Breastfeeding Special Circumstances

Most women that have had breast surgery are able to successfully breast feed their baby. Augmentation, reduction, breast biopsy, lumpectomy, and nipple piercing are all examples of breast surgery that usually do not cause problems for breast feeding.

Breast augmentation is probably the most common breast surgery that women have prior to having children. In one study only about 7% of women that had breast augmentation surgery were unable to breast feed. The success depends on the type of augmentation surgery. If the incision is around the nipple there is a higher chance of having difficulty breastfeeding. Women that had breast augmentation with an incision away from the nipple and the implant under the muscle had the best chance of successful breast feeding. The type of implant, saline vs. silicone, does not make a difference. There is no harm to the baby to breast feed with silicone implants.

Breast reduction surgery causes more disruption to the breast tissue than augmentation so there is a higher chance of being unable to breast feed after reduction than augmentation. Depending on how the reduction surgery was done, any women are able to breast feed their baby after a breast reduction surgery.

Most women that have had a breast biopsy or even lumpectomy for a suspicious lesion are able to breast feed their baby. In a situation where an extensive lumpectomy or biopsy was done it may be possible to only produce milk from the unaffected side. Even in this case, it is possible to produce an adequate amount of milk form only one breast.

Nipple piercing generally does not cause problems with breast feeding. It is extremely unusual for the piercing to interfere with the ductal system in a way to cause problems with breast feeding. It is very important that the piercing is removed prior to breast feeding. If it is not removed, it is possible for the piercing to come loose and choke the baby.

It is perfectly safe to breast feed in the presence of a tattoo even if the tattoo is extensive.