Can you breastfeed after breast augmentation?

It is possible to breastfeed after cosmetic implants depending on the method and incision used to place the implant.

Many women who have undergone breast augmentation have concerns as to whether they’ll be able to breastfeed successfully with implants. According to the experts, it all depends on the type of surgery you have.

Myth versus fact

Contrary to some belief, bigger breasts doesn’t mean better breast milk production.

Studies have shown that the size of your breasts is not in any way related to your ability to breastfeed. “Breastfeeding depends on whether you have adequate breast milk tissue,” says specialist surgeon Dr Sarah Rayne from the Netcare Breast Care Centre. Deformities such as tuberous breasts or absent breasts (amazia) corrected by implants are more likely to cause difficulties, or if breast tissue was removed during cancer treatment or breast reduction. These tips from Dr Penny Stanway’s book, Breast is Best, can help.

Breastfeeding with breast implants?

It is possible to breastfeed after cosmetic implants depending on the method and incision used to place the implant. “Women who had an incision around the nipple as opposed to beneath the breast in the inframammary fold or armpit are more likely to experience problems with breastfeeding because the ducts which move milk from the milk tissue to the nipple may have been cut or scarred,” says Dr Rayne. She adds that the nerve that gives feedback to the breast to make milk may also be damaged, especially if the cut is in the lower, outer quadrant of the areola.
It might be harder to breastfeed for women who’ve had breast augmentation or implants and it may seem difficult because there may be less milk, but with the help from breastfeeding specialists it can be done.

Is it safe for my baby?

Studies have shown that there’s no risk of silicone from implants leaking into breast milk. In most procedures, the implant is placed behind the chest wall muscle and far away from the breast glandular tissue. Even when the implant is in contact with the breast glandular tissue or if it ruptures, there’s still no reported risk.
A study comparing the rates of silicon in milk between women with and without implants revealed equal amounts were found in both as part of the normal make-up of human milk.

Good to know

  1. The longer you wait between surgery and pregnancy, the more successful breastfeeding is likely to be.
  2. The only way you’ll know whether or not you can successfully breastfeed your baby is to try!
  3. Even if you can only manage a little bit of breast milk for your baby each day, it’s worth it for both of you, and you can supplement her feeds with donor milk or formula.
  4. If you’re planning to have breast surgery and want to breastfeed again with a second or third child, be sure to inform your doctor of this so that he can leave as many milk ducts intact as possible.
  5. There’s no guarantee that you’ll get breastfeeding right without a little help or instruction the first time.

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