It is possible to breastfeed babies without any precautions, even if a mom has breast implants. And no, breastfeeding will not change the implants. The struggle here is in breast milk production because it may take a while for the milk to flow and produce an adequate supply. Latching may also be tricky, and you will need to adjust to different positions when feeding your baby.
If you’re in the midst of considering getting an implant and breastfeeding thereafter, discuss it with your surgeon. Surgeons know the type and placement of implants, incisions, and locations that will not interfere much with feeding.
But remember this: you can only breastfeed some six months after the surgery or when your breast is fully healed. So, consider your timeline wisely.
We recommend waiting until after pregnancy and breastfeeding if you are yet to get an implant.
Table of Contents
Is it safe to breastfeed with implants?
Nothing beats breastmilk when it comes to nourishing your baby. But can you provide it to your little one if you have a breast implant?
Women get breast augmentation surgery for several reasons.
One is to correct uneven breasts or problems from previous breast surgery. Women who have lost their breasts after mastectomy also get implants to restore their body contour.
Generally, it is meant to give women a boost of confidence and a youthful appearance.
If you have a breast implant, don’t worry, you can still safely and successfully breastfeed your little one.
The CDC presently has not received any reported clinical problems that arise from breastfeeding with implants. This is true for both saline and silicone types of breast implants.
There are two main types of implants:
1. Silicone-filled breast implant
It uses a silicone outer shell filled with silicone gel. They may be smooth or textured and used for breast reconstruction in women 22 years old and above.
Silicone is also used to correct or improve the result of a prior augmentation.
2. Saline-filled breast implant
This type of implant also uses a silicone shell but with a sterile saltwater fill. It is used for breast augmentation and reconstruction in women more than 18 years old. Saline implants can be pre-filled or filled during the operation.
A ruptured breast implant is rare, and the idea of implants exploding even in an airplane flight is a myth. There were claims, but none of which were confirmed.
Your breastfeeding baby cannot bite or tear an implant either. Even the pressure from the buildup of breastmilk cannot affect the integrity of the silicone shell.
These implants are tucked under the breast tissue and chest muscle to give it several layers of protection.
The impact of implants on breastfeeding
While you are pregnant and during breastfeeding, you will notice changes in your breast size and shape.
And those are likely significant and noticeable changes. However, these fluctuations occur not on the implant but on the breast tissue itself. This is normal during pregnancy and lactation.
Breast augmentation procedures mostly impact lactation. Since it is inserted near the muscle tissues, it can also affect the nerves and ducts nearby.
Implants inserted over the muscles can result in lower breast milk production than those implanted under the muscles.
Why should you wait for the breast to fully heal before breastfeeding?
That’s because the procedure, which includes an incision around the area, can temporarily halt breastmilk production.
After several months, the severed ducts will heal and grow back to form new pathways for the milk. The nerves in the breasts will also regain their functionality to enable them to produce milk once again.
Challenges in breastfeeding with implants
Breastfeeding does not alter or ruin implants. But, it does pose two challenges for the breastfeeding mom: lactation and supply.
In breastfeeding, the baby’s latch and suckling trigger the nerves surrounding the nipple, which in turn stimulate the milk ducts and glands. It spontaneously prompts the hormone prolactin and oxytocin to activate milk production and release.
You may face these common challenges when breastfeeding with implants:
1. Low breastmilk supply
The nerve or milk ducts may get affected by surgery. A breastfeeding mom may not be able to produce a full supply of breastmilk.
Sometimes, the pressure of the implant gives the breast the feeling of fullness or engorgement. The body will then respond by reducing its milk production.
When the breasts have lesser nerve sensitivity or experience fullness, it impacts the breastmilk supply.
2. Slower milk flow or letdowns
Inhibited letdown can happen if the nerves are damaged and lose their sensitivity.
The decreased stimulation can suppress the letdown.
3. Nipple soreness
Breastfeeding your baby for the first time, even without the implant, can cause soreness.
If, instead of losing sensitivity, the surgery has caused the nipple to become more sensitive, breastfeeding can become more painful.
Implants, as intended, take up room in the chest. Add up the breastmilk, and it puts the breastfeeding mom at risk of exaggerated breast enlargement.
5. Latching problems
Breast augmentation may alter the shape and size of the nipple and areola. It may become difficult for the baby to latch, especially in the first few days when starting breastfeeding.
Tips for successful breastfeeding with implants
When the milk supply is low during breastfeeding, there is a decreased possibility of exclusive breastfeeding.
Some mothers supplement their babies with formula just to meet the nutritional requirements. But they still breastfeed their baby to partake in the bonding experience.
As long as your baby is feeding and hitting the weight and growth for his age, you don’t have to worry about it.
Here are the things you can do to breastfeed successfully:
1. Breastfeed your baby often
Frequent breastfeeding ensures that your baby is getting enough nourishment. It is also a great help in stimulating breast milk production and establishing its supply.
2. Pump after breastfeeding
Pumping to empty your breast completely enables the body to refill its breastmilk supply. It prevents engorgement and maximizes its production until the next feeding.
3. Consider taking galactagogues
Galactagogues are supplements or herbs meant to stimulate and increase milk supply. This is helpful if you are having trouble with producing enough breastmilk and letdowns.
4. Latch your baby properly
A good latch means that your baby is getting a mouthful of the areola, and the chin is touching the breast. Try different breastfeeding positions to get your baby to latch and feed perfectly.
5. Talk to your doctor
If you have problems with breastfeeding or are experiencing pain, visit a lactation consultant. Please tell your doctor about your breast surgery so he can give you the best solution for successful breastfeeding.
Some women, regardless of whether they have the implant or not, may be unable to produce milk at all.
This is a condition called mammary hypoplasia, where a woman has insufficient glandular tissue. She may develop small or large breasts, which in a way, is also a reason for breast augmentation.
If you have this condition, do not hesitate to seek professional advice. With good support, some women may still be able to produce a full or partial breastmilk supply and breastfeed their babies.
Will the silicone in implants leak in breast milk?
Sometimes, silicone particles can leak into the breast milk. But, the leakage is insubstantial and will not harm the baby.
Which is the best implant placement if I am planning to breastfeed?
Implants located under the chest muscle are more viable for breastfeeding.
Implants over the muscle are prone to interfering with milk production.
Will my breast sag while breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding with implants is less likely to cause sagging than women without implants, but it can happen.
Breastfeeding cannot change the implants, but the tissue and skin around it can stretch. You can prevent sagging by wearing supportive bras while breastfeeding.
Worried about your baby’s health and nutrition? Check out these helpful articles:
- Pros And Cons Of Starting Solids At 4 Months
- Nighttime Feeding: Milk vs. Water For Your Baby
- Can You Breast And Bottle Feed Your Baby?
Understand the perfect diet for moms as well as what to avoid in these articles:
- Foods To Eat While Breastfeeding To Avoid Colic
- Breastfeeding And Sweet Potatoes: A Recipe For Success
- Vegetables To Avoid While Breastfeeding