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Breast implants help increase the size, shape, and fullness of the breasts, and many women consider it after giving birth to a baby. While a woman may not want to go under the knife soon after having a child, she may consider breast implantation or breast augmentation to increase the fullness of her breasts. However, being a new mother, she is likely to wonder if breast implants will affect breastfeeding in any way? Your question is valid. Now if you are hoping to breastfeed your little one after implants, you will want to read this.
Can a Woman Breastfeed After Breast Implants?
Yes, nursing with implants is possible. However, sometimes it may lead to a lesser milk supply, but it may not happen in all the cases of augmentation. A woman’s milk supply may get affected because of the following:
- the kind of surgery
- any damage to the milk ducts
- the effects on the functional glandular tissue (before and after the surgical procedure)
How Do Breast Implants Affect Breastfeeding?
Here’s how breast implants may affect your breastfeeding and milk supply:
1. The Location of Surgical Incision
The location of the surgical incision may impact your breastfeeding. This means if the incision is made around the nipple or areola then there is a risk of damage to the milk glands, ducts or nerves. The damage may hamper your neurohormonal reflex, which is responsible for the production and release of breast milk.
2. The Position of the Implant
The positioning of the implants may become responsible for the reduced milk supply. The milk-making tissue or the glandular tissue has a layer of muscle on top of it, and if implants are inserted between them, then there can be excessive pressure on the glandular tissue. This may affect your milk supply. However, if implants are located under the muscle layer, then it is less likely to tamper with the milk supply.
3. Engorgement and Scar Tissue
Sometimes scar tissue may distort the milk supply because it may cause stiffness and pain in the breasts. Also, in case the milk is not drained from the breasts, women with breast implants are more likely to have mastitis and engorgement.
4. Breasts May Become More Sensitive
Sometimes breasts implants may make the breasts more sensitive, so that even a normal touch may cause extreme discomfort. In such a situation breastfeeding may become very painful and uncomfortable. On the other hand, some women may not feel any sensations around their nipple and areola, and this may affect the neurohormonal reflex and thus the milk supply.
5. The Absence of Functional Breast Tissue
In some cases, there is the absence of functional breast tissues which may hamper the proper growth of breasts (which is why augmentation was carried out). The absence of the tissue may reduce the milk supply and the reduction in milk supply may not be because of breast enlargement surgery.
6. Abnormal Milk Production
Sometimes implants may cause abnormal milk production, which is not related to breastfeeding. This is usually the post-operative side-effect of the implants, and under such a situation, the implants may have to be removed.
Are There Any Health Concerns for Breastfeeding Mother and Baby?
Usually breastfeeding with breast implants is considered safe and there is no danger to the mother and her baby, and there are also no known breast implants and breastfeeding dangers. In the case of saline implants, the implants are filled with saline water, and in case they get ruptured the saline water is immediately absorbed by the body. You can always consult your doctor before you plan to do any breastfeeding with silicone implants.
Can Breast Augmentation Leak into Breast Milk?
There is not enough scientific available that states that breast augmentation leak into breast milk. However, such cases have been documented where traces of silicone were found in the breast milk of a woman who had had breast augmentation done (as compared to no such traces in the breast milk of other women). However, the same study that documented the above case, also indicated that cow’s milk and formula milk had significantly higher amounts of silicone levels in comparison to the breast milk that had silicone traces. But the two kinds of silicone were not of the same kind.
Points to Consider while Planning for Breastfeeding After Breast Augmentation
If you are considering lactation after breast augmentation then it is recommended that you keep in mind the following points:
- Still in the thinking stage of getting the augmentation surgery? Then it will be a good idea to postpone the surgery until you are done breastfeeding your baby. Your breasts undergo so many changes during pregnancy and also when you are feeding your baby that postponing your augmentation surgery may save you from any complications.
- In case you don’t have a substantial breast milk supply, you should not wean off your baby. Rather give whatever you can give to your baby as it is very important for your baby to get nutrition from breast milk. Alternatively, you can start giving formula milk to your baby to compensate for his nutritional needs.
- It is very important that you talk to your paediatrician about your breast augmentation surgery. This way your doctor will keep a close check on your baby’s weight gain, and in case any need is felt, your doctor may guide you to substitute with formula milk.
- It is seen that women who have had breast implants are more likely to face breastfeeding difficulties than women who do not have any implants. You are more likely to face breast engorgements, mastitis or other breast infections that may make breastfeeding more difficult and painful for you.
- Many mothers who are unable to breastfeed their babies because of the implants feel extremely guilty. There is no need to feel any kind of remorse or guilt as many times women with no implants are also not able to breastfeed their babies. You can give formula milk to your baby, and it is absolutely safe for your baby, and it will provide him with all the required nutrition.
- If you have had your breast augmentation surgery sometime back, then it is important that you talk to your doctor before you plan to breastfeed. This is because the silicone used some time ago had some quality issues and could rupture easily. In case, you have one of those implants; speak to your doctor about the same.
- Many women become extremely sceptical after the silicone implants and worry that whenever they will breastfeed the silicone may enter their breast milk. However, no scientific study states that silicon from the implants can enter the mother’s milk.
Breastfeeding is a beautiful experience, and it helps the mother and baby to share a special bond. There is no denying that breast augmentation surgery may put you at risk of having breastfeeding difficulties, but it is important that you breastfeed. Motherhood is a life-changing experience, and even if you are required to face a few challenges, it is worth taking a shot. Remember, more than anything else, it is important that you are a happy mother and that will ensure a happy upbringing.
Also Read: Breastfeeding Myths and Facts