Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Breastfeeding: If I get breast implants, will I still be able to breastfeed my children?

Can I still breastfeed my children if I get breast implants? This is one of the most common questions that women considering breast augmentation ask plastic surgeons the most often. It's a natural and understandable concern. In fact, the question defies an easy "yes" or "no" answer because there are a number of variables involved.

"Many women are happy to learn that having breast implants doesn't automatically disqualify them from breastfeeding in the future," stated Dr. Josh Olson, a breast augmentation specialist with a practice near Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona.

So women are able to maintain their ability to breastfeed is a concern that is something they should think about and consider before undergoing breast augmentation surgery. About half of the women who underwent breast augmentation surgery in 2014 were between 18 and 34, according to statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons®. A patient and her plastic surgeon should discuss the different surgical options that significantly lower the risk of the interfering with a woman's ability to breastfeed. Nerves, milk ducts, and milk glands can be damaged during implant surgery, but they are also fairly easily avoided if the surgeon plans ahead. The location of the incisions is perhaps the most crucial choice.

There are 3 main incision location choices for breast augmentation surgery:
  • Inframammary: This is the most common location. Plastic surgeons make short, horizontal incisions at the base of the breast, near where the breast skin connects to the chest wall. It's appropriate for both saline and silicone gel implants.  
  • Transaxillary: This incision made in the area of the armpit is popular among patients who don't want a scar on the breast. A surgeon creates a small tunnel through which the implant is inserted. For that reason, it's used almost exclusively for saline implants, which aren't filled until after being inserted.
  • Periareolar: This incision is made on the bottom edge of the areola, the darker skin surrounding the nipple. This is the least desirable incision for women who are thinking about breastfeeding children in the future because it poses risks to ducts and glands involved in milk production.
Incisions made under the fold of the breast or through the armpit shouldn't cause any trouble," says Babycenter.com. "A 'smile' incision around the areola increases your risk of having breastfeeding problems."

Where the surgeon places the implants may also impact a breast's milk production. Placing implants under the pectoral muscle, rather than just behind the existing breast tissue and above the muscle, is less likely to cause problems. A submuscular placement, as it is known, requires less cutting of breast tissue and lowers the risk of damage to the milk ducts.

Experts also remind women that encountering some difficulty breastfeeding isn't the same as not being able to breastfeed. Which is why the question, "Will I be able to breastfeed after getting implants" isn't necessarily as clear-cut as it sounds. The definition of success when it comes to breastfeeding often depends on whom you ask. Not all mothers, whether or not they have breast implants, produce the same amount of milk.

"Even if you don't have enough milk, you can have a very fulfilling breastfeeding experience," says Breastfeeding After Breast and Nipple Surgeries (BFAR), a comprehensive source of information and support. "Remember that breastfeeding is more than just producing food for your baby." BFAR wants mamas to remember that the act of breastfeeding meets both the nutritional and emotional needs of newborns and urges women with breast implants to breastfeed as much as possible, even if the process doesn't go as smoothly as possible in the beginning. It may be comforting to know that many women encounter difficulties during their breastfeeding journey, without having had prior reconstructive or plastic surgery. Your baby is learning, and so are you, so expect that there will be a bit of a learning curve.

BFAR has also found that far more women are forced to abandon breastfeeding in favor of exclusive formula feeding because no one around them knew enough about the issues involved to be able to educate them or fully support their efforts, than because they were physically incapable of producing milk. Unfortunately, this is a common theme in mothers with and without breast implant or reconstructive surgery. If you are having difficulties nursing, please reach out to an IBCLC or CLC/CBE. Also, please feel free to request to join the Nursing and Pumping Mama Tribe on Facebook.

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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Advanced Plastic Surgery Institute and financial compensation was received for this post.  Ramblings of Mama will only make recommendations that we feel are beneficial to our readers, and the sponsor and any compensation received for this post in no way affected the opinion or any statements presented. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Links enclosed may contain affiliate links. If you have any questions or would like your product or company featured on Ramblings of Mama, please Contact Michelle


  1. Well, I never know any of that. I guess you learn something new every day.

  2. Very interesting. That's something I've always been curious about myself - I don't have breast implants, and don't plan on ever getting them, but it's good that women can still have options.

  3. atleast breastfeeding is more nutricious than artificial milks that some not so good mama use


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