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Thread: Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    2

    Default Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction

    I had a breast reduction 10 yrs ago and nipple reconstruction 8 yrs ago and am now having trouble with milk supply. My baby is 10 days old and I still feel like my milk has not come in yet. I've had to supplement since day 3, but I'm still nursing her and giving the formula through the tube feeding at the breast and then I pump for 15 min after each feed. When I pump, I'm lucky to get 5 ml out of one breast and a few drops from the other. On day 9 I started taking Fenugreek, drinking mother's milk tea, and eating lactation cookies, but so far no real change in my milk supply. I'm also trying my best to guzzle water all day long. Any suggestions of what else to do and is there anyone else who had a reduction who can relate. I'm starting to get frustrated and wonder how long will I have to do this tube feeding. I haven't given a bottle or pacifier, but sometimes I really feel like I want to.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Northern BC, Canada
    Posts
    433

    Default Re: Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction

    The womanly art of breastfeeding recomends this site: http://www.bfar.org/

    Good luck!
    July 30, 2010-6lbs 2oz- 41w 4d (emergency c-section.) Known dairy, eggs, dogs and cats allergies, eczema, and asthma
    Bonus June 22, 2006 (is 50/50 Custody ) (born 32w) Sensitive to changing temps.
    We BF, BW, Co-sleep and use cloth diapers/pull-ups!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Springfield, Oregon
    Posts
    916

    Default Re: Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction

    Can you call a LLL Leader?
    Baby Girl "Piper" born Feb 12th, 2010. She is a true blessing!

    And a baby who is now an Angel in Heaven Feb 7th, 2008.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,259

    Default Re: Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction

    I am sorry you're having a rough time, mama! I admire your determination to make this work. That bfar.org site the PP linked to exists because a lot of mamas struggle with supply after breast surgeries. Do you have an IBCLC to help you? At the very least, she could help you get a hospital-grade pump with correctly sized shields, which is what you want and need to be using when you have supply issues. IDK, maybe you already have one? You could also talk to the IBCLC about the possibility of using other herbs- I've heard shahtaravi and goat's rue mentioned- and prescription drugs (Reglan, Domperidone) to boost your supply.

    I do not mean this to be discouraging, but sometimes when a mama has real supply issues she has to redefine what breastfeeding success means for her. When a mom has had extensive breast surgery she has a strong chance of being one of the moms who must make her peace with what she can provide, and not sweat what she can't.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    10,440

    Default Re: Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction



    Mama, I had two lumpectomies in my 20's on one of breasts. I nursed three kids until I had to pump for the fourth. That is when I really realized how little that side makes. It is not my fault. If I didn't have one "good" side, I would be supplementing. And if you need to, you need to

    Do what you can -- and it sounds like you are doing a lot -- and if you need supplements, it's OK.
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction

    Thank you ladies. I have been seeing a lactation consultant from the hospital and I go back for another appt on monday. I'm just wondering how long i should keep trying because if it's not going to work then I'm ok with that and would like the extra time to rest, which is now being spent pumping, and constantly washing all the pumping supplies. I'll ask about some of those meds too and see what my LC says. The pump I have is Medela Pump N' Style. I might try using the hand pump...I read that can be more effective than my pump.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    In Peace
    Posts
    2,923

    Default Re: Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction

    Hand expression can be more effective. I don't think a hand pump is more effective than a double electric. I know here are some videos showing how to properly and effectively hand express around here somewhere.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    10,440

    Default Re: Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction

    a hand pump is not always more effective. It can be, sometimes, for some mamas..but it is also a lot more work than a double electric. I used a manual for 5 years, but I was blown away by how much easier a double electric was on me.

    You may wish to try hand expression.

    If you want to continue to pump, I would suggest a hospital grade pump. They are mor efficient than a professional grade double electric.

    But...I have a mama I'm working with who has low supply, and we finally worked out to nurse as much as possible, starting and ending with the breast and supplementing with an ounce or two of formula in between. If she doesn't supplement, baby is very hungry. She is probably getting baby about half of what he needs. It was a process for her to make peace with this, but letting go of the pumping has helped her to stop fixating on what she thought she was making and to focus on feeding the baby, and she feels like her supply increased.,
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    381

    Default Re: Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction

    You don't need to wash the pump parts each time, stick them in the fridge and wash once a day.
    Full time working Mom to 3, DH is my hero as a SAHD:
    DS July'09, nursed for 12 weeks
    DD1 & DD2 April'11, tandem nursed for 16 months

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,740

    Default Re: Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction

    I strongly suggest the books Defining Your Own Success and Making More Milk. You want the very best info on how milk supply works, what are indicators of low supply, and what can be done about it if it is low. These books will provide that. Your local LLL Leader may have them available for loan and they are easily available online.

    Every drop of breastmilk and every minute spent nursing at the breast has benefits to your child and to you. Rarely a mother is able to make some milk but not 'enough' milk, but in such cases it is not neccesary to exclusively nurse your child to get many of the benefits of breastmilk and nursing.

    There is no doubt that pumping is exhausting, but these early days with a newborn are extremely difficult for ALL mothers no matter how they are feeding thier babies. Virtually all new moms are so sleep deprived they can barely think straight those first few weeks. It does get better! Generally, if a mom with supply issues keeps trying everything now-nursing as much as possible, and pumping, she gives yourself more options for down the road. But it is not one size fits all. When a mom is unable to make 'enough' milk, there are lots of options. Some moms keep doing the tube, others move to supplementing with bottles, some moms keep pumping, others nurse as much as they can, supplement, and stop pumping. There are as many options as there are moms. As long as you are informed of the risk/benefits of each decision, YOU will be the best judge of what works best for you.

    You also may want to figure out if you really are short on supply and (generally) by how much. Yes, your surgeries make low supply far more likely, but the fact is many moms are told they "have" to supplement when it is not so, or they do need to supplement early on but find it was only needed for a short time, or do not need to be supplemeting the amount they are. How much you are able to pump is not the best indicator of milk supply, nor is how your breasts feel.

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