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Pregnancy and Breastfeeding after breast surgery

(9 Posts)
pmcneely Wed 02-Apr-14 14:13:16

My wife had a serious breast abscess in one of her breasts requiring surgery (general anaesthetic, etc). She is now pregnant with our second child, and she is scared. Will her breast produce milk? Will her effected breast grow along with the other one? Where can she go for advice? (I'm writing instead of her because the whole episode was so traumatic for her that she finds it very difficult to discuss.)

squizita Wed 02-Apr-14 15:17:01

She could try the NCT helpline. There are also some advisors on the breastfeeding forum here (it's under 'feed the world' on the topic menu). I am sure there will be a solution out there. flowers

Madratlady Wed 02-Apr-14 15:20:23

I know a mum who gad a massive breast reduction years ago and manages to ebf but the has to express frequently in between feeds to keep supply up. So it might be more difficult but not necessarily impossible.

bakingtins Wed 02-Apr-14 15:42:14

Get her to speak to her midwife. usually it's possible to breastfeed after surgery unless all the milk ducts were severed, which is unlikely to have been the case with an abscess (presumably it was drained and breast issue preserved as far as possible? )
It is totally feasible to feed from just one breast if supply on the surgery side has been affected, but it could lead to some lopsidedness whilst feeding.

pmcneely Wed 02-Apr-14 16:08:57

Thank you squizita, madratlady, and bakingtins for your replies. The surgery had to be fairly invasive, cutting from about 12-oclock to 5-oclock on the right breast. They weren't able to drain the breast without a large incision. We suspect that many of the milk ducts have been severed. A few follow-on questions:
Should she expect uneven growth between the breasts during pregnancy?
Do milk ducts "grow back" after being severed?

Thanks again.

Erroroccurred Wed 02-Apr-14 16:15:21

They do grow back but slowly, it can be ten years before they reconnect but it can also be much less too.

Ducts will have been severed with a radial incision but not all of them so she would be able to reasonably expect some supply on that side and possibly a full supply.

Was the previous abscess related to pregnancy/ post pregnancy? Do you know what caused it to develop?

pmcneely Wed 02-Apr-14 16:27:22

to Erroroccurred. Thanks for the reply. The abscess developed post-pregnancy. A month of feeding problems, and a long delay in noticing trouble (as she didn't have a temperature despite the infection).

I know it's a comparatively superficial question, but does anybody have thoughts about breast growth? She's concerned that she'll have a very lopsided, or mis-shaped chest once the pregnancy hormones kick in.

Erroroccurred Wed 02-Apr-14 16:58:00

That is really hard to predict but she may well have only a little difference especially once feeding is established. If there isn't a huge difference at the moment then that is helpful, the fact the she will have some intact ducts on the access side will also help.

If she wants to bf it sounds important that you research good bf support and get an IBCLC or infant feeding advisor on hand to check latches, check for tongue tie and to provide support for the first few weeks.

pmcneely Wed 02-Apr-14 17:44:20

Will do. Thanks. Any other thoughts out there?

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