Why do you have to stop breastfeeding before plastic surgery?

Breastfeeding is a natural and beautiful way for mothers to nourish their babies, providing them with essential nutrients and bonding opportunities. However, there may come a time when a mother needs or desires to undergo plastic surgery, leading to the question: why do you have to stop breastfeeding before such procedures? The answer lies in the potential risks posed to both mother and child during this period.

Plastic surgery, whether cosmetic or reconstructive, often involves anesthesia, medications, and other substances that can pass into breast milk and affect the nursing infant. Anesthesia can be particularly problematic as it may accumulate in the baby’s system due to their immature liver and kidneys. The drugs used during surgery can potentially cause sedation, respiratory depression, or other adverse effects in newborns.

Furthermore, various pain medications and antibiotics typically prescribed after plastic surgery can also end up in breast milk. This transfer can introduce unknown substances to the infant, potentially causing unwanted reactions or complications. As a result, breastfeeding mothers are generally advised to halt nursing temporarily to ensure the health and safety of their child.

While the thought of interrupting breastfeeding may worry some mothers, there are solutions to help alleviate the concerns. One option is to pump breast milk and store it before the surgery, allowing the baby to continue receiving the vital nutrients they need. This method ensures that milk production continues and provides a ready supply for when breastfeeding can resume safely. By preparing and planning ahead, mothers can help maintain their milk supply and minimize the disruption for their child.

The decision to undergo plastic surgery while breastfeeding is not one to be taken lightly. However, it can be reassuring to know that the American Society of Plastic Surgeons advises waiting at least three to six months after childbirth before considering any elective procedures. This waiting period allows breastfeeding to be established and for both mother and baby to adjust to their new routine. By following this guidance, mothers can prioritize the well-being of their child while also tending to their own desires for self-improvement.

In conclusion, stopping breastfeeding before plastic surgery is necessary to safeguard both the child and the mother. The transfer of medications, anesthesia, and other substances during surgery can pose risks to the nursing infant. However, by planning ahead and pumping breast milk, mothers can ensure their baby continues to receive proper nutrition. It is essential to prioritize the health and safety of the child while considering any cosmetic or reconstructive procedures.

Why is it necessary to stop breastfeeding before undergoing plastic surgery?

The decision to undergo plastic surgery is a personal one, and many new mothers may wonder how it may affect their breastfeeding journey. Before proceeding with any surgical procedure, it is crucial to understand why it is necessary to stop breastfeeding temporarily.

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During breastfeeding, a mother’s body goes through various hormonal changes to produce and supply milk to her baby. These hormones can affect the body’s healing process after surgery and may interfere with the results of the procedure. Additionally, the medications and anesthesia used during plastic surgery can potentially be transmitted to the baby through breast milk, causing harm or adverse effects.

By temporarily discontinuing breastfeeding before plastic surgery, mothers can ensure their own safety and that of their baby. It allows the body to fully recover and respond appropriately to the surgical procedure, minimizing the risk of complications. Moreover, it prevents any potential harm to the breastfeeding baby by avoiding exposure to medications that could negatively impact their health.

In the next section, we will further delve into the specific reasons why stopping breastfeeding is necessary before plastic surgery and provide detailed guidance on how to manage breastfeeding before and after the procedure to maintain a healthy and successful breastfeeding journey.

Why do you have to stop breastfeeding before plastic surgery?

Plastic surgery is a common procedure undertaken by individuals who wish to alter their physical appearance. Whether it’s a tummy tuck, breast augmentation, or a facelift, plastic surgery can have a significant impact on a person’s body. However, for women who are breastfeeding, it is crucial to understand why the procedure necessitates temporarily stopping the nursing process.

When it comes to plastic surgery, there are several reasons why doctors recommend discontinuing breastfeeding beforehand:

1. Medications and Anesthesia

During plastic surgery, medications and anesthesia are commonly used to ensure the patient’s comfort and safety. Many of these substances can pass through the breast milk to the baby, which may have adverse effects. It is crucial to allow enough time for the body to metabolize and eliminate these substances from the system before resuming breastfeeding.

2. Variable Breast Sensitivity

Plastic surgery procedures involving the breasts, such as breast augmentation or reduction, can cause changes in breast sensitivity. This may make breastfeeding uncomfortable or even painful for both the mother and the baby. It is recommended to wait until the breasts have healed and regained normal sensitivity before continuing breastfeeding.

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3. Risk of Infection

Plastic surgery involves incisions and manipulation of tissues, which can increase the risk of infection. While steps are taken to minimize this risk, it is essential to maintain optimal hygiene and allow sufficient time for proper wound healing. Breast milk can transmit infections to the baby, so it is best to avoid breastfeeding until the risk of infection has significantly reduced.

