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Breast feeding after breast reduction - anyone?

(12 Posts)
u32ng Wed 27-Feb-13 15:26:44

I had a breast reduction in 2004 - not a huge one by some people's standards but still lost a few cup sizes.

Anyway, my DS1 is now almost 4weeks old & I had always intended on breastfeeding him. However things got off to a poor start with bad latch etc. currently expressing & feeding breast milk/formula combo whilst offering boob first. I am producing milk though not in great volumes as seen when expressing.

My health visitor knows the situation & said she doesn't know anyone who has managed to exclusively breast feed after a reduction. So i'd like to know if anyone out there HAS managed it. Also, if they haven't too. Just want to hear some real life experiences from people so I can see if I can buck the trend or if I'm just on a wishing mission!

thehumanegg Thu 28-Feb-13 21:51:33

Hi u32ng
I'd love to be able to tell you that I could exclusively bf to offer some encouragement but sadly not! But I remember seeing a post from someone on here a short time ago who had a full supply and had had a reduction, so it can be done. Also n the forum (if you haven't joined its a great resource - people are very helpful and encouraging, but it's private so you have to sign up to see) there are some on there who've managed a full supply. Not many but they are there. It's thought that those who do are those who may have had oversupply without the operation.
How much are you able to pump? I found it encouraging to realise breastfed babies only take 2-4 oz per feed on average between months 1 and 6 - sounds kind of doable! So maybe that offers some hope to you.
I could probably get 1 oz max per feed and fed for 5 months, but who knows if managing things differently at the start could have got more.
If it's any relevance things I would do differently at your stage might be -

More little and often feeding:
I supplemented from day 3 as necessary, but this meant the baby started to only want feeds every 3 hours and wouldn't feed in between. Which I now realise is cutting it fine for that crucial stage at the beginning when your prolactin receptors are being established. My theory is that an issue for those with reduction is reduced storage capacity - so even if I can only store 1 oz max, but feed say every 2 hours instead of 3 I'd be able to get more milk to the baby.

More specialised support:
I'd also try to find a IBILC or whatever they're called certified lactation consultant with experience in this area - The midwives/ HCP's were v supportive and to be fair none offered duff advice, but I could see them mentally backing off after I'd told them about the surgery. It would have been good to have someone to hand with real experience at the more tricky and rare end of the bf scale.
In my fantasy land this is Dr Jack Newman, since I read somewhere he had a post reduction mother of twins feeding without supplementingsmile That might be made up but sadly Toronto is a long way away so I'll never know.

Very good luck to you - I hope you do buck the trend! And if not, apparently things improve with each baby... grin

BuntyCollocks Fri 01-Mar-13 09:50:09

I'm exclusively breastfeeding after a massive reduction in 2002. Had a bad start as well but ours was due to tongue tie. I have a good supply which I keep good by frequent feeding and I express after the morning feed to ensure I have milk there for a top up if dd requires it (never does!).

If you have any questions just pm me. I've had just about every issue going between DS and dd. ;)

It can't always be done, but I am proof it can be.

Also, if there issues with your supply, look into getting domperidone prescribed. I had to take it with DS as his tongue tie went undiagnosed for too long, we had to supplement due to weight loss, which in combination with the tie meaning he didn't stimulate my milk supply meant it then went through the floor. He still fed until he was one.

BuntyCollocks Fri 01-Mar-13 09:52:52

Oh, and re domperidone, don't be scared of a large dose. I was taking 16 tabs a day at one point - 4 x 4 times a day. It gave me enough of a supply that DS didn't need any formula from about month 4/5.

BuntyCollocks Fri 01-Mar-13 09:54:16

Sorry for multiple posts - I have not had to use anything for dd this time. She is 9 weeks tomorrow and has never had a drop of formula, and I don't have to take anything. All very natural this time!

thehumanegg Fri 01-Mar-13 10:27:04

I'm totally in awe of you smile
yy to domperdidone

BuntyCollocks Fri 01-Mar-13 11:11:55

blush thank you!

BuntyCollocks Fri 01-Mar-13 11:15:32

Op - more advice. Get a double pump - spectra 3 is good and affordable. Pump after each feed for 10 mins. It will stimulate your supply. Also, pumping is no indication of supply. Baby is far better at removing milk, and some people can't get anything with a pump.

u32ng Fri 01-Mar-13 15:25:05

Brill, thanks! I am much cheered up by your ebf BuntyCollocks!

I have started on Fenugreek yesterday so we'll see...
Didn't know that there was actual medication that could help - will ask HV about this on Tue. Meantime, am pumping every 3hrs if poss (DS is quite demanding and it can be difficult to get 20mins to pump!)

Will try anything. Am like a dog with a bone about this despite defeatist vibes from DH & MIL that I shouldn't beat myself up if it doesn't work out.

BuntyCollocks Fri 01-Mar-13 15:50:23

Oh, u32, my DH and mil were exactly the same.

Has DS been checked for tongue tie - properly checked? Both my dec had missed ties/ upper lip ties. Just when you're saying about him feeding a lot ... It could be a lower supply. It could also be compensation for a less than optimal latch due to lip/tongue tie.

Google jack newman and domperidone to show your health visitor. I went armed with info so they'd have to take me seriously.

BuntyCollocks Fri 01-Mar-13 15:53:10

thehumanegg Fri 01-Mar-13 16:20:27

Can HV's help you get domperidone? That would be handy, my gp's prescribed it but in limited quantities which was an issue. It was like I was asking for addictive painkillers or something.

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