Breast augmentation surgery will have a monumental impact on your appearance, self-confidence, and lifestyle. While most of these changes will be positive, some women who plan to have more children often worry about breastfeeding in the future. Is it even possible to nurse a baby if you have implants? More importantly, is breastfeeding with implants safe?
Myths and misperceptions about breastfeeding with implants abound. In this post, we’ll demystify breastfeeding after breast augmentation and help you better understand how breast implants may or may not affect one of the most joyous acts of motherhood.
Can Women With Breast Implants Breastfeed?
The short answer is YES. In most cases, breastfeeding is possible with breast implants. However, women with breast implants sometimes face challenges depending on how their surgery is performed.
Here are three key factors that influence the viability and success of breastfeeding after augmentation:
- Glandular Tissue Placement: Some women with breast implants experience changes in nipple sensation, which can affect the let-down reflex during breastfeeding. A skilled surgeon who is aware of your desire to breastfeed in the future will take extra measures to avoid the milk glands and associated nerves.
- Breast Implant Placement: Breast implants placed above the muscle may interfere with milk production more than implants placed below the muscle. In other words, submuscular placement is often associated with fewer breastfeeding complications.
- Breast Implant Reconstruction: After undergoing breast implant reconstruction following a mastectomy, some women may not be able to breastfeed on the affected side due to loss of breast tissue and milk glands.
Is It Safe To Breastfeed With Implants?
Truth be told, there’s not a lot of conclusive research in this area. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there’s no clear evidence that breastfeeding with implants is unsafe—for mothers or their babies. While some studies have been conducted, there are currently no established methods for accurately detecting silicone levels in breast milk. However, study findings do not demonstrate any differences between silicone levels in the breast milk of mothers with or without breast implants. There is also no sufficient research suggesting that babies born to mothers with breast implants are at greater risk for congenital disabilities.
The Truth About Breastfeeding and Sagging
More good news for moms—the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) states that breast sagging isn’t any more likely to happen when breastfeeding with implants. Rather, breast sagging or changes in the size or shape of your breasts often result from the natural changes your body goes through during the pregnancy itself.
Breastfeeding Tips for Moms With Implants
Communicate openly: Share your intentions to breastfeed with your plastic surgeon during your consultation. Open communication can help both you and your surgeon make informed decisions about your breast implant placement and approach. Our related blog post shares more tips about how to have a productive breast augmentation consultation.
Choose a board-certified plastic surgeon: A qualified surgeon will be able to guide you toward the proper incision placement to reduce your risk of potential breastfeeding complications.
Seek out a lactation consultant: A breastfeeding expert can offer support and tips before your baby is born and assist with any concerns you have about nipple sensitivity or latching as you nurse your precious newborn.
Pump with care: While it is safe to use a breast pump with breast implants, experts recommend avoiding dry pumping. This can irritate the nipples and breasts, and if your breast surgery impacted your nerves, your milk may not let down normally.
Supplement: If you have trouble producing enough breast milk for your baby, supplementing with formula is always recommended—whether you have implants or not!
Most women with breast implants can successfully breastfeed. There’s no sufficient evidence to support that breastfeeding with implants is dangerous to mothers or their infants. However, talking to your plastic surgeon and meeting with a lactation consultant can help alleviate common concerns and any potential challenges associated with breastfeeding with implants.
We’re always available to answer your questions and concerns about breast augmentation surgery and other popular cosmetic procedures. We encourage you to request a consultation online or call us at (502) 899-9979 to schedule an appointment.