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Breastfeeding after nipple/ uplift/ breast reduction surgery

(13 Posts)
Thornykate Sun 12-Jun-11 23:41:58

Am hoping someone can advise me about this as I am on my own trying to work out what to do for the best.

I have breastfed 2 children before without problem but I had surgery a few yrs ago which involved cutting around my nipples and basically reattaching them after tissue/ skin had been removed.

I now have been blessed with a beautiful baby & am at a loss of what to do about feeding. Throughout this pg my breasts never leaked which is unusual for me so I took this as a sign that I probably wouldn't be able to feed. I was warned about this possibility by my surgeon prior to the treatment.

After birth I was able to squeeze a few drops of colostrum out but v tiny amount compared to previous pgs. I put baby on the breast but even that isn't easy as my nipples aren't normal anymore they sort of blend into the skin so it's hard to help baby get latched.

The hospital were a bit crap in that they kept trying to get her on & even put me on the pump for 5 v painful minutes which resulted I nothing. I kept explaining that the breasts were perfectly capable of producing milk but as the nipples had in effect been severed the milk might not be able to get out. I was worried about ending up v engorged when the milk came in. Thankfully the BF coordinator MW came to see me & told me to wait & see what happened when milk came in.

On 3rd day milk came in & again no leaks at all, could produce literally 1 or 2 drops if squeezed. Felt v engorged & put baby on. Nipples v sore unlike previous pgs I think due to shape/ latching. Baby stayed on for over an hour & definitely drained some off so I thought I would be ok to mixed feed.

This was 2 days ago & the breast didn't seem to fill back up much to my disappointment. Until tonight that is. But one side is definitely filling more than the other & that is the side that is a little easier to squeeze the drops from. Tried her on it before bed but she's tired & will try her again in the night too but I am not optimistic.

Sorry this is long. I know I need to continue to bottle feed too but even just a night breastfeed would be a bonus right now so any advice to help us achieve this is v welcome thanks.

Honeydragon Sun 12-Jun-11 23:49:09

I have had the same procedure as you but bilateral so only on one boob. It did seem to frustrate dd a bit when the milk was coming in, and I think it's because the spray is a little squiffy on the operated on boob at letdown. I would try and avoid mixed feeding this early and try and let your milk come in and establish through regular feeding and avoiding nipple confusion. I am still bf dd now 18 mnth later so it's definitely possible smile

Thornykate Sun 12-Jun-11 23:54:29

That's good to hear was beginning to think I was the only one!

They got her on the bottle as I couldn't express & she wasn't feeding at all for 1st day, I don't think I even have a spray on letdown if that makes sense? Been trying to hand express a bit tonight but just the odd drip coming.

I agree the nipple confusion won't help her. Hopefully when she's hungry at 3am we'll make some progress tonight smile

Thanks Honeydragon

orchidee Mon 13-Jun-11 00:14:33

I've no experience but wonder if any of the BF helplines or local groups could help or give you some info. Can your midwife or health visitor refer you to an infant feeding specialist? You cant be the first person to be in this position so someone must be able to help. Just a thought but I've picked up that some people reckon different pumps give different results when expressing so maybe that's another thing to consider. It does sound positive that milk is being produced and some is coming out. Hopefully all the plumbing is attached correctly and the pipes just need to get working. (I hope that doesn't sound silly).

orchidee Mon 13-Jun-11 00:19:44

I forgot to say, could those things that are used for flat or inverted nipples be used? Maybe that would help with getting a better latch and so better flow.
Good luck and enjoy your new baby.

Thornykate Mon 13-Jun-11 00:55:35

No I think that's a great way of describing it!

Just had her on since last post, not much happening & ended up giving her a bottle as the poor child was getting v hungry & frustrated.

MW coming tomorow will see if she knows of any help locally. Interesting about the different pumps too.

Thanks again

orchidee Mon 13-Jun-11 01:08:50

Can you maybe try to bf your daughter after a part or full ff, I'm thinking you want to try her at the breast while she's a little hungry but not ravenous and frustrated. Also regarding nipple confusion- medela's "calma" bottle teat is supposed to replicate bf-style feeding. There have been discussions on recent threads so you should find people's opinions.on a search of this topic. I hope you get help soon so your milk supply stays up. How old is your daughter?

orchidee Mon 13-Jun-11 01:16:38

Also if Lansinoh etc aren't helping with nipple pain, your midwife should be able to get dressings for you. I had nipple pain from poor patching on (I'm new to this) and the HV offered gelonet(?) dressings but eventually the lansinoh worked. Maybe they can suggest if nipple shields etc may help too.

Thornykate Mon 13-Jun-11 01:41:09

Shes just 5 days I will try the other way round & ff 1st

Am seriously engorged & feel a bit rough with it all tonight. Breasts are like rocks & have some quite big lumps that are protruding into my armpit now. Not helping that she only wants to lie on my chest bless her! Moan over I am going to attempt sleep & see how we get on. Hopefully I can report back with news of progress & feeling a lot better physically too!

japhrimel Mon 13-Jun-11 10:02:17

TBH I'd be taking ibuprofen and other painkillers if you're not already. Ibuprofen may help fend off mastitis as it's anti-inflammatory.

orchidee Mon 13-Jun-11 13:03:51

How did you get on with the midwife's visit? I hope you have some more help and ideas from her. You're obviously very motivated. I hope you feel more comfortable too, I remember those engorged early days (just a few weeks ago for me).
Practicalities- do you have much help at home so you can concentrate on feeding your new baby and recovering from childbirth? Either way, can I suggest that your usual standards are abandoned for now? Personally if I've managed a shower or breakfast by lunchtime it's a good day! Feeding on demand is a full time job in the early weeks!

Thornykate Mon 13-Jun-11 23:04:57

Thank you all for your kind advice.Managed a few hours sleep with cold flannels on my chest, boobs not blotchy red anymore & pain subsided. MW was really good but basically said what I knew already; if the let down reflex isn't happening it's not working properly & if it was going to then it would've by now. So in a nutshell it's time for me to call it a day.

I've been doing a bit of reading on the net & apparently I should've had a greater chance than most at bf as I have had previous success breastfeeding & several years has lapsed since surgery. Apparently it is nerve damage that causes the problems.

I am trying to be grateful that baby has at least probably had a bit of colostrum from me. That's all I originally hoped for & anything else would have been a bonus.

I am pretty much alone with the kids most of the time with DP home at weekends so was getting carried away & looking forward to snuggling up for Cosy night feeds. Ah well, time to count my blessings & be thankful for what I can do rather than what I can't.

Thanks again.

orchidee Tue 14-Jun-11 11:10:01

I hope you're feeling more comfortable now and that you can enjoy your new baby. I'm sorry to hear the news but like you say, your daughter got colostrum which is a bonus in itself. Okay now what are you doing on the internet - get some rest! You deserve it smile

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