Nursing after a breast lift

My question has to do with nursing after having had a breast lift (mastopexy). I had breast cancer a year ago and had a tram flap on my mastectomy side and had my right side lifted. My plastic surgeon could not tell me for sure if I'd be able to nurse on the right side (my only real breast left). Do you know what my chances are?

I nursed my first child for his first year and then was diagnosed with breast cancer (Paget's disease of the nipple). I'm interested in finding out if I can breastfeed on my one side, but I'm not sure I will even if I can. To be honest, I'm a little terrified that I'll get cancer in the other nipple even though I know that it is virtually impossible (according to my Dr.)

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Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

I was not able to find much in the literature specifically regarding breastfeeding after mastopexy (breast lift surgery.) Dr. Susan Love (1990) reported that this operation should not affect a woman's ability to breastfeed.

Without seeing the surgical report, if is impossible to know if there has been damage to milk ducts and nerves in your right breast. You can talk with the surgeon, but you really won't know for sure if your milk supply has been impacted until you give breastfeeding a try.

Even if you are not able to provide for 100% of your baby's needs on your own, a nursing supplementer can be used while breastfeeding. This allows both you and your baby to enjoy the closeness of nursing, while he receives the nutritional and immunological benefits of your milk, along with any necessary supplementation at your breast.

In your situation I feel it is particularly important to work with a Lactation Consultant. She will help you in positioning your baby to best access your milk, to deal with problems of breast engorgement (that can be more common in women who have undergone breast surgery), and in evaluating your milk supply. To find a Lactation Consultant in your area contact ILCA (International Lactation Consultant Association) at ilca@erols.com.

It is very important that your baby's output be monitored in the first six weeks following the birth. Your baby should be having 6 to 8 wet diapers and at least 2 good sized bowel movements each day during his first 5 to 6 weeks of life. Weekly weight checks are also important during this time to assure that your baby is receiving proper nutrition.

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