A long while ago, I had a benign tumor removed from one breast. The tumor was about 3 cm (a bit more than 1") in diameter, the scar is about four finger widths long. The doctor told me that she put the incision in the place/direction that would be the least harmful for future breastfeeding. Yet, I get only 1/3 to 2/3 of milk as compared to the healthy breast: 50ml vs. 110 ml, 60ml vs 130 ml, 80ml vs 150ml.
I have twins so supply is really an issue - if both breasts were working equally well, I'd have a charmed life, there would be enough milk for both and even enough leftover to freeze. It's not *that* bad, now I only have to supplement with formula for one feeding a day (for each child), but even that one portion can mess them up and causes rashes and tummy aches.
I'm already drinking herbal teas, taking domperidone, pumping frequently, and applying hot compresses before pumping. I'm trying to breastfeed more often, but for now I'm almost exclusively pumping, due to large nipples and bad latch issues.
Did anyone have to deal with similar issues? Did the supply in the "injured" breast increase eventually? Any pointers? Help!
It sounds like you are doing everything you can. Though I would reccomend trying to get them more on the breast and possibly do the supplementing at the breast with a lact-aid.
That said, I did all you are doing and never produced enough for my 1 baby. I had breast implants done through the nipple. So maybe a bit different but definitely injured breasts due to surgery. I was able to get my supply to it's max by taking domperidone, goats rue, and fenugreek and using a Lact-aid. (goats rue really helped, even though I didn't start using it until she was 9 mos old - it helps regrow breast tissue). But I was never able to reach a full milk supply.
If your babies are having trouble w/formula, try looking into donor milk. Check out the milkshare website. I felt much better supplementing my DD with donor milk than formula.
Also, check out the BFAR website. It has lots of info for women who have had breast reduction surgeries and are breastfeeding.
Mama to my veggie girl (1/09) and my sweet rainbow baby (9/12).
How old are your twins?
I think I can offer you some encouragement.
When my dd was 3 months old, the milk in my left breast dwindled down to nothing. It wasn't until dd was 6 months old, that the problem was diagnosed as an abscess resulting from untreated mastitis.
My very breastfeeding-friendly surgeon (she nursed her own children) performed an out-patient procedure under local anesthetic. She made an incision, and drained the abscess. The incision wasn't very long, but it must have been kind of deep, because the wound had to be packed in order to eventually heal from the inside out.
Before I went home that day, I asked her what were the chances of getting milk back in the affected breast after so many months of no milk. She replied honestly, because I doubt she had any other patients in this exact situation, "I don't know, but you have to prepare yourself that this side might be done."
Happily, it turns out that she was wrong! Within a couple weeks of doing nothing but offering both sides (plus a lot of pumping), the milk began to come back to the affected side. Eventually, the affected side became just as productive as the good side.
Your surgery sounds much more radical than what is done for breast abscesses, but maybe this link might have some useful advice for you:
I did pump a great deal due to working long hours away from home, but it was much easier to get my supply back up because my dd had a good latch and was able to nurse directly from the breast when I was home. (And I know how hard it is to increase supply by exclusively pumping because when my dd was first born, she couldn't latch, so I had to build up my supply from nothing just by pumping.) Even if you have already unsuccessfully consulted with a lactation consultant about your latch, it would worthwhile to try finding a different (very experienced) lactation consultant and trying again to fix the latch, because a baby with a good latch is so much more efficient than the pump. If that is not possible, I found that setting my alarm clock to pump for every two hours without fail, even in the dead of night while the baby was sleeping, helped increase my supply. I didn't try herbs or medication to increase my supply. I didn't even try oatmeal or special teas.
Hang in there, and if you can get the latch to improve, tell your twins to work hard on the "other" side.