Women deciding whether to have breast augmentation surgery or not often want to know if the procedure will impact their ability to breastfeed, particularly if having children is already part of their future plans.
Do breast implants impact nursing? Do they prevent it? Make it any harder? Reduce milk supply?
These, future mother, are some of the most important questions you can ask, and we’re delighted to help you answer them.
The majority of mothers who get breast implants are able to nurse their children, with a few exceptions. The condition of your breasts before surgery, as well as the style of incision utilized, will determine whether or not you will be able to breastfeed afterwards.
Breast implants may have an impact on your ability to produce enough breast milk as well.
However, in certain cases, the milk supply has not changed at all.
“Breast implants may affect your ability to breastfeed, either by reducing or eliminating milk production”Natrelle® Breast Implants, Important Safety Information and Approved Uses (Accessed Sept., 27, 2022)
In addition, you may be concerned about the impact that nursing will have on your implants. During pregnancy and after nursing, it is natural for your breasts to alter in form and size. Breastfeeding will have no effect on your implants, however the size and form of your breasts may be altered overall as a result of your breastfeeding.
While it is somewhat safe to do, there are specific factors to take into consideration and we’ve listed them in this article for you.
Prior to Breast Augmentation, You Will Attest to Knowing Breast Implants May Impact Breastfeeding
Following is an excerpt from the patient education brochure for Sientra breast implants (as an example of what is more or less industry standard).
Note that in most cases—if not all—you as patient will be required to attest to knowing that breast implants can affect not only your ability to breastfeed, but that some patients with breast implants have reported health problems in their children after having breastfeed them.
“I also understand that some patients with breast implants have reported health problems in their children after birth or breastfeeding. While a causal link between breast implants and these reported health problems in children has not been demonstrated, more research is needed….”Sientra [Breast Implant/Augmentation] Patient Education Brochure, Accessed Sept. 27, 2022
…and that breast implants may interfere with your ability to successfully breastfeed:
“I understand that breast implants and breast surgery may interfere with my ability to successfully breastfeed.”
“Patient Initials_____”Sientra [Breast Implant/Augmentation] Patient Education Brochure, Accessed Sept. 27, 2022
The Impact Of Breast Implants On Breastfeeding
Implants are often put below the milk glands or beneath the chest muscles, so they have no effect on milk production. However, depending on the location and depth of the incision made for your surgery, you may be unable to breastfeed thereafter.
Surgery that preserves the areola’s integrity is less likely to result in complications. When it comes to nursing, the nerves around your nipples are quite crucial. It has been shown that the experience of a newborn sucking on the breast raises the levels of the hormones prolactin and oxytocin in women. Prolactin is responsible for the creation of breast milk, while oxytocin is responsible for the letdown. When these nerves are injured, the ability to feel is diminished.
If the incision is done beneath the breast, in the armpit, or through the belly button, it is less likely to cause problems when breastfeeding.
Is It Possible To Nurse While Having Breast Implants?
The manner in which your surgery is done is the most critical factor affecting breastfeeding success. Each of the following play a role in ensuring that breast implants do not interrupt your ability to breastfeed.
The Location of Incisions
They may have had to make an incision through your areolas or nipples if they pass over them. This indicates that some of your milk ducts and nerves may have been damaged. Breastfeeding may not be effective in this situation. The possibility exists that your incisions were done below your breast tissue or in the armpit area. In such a situation, your surgeon is likely to have chosen to preserve significant nerves, which means you should be able to continue to supply milk.
“Incisions around the areola and surgical techniques that include completely detaching the areolae and nipples are MORE LIKELY to cause reductions in milk production.”U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Breast Surgery.” [Emphasis added]
Sensation In The Nipples
Even if your surgery was recent within the previous year or two, it is possible that complete nipple sensitivity has not yet returned fully but this means you still may be able to breastfeed just fine and with no complications.
The Placement Of The Implants
The placement of the implants is crucial in knowing whether it would after breastfeeding or not. They are more conducive to nursing if they are placed under your chest muscle. Implants that are placed directly underneath the glandular tissue of your breasts and on top of the chest muscle might sometimes cause milk production to be disrupted.
“Breast implants below the muscle usually affect milk production LESS THAN implants above the muscle.“U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Breast Surgery.” [Emphasis added]
Will the Implants Be Affected?
Breast implants, in general, do not interfere with the ability to breastfeed, according to plastic surgeons. Although this is a prevalent belief, it is not always the case. Breast implants may only impede nursing if they are implanted with an incision around or beneath the breast that causes nerve damage or compromises the milk ducts’ viability.
Breastfeeding, in general, does not harm or destroy breast implants. The breast tissue and, depending on how the implants were put, the chest muscle, safeguard the implants. The infant cannot bite or otherwise hurt the implants during breastfeeding.
Although nursing will not affect your implants, this is not always the case with natural breast tissue and skin. During pregnancy, the natural breast tissue enlarges as the breasts are engorged with milk. The skin of the breasts extends as a result of this. Breasts may remain the same size after pregnancy and nursing, or they may return to their pre-pregnancy size.
Unfortunately, the skin has stretched too far to constrict over the now-smaller breasts in certain situations when the breasts shrink. The outcome is drooping breast skin, deflated breasts, and nipples that are low or downward-pointing. After a pregnancy, losing a considerable amount of weight may cause the breasts to lose fullness and droop or sag even more.
In this case, further breast surgery is often performed to restore a youthful and attractive breast look.