If your chest is slightly altered due to the knife or needle, these Q&A’s are for you. Can I nurse…
… after breast augmentation surgery?
Monica Dickinson Cheung, RN, assistant nurse manager for perinatal services at Kaiser Hayward, advises, “Women with breast implants are often able to breastfeed their babies without a lot of problems. The procedure for placing implants does not usually interfere with the mammary glands.” However, it isn’t a bad idea to have a lactation consultant lined up, just in case you have questions.
“If there’s a lot of scarring from breast surgery and the tissue that makes milk has been disturbed or the nipple has been moved, it could cause problems,” says Stacy H. Rubin, lactation consultant and author of The ABCs of Breastfeeding. “If tissue has been removed, a mother is at high risk to not make enough milk to meet her baby’s needs, so she’ll probably need to supplement. It doesn’t mean that she can’t have a strong breastfeeding relationship with her child, but supplementation with formula may be required to completely meet the needs of the baby.”
… with pierced nipples?
“It is safe to breastfeed with pierced nipples, just not with jewelry on the nipple [during a feeding],” recommends Cheung, as the jewelry is a choking hazard. “Sometimes there is a small amount of milk that dries up in the piercing that babies don’t like, so you may want to manually express that milk [before beginning a feeding].”
… with inverted nipples?
Rubin says, “Many moms think they have inverted nipples and actually don’t.” (An inverted nipple goes inward when erect rather than out.) If you do have inverted nipples, you can still breastfeed. “The baby will draw the nipple out over time. Since she attaches to the areola and not the nipple itself, nursing should still work. Every mother’s breasts and nipples are different, and chances are whatever she has will work for her baby. Breasts and nipples really go through a metamorphosis following birth, so what a mother looks like while pregnant will be different after she has her baby. Chances are that they’re going to change in a way that’s advantageous to breastfeeding.”
… with a tattoo on my breast?
“I don’t recommend getting a new tattoo on the breast while nursing, but an existing tattoo shouldn’t present any problems at all,” says Rubin.