Women who have breast implants are commonly concerned with how this will impact their pregnancies and ability to breastfeed. It is a natural worry, and a genuine concern. If you are pregnant with breast implants and plan to breastfeed, you may or may not be able to breastfeed your child, depending on the incision and insertion method used during the augmentation surgery.
Why Breast Implants Impact the Ability to Breastfeed
The incision required to insert the breast implant will generally cause some nerve damage to the area that sounds the nipple, and the milk ducts. Two of the four methods used for the insertion of breast implants are done in a manner that does not harm the nerves or the milk ducts, so there are many women who can successfully breastfeed. If you are able to breastfeed with your implants, you and your doctor should very closely monitor the amount of milk you are producing and your baby is taking in, for a period of at least four to six weeks. This will let you know if your breast implant incision and insertion method is impacting the ability to breastfeed your child.
Difficulties With Breast Implants and Breastfeeding
The most common difficulty presented with breastfeeding and implants, is the inadequate production of breast milk. There are several different reasons this can occur. While you may actually be able to produce a full milk supply, you may not be able to pass it through the breasts and damaged milk ducts to your nipple. Another reason you may not get enough milk to your baby is because nerves that send the hormonal signals to your brain to produce milk have been damaged. Usually, when the baby suckles, these nerves will feel the sensation and signal the brain, whereas the damage prevents this from happening. Though there is not much reason to worry, you should also consider the possibility of your implants leaking into the breast milk. While many of today’s implants are filled with saline as opposed to silicone, and there are methods to measure the silicone in the breast milk, doctors are not sure if or how this can affect your child.
If after careful monitoring of your breast milk production and baby’s intake, you find the baby is not gaining weight, you should begin to supplement your breast milk with a formula recommended by your doctor. These days, there are plenty of options that contain some of the same chemicals found in breast milk that nurture the baby’s eye and brain development. This will work just fine for your child, as there are many women who cannot or who choose not to breastfeed (with or without implants in the first place).
If you consider this possibility before you get breast implants, and weigh the cosmetic enhancement against the fact that you may not be able to naturally provide milk for your baby; you will likely decide that the risk of the surgery, combined with this possibility is not worth it.