Many women considering getting a breast augmentation express concerns about potentially breastfeeding in the future. Some are concerned that they won’t be able to breastfeed after surgery. Others fear that breastfeeding may alter their implants in some way. Happily, we can definitively tell you that breastfeeding won’t affect your implants. Your implants probably won’t affect your ability to breastfeed, either, but they could. Here’s what you need to know.
Can You Breastfeed With Implants?
Yes. Although there are a few exceptions, most women can breastfeed after a breast augmentation. Breast augmentation surgery doesn’t involve the areas of the breast responsible for milk production. Typically, for a surgery such as breast augmentation, the surgeon makes an incision in the inframammary fold. He then places the implant behind the pectoral muscle (sometimes called under the muscle). This places the implant away from the breast tissue, leaving any existing milk ducts untouched.
If you instead opt to have your breast implants placed in front of your muscle, things change a bit. These implants won’t harm your milk ducts, but they may crowd them a bit. As such, some women experience a decrease in their available milk supply when breastfeeding after implants. The sensation of the implant can make the breasts feel full, causing a decrease in milk production. Many women are still able to breastfeed but do need to supplement their breast milk with formula to make sure their baby eats enough.
Can You Pump With Implants?
Again, the answer is yes. Some women who have had breast implants inserted via areolar incisions lose a bit of sensitivity around their nipples. They sometimes report that it’s harder to line up the breast pump by feel and that they must do it by sight. This is a minor issue, however, and doesn’t present any real problems. It is also worth noting that there is no evidence to suggest that a breast pump is strong enough to rupture or cause any other damage to your implants.
What Happens to Implants When You Breastfeed? Will They Sag?
The good news is that nothing at all will happen to your breast implants during or after breastfeeding. During and after pregnancy, it’s normal for breasts to change in shape and size. However, this won’t impact your breast implants. Your surgeon will create a pocket for your implant to sit in during your breast augmentation surgery, and that is where your breast implants will stay. This doesn’t guarantee that your breasts won’t sag, however. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, neither breast implants nor breastfeeding increase the risk of sagging breasts. But changes to the body during pregnancy can cause the breasts to sag, regardless of whether or not you have implants or breastfeed.
In short, some women benefit from a breast lift after pregnancy, and you could be one of them. This is determined purely by the luck of the draw, so there’s no reason to hesitate if you’re considering breast implants and no reason to avoid breastfeeding whether you have implants or not.
Rare Breastfeeding Issues
Most women have no trouble breastfeeding after a breast augmentation, but there are a few exceptions. Although rare, you are more likely to have trouble breastfeeding if your implants were placed via an incision around your areola. This particular incision can sever milk ducts or nerves. If the nerves are cut, you may lose sensation in your nipple, which can hinder the let-down reflex, negatively affecting milk supply. Some women regain sensation, but others don’t.
Keep in mind also that some women who have never had breast surgery can also struggle to breastfeed. If you’re struggling with your first child, it’s possible your difficulty isn’t related to your implants at all. Another factor to consider is the reason for getting a breast augmentation in the first place. If you had smaller breasts and wanted implants simply for cosmetic reasons, then breastfeeding shouldn’t be affected by your implants. However, if you chose to get a breast augmentation because breast tissue never developed or because the breasts were far apart, then the chances of successful breastfeeding may be lower.
Talk to Us
If you want a breast augmentation but have concerns about breastfeeding after, simply let us know about your concerns. The chances of breast augmentation affecting your ability to breastfeed are very low, but they’re not zero. Voicing your concerns to your plastic surgeon allows him or her to formulate a plan for protecting as much of your milk-making tissue and milk ducts as possible without compromising the nerves around your areola.