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Breastfeeding with implants is quite a popular topic nowadays. Many women fear that breast implants will interfere with the process of breast milk production and, as a result, compromise lactation. Is that really so? Read on and find out! 😉
Although I have never had breast augmentation (yet ;)), this is a “hot topic” for me, since I’m really thinking of acquiring one in the future. Being a good student, I started to dig in and make my own research on the topic way in advance to be sure that breastfeeding with implants is not only possible, but also safe. Just so you know, I am now breastfeeding my first child. No boubt, I am planning to have more kids but I would’t like to forget about myself in the process.
So, let’s see what I have found out…
CAN I BREASTFEED WITH IMPLANTS?
Silicone breast is completely safe and suitable for nursing
Now, sign with relief! 🙂 It is absolutely ok to breastfeed after mammoplasty. Silicone breast by no aspects concedes the natural one in terms of functionality. The milk is perfectly produced in both cases. So, a woman after plastic surgery can fully breastfeed her child. Yet, you’d better consult a plastic surgeon, before you begin to prepare for motherhood.
In rare cases, an incision made inadvertently can damage the nerves that are responsible for sensitivity. This is not dangerous but the functionality of the breast may be slightly impaired after the surgery.
Silicone cannot get into breast milk
When the implant is intact, silicone penetration into the milk is absolutely out of the question. The body encloses the implant independently from other tissues forming a solid capsule around it. Furthermore, silicone is insoluble in water and other liquids. Even if the implant ruptures inside the breast, silicone cannot penetrate into small vessels, thus it does not undermine the breastfeeding process at all.
On top of that, silicone has long been considered a safe material. It is highly used in baby product industry. For example, nipples for baby bottles and teething toys are made of silicone. The material is very durable and safe for the child, even if he accidentally swallows a bit. Some types of children’s medicine are made from it. Yet, there is no silicone in breast milk. Period! 🙂
How to prepare for breastfeeding with implants?
Regardless of having implants, it is highly recommended to prepare your breast for nursing during pregnancy. It will help you to facilitate the feeding process, overcome the possible difficulties and eliminate some unpleasant sensations that might occur down the line. However, the breast after plastic surgery has to be prepared for nursing extra carefully: the best way is to find a lactation consultant. She will help you to organize the breastfeeding process effectively, advise what positions to choose, and what measures to take for better milk production.
Anyway, if you are breastfeeding with implants, try to treat your breast as gently as possible during the nursing period.
Special considerations relating to breastfeeding with implants
What to take notice of when planning to breastfeed after breast augmentation:
- How the surgery was carried out; where the incision was made for placing an implant. You can ask your doctor about it or just pay attention to the scar (if the procedure has been made recently). The nerves that are responsible for breast sensitivity for lactation can be easily damaged during the surgery. In this case, breast milk will be produced with difficulty. If you are only preparing for the surgery, go with the safest way of placing an implant, i.e. making an incision under the breast or in the underarm crease. Mind that the most unfavorable incision is near the nipple;
- The location of breast implant. Sometimes the implant can squeeze the mammary gland preventing it from filling up with milk effectively. As Dr. Miriam Labbok of the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute notes:
“The mammary gland, like any other gland, performs normally when it has blood and space to grow. But when you put pressure on any gland in the body, you risk it malfunctioning and compromising lactation.”
If you are preparing for the surgery, consult your doctor where is best to fit an implant. If you already are a nursing mother with implants and you feel any kind of discomfort when let down, do not hesitate to contact your doctor right away and make sure everything is ok.
- How long ago the surgery was made. Of course, you can plan maternity and breastfeeding as soon as the wound is completely healed. On the other hand, if the surgery has not yet been carried out, it is best to have a baby first, and schedule mammoplasty after the end of lactation.
- It is highly important to discuss questions mentioned above with your plastic surgeon right from the very start. If you want to have a plastic surgery, but planning to become a nursing mother soon after breast augmentation, the doctor must take this information into account. In this case, the work should be performed more delicately, which gives you all the chances of becoming a breastfeeding mother without any problems.
WHAT PROBLEMS MIGHT OCCUR WHEN YOU BREASTFEED WITH IMPLANTS?
Problem #1: Reduced Milk Production
As I have already mentioned, breast augmentation might bear a risk of damaging the nerves that are sensitive to lactation. This means that response to let downs may be reduced, thus less milk is released during nursing. In the first case the outcome would be reduced milk production yet you could manage to nurse your child for quite a long time. But there is more. If the implant is placed carelessly, there’s a high chance of damaging milk ducts and milk glands. Meaning, there’s a bare chance that you breastfeed at all. Thankfully, the latter cases happen very rare.
