Breastfeeding is a deeply cherished experience that fosters a profound bond between a mother and her child. However, for women who have undergone breast augmentation with implants, concerns about breastfeeding often arise. In this blog post, we explore the subject of breastfeeding after breast implants and address common questions to dispell myths and offer some guidance to empower women in their journey of motherhood.
How breast implants may affect breastfeeding:
Breast implants, whether saline or silicone, are strategically inserted either behind the breast tissue or under the chest muscle to enhance the size, shape, and overall appearance of the breasts. During the surgical process, the milk ducts and nerves that supply sensation to the nipple may be affected, leading to concerns about milk production and nipple sensitivity during breastfeeding.
How breastfeeding may affect breast implants:
During pregnancy and breastfeeding, the breasts naturally undergo changes, regardless of whether a woman has breast implants or not. The breasts typically become larger and fuller due to increased blood flow and milk production. After breastfeeding, the breasts will return to their pre-pregnancy size, and many women notice a reduction in volume compared to before breastfeeding. There may also be breast skin laxity especially if they are overstretched during breastfeeding.
Can You Breastfeed with Implants?
While the ability to breastfeed after breast augmentation varies from woman to woman, in many cases, women with breast implants can successfully breastfeed without any issues.
Breast Implant Placement Matters
When it comes to breast implant surgery, there are two primary options for implant placement: above or below the muscle. Subglandular placement (above the chest muscle) generally result in more pressure on the breast tissue, possibly affecting milk production and breast sensitivity. In contrast, submuscular placement (under the chest muscle) tends to cause fewer complications with breastfeeding, as it places less pressure on the milk ducts and nerves.
Breast Implant and Nipple Sensitivity
Breast implant surgery may theoretically affect nerves supplying sensation to the nipple, which in turn could affect breastfeeding. However, while transient change in sensation is occasionally observed, majority of women experience no significant change in sensation.
Tips for Successful Breastfeeding with Implants:
It is important to note that breastfeeding can be challenging with or without implants. It takes a considerable amount of dedication and effort to make breastfeeding successful. Here are some valuable tips to boost and sustain milk production:
1. Regular and Efficient Nursing: Breastfeed your baby frequently and in response to their cues. The more you nurse, the more signals your body receives to produce milk. Ensure a proper latch to facilitate effective milk transfer during nursing sessions.
2. Establish a Consistent Nursing Routine: Creating a predictable breastfeeding schedule can stimulate milk production. Try to nurse at similar times each day, including nighttime feedings.
3. Complete Breast Emptying: Ensure both breasts are emptied during each feeding to trigger your body to produce more milk. Offer both breasts at every feeding or switch midway if your baby is still hungry.
4. Utilize Breast Compression: Employ gentle breast compressions during nursing to encourage milk flow and encourage your baby to continue feeding.
5. Maintain Adequate Hydration and Nutrition: Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Follow a balanced diet rich in nutrients essential for lactation, such as whole grains, leafy greens, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
6. Embrace Skin-to-Skin Breastfeeding: Foster skin-to-skin contact with your baby while nursing. This intimate connection stimulates milk production and fosters a deeper bonding experience.
7. Minimize Pacifiers and Bottles: Limit the use of pacifiers and supplemental bottles, as they may disrupt the breastfeeding demand and supply cycle. Direct breastfeeding is the most effective way to encourage milk production.
8. Avoid Skipping Feedings: Whenever possible, avoid skipping or delaying nursing sessions. Regular and frequent breastfeeding is pivotal for sustaining milk supply.
9. Limit Pacifier Use: If you choose to introduce a pacifier, wait until breastfeeding is well established, typically after four to six weeks.
10. Seek Professional Support: Reach out to a lactation consultant or join a breastfeeding support group for guidance. These experts can offer personalized advice to enhance milk supply and address any breastfeeding concerns.
Breastfeeding after breast implants is possible for many women, but it's essential to approach the decision thoughtfully and gather information from experienced professionals. While some women may face minor challenges with milk supply or nipple sensitivity, others may not encounter any issues at all. With the right incision location, implant placement, and ongoing support, women can confidently nurture the special bond of breastfeeding and embrace the joys of motherhood after breast augmentation.