Do Breast Implants Affect Breastfeeding?

By: Lisa Moore shutterstock_82593991 250

Whether you are considering breast implants, already have them, or are wondering when the right time to have breast augmentation is – chances are if you have a desire to breast feed, new studies show that it may be best to wait.

Breast augmentation surgery is the procedure of using silicone or saline implants to restore size, make breasts seem fuller due to sagging after weight loss, reconstruction for mastectomy and even pregnancy. Typically, the surgery is done using one of many different types of incisions to insert the actual implant. Recent studies have shown that no matter what the type of incision is, most women that undergo augmentation have 64% chance of having problems such as lactation insufficiency, mastitis, tumors blocking milk production and other similar complications while attempting to breastfeed.

Milk production occurs after the baby is born – the milk is supplied from the mammary gland and travels down to the areola where the nerves are stimulated to create a “let-down” reflex. Recent studies suggest if there is still feeling in the nipple after surgery, you may have a better chance of successful breastfeeding.

Often times, based on the location of the incision of the breast implants, it (implants) can interfere with breastfeeding. Women with an incision in the armpit or underneath the breast have lesser problems than those that have an incision around the border of the areola. The position of the implant can also impede on the milk let down process. Depending on where the saline or silicone implant is placed (no research suggest the content of the actual implant makes any difference), this can press on the milk ducts and deter the milk supply.

Although many moms can have a successful breastfeeding relationship with breast augmentations, studies suggest that if you are considering when to get them, have the surgery post-baby. There is no guarantee that the milk supply after surgery will be the same as before the surgery. Although researchers are unsure as to whether it is the location, the implant itself, or the incision in some cases, it is better to wait when considering. Some breast-feeding issues caused by implants like insufficient lactation can be helped along with the addition to formula.

Lisa Moore is a beauty and health author.

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