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Breastfeeding After Lumpectomy
By Jane Squires, RN, IBCLC

Janes SquiresQ. I am currently nursing my six month old son, and have had a diagnosed fibroadenoma for approximately 18 months. It was core-biopsied twice, so I know it's okay. I was putting off having it taken out, since I knew I wanted to breastfeed at least a year. Now that we're at the six-month mark, I am seriously considering having it removed, since it is a nagging worry at the back of my mind. I know my surgeon is competent, but I'm worried that she'll ask me to wean before surgery, which I definitely do not want to do.

I know there is a chance that there may be some damage to my milk ducts, so my question is, what are the chances of continuing a successful nursing relationship with only one breast? I really don't want to take any chances here, since I also want to have and breastfeed another child.

A. I had an interesting case in which a woman developed an abscess. She wanted to continue to breastfeed. She had the abscess removed, and while it was healing, she pumped on that side, and nursed the baby on the other. Then once it was healed, she resumed breastfeeding on the side that was affected. I see no reason why you should not be able to do the same thing. Just make sure the surgeon knows you are breastfeeding, so they can take extra care not to damage the milk ducts. Once the incision heals you should be able to breastfeed again on the affected side. Also depending on where the lump is, perhaps it is nowhere near the nipple and areola, and you can breastfeed, even while it is healing.

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