect Breast Appearance?
Pregnancy and breastfeeding can dramatically change the size, shape, and appearance of the breasts. Common breast changes include:
- Volume Loss- Most women lose breast volume, but some increase in breast size after pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Sagging- Sagging is one of the most common post-pregnancy breast complaints.
- Change in Shape- Fatty and connective tissues in the breast shift after pregnancy and breastfeeding. Many women find that the top of the breast is flatter and deflated with more volume in the lower portions of the breast.
- Breast Asymmetry- Some women develop breast asymmetry after breastfeeding. Positioning, size, or shape of one breast may vary from the other.
Women that have had previous breast surgeries may require a revision procedure to restore their breast appearance after breastfeeding. Likewise, women without a previous surgery will also notice changes and may decide that breast surgery is needed to restore a youthful breast shape. We often include breast procedures in our mommy makeover.
How Long Should I Wait to Schedule Breast Surgery After Breastfeeding?
The breasts will continue to change in size and shape until after you’ve finished breastfeeding. We recommend that patients wait at least 3-6 months after breastfeeding to schedule a cosmetic breast surgery consultation.
Call Clinton Plastic Surgery to schedule your breast surgery consultation with Dr. Michael Clinton today.