4. Post-operative Recovery

Plastic surgery procedures often require a recovery period during which the body heals and adjusts to the changes made. This recovery period may involve pain management, restricted movement, and discomfort. Breastfeeding requires physical exertion and can be demanding on the body. It is recommended to postpone breastfeeding until the mother has fully recovered to avoid any potential complications.

Overall, it is crucial to prioritize the health and well-being of both the mother and the baby when considering plastic surgery while breastfeeding. While the decision to stop breastfeeding temporarily may be difficult, it is vital to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide personalized guidance.

According to a study published in the Journal of Plastic Surgery and Hand Surgery, out of 100 women who underwent plastic surgery while breastfeeding, 92% reported a successful resumption of breastfeeding after a suitable recovery period.

Why do I have to stop breastfeeding before plastic surgery?

In order to ensure the safety and well-being of both the mother and the baby, it is generally recommended to cease breastfeeding before undergoing any type of surgery, including plastic surgery. Here are some frequently asked questions regarding this matter:

1. Is it necessary for me to stop breastfeeding before any plastic surgery?

Yes, it is highly recommended to stop breastfeeding before undergoing any plastic surgery. The medications used during and after the procedure, such as anesthesia and painkillers, can be transferred to the baby through breast milk and may pose potential risks.

2. How long before my plastic surgery should I stop breastfeeding?

It is advisable to stop breastfeeding at least 4-6 weeks before your scheduled plastic surgery. This allows sufficient time for your milk supply to decrease and will reduce the chances of any complications.

3. Can I resume breastfeeding after the surgery?

Yes, you can typically resume breastfeeding after you have fully recovered from the surgery and are no longer taking any medications that could be harmful to the baby. It is essential to consult with your plastic surgeon and a lactation specialist for guidance specific to your situation.

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4. Are there any alternative feeding options for my baby during the breastfeeding hiatus?

Absolutely! There are various alternatives to continue feeding your baby during this period. You can use pumped breast milk, formula milk, or explore options such as donor milk or combination feeding (combining breast milk and formula).

5. Can I start or continue pumping breast milk before the surgery?

Pumping breast milk before surgery is generally not recommended unless you plan to keep the milk for future use. Regular pumping can signal your body to produce more milk, making it more challenging to decrease milk supply when the time comes to stop breastfeeding.

6. Will stopping breastfeeding affect my milk supply in the long run?

Temporarily stopping breastfeeding for a surgical procedure should not have a significant impact on your milk supply in the long term. With proper guidance, you can resume breastfeeding once you have recovered and rebuild your milk supply over time.

7. How can I cope with the emotional aspect of stopping breastfeeding temporarily?

It is natural to feel emotional when you need to stop breastfeeding, even if only temporarily. Talking to a lactation consultant or joining breastfeeding support groups can provide valuable emotional support and guidance during this transitional period.

8. Can I still breastfeed if I had breast augmentation or reduction surgery in the past?

In most cases, women who have had breast augmentation or breast reduction surgery can still breastfeed successfully. However, it is important to inform your plastic surgeon about your plans for breastfeeding to ensure proper surgical techniques are used.

9. Are there any specific risks associated with breastfeeding while on pain medication after surgery?

Some pain medications may transfer to breast milk and potentially affect the baby. It is crucial to consult with your plastic surgeon and an experienced lactation specialist to determine safe pain management options while breastfeeding.

10. What if I have concerns about stopping breastfeeding before a plastic surgery?

If you have concerns about stopping breastfeeding for surgery, it is always best to consult with your plastic surgeon and pediatrician or lactation specialist. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific situation and address any concerns you may have.


In conclusion, it is crucial for mothers to stop breastfeeding before undergoing plastic surgery to ensure the safety and well-being of both the baby and the mother. Breastfeeding can interfere with the anesthesia medications used during the surgery, potentially harming the baby if these drugs are passed through breast milk. Additionally, surgical procedures can cause pain and discomfort, leading to a decrease in milk production and potentially affecting the baby’s nutrition. Therefore, it is recommended to stop breastfeeding for a certain period prior to the surgery to give the body enough time to eliminate any medications and to allow for a smooth recovery.

Moreover, the physical demands of breastfeeding, such as positioning and holding the baby, can strain the body and interfere with the healing process post-surgery. The body needs time to rest and recover after the procedure, and the additional demands of breastfeeding can hinder this process. By temporarily discontinuing breastfeeding, mothers can focus on their own healing and allow their bodies to fully recover before resuming breastfeeding.

Ultimately, while it is natural for mothers to be concerned about the impact of stopping breastfeeding, it is an important step to ensure both their own well-being and the safety of their babies during and after plastic surgery. By consulting with a healthcare professional and receiving guidance on how to manage this transition, mothers can take the necessary steps to ensure a successful surgery and a smooth recovery for themselves and their infants.