At a recent conference, researchers presented findings that will provide hope to many women who’ve been treated for breast cancer. Now, with lumpectomies and other surgeries that conserve more breast tissue, women are able to nurse their babies.
As you would expect, the researchers found that milk production was lower in the affected breast, but that even with surgery and radiation, there were women who were still able to produce some milk if the ducts were intact.
Provider discomfort not based on evidence
Many providers aren’t comfortable recommending that women with a history of breast cancer go ahead and nurse their babies, probably due to many unfounded fears. The researchers found that the babies gained weight and did well, and the key factor was providing the moms with lots of lactation advice and support. I’ve cared for a mom who had breast cancer and did breast feed her baby successfully. I remember her saying that she felt that her body was closer to being whole again. It was also a reminder that she survived and was healthy again.
If you know someone with a history of breast cancer, who’s trying to get pregnant or who is pregnant, please pass this along.