Generally, new moms face many complications in breastfeeding postpartum. For cancer-surviving mothers, it is even more challenging as they have survived a deadly disease.

The treatment could be stressful, yet they can overcome the stress with the right guidance and support. 

New moms who survived cancer might assume that they won’t be able to breastfeed the baby. 

With the recommendation of medical experts, they can breastfeed the baby even on treated breasts. 

Can Breast Cancer Survivors Breastfeed?

Can Breast Cancer Survivors Breastfeed

Fortunately, scientific research supports breastfeeding after cancer. A new mom who survived breast cancer can try nursing her baby. Though it is good news, it comes with strings attached. Since they have undergone heavy medications and treatments, milk production could be less than usual. The quantity doesn’t matter as long as the new mom can produce milk, even if it’s a drop it still would be beneficial to your baby. 

Above all, the possibility of breastfeeding is based on the type of treatments the person undergoes. If the diagnosed person has not received any treatment, the healthcare provider will suggest to avoid breastfeeding. Based on the severity of breast cancer, the doctor will recommend if the new mom could lactate the baby or not. 


Breastfeeding is safe and possible post lumpectomy. 

During lumpectomy, the tumor, the affected tissue, and a small part of healthy tissue around the lump will be removed. Though lactating is safe and possible, the treatment impacts milk production.

Apart from these, the extent of surgery, the area of the breast, and damage to the lobes and milk ducts are some other reasons that could affect breastfeeding. If the other breast remains unaffected, it can produce enough milk to breastfeed. 

Hormone Therapy

A new mom who is undergoing hormone therapy like Tamoxifen is advised to avoid breastfeeding, as the medicine is harmful to the baby. Plus, Tamoxifen curtails the milk production. 

Some women pause therapy for a while to offer the baby the initial feeds of colostrum (the first milk the breast produces). Individuals with lower risk might have a possibility to take a break for some time. 

Before pausing, the patient should consult with their health care specialist as he/she may suggest the appropriate time for a break. 


Mastectomy is a major surgery where they remove the affected breast.

If it is a single mastectomy, the mother can breastfeed with an unaffected breast. Initially, it would be difficult as the milk may be insufficient for the baby. Frequent nursing, pumping, and the support of family and healthcare providers could help them breastfeed. 


Breastfeeding is possible after radiation, as they are still capable of producing milk. However, the radiation may affect the breast tissue and milk ducts which will result in reduced milk production. Due to the radiation, there might be some changes in the breastmilk, and it depends on the radiation dose whether it’s consumable or not. 


Chemotherapy is the main treatment provided for patients when cancer spreads. Breastfeeding the baby is not possible while undergoing the treatment, as it may take some time to eliminate the drug entirely from the system. 

The cancer -survivor must consult with an oncologist, or OB/GYN to know when they could nurse the baby after chemo. 


Here are some of the Frequently Asked Questions

Can Breast Cancer Survivors Breastfeed? 

Yes, after the treatment they can breastfeed. However, the impact of treatment and radiation may reduce the milk production.

Can Breast Cancer Patients Produce Breast Milk?

If the patient has not gone through any major treatments, they can produce milk. Also, some treatments may affect or reduce milk production. 

How Long after Chemo can You Breastfeed?

The doctor may recommend waiting for five half-life before resuming breastfeeding. But it depends on their body condition. 

Should Cancer Patients Breastfeed?

Breastfeeding during the treatments is considered unsafe. They can breastfeed after the treatment.

New moms who survived breast cancer may be frustrated over this emotional challenge. Remember, you already won the battle, and here for the baby. Besides breastfeeding there are plenty of other options available to feed your baby. With a healthy diet and the support of your family and doctors, you can provide a healthy life for your baby. 

Check out this blog to learn how to maintain a healthy breast.