Breastfeeding after breast lift is a different experience than breastfeeding without having undergone breast surgery, but it is a likely possibility. Depending on the type of breast surgery, it is usually still possible to breastfeed after the procedure. However, different types of breast surgeries have different effects on the breasts and the lactation process.
Although most women are able to breastfeed after breast augmentation, it may be slightly harder to engage in breastfeeding after a breast lift. If you plan to breastfeed after a breast lift, tell your plastic surgeon before undergoing the procedure as the surgery may be able to be altered somewhat in an effort to better preserve the lactation system.
What Is a Breast Lift?
A breast lift is a surgical method of lifting and repositioning the breasts without removing tissue, as in a breast reduction. The end result is firmer, higher and rounder breasts. Often an implant is placed, also known as breast augmentation, at the same time as a breast lift.
During a breast lift, a surgeon will use one of two incision techniques. One method, known as periareolar, goes around the nipple. The other method is known as an inverted T or vertical scar. The method used usually depends on the current position of the nipple and the desired result of the individual patient. Each method repositions the nipple, but without separating the nipple from glandular tissue, which means that the nerves and the functionality of the lactation system remain intact. Because the lactation system remains in place, breastfeeding after a breast lift is still possible.
During other breast surgeries, such as a breast reduction, the loss of tissue is more likely to result in the loss of function of lactation, making it less likely for breastfeeding to be possible after the procedure.
Factors to Consider When Breastfeeding After a Breast Lift
Possible Loss of Function
Breastfeeding after a breast lift is entirely possible, but it may not be the exact same experience as breastfeeding before undergoing breast surgery. While most women are able to lactate to some degree, some functioning may be lost due to the surgery itself and the possibility of severing a nerve or duct. You won’t know for sure until you try breastfeeding, but an indication that you will be successful at breastfeeding after breast lift is whether or not you have nipple sensation.
Sometimes, nipple sensation can take up to five years to recover after breast surgery, so it is sometimes recommended that you hold off on motherhood to ensure your mammary glands are fully recovered. If you have breastfed prior to your surgery, it is likely that you will be able to breastfeed after a breast lift as well, although your milk production may be somewhat reduced. Talking with your surgeon about your desire to breastfeed after any breast surgery is recommended so that your surgeon can take your preference into account and try to use surgical methods that have the least effect on the lactation system.
In cases where you undergo both a breast lift and an augmentation, breastfeeding may prove to be more difficult because each of the two surgeries could cause potential damage. The amount of time in between when you have your surgery and when you begin to breastfeed can also have an effect on breastfeeding after a breast lift. Luckily, it is possible to supplement your breast milk with other feeding methods, giving you many options to explore in the case that you do not produce enough milk to breastfeed completely after breast lift surgery.
Change of Appearance
Overall, pregnancy and breastfeeding will change the shape and appearance of the breast. Breasts will grow larger during pregnancy and decrease after lactation is complete, leaving excess skin. If you are considering a breast lift but plan on breastfeeding in the near future, you might want to consider waiting until after this time has passed. This also holds true if you plan on becoming pregnant multiple times, as breast shapes tend to change more drastically in succeeding pregnancies.
Get More Information
There are many books available on this topic so that you can learn about your options before the birth of your baby. It is also helpful to consult a breastfeeding specialist, as it is often recommended that when breastfeeding after a breast lift, you start from the beginning as if it is your first time, even if you have other children and have breastfed in the past. A lactation specialist will be able to offer advice about ways to increase your milk production and how to supplement your supply with other methods to ensure your baby is fed and getting the nutrients he or she needs to thrive.
If you have questions about breastfeeding after a breast lift, the best person to ask is your plastic surgeon. They can help you understand the procedure as it pertains to your unique breast surgery and why or why not you may be able to engage in breastfeeding after a breast lift.