Make sure you share your plans on breastfeeding with your doctor at the stage of preparation for surgery. Probably the right decision would be choosing the path of least resistance, as in going with less aesthetic but on the other hand nonhazardous (regarding future breastfeeding) surgical incision for placing an implant. Fitting an implant under a muscle rather than a milk duct is also a better option for saving your better chances on lactation.
Problem #2: Engorgement
You never know how much milk your breast will produce after childbirth. The problem of exaggerated milk production is widespread among nursing mothers not to mention the ones having breast implants. Usually it occurs during first months of nursing when lactation has not yet been established. Milk engorgement, if not taken care of in time, often leads to mastitis.
One of the most effective ways to get rid of milk engorgement is frequent nursing. Use different positions (ссылка на статью) every time you breastfeed. Applying a cold compress to the breast is also an option. Usually all these methods are quite effective but keep in mind that you can also opt for pumping.
Problem #3: Mastitis
The most unpleasant complication of breastfeeding with implants is mastitis. This is a rather painful inflammation in the breast usually cased by infection or engorgement. Mastitis is often associated with high fever, pain in the breast, and shivering.
At the first sign of mastitis call your doctor and schedule an appointment. In some cases the treatment requires antibiotics, thus it is necessary to begin the therapy under the specialist’s supervision.
Preventive measures: as with any disease it is easier to do simple things to prevent it rather than treat it. Mastitis is no exception.
Just follow all the rules of breastfeeding, avoid stagnation of milk and nipple damage. It is also important to carefully monitor personal hygiene and use a special bra for nursing mothers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I agree to breast augmentation before having kids?
The plastic surgeons around the world say:
Yes, you can do breast augmentation before pregnancy!
Many women nowadays still misguidedly think that this procedure is not allowed before pregnancy. Although, the only question you should think of is whether you want breast implants before having kids or not. Depends entirely on your desire.
Would breast implants compromise lactation?
The majority of women fear that breast implants would not let them nurse their babies, which, thankfully, is far from being true. The point is that the mammary gland and milk ducts stay untouched during the surgery regardless of where the incision was made (the access to the implant through the areola is also considered pretty safe).
What are the chances of breast ptosis after nursing with implants?
Is there a much bigger risk for breasts with implants to sag after nursing? The thing is, it is really hard to predict how your breast will behave after nursing if you have never had experience of breastfeeding. Any surgeon would say chances are 50/50. But the good news is, if the breast sags after nursing, there’s no need to do mammoplasty a second time since the implant stays on its place. What you might need is mastopexy (or breast lifting) that is much cheaper and faster when it comes to the recovery period.
When can you plan pregnancy after breast augmentation?
Breast augmentation does not affect pregnancy or lactation. However, since the breast changes its form, becomes heavier and bigger as soon as you get pregnant, planning pregnancy is best a year after the surgery. This period is considered enough for full recovery.
Mammoplasty after breastfeeding. When to do the surgery?
Breast augmentation can be done as soon as the milk ducts go back to their normal size after lactation suppression. As a rule, this happens 6-8 months after you stop breastfeeding. There are exceptions, though. You have to do breast ultrasound to make sure your milk ducts have receded.
Breast augmentation: before or after having kids?
Having studied the topic all the way through, I can say that both options are possible!
If breast enlargement surgery is done before the pregnancy
Breast implants won’t compromise lactation. In rare cases, when the incision was made through the areola, the nerves can be damaged which means that the function of milk production can be slightly impaired but nevertheless possible. If you don’t want to risk your ability to breastfeed, choose to make inframammary or transaxillary incision with implant placed under muscle.
Regardless of the breast enlargement surgery, the degree of breast change in the process of pregnancy and breastfeeding is individual for every woman. It can be stretched, the shape and size might be changed. Yet the implant, if placed under muscle, stays on its place. So if your breast changes in any way after breastfeeding, you might need a breast lift (mastopexy).
Or, you can wait until your family is complete and only then choose to undergo breast enlargement surgery (with or without mastopexy, again, depending on how your breast changes after several pregnancies and breastfeeding).
You just have to know that both options are absolutely appropriate and safe. Opt for whichever you think is best for you.
As for me, I am planning to have three kids with 5-6 years of age disparity between them, so I’d probably go for having a surgery after my first child, not to wait for ten more years. Or, maybe I’ll change my mind and stay natural throughout all my pregnancies. I honestly can’t say for sure right now.
What about you?
Are you breastfeeding with implants? Or are you just planning to have your breasts done and breastfeed afterwards? Whatever it is, please, share your thought on the topic. 😉