As breast augmentation surgery and breast implants have become incredibly popular in recent years, many women are curious about the question raised above.
Especially if you believe, as most experts suggest, that “breast is best” when it comes to feeding babies. While the internet is a fine resource, it is not without its flaws.
For instance, when looking to see whether nor not you can breastfeed with breast implants or not, you will find a multitude of differing opinions, all from experts and professionals. That is why we decided to publish this post, to help make things a little clearer.
So, can you breastfeed if you have breast implants?
The bottom line is that yes, in most cases you can breastfeed. However, there are some considerations you need to make and exceptions.
The reason you had breast augmentation in the first place, where the implants have been placed, where the incisions were made, whether you have feeling in your nipples or not, whether you suffered any scarring to your milk ducts and the amount of functional glandular tissue is present in your breasts before and after the breast surgery.
Alternatively, if you are worried and would like your implants checked now, or want advice before booking your breast enlargement, contact us today and book your consultation with our experienced plastic surgeons who will be happy to assess you.
How Do Breast Implants Affect Breastfeeding?
There is the possibility that breast implants can affect the amount of milk you can provide your baby with. The extent of any damage caused is highly dependent, though, on several different things.
The incision location and the type of technique your plastic surgeon used when inserting your implants can have an impact on the amount of damage caused to the blood supply, ducts, milk gland and nerves.
For instance, if the incision is made around the areola, there is more likely to be damage caused to a nerve that is vital for nipple sensitivity and the natural release of breast milk (referred to as the let-down reflex).
As noted above this can play a part. There are various types of surgical techniques used by different surgeons to insert breast implants. The five most common sites for incisions are:
- Through the abdomen
- Through the belly button
- Around the nipple
- In your armpit
- Under the breast
The incision locations that are less likely to have an impact on your production of milk are the ones made in your armpit or under your breast.
Breast Implants Size and Position
Along with surgical technique, the actual size and position of your breast implants can have an impact on the pressure in your breast.
Your breasts consist of glandular (that is, milk-making) tissue that sits above muscles. If your breast implants packets are placed between the muscular layer and the glandular tissue, there may be greater pressure placed on your glands and ducts.
This could decrease your production of milk and disrupt the milk flow.
Although, if your breast implants are inserted underneath the layer of muscle, they are likely to cause fewer problems with the production of milk, there is no conclusive evidence to support this thought.
Larger Breast Implants
There has been at least one study that showed larger breast implants tended to cause less nipple sensitivity following surgery.
However, there is the belief that the larger the breast implants, the more pressure they could cause to the tissue and glands that make the milk.
Aside from these theories, having larger breast implants, in a similar way to having larger breasts naturally, could make it more challenging to breastfeed comfortably.
Issues With Scar Tissue and Engorgement
Any scar tissue that forms following surgery may cause firmness in your breasts, pain and distortion that could extend into your milk ducts and cause problems with your supply of milk.
When your milk can’t be drained freely from your breasts, you may be more likely to suffer from mastitis or excessive engorgement.
After breast implant surgery, many mothers find that their breasts are incredibly painful and sensitive, even to normal touches.
This can make it difficult to breastfeed. You are also more likely to experience nipple vasospasm (which is a painful, almost burning sensation in your nipples) and it may even be that because nerves have been so badly damaged that you lose all feeling or experience numbness in your nipples.
This can lead to problems with the let-down reflex that is necessary for natural milk production and will make it hard to know when your baby is comfortably latched on (or attached) to your breasts.
You may still be able to use different triggers to start the let-down reflex, though, so all is not completely lost.
Lack of Functional Breast Tissue
If you had breast augmentation surgery because of abnormal breast development, you may have the problem of there being a lack of functional breast tissue present.
If that is the case, this could cause problems with breastfeeding, rather than the implants.
Complications With Breast Implants
It is important to remember that breast implants are not designed to last forever and don’t generally last forever. They often need corrective surgical procedures.
Any complications and the subsequent follow-up surgeries you need to experience can cause more damage to the breast tissue that can make it harder to successfully breastfeed.
Will breastfeeding ruin my implants?
There is no evidence to suggest that breastfeeding will ruin or otherwise damage your breast implants.
Your breast implants are protected by surrounding breast tissue, and depending on how and where they were placed, often chest muscle too.
Your baby will not be able to bite or damage them while feeding.
What happens to breast implants after pregnancy?
Breast implants do not change volume or shape when you breastfeed.
One thing you need to be aware though is that your breast skin will become looser when because of breastfeeding and this could change the implant and breast relationship.
NOTE: Have a tummy tuck? You may also be wondering if you can have a successful pregnancy after a tummy tuck…
Ultimately, the expert opinion about breastfeeding and whether you should or should not do it is that “breast is best” for your baby to thrive.
Unless there are any complications or problems you have been wanted about by your surgeon or another health practitioner, you should not worry about breastfeeding with breast implants.
Contact us today and book your consultation with our experienced plastic surgeons who will be happy to assess you.