Monday, March 1, 2010

Breastfeeding after reduction

It is possible to breastfeed after breast reduction surgery.

The most important thing is to define your success. You may not be able to exclusively breastfeed your baby but to be able to provide any breastmilk to your baby is a success. Do not let anyone make you feel bad about not having enough milk. If you decide to attempt to breastfeed your baby after reduction and are able to produce ANY milk then you have succeeded!

The most important thing is to realize you will probably have to supplement your baby. This is ok. When all else fails, you must feed the baby. Ignore the conventional advice about breastfeeding because it doesn't apply to you.

I have personal experience with this both with twins and a singleton. This is what I suggest.

First, nurse early and nurse often. Make sure you get good at positioning the baby and the baby has a good latch. If those things have not happened, then make sure you get help until they do. Be persistent with the lactation counselors in the hospital. That is what they are there for.

Second, you must pump. Your breasts need as much stimulation as possible. Rent a hospital grade pump and pump as often as you can, preferably after every feeding. You may only get a few drops but it's still success!

Third, drink and drink and drink and drink! Fluid is very important to help your milk supply.

If baby is nursing well make sure your pediatrician is aware that you had breast reduction surgery. They may choose to not have you supplement but keep a very close eye on the baby's weight. You also want to make sure your baby has 8-10 wet diapers per day and is having regular bowel movements. These are important measures of hydration.

If you do have to supplement YOU HAVE NOT FAILED!
This is what I suggest for supplementing:
First, nurse the baby. Then wait 10-15 min after baby has finished nursing. If the baby appears to be still hungry then give a bottle of 2 oz of formula or pumped breast milk. If necessary then you might need to give another 2 oz. Then pump. Pumping is very important.

Remember that the most important thing is feeding the baby but try to keep supplementation to a minimum and always start each feeding with a nursing session. Discuss this with your pediatrician. Eventually you may be able to wean your baby off supplements completely as your milk supply improves.

You can also try supplements to increase your milk supply. There are many available but the most commonly used ones are fenugreek and reglan. Reglan is a prescription medication available from your health care provider. Fenugreek is available at most health food stores.

Here is some good info about increasing milk supply with supplements:

Good luck!

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