Can You Breastfeed With Implants?

Do Implants Make Breastfeeding Impossible?

Breastfeeding with implants is definitely possible. Learn why the surgery matters, possible complications and tips for success.

If you’ve had breast augmentation surgery and have implants, you might wonder if you’ll still be able to breastfeed. While having breast implants can make breastfeeding a little trickier, that doesn’t mean it’s completely off the table. Learn about the factors that determine your likelihood of success, possible complications and some helpful tips for making breastfeeding your baby go as smoothly as possible.

It Depends on the Surgery

When it comes to whether or not a woman with implants will be able to breastfeed, it really depends on where the incision was made and where the implants were placed.

The Incision

If your surgeon made the incision under the fold of your breast or through your armpit, then you should be able to breastfeed just fine. It’s also a great sign if you still have feeling in your nipples.

If your incision was made around the areola, then you may run into some issues, because there is a chance your milk ducts were either damaged or cut.

Implant Placement

If your implants are under the chest wall muscle, then your surgeon most likely avoided cutting the milk ducts and mammary glands. This bodes well for your breastfeeding future. If your implants were placed under any glandular tissue, then you may have a tough time trying to breastfeed.

Possible Complications

Some women who breastfeed after getting implants may have to deal with engorgement and extra-sensitive nipples. You also have a higher risk of developing mastitis, painful inflammation of breast tissue, than women who haven’t had implants.

Breastfeeding moms with implants also run the risk of not developing a full milk supply, especially if the implants were placed under breast glandular tissue. According to medical experts at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, a woman’s milk supply may be limited if, during surgery, the incision severed nerves in the breast and nipple. This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to breastfeed, you just may find your supply isn’t full.

Tips for Breastfeeding with Implants

Because women who have breast implants are more prone to developing mastitis, you may want to take some extra steps to try to keep this ailment at bay: Avoid tight bras; do not letting your breasts become overly full with milk; get plenty of rest.

Also, since having implants may result in a limited milk supply, you may want to consider formula supplementation to make sure your baby is getting enough. You can also take some steps to increase your milk supply, like pumping after each feeding. This helps empty your breasts, which stimulates milk production.

When in Doubt, Seek Help

If you’ve had breast implant surgery and are either worried about not being able to breastfeed or are currently having trouble doing so, check with a lactation consultant. They are professionally trained to help breastfeeding mothers. If you need help finding one, your OB or baby’s pediatrician should be able to point you in the right direction.

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