I have had breast surgery. Will I be able to breastfeed?

It is definitely possible to breastfeed after breast surgery (augmentation or reduction) or other chest surgery although it really depends on the type of surgery you had.

Milk production is a wonderful system of feedback based on a baby sucking at the breast, and the successful removal of milk. There are many nerves in the nipple area that are ready to deliver messages back and forth about milk needs. If those nerves were severed in your breast surgery, then the chances of you being able to fully sustain your baby at the breast are decreased. Some reduction surgery is designed to deliberately avoid severing the nerves, and breastfeeding is generally more successful in those cases. If you had the kind of surgery in which your nipples were completely detached and sewn back on in a new location, then most likely those nerves were severed. Amazingly, some women who have had this kind of breast surgery have had the nerves grow back. There isn't any way to predict this however. Do you have any feeling in your nipples? That would be a good sign if you do!

I would encourage you to work with a lactation consultant - preferably an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) - before and after your baby is born. Find out as much as you can about your surgery, and also about how breastfeeding is SUPPOSED to work. That will help you identify how things are going early on, and you can monitor how things are going. You may be able to partially breastfeed at least, and supplement as necessary. ANY breast is better than none!

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