Is Breastfeeding with Breast Implants Safe?
Many women desire to enhance the size of their bust but worry about their ability to breastfeed after breast augmentation. Dr. Gregory T. Mesna in Minneapolis, MN, uses innovative techniques and special care to assist women who are concerned about breastfeeding with implants. Although implants can present more challenges when breastfeeding compared to feeding without implants, studies have found that breastfeeding with implants is safe and presents no health risks for the child. There are also several non-invasive protocols recommended to help mothers with breast implants increase production of breast milk.
Why Is Breastfeeding with Implants More Difficult?
Your ability to breastfeed may be influenced by the condition of your breasts prior to undergoing augmentation and the techniques used in the surgery itself.
Condition of the Breasts Prior to Surgery
In some cases, women choose to undergo breast augmentation because their breasts never fully developed. In this case, the breasts may be missing large amounts of glandular tissue necessary for producing an adequate amount of milk. The absence of functional breast tissue can reduce your ability to produce milk even if you have never had augmentation surgery.
Location of Implant
If your implants are placed between the glandular tissue and the chest muscle, they can interfere with milk production. In these cases, implants exert more pressure on the ducts and glands that produce milk, hindering milk flow and reducing overall production. In contrast, implants placed under the chest muscle through a process called inframammary incision are less likely to impact milk production and are optimal for breastfeeding.
Location of Incision
During surgery, implants can typically be inserted through incisions on or around the areolae, along the breast crease, or through the armpits. Although incisions on the areola result in less noticeable scarring, these incisions increase the chances of damage to the milk ducts and nerves in your breast and nipple. When these nerves are damaged, the breast loses sensitivity and reflexes needed to produce and release breast milk. However, when the incision is made under the armpit or along the breast crease the risk of damage to your nerves, glandular tissue, and ducts is reduced.
Improving Breast Milk Production
Breastfeeding after implants is most difficult during your first post-surgery pregnancy. However, hormones introduced by pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding enable nerves to reconnect and glandular tissue to reproduce. Recanalization and reinnervation make it possible for the breast to recover its internal structure and function after breast implant surgery. This means that although breastfeeding may be more difficult during your first pregnancy, breast milk production should increase during subsequent pregnancies.
Although implants may impact your ability to breastfeed, Dr. Mesna will recommend certain surgery techniques and breastfeeding methods that can help increase breast milk flow.
In addition to natural healing of the breast, you can increase your milk supply by ingesting herbal and prescription galactogogues, including alfalfa and fennel. Physical stimulation can also increase breast milk production. Dr. Mesna recommends feeding your baby as often as possible, using a breast pump, and massaging to empty each of your breasts completely during each feeding in order to boost the milk production cycle and avoid the risk of mastitis. You can also work with a lactation expert to help you address unique concerns and provide tailored guidance on how to best feed your baby.
Consult with a Doctor
Although implants may impact your ability to breastfeed, Dr. Mesna will recommend certain surgery techniques and breastfeeding methods that can help increase breast milk flow. If you are concerned that breast implants will impact your ability to breastfeed, call our office at (952) 927-4556 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.