What I wish I'd known
I had the procedure in high school and I don’t regret it, but looking back, there are a handful of things I wish I’d known before going under the knife.
It would be extra challenging to breastfeed
When I was 17 and consulting with my plastic surgeon before this procedure, it honestly never even crossed my mind to ask about the difficulty of breastfeeding after having breast reduction surgery – I was just so anxious to have it done. But I wish I had had that conversation because after I had my second child I wanted nothing more than to breastfeed and have that connection with her, and it was one of the biggest struggles of my life. With my older son, I didn’t even attempt to breastfeed because after finding out I had had a breast reduction, I was told (by some very unsupportive doctors) to not even try. I knew better the second time around, but after making the effort quite literally my full-time job and still having problems, I gave up after one month.
Breastfeeding can be difficult for any new mum. But it doesn’t have to be impossible. After discussions with an online BFAR (breastfeeding after reduction) Facebook group, I found that procedures have changed a bit since I had mine in 2013, and if you speak up when meeting with your surgeon, you’ll likely have better luck with breastfeeding. “Current breast reduction techniques preserve a significant amount of the milk-producing ducts to the nipple, thus most women are able to breastfeed after breast reduction surgery,” says plastic surgeon Dr Ryan Neinstein. It’s also true, he adds, that reduction or no reduction, some 18 percent of woman in the general population have problems breastfeeding due to immature development of the duct or milk producing system.
I would go down an entire shirt size!
To be completely honest, weight loss was a side effect I was looking forward to from the procedure. Typically, before you have breast reduction surgery, doctors try to get you to lose weight just to make sure that it’s something you really need done – that your breasts aren’t just large because of a few extra kilos. Being a dancer and a regular runner, I was already in optimal shape, but shopping for clothes because of my big boobs was a constant battle. I always needed to go up one size so the shirt would fit over my large chest, and then it would consume the rest of my body – making me look heavier than I really was. After the breast reduction, I finally went down that one shirt size and looked proportional again. It was pure bliss.