My name is Anne, I live in Mississauga, Ontario, and I had my breast reduction in 1995. At that time I didn’t think about babies and breastfeeding, I was only thinking about the physical problem that I had with big breasts. I heard bad stories about the surgeon that did most of the surgery on women in my hometown so I did some research and brought the name, address and phone number of the surgeon I wanted to my family doctor.
It was a good decision because he was thinking about all those issues that I didn’t take in consideration. After the surgery, he told me that he was careful to save as many ducts as possible. He also told me that I might not be able to breastfeed as much as I would without the surgery or even not at all even if he was careful but the only way to know for sure was to give it a try when the time comes. So I didn’t worry about it for the next 10 years.
During my pregnancy I realized that I really wanted to give the best to my baby, which means breastfeeding so I started to read about it and decided to register to a breastfeeding class before my baby was born because of that surgery and also because there is an history of low milk production in the family. My mother never produced milk for my brother and me. At the class I told the lactation consultant (teacher) about the surgery, she told me to make sure to ask for a lactation consultant at the hospital as soon as the baby’s born so they can start helping me from the start.
My wonderful daughter was born on Feb. 20th 2006 with a tongue-tie after a 27 hours labor that ended by using forceps. Of course I had the visit of the lactation consultant to help me really soon. She said that the tongue-tie was not interfering with her feeding; she was really good at latching. I was not producing much milk (hardly a drop or two) so she showed me how to use a lactation aid to supplement to make sure my little bundle of joy ate enough and she also started me on pumping after each feeding with a double electric pump.
After a day in the hospital, I was sent home with a rented pump, a lactation aid kit, and an appointment with the hospital lactation consultant for 2 days later home. When I went back my little princess had lost weight. From 3,435g at birth she was down to 3,238g so we did a test to see how much she was taking from me. It was not brilliant: 6g from one breast and nothing from the other and from 15 minutes of pumping I would hardly get 5 ml of milk. We ended up going home with increasing the supplement I was giving her, information on fenugreek, BFAR, breastfeeding.com, and another appointment with lactation consultant in the community where I live.
I kept on pumping and feeding the baby while I was reading all the information I could on fenugreek. At my appointment my precious baby gained some weight and I was able to pump a little more milk. Slowly I was starting to increase my milk I was going at the lactation clinic one or twice a week to control the baby’s weight.
After three weeks baby had gained about the weight she lost and we started reducing the supplement. She was receiving 8 oz a day when we started to reduce she went down to 5 oz at week four and her weight was up to 3, 750g. We kept on reducing the supplement; she went down to 2 to 3 oz. I started the fenugreek and I also started going to a breastfeeding support group that the clinic has every week.
At 5 weeks my sweetie cut the supplement completely, I was so happy to be able to feed her without any supplement! Now she is 6 weeks old, her weight is up to 3, 960g, she loves to eat at the breast and she is a happy, healthy baby. I know that I am lucky that my little girl is able to get 100% breast milk for now and I want to breastfeed her as long as possible.
I don’t regret my surgery; it did help me a lot for my self-esteem and eliminated all the physical problems that I had. As for the problem that I had with breastfeeding it might have been the same without the surgery because of all the other factors that were present in my case. I am just glad that I stuck to breastfeeding even though it was hard. What help me go through it was the support of my precious baby (her expression when she is at the breast worth a thousand word!), my husband (he was great!), my family and the wonderful team of lactation consultant at Peel public health clinic in Meadowvale. It worth the effort!
For the ones who think about having the surgery my advice is to wait after you have your children to have the surgery, if you can’t wait, make sure to have a really good surgeon who will do his best to save as many ducts as he can. For the ones who already had the surgery, don’t give up, even if you can only give a few drop to your baby, it's worth the world to him!
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