Nursing after Breast Surgery

While I was pregnant I joined La Leche League for support and self-education. My mother had breastfed my brother and myself but since she was no longer alive I wasn't able to draw on her expertise. No friends or relatives had breastfed so La Leche League was the only place to find support.

Before my pregnancy I had three benign fibrocystic lumps removed from my breasts, the last of which was under my nipple. During surgery the nipple was cut from top to bottom and lifted to remove the golf-ball size lump. My surgeon suggested I not attempt to breastfeed when I became pregnant since he felt he had destroyed milk ducts during surgery.

I discovered one of my LLL Leaders had had a similar surgery and had chosen to feed only from one breast. I became determined to breastfeed even if only from the unaffected breast.

When the nurse brought the baby to me in the recovery room after my cesarean birth, I put her to the affected breast first. She nursed immediately like a pro and oddly enough chose that side as her favorite for many months. As far as I could determine, there was no less milk on the affected side and I never experienced any discomfort.

After a recent checkup with my surgeon, he was amazed that I was able to nurse from the affected breast with no difficulty. All he could surmise was that either the milk ducts had regenerated themselves or the remaining ones were able to convey sufficient milk. He commented that he never stops learning.

My daughter and I are still nursing happily, and I am so glad I didn't miss these magical, golden moments.

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By Shelly Resico

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