Things they don’t warn you about before top surgery: your chest getting engorged with milk when your baby cries, but not being able to get enough out to relieve the pain.

Ow.

Of course, most people who talk about top surgery don’t talk about potential future pregnancy or lactating.

I had a mastectomy, not keyhole, and I actually am producing a little bit of milk. Most people don’t know this is possible, the midwives I worked with didn’t, I was lucky and a nurse I spoke with at 12 weeks pregnant told me that I might actually be able to lactate even after the surgery.

As it turns out, even when the nipple is completely removed and detached- your body will work on recanalization and renervation to reattach it and make it as functional as possible. Even without being able to produce a real supply, I just find this absolutely miraculous and amazing. From the engorging I feel, if the recanalization had progressed more, I actually might be able to produce a bit. Not a full supply, but maybe a mouthful or so.

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2 Responses to Things they don’t warn you about before top surgery: your chest getting engorged with milk when your baby cries, but not being able to get enough out to relieve the pain.

  1. Super informative, thanks. So glad you are getting your story out there, helping address the drought of info. And congrats on your tiny human!

    • MySapling says:

      No problem! I hope it is helpful. We aren’t planning no this being our only one (but we’re DEFINITELY not planning to have another for a few years)- so it’ll be interesting to see what the difference will be in how much milk I can get out next time. There is sadly very little info on recanalization- and, as a college student, I have way more access to scientific articles than most. All I can find is that it happens and can “result in partial or full functionality“. I can’t find out any info about how to encourage it, so right now I’m basically just randomly experimenting. It’s incredibly frustrating to be able to feel that I have milk, but not be able to get it out- both frustrating because it’d be valuable for my baby to have, and frustrating because it hurts.

      And thanks! Good luck with your journey to have one of your own!

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