Breast is Best
There is a popular opinion that “breast is best” when it comes to feeding a newborn, and while the decision to breastfeed is highly personal (there is nothing wrong with choosing to formula feed your baby) many women believe that this is the best option for their family. This is why this is an incredibly common question when it comes to considering a breast surgery: “Will I still be able to breastfeed?”
Breastfeeding after breast surgery
Whether or not you will be able to breastfeed after your breast surgery is not necessarily a simple “yes” or “no” answer and depends on several variables. For instance, the reason for the operation, the type of surgery, and the way it is performed. Women undergo breast surgery for many reasons. Augmentations, reductions, mastectomies, lumpectomies, and biopsies are often carried out on women of childbearing age.
For example, it is believed that the more extensive the breast reduction, the larger the distance that the nipple is moved and the more disruption to the milk ducts in the nipple, the more impact on breastfeeding you may see. A patient who has had a mastectomy will not be able to breastfeed, while a patient who has had a small breast lump removed will have as good a chance of breastfeeding after surgery as she did prior to her procedure.
When it comes down to it, however, this is a poorly studied topic with a wide variety of results that are difficult to interpret. There is no way of standardizing and measuring the degree of disruption to the breast tissue and milk ducts following surgery. We cannot compare one surgery result to another, and while some women can indeed breastfeed without any issues after breast surgery, some women cannot.
It’s best to assume that you may be able to breastfeed but there is a chance that you may not. Choosing to undergo an elective breast surgery would mean that you should be able to feel satisfied with either outcome: the ability to breastfeed or the possibility that you may not be able to sufficiently produce breast milk after your surgery.
For this reason, many women choose to undergo breast surgery once they have finished having children and breastfeeding.