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Breast implants breastfeeding - Is it safe for my baby?

Is breastfeeding with implants safe for my baby

"Should I choose for the implants to go under the breast or in an incision via the nipple?"

Breast implants breastfeeding - Is it safe for my baby?

"Are saline implants or silicone implants more suited for me post-baby?

"Will I be able to breastfeed?"

"Will breastfeeding be safe for my baby?"

If you are one of the million women considering or having had breast augmentation surgery, some of the above questions would have definitely been at the top of your list. However, as with almost all nursing women, the success of breastfeeding mostly depends on having the right approach to positioning and handling the baby while latching, regardless of breast augmentation procedures.

In the following article, you will find all the information you need about breastfeeding with implants and whether or not that is really something you need to worry about.

Can you breastfeed with implants?

mom breastfeeds the baby

Yes, breastfeeding is normally possible after breast implant surgery. The majority of ladies do not experience any problems with that and have a successful lactation journey after augmentation surgery. However, it is important to remain mindful of the fact that cosmetic breast implants may still have an impact on the ducts and the pathway through which breast milk pours out.

Some women may find it difficult to supply an adequate amount of milk. Whether you will be able to produce milk fully or partially depends on a few things, including the techniques used during your plastic surgery, the location of the incision, and the size of the implant.

However, having breast implants does not mean you will have problems breastfeeding. In fact, even women without breast augmentations can face difficulties with having a full milk supply. This is especially true for those who have hypoplastic breasts (tubular-shaped breasts) and insufficient glandular tissue.

While there are studies that show that women with breast implants may have a few more hurdles to overcome, adequate effort on the mother's part can still accomplish the task of providing nourishment for their bundle of joy.

Is it safe to breastfeed with implants?

Yes. It is safe to feed your baby when you have implants. Even though breast augmentation may affect your supply, as any surgery to the breast or chest region may, you should still be able to safely and successfully breastfeed.

Is it safe for a mother to breastfeed her infant if she has silicone breast implants?

For women who are determined to nurse their babies with implants, they need not fret. The same holds true, regardless of the implant type, saline or silicone.

When saline implants are used, the saltwater is reabsorbed rapidly into the body without causing any harm to either baby or mother. More research has been carried out on silicone breast implants, but they haven't been found to cause any harm during breastfeeding.

Can silicone implants leak into breast milk?

Weaving through the scientific information available on the effects of breastfeeding with silicone gel implants reveals one common link - silicone cannot travel from a mother's implants, through the mammary glands and into breast milk.

You can heave a sigh of relief at that bit of information, but there are other factors to consider, like the positioning of your implants, incision sites and the size of the implants. We will discuss them in the next section.

How do breast implants affect breastfeeding?

It is possible for some women who have had breast augmentation or augmentation mammoplasty to experience some difficulties with breastfeeding because the implant may cause reduced milk production.

There are some factors that may impact that, and here we will look at them in detail.

Positioning of the implants

Positioning of the implants

The location of the implants may have a great impact on the ability to breastfeed and the amount of milk supply. If the implant is placed beneath the glandular tissue (on the top of the chest wall), it can negatively impact breastfeeding. This is because such an insertion method typically entails cutting and manipulating milk ducts and nerves, which might disrupt milk flow through the nipple.

On the other hand, implants placed behind the chest muscle leave breast tissue and ducts intact which greatly improves the odds of having a full milk supply and a successful breastfeeding experience.

Remember that even if you have breast augmentation behind the milk glands (under the muscle), but you also want to get nipple surgery for cosmetic reasons. This can cause damage to the milk ducts and interfere with breastfeeding. So, before your breast augmentation procedure, make sure you and your surgeon are on the same page about the procedure and have discussed all potential risks.

Positioning of the incision

The position of the incision can have a significant impact on nursing success. If the cut is around or across the areola or nipples, nerves, ducts, or blood supply are more likely to be damaged, which ultimately runs the risk of decreasing the ability to breastfeed. Other potentially unpleasant side effects of this technique include infection and loss of nipple sensation.

Incisions made in the fold under the breast (inframammary fold), with the implants placed behind the muscle, optimise the preservation of breastfeeding abilities as there is little surgical trauma to the breast, therefore resulting in better milk production for the little one.

Size of the implants

When it comes to breastfeeding, the size of the implant also matters. In some cases, larger implants can put extra pressure on the ducts preventing them from filling to their greatest capacity or even blocking them. Why does it happen?

Breast milk is usually produced in little sacs, called alveoli which come out through the ducts. So when those sacs are full, it puts pressure on the cells around them and sends signals to your brain to slow milk production. If you have implants, they can put extra pressure on the alveoli and kind of tell your brain to slow down production. So this is why larger implants may actually affect breast milk supply.

Post-surgical complications

Breast implant surgery complications such as scar tissue and nipple sensitivity can also affect breast milk supply and cause breastfeeding difficulties.

Scar tissue that usually from after the operation may lead to stiffness, distortion, and soreness in the breast, as well as expand into the milk ducts and decrease the milk supply.

