Each year, August marks National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. This month not only celebrates breastfeeding, but it also aims to improve the health and wellbeing of babies around the world.
Whether you are considering breast surgery, have questions about a previous procedure now that you're expecting or maybe a family member is about to give birth, this month serves as a valuable reminder of what to consider when embarking on one of life’s most exciting new adventures.
Throughout their lives, numerous women may contemplate cosmetic breast surgery, including procedures like breast reduction, breast uplift (mastopexy), or breast augmentation with implants. If you've been considering breast surgery, it's natural to wonder how it might impact you in the future, especially when it comes to starting a family.
From friend to friend or mother to daughter, educating women and encouraging healthy conversation on the importance of breast safety can always provide valuable outcomes. And, whilst it may not be a part of everyone's story, breastfeeding can hold immense significance in the journey of motherhood for some. As a result, the question of whether breastfeeding remains feasible post-breast surgery can be a vital consideration.
The reassuring truth is that, in many cases, women who have undergone cosmetic breast surgery can breastfeed successfully. However, it's crucial to acknowledge that each situation is unique and may present varying challenges and outcomes. In this article, we will delve into the topic of breastfeeding after various cosmetic breast surgeries, exploring potential challenges, considerations, and expert insights to empower women in making well-informed decisions.
Breast Augmentation Surgery
Breast Augmentation, a popular procedure to enhance breast size and shape, involves the placement of breast implants. Many women wonder if having breast implants will hinder their ability to breastfeed. The good news is that breast implants, when placed correctly, are unlikely to interfere with breastfeeding.
At Bella Vou, the surgeon will make a small cut in the natural crease under the breast (within the inframammary fold) so that the scar is discrete and hidden. The implant is inserted and placed in position; then, the incisions are carefully stitched closed with absorbable sutures. The implant fills the breast, pushing it outwards and upwards, enhancing the size and providing some uplift. Implants come in different shapes, sizes, and structures. The surgeon will take your breasts, your figure, and the look you want to achieve into account to get the best cosmetic result.
Implants that are inserted through the inframammary fold or the armpit are less likely to affect mammary ducts and milk supply. On the other hand, periareolar incisions (around the areola) carry a slightly higher risk of disrupting milk ducts, potentially impacting lactation. However, it's important to note that every woman's anatomy is unique, and breastfeeding outcomes can still vary.
Breast Uplift (Mastopexy) Surgery
Breast Uplift, or mastopexy, is a procedure that lifts and reshapes sagging breasts, often resulting from factors like pregnancy, breastfeeding, or ageing. Most commonly, women tend to opt for Breast Uplift Surgery later in life, after they have completed their family and are done breastfeeding, however this is not always the case. Thankfully, unlike breast reduction, this surgery usually does not involve the removal of mammary tissue, but rather excess skin, which means the impact on breastfeeding is generally minimal.
At Bella Vou, the type of incision and the specific procedure will depend on the size and shape of your breasts and how much extra tissue needs to be removed. The surgeon carefully excises loose and excess skin from the sides and the underneath of the breast. They then reshape the tissue, preserving as much of your natural breast volume as possible, to give a firmer, fuller and uplifted breasts. If extra volume is also needed, then an implant can be inserted at the same time. The surgeon will take your breasts, your figure, and the look you want to achieve into account to achieve the very best cosmetic result.
Mastopexy primarily focuses on repositioning the breast tissue and lifting the nipple-areolar complex. As such, most women who undergo breast uplift surgery can breastfeed without significant hindrance. However, individual factors, including the extent of the surgery, any underlying breast issues or insertion of implants, may still influence breastfeeding experiences.
Breast Reduction Surgery
Breast Reduction Surgery, also known as reduction mammoplasty, is a procedure aimed at reducing breast size and alleviating discomfort by removing excess breast tissue. It's essential to recognise that for women who undergo this surgery, the possibility of breastfeeding may be significantly affected. The outcome can vary depending on individual factors and the surgical technique employed. While some women may still be able to breastfeed successfully, others might encounter challenges with milk production due to the disruption of mammary ducts and nerves during the surgery.
While the potential impact on breastfeeding is a valid concern for some women, it may not be a primary consideration for everyone. Women who choose Breast Reduction Surgery may prioritise their immediate physical and emotional well-being over potential future breastfeeding. Each individual's decision is deeply personal and based on their unique circumstances and priorities. For some, the benefits of breast reduction in terms of pain relief, improved body image, and increased comfort may outweigh the possibility of breastfeeding in the future. Others may have completed their family planning or have other reasons that make breastfeeding less of a concern.
At Bella Vou, we offer a tailored breast surgery service led by expert cosmetic surgeons who meticulously assess your breasts, body proportions, and preferences to customise the procedure to best suit your needs. The choice of incision and extent of tissue removal are carefully considered to achieve your desired look while taking into account the potential impact on breastfeeding. It's crucial for women considering breast reduction to have an open and honest discussion with their plastic surgeon about their future breastfeeding goals to set realistic expectations and optimise the chances of preserving breastfeeding potential.
Preparing for Breastfeeding After Cosmetic Breast Surgery:
To optimise the chances of successful breastfeeding after cosmetic breast surgery, women can take several proactive steps:
1. Communicate with your Surgeon:
Be open with your plastic surgeon about your desire to breastfeed in the future. They can tailor the surgical approach to minimise potential impacts on lactation.
2. Seek Expert Guidance:
Consulting with a lactation consultant or a breastfeeding specialist during pregnancy can provide valuable insights and tips to help prepare for breastfeeding following cosmetic breast surgery.
3. Monitor Breast Changes:
During pregnancy, observe any changes in breast sensitivity or shape. Inform your healthcare provider if you notice any concerns.
4. Consider Supplemental Feeding:
If breastfeeding challenges arise, utilising supplemental feeding methods, such as pumping or using a lactation aid, can help maintain breastfeeding and provide essential nutrients to your baby.
In conclusion, breastfeeding after cosmetic breast surgery is a realistic and viable option for numerous women. While there may be certain challenges or considerations to keep in mind, the key lies in open communication with a qualified plastic surgeon and seeking expert advice throughout the journey. Armed with the right knowledge and understanding, women can confidently navigate their breast surgery choices and make decisions that align with their desire to breastfeed.
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Last Updated: August 4, 2023
Published On: July 27, 2023