Breastfeeding can be one of the greatest joys of motherhood. It’s a new mom’s opportunity to bond with her baby and give this new life she created the best start possible by providing essential nutrients and the immune system boost that is so crucial in the first few months after a baby is born.
If you had a surgical breast augmentation and are now pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you may be concerned that your breast implants will affect your ability to breastfeed your baby. However, it’s likely you will still be able to nurse a child, depending on several key factors. Here are some things you should know if you are an expectant mother with breast implants or are considering getting a breast augmentation before having a baby.
Factors Affecting Breastfeeding with Implants
Many women who got breast implants before having children can breastfeed their babies without difficulty while a few others may experience challenges. Here are a few issues that influence the ability to breastfeed with augmented breasts.
- Location of implants – The location of your implants can play a role in milk production. You can choose to get your implants placed either under your chest muscles, or between the breast tissue and the chest muscles. Opting to place the implants beneath your chest muscles is less likely to damage the nerves and glands involved in milk production. The less pressure your implants place on your mammary glands, the better your chances of producing milk successfully.
- Nipple sensation – If you retain full feeling in your nipples after having your breast augmentation surgery, it means your nerves are not compromised, and you can probably breastfeed successfully. However, if you have little to no sensation in your nipples and your breast augmentation was relatively recent, it is possible full feeling has not returned yet, but your ability to produce milk remains unaffected. If this lack of sensation continues for an extended time, however, you should consult with your cosmetic surgeon.
- Reason for implants – If you chose to get your breast implants for aesthetic reasons, it is unlikely you will have trouble breastfeeding. However, if you received implants to remediate underdeveloped or tubular breast tissue, your milk-producing glands may also be underdeveloped, which can inhibit milk production.
Can Breast Implants Leak Into Breast Milk?
Most women who get breast implants choose silicone, because they say it provides a more natural look and feel. The FDA examined the safety of silicone implants for breastfeeding women and concluded:
“At this time, it is not known if a small amount of silicone may pass through from the breast implant silicone shell into breast milk during breastfeeding. Although there are currently no established methods for accurately detecting silicone levels in breast milk, a study measuring the levels of silicon, a component in silicone, did not indicate higher levels in breast milk from women with silicone gel-filled implants when compared to women without implants.”
Will Damaged Nerves Heal After Surgery?
Even after breast augmentation surgery, it is likely your glands and milk ducts will remain functional. In fact, there is even a possibility for damaged nerves and glands to repair themselves over time through processes called reinnervation and recanalization, respectively. So, while you may only be able to produce a partial milk supply for the first baby you have after receiving your implants, subsequent children could enjoy an improved supply.
How to Book Your Breast Surgery Consultation
Women considering breast surgery for a more shapely and feminine appearance should still be able to enjoy nursing their children. If you live in the Atlanta area and have additional questions or concerns about getting breast surgery, contact North Atlanta Plastic Surgery and schedule your consultation today. Dr. Amy Alderman is a board-certified cosmetic surgeon who is a national leader in breast surgery procedures. After talking with you about your goals, she will develop a plan that is tailored to what you would like to achieve.