Nipple sensitivity is another augmentation mammaplasty complication that may affect nursing. This usually occurs as a result of damaged nerves during breast and nipple surgery. The loss of feeling or numbness in the nipple may affect the milk production reflex.

The reason to get breast implants

Many women have breast augmentation surgery for a variety of reasons. Some of them are just not happy with their small breasts, others want to restore lost breast volume after childbirth. However, for some patients who have undergone a mastectomy, reconstructive surgery with implants is a kind of necessary.

Mastectomy is an operation where one or both breasts are removed, usually for the treatment or prevention of breast cancer. Most women choose to have breast implant surgery to restore the contour of their breast after mastectomy.

So when you get plastic surgery just to increase your breast size, there is a great chance that you can breastfeed. You just need to make sure you talked about that with your surgeon. Patients who had a prior breast surgery like mastectomy and then breast reconstruction may also be able to breastfeed. However, if a woman needs radiation therapy afterwards, this usually damages the remaining breast tissue, making breastfeeding almost impossible.

Does breastfeeding affect breast implants?

Nursing will not affect your implants if you get them before pregnancy and they are stable and are sitting in a normal position. Usually, implants are held in place by a capsule, so their position should be pretty steady.

Nevertheless, you can expect to see changes in your breasts as a result of hormonal fluctuations during and after pregnancy. That is true, whether you have implants or not. Your breasts may become larger and swollen because they are preparing to nurse.

Depending on your genetics, you might get some really good retraction of the breast tissue, so after breastfeeding, everything goes back to normal. Nevertheless, this doesn't always happen, and in some cases, you may have a bit of laxity, so your natural breast sags over the implants.

Fortunately, the problem can be rectified with a breast lift procedure.

Will breastfeeding ruin your implants?

Breastfeeding won't ruin your implants, and you won't need to replace them after having children. Implants themselves should remain intact. However, if you want to change their size or if you have an issue like capsular contracture, then you may want to consider replacing your implants.

Ironically, some women with breast implants make a conscious decision against breastfeeding their child to maintain the shape and pertness of the breast. However, you should understand that it is not the implant that changes the appearance of your breasts during pregnancy. It is your natural breast tissue.

Women who have not had breast surgery can also notice increased elasticity in the breast tissues during or after the period of nursing, and this eventually could cause a sag. As with nature, the results of breastfeeding differ from woman to woman, and it is impossible to ascertain how much change will occur.

So in case you want to have breast augmentation and plan to get pregnant in the near future, it would be better to postpone your operation until after giving birth.

How long after breastfeeding can I get breast augmentation?

It typically varies from individual to individual but, on average, anywhere from six months and beyond. How much time you should wait really depends on your delivery, how you are recovering and many other factors.

It is usually suggested that you wait at least six months so that your hormones can return back to their pre-pregnancy levels. You should also allow your breasts to go back to their pre-pregnancy size. It usually takes time for the swelling and asymmetry that may arise after pregnancy to resolve.

Breastfeeding with implants: How to increase your milk production?

If you have breast implants, there are some things you can do to help produce more milk and support your baby's nutritional needs. Here are some tips on how to make breastfeeding easier.

Try pumping your breasts

Mother use breast pump to get breast milk

If you cannot supply enough milk, you can try pumping your breasts. You can use a breast pump for this purpose, or you may manually express milk after feedings. This will help you relieve the pressure on your breasts and stimulate milk production.

Ensure your baby latches appropriately

You need to make sure your baby's mouth is wide open when latching. Your nipple should also be correctly positioned so that your baby's gums and tongue cover about an inch or two of your areola.

In case you experience any lactation difficulties, you may consider speaking with a lactation consultant.

Try to breastfeed frequently

The frequency of nursing usually affects breast milk production. Try to breastfeed your baby 9 or 10 times a day. This will help you maintain and increase breast milk production. The more frequently a child suckles, the more milk the breast produces. And vice versa, if the baby nurses less often, breast milk production decreases.

Breastfeeding is critical for the mother's and baby's health. It is still beneficial even if your milk production is low. Human milk is rich in nutrients that are essential for the baby's weight gain and healthy growth.

In conclusion

Breastfeeding with breast implants is normally possible and safe for both the mother and her baby. It is possible, however, for some patients to struggle to produce milk. Some factors that may have an impact on your nursing abilities include the location of the incision, the technique used for the insertion of the implant as well as the size of the implant.

A very large implant in a woman with fairly tight skin or insufficient glandular tissue, no matter how it is placed, could conceivably diminish breast milk production by the pressure on the overlying breast tissue. Choosing the right type and size of the implant is key.

Before any breast surgery, talk with your surgeon about future breastfeeding plans, whether you are not sure you want to breastfeed or whether you definitely want to breastfeed. The discussion is crucial because plastic surgeons can utilise surgical techniques to reduce damage to the breasts and preserve milk-making tissue (glandular tissue), ducts and nerves.

Shens Clinic, 3 Killiney Road, Winsland House 1, #09-08, Singapore 239519

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