Have you ever asked yourself if breast augmentation can affect breastfeeding? Actually, you are not alone because a number of women who are considering in getting a breast enhancement have the same concern. If you want to find the answer to this question, take everything you read by heart.
I understand that while you want to improve your figure you are not closing doors to motherhood. As a mom, breastfeeding is very important because your milk contains the nutrients that your baby needs to grow and be healthy. Thus, we will cover breast augmentation and breastfeeding in this discussion.
- 1 Breast Augmentation and Breastfeeding
- 2 Does the Type of Surgery Affect Your Ability to Breastfeed?
- 3 Risks of Breastfeeding with Implants
- 4 Will Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Ruin My Breasts?
- 5 How to Know if Your Baby is Getting Enough Breast Milk
- 6 When You Should Worry and Contact a Doctor
- 7 Additional Information that You Need to Consider
- 8 Conclusion -Wrap Up
Breast Augmentation and Breastfeeding
Imagine this you grew up insecure with the size of your boobs. You felt that you need breast enhancement to improve your figure because you are tired of being flat-chested all your life.
When you have the job and you can afford the surgery, you visited a surgeon and scheduled for a breast augmentation. You have been happy with the results. After a few years, you got into a relationship, got married and got pregnant. Now you are bothered if the procedure you had a few years back could affect breastfeeding.
This scenario is a common concern among women who were not able to wait until they have kids to get a breast augmentation surgery. Some moms who went through the same procedure and wish to get pregnant again worry about the same thing. Is breastfeeding after implants possible?
In general, breast augmentation does not affect your ability to nurse your baby. In most procedures, all of the natural breast tissue is kept in front of the implant. It is placed under or over the pectoralis muscle. Thus, the flow of milk from the gland through the ducts to the nipple is unobstructed.
Although some may struggle to breastfeed, 95% of women should be able to breastfeed after getting a breast augmentation surgery. However, you should take note that your ability to nurse cannot be guaranteed.
Also, another study from Argentina examined 100 patients with breast implants and compared their chances of breastfeeding to another 100 women without implants. The objective was to evaluate the incidence of breastfeeding at 30 days.
The results showed that 93% of the patients with breast implants compared to 99% of those without implants were able to establish breastfeeding. The study also noted that there’s a decrease in one’s possibility of breast feeding after breast augmentation.
Does the Type of Surgery Affect Your Ability to Breastfeed?
What you should know is that your chances of breastfeeding improve if your milk duct system is intact. Implants are typically placed behind the milk glands or positioned underneath the chest muscle.
Incisions made under the fold of the breast or through the armpit are less likely to cause problems. However, incisions around the areola can increase the risks of breastfeeding difficulties.
Also, nerves are vital to breastfeeding since they trigger the brain to release prolactin and oxytocin. These two hormones affect milk production.
If the nerves around the areola were cut or damaged during the surgery, it will increase your risk for low milk production. You won’t know the full extent of nerve damage, if any, until you try to breastfeed.
Risks of Breastfeeding with Implants
There are always risks whenever you go under the knife. Thus, you should be ready to face the consequences. However, you should not fear as chances of suffering from complications are slim. Also, as mentioned, the procedure should not keep you from nursing.
Breast implant surgery may cause damage to the milk glands, milk ducts, and nerves. Injury to the nerves around the nipple can reduce the let-down response when milk from the glands is released during nursing. We will discuss these conditions in details below.
Nipple Sensitivity – Breasts that are surgically enlarged with silicone or saline implants may be more or less sensitive than normal.
Exaggerated Engorgement – After delivering your baby, you may have exaggerated breast engorgement which can cause more intense pain, fever and chills.
Risk of Decreased Milk Production – Most women are able to produce some milk after getting a breast augmentation. However, some of them do not produce adequate milk supply to fully nourish their baby. They need additional supplementation. If this happens to you, you can discuss with your pediatrician or lactation consultant to determine a feeding plan that is best for your baby.
Your milk production may be reduced if your milk ducts are damaged. Your ducts may also be blocked reducing the flow of milk and causing you breasts to swell.
Those who had a breast lift or breast reduction may have increased risk of loss of lactation due to the cutting of lactation ducts. This increased risk is up to 20%.
Will Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Ruin My Breasts?
I understand that some women wanted to get pregnant or breastfeed but fear that it might alter the appearance of their bust. Of course, you do not want to ruin your boobs especially after spending thousands of dollars to alter it.
According to Norma I. Cruz, M.D. of the University of Puerto Rico pregnancy “nursing doesn’t alter the appearance of augmented breasts” but repeated pregnancies may cause breasts to droop over time.
However, when breastfeeding is over, your breast will shrink in size and the volume decreases too. During these changes in size and shape, the breast implant just stays in place. In some cases, the change is very small that it doesn’t really make a difference.
How to Know if Your Baby is Getting Enough Breast Milk
After delivery, babies usually only do two things: they sleep and feed. After the first 24 hours, your baby will need to eat at least every 2-3 hours. To know if you are producing enough milk, check out these three things:
Check for signs of adequate feeding. If your baby is getting milk from your breasts you will notice slow and rhythmic sucking with deep jaw movements. In the first few days, you will produce thick colostrum and it will be difficult to hear your baby swallow, but he/she should look satisfied and produce adequate wet and dirty diapers.
Diaper counts. After 3 to 5 days of your delivery, your colostrum will transition to breast milk. By then, you should hear your baby swallow during breastfeeding.
If your baby gets enough milk at your breasts, you will notice an increase in diapers with 3 or more soiled diapers and 6 or more wet diapers per day. His/her stool should also begin changing from the thick, black meconium stools to seedy, yellow stools.
Weight Loss. Many babies lose 7 to 10% of their birth weight in the first 2-4 days. However, this should not be a concern as your milk will help your baby gain the weight back. Your baby’s weight is another indication of your milk production.
When You Should Worry and Contact a Doctor
While most surgeons say that breast augmentation does not necessarily hinder your ability to nurse your baby. There are red flags that you should look out.
- If you still do not have milk within five days after giving birth.
- Your baby has less than six wet diapers daily after four or more days.
- Your baby does not move his bowels at least three times daily.
- Your baby breastfeeds less than eight times daily.
- You are not producing enough milk
- You detect a lump or hardening on the breast
- You experience nipple pains during or between the feedings
Additional Information that You Need to Consider
- Before undergoing an augmentation surgery tell the surgeon that you want to breastfeed in the future.
- It is recommended that you wait for six to 12 months post-op before getting pregnant to allow the breast to completely settle.
- If you are pregnant, better postpone the procedure. When you are expecting there are hormonal changes within your body that can cause the contour and size of your breasts.
- It is best to complete your family (have the number of kids you desire) before getting a breast enhancement surgery.
Conclusion -Wrap Up
In general, most women who got a breast augmentation are still able to breastfeed after the surgery. If you are planning to get the procedure, it’s best to inform the surgeon that you want to nurse your baby in the future to determine the best approach on how to perform the procedure.
Just remember that incision in the nipple area tend to be more difficult for breastfeeding moms. Meanwhile, incision close to the crease beneath the breasts typically has better breastfeeding success.