In our last blog, we discussed the benefits of a mommy makeover, an all-over restoration of the body after childbirth. Breast augmentation is one of the top procedures that women choose to have during their mommy makeover, due to the changes pregnancy and breastfeeding produce. These women choose to get their breast implants AFTER they have chosen to stop having children. But what if you have already had a breast augmentation or you really want one NOW? Will you still be able to nurse your future babies?
What Will Impact Your Chances
The good news is breastfeeding CAN happen after implants, but there are a few important things that have to be taken into consideration. The main concern is the location of the incision point on the breast. During the procedure, there is a chance that the surgery will sever nerves and ducts that will cause a decrease in milk production, especially if this is your first child. For this reason, choosing the correct area for your incision and implant placement is very important. An incision around the areola leaves behind a minimal scar, but is the worst place for an incision for women who want to breastfeed. Making the entry point near the nipple causes a portion of the milk ducts to be cut during the procedure. This will greatly reduce or stop milk flow. If you have your incision within the breast fold (called an inframammary incision) or under the arm (a trans-axillary incision), this problem can be avoided. Another consideration is where your implant will be located, above or behind the muscle. Implants that are placed behind the muscle (called a submuscular placement) will cause less trauma and scar tissue development than those placed on top of the muscle in a subglandular placement. This leaves behind healthy tissue which is imperative for good milk production.
An additional issue that can impact the ability to breastfeed after breast augmentation is the increased or decreased sensitivity in the nipple. Not all women have problems with nipple sensation after implants, but for some, there is a significant change in this area that may make nursing very uncomfortable (with increased sensitivity) or you may not be able to feel the baby as they are trying to nurse (with decreased sensitivity) which will impact the production of milk due to the fact that without proper nipple stimulation, the letdown of milk may not occur. It is difficult to determine if you will indeed be able to successfully breastfeed until after your baby is born and the nursing process has been initiated.
The chance of problems involving the nipple increase if you have a breast lift along with your implants. During a breast lift, the nipple often needs to be relocated during the procedure or breast tissue may need to be removed. If you have had or need a breast lift with your implants, it is important to consult with your surgeon about your chances of breastfeeding.
How Will My Implants Affect Me and My Baby During Breastfeeding?
You may be wondering if the saline or silicone used in your breast implants will be safe for your baby. The answer is YES, they are completely safe. The implants pose no risk to your baby, even if your implant were to rupture. The other question that fills a lot of women’s minds is the concern of how breastfeeding will alter the look of their breast. You may have heard horror stories of breastfeeding making your breasts look saggy or uneven, but this is a myth. Truth is, the hormones that are associated with the pregnancy itself can cause an issue, but not the actual act of breastfeeding.
Then there is the issue of engorgement. Lots of women, even those without implants, experience engorgement during the first few weeks of breastfeeding. When a woman has breast implants, the swelling of the breast due to engorgement plus the implant can cause the breast to become extremely large and uncomfortable. This issue will go away and your breasts will return to normal after a breastfeeding routine is established and the engorgement has stopped. If you have already had your implants, you should talk with your doctor and a breastfeeding consultant during your pregnancy so you can get information on how to control engorgement before your baby is born.
Now that you know breast implants do not mean the end to breastfeeding, you can schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified doctors to discuss how we can give you the breasts you have always wanted. During your consultation, we can answer any questions you may have regarding this issue or any other concerns you may have about a breast augmentation procedure.