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Breastfeeding with Implants

September 11, 2012

Written by Christine G. Adamo

If motherhood is in your future, then you need to know whether or not breast implants will affect your ability to breastfeed. And, if they will, how? You can learn about the benefits of breastfeeding itself through the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee.

The USBC is a non-profit coalition of 40+ professional, educational, and government organizations that advocates for workplace nursing breaks, etc. It promotes, protects, and supports breastfeeding rights and initiatives and touts a truly worthwhile philosophy:

“All U.S. mothers should have the opportunity to breastfeed their infants and all infants should have the opportunity to be breastfed”

Read on if breastfeeding with implants is an option you want to explore!

Is It Possible to Breastfeed with Breast Implants?

Are you interested in breast implants but unsure whether you’ll ever breastfeed? Are you ready to schedule breast augmentation surgery but nowhere near pregnant? Do you already have implants and need to know more about pregnancy and breastfeeding?

Successful breastfeeding with implants is entirely possible. Furthermore, it shouldn’t be any less rewarding than breastfeeding sans implants. If you can, plan for pregnancy in advance to give yourself and your baby the best post-breast augmentation breastfeeding experience.

Let your plastic surgeon know upfront that you may want to get pregnant after breast augmentation. Your plastic surgeon is then able to help you make the most appropriate decisions related to:

Those choices do matter. Large, high-volume breast implants sometimes require manual support as your baby breastfeeds. And, areola-based incisions may not be best since infants need to latch on to the areola – and not just the nipple (ouch!) – to breastfeed.

Are you a post-breast augmentation mom-to-be? You can also have a great pregnancy and breastfeeding experience. Your best strategy is to schedule a consultation with your plastic surgeon. Ask how being pregnant and breastfeeding will affect you, your baby, and your implants.

Is It Safe to Breastfeed with Breast Implants?

Breast augmentation surgery can sometimes cause an increase or decrease in nipple sensitivity. Because of that, some people believe that women with breast implants have greater difficulty breastfeeding or an increased risk for nipple damage or infection.

But, in many cases, sore or cracked nipples and/or infections such as mastitis are caused by improper placement of the baby’s mouth directly on the nipple versus the areola. To breastfeed safely, maintain good breast health, and satisfy your infant:
  • work with a lactation consultant to learn proper breastfeeding techniques.
  • monitor your baby’s growth and weight gain with the help of your doctor.
  • call your plastic surgeon if you experience fever, chills, or pain when breastfeeding.
  • weigh the pros and cons of augmentation – join a breastfeeding moms’ support group.

In our experience, women with implants who breastfeed wouldn’t have it any other way. But, like breast implants, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to breastfeeding. The best way to decide is to consult with a plastic surgeon and find what will work for you.

Breastfeeding with Breast Implants: Is There More to the Story?

Other topics to consider if breastfeeding and implants are both on your mind include:

How a Breast Pump Can Make Breastfeeding Easier
Post-Pregnancy Breast Augmentation Surgery (see “Mommy Makeover”)
Infant Nutrition, Breast Milk & More

How a Breast Pump Can Make Breastfeeding Easier – Demand more breast milk and your body will supply it! Whether or not implants are involved, some women’s bodies have more difficulty producing breast milk (ex: women with hypoplastic breasts). In time, applying a breast pump after nursing can help extend your body’s milk production cycle.

Post-Pregnancy Breast Augmentation Surgery – According to BabyCenter, LLC, it can be smart to postpone breast augmentation until your last child is done breastfeeding. This is especially true if breast implants will dramatically increase your breast size or your plastic surgeon thinks pregnancy or nursing will adversely affect their size/shape.

Infant Nutrition, Breast Milk & More – WomensHealth.gov is a breastfeeding resource managed by the U.S. Office on Women’s Health. It focuses on the benefits of breast milk for both infants and nursing mothers. Not convinced breastfeeding is right for you? Explore your other options (formula, donor milk, etc.).

Breastfeeding with Breast Implants: Final Thoughts

Deciding to breastfeed with or without implants is a highly personal decision. Your body, beliefs, and health history all play a role in helping you decide whether breastfeeding makes sense for you and your infant.

Ask your plastic surgeon about breastfeeding with implants as soon as possible. Don’t worry whether that winds up being before or after breast augmentation. What matters most – before, during, and after pregnancy – is your health, comfort, and peace of mind!

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