Breast Reduction Surgery & BF

A customer shares her breastfeeding story…

She writes “I have a 5 1/2 week old boy who is currently getting expressed breast milk (EBM) with top ups of formula when required.

I had breast reduction surgery 7 years ago so was unsure whether I would be able to breastfeed at all –  and if I  could was unsure as to how much I could feed my baby. He latched really well and we had great success until about week 2.  I noticed he was literally chewing my left nipple to pieces. I began expressing from the left breast and using a lact-aid while he fed from my right breast only.  After less than a week I was getting chewed on that side too so started expressing both sides and feeding my milk with a bottle.

Both my midwife and lactation consultant thought the nipple problem was due to my surgery but at a 3 week visit with my lactation consultant she noticed baby was type 4 tongue tied and was actually chewing as his tongue doesn’t come out enough to cover his gums and therfore stop the biting reflex. This was why breastfeeding was painful and I was getting mouth shaped fissures on my nipples. I have now been expressing on average about 7 times a day and am waiting for a surgeon to ‘snip’ so he can go back to breastfeeding.

But in the meantime my breasts have regrown back to enormous propotions (G cup) and the breast shield that comes with the Medela pump is now too small and had started to pinch and bruise my nipples making pumping painful also.  (Editor’s note, we do have the larger breast shields here)

I have been so tempted to switch to all formula but I am determined to give my son as much breast milk as possible to prove to myself that  my breast reduction surgery isn’t going to jeopardise my son’s right to breast feeding.

Even though I believed I was at a disadvantage because of my surgery the plus side is I got to know exactly how much I was producing and how much baby is needing per feed. I am producing about 70% of his needs. He is about 8lb but drinking enough in a 24 hour period for a 13-14lb baby (according to a BFAR book). Apparently an 8lb baby will take about 600ml per 24 hours but my lil piggie is wanting between 850-1000ml per 24 hour period!!!!!

Even though I have only breastfed for a short time I love the connection and can’t wait to get back to it!!!

All I can say is if you want to do it – just perservere. It may be tough but where there is a will there is a way