It is sometimes possible to breastfeed after undergoing breast surgery, but it will be a much different experience to breastfeeding without having a breast lift. Depending on the procedure, the surgery will affect the breasts and the lactation process in different ways. Breast lifts can affect the lactation system and make it difficult or impossible to breastfeed afterwards. If you are interested in getting a breast lift but still want to be able to breastfeed in the future, talk to your surgeon to see if there’s a way to alter the surgery to preserve your ability to breastfeed.
A breast lift is a surgery that involves lifting the breasts without taking out any tissue. This results in firmer, higher, and rounder breasts. Sometimes an implant is also put into place; this is known as breast augmentation. There are two different techniques for incisions. One is periareolar, which goes around the nipple. The other is an inverted T or vertical incision. The method used depends on where the nipple is currently located and what the desired end result is. Both methods will end up repositioning the nipple, but the catch is to not separate the nipple from the glandular tissue, keeping the nerves and the lactation system intact. This means breastfeeding after a breast lift is still possible. During other types of breast surgery, such as breast reduction, the tissue is removed which is more likely to lead to losing lactation ability, meaning it is less likely to be able to breastfeed after a breast reduction.
While it is entirely possible to breastfeed after a breast lift, it will likely not be the same as breastfeeding before surgery. The surgery may cause a loss of function due to the incision or potentially severed nerves or ducts. There is no way to know for sure until you try breastfeeding, but one indicator that you will be able to breastfeed is normal sensation in your nipples after the surgery.
It can take up to five years to regain normal nipple sensation after a breast lift, so some doctors will recommend you wait to get pregnant to allow your mammary glands to fully heal. If you have previously breastfed prior to your surgery, it is more likely you’ll be able to again after the surgery, though you should expect some reduced milk production. It is always important to talk to your doctor about breastfeeding after surgery so that they can determine the best techniques to use to preserve your lactation system.
Breastfeeding can be made more difficult by the addition of breast augmentation, or implants, as well as a breast lift. There is a higher possibility for damage when both surgeries are performed. Your ability to breastfeed will also depend on the amount of time that has passed since your surgery. Fortunately, there are many ways to supplement your breast milk with formula and other methods of feeding your child should you not be able to produce enough milk after your surgery.
Both pregnancy and breastfeeding change the shape and appearance of your breasts. They grow bigger during pregnancy and shrink after the lactation process is complete, which often leaves loose skin. Many women seek breast lifts after having a child, but if you plan on getting pregnant again you might think about waiting until you are done having children because the breasts change shape even more dramatically in subsequent pregnancies.
There are many resources and books available on this topic as well, for new and returning mothers. However, it is always a good idea to talk to a breastfeeding specialist, even if you have breastfed in the past. A specialist is the best person to give advice on how to increase milk production and supplement your own milk with other formulas and methods to ensure your child gets all the nutrients they need to be healthy. You should also talk to your surgeon about breastfeeding after a breast lift. They will be able to walk you through the procedure and adapt it to fit your individual needs.