Many women make the choice to get breast implants - almost 300,000 of them every year. Most women at some point in their lives will also make the choice to have children. Does having breast implants affect the ability of these women to breastfeed their children? Women want to know if they can still breastfeed if they have their breasts surgically altered.
First, it’s important to acknowledge that any kind of breast surgery could potentially cause damage to the milk ducts in the breast. This is why Dr. Feldman recommends to all of his patients that they wait three to six months after completely stopping breastfeeding before getting breast implants.
However, many young women want to make improvements to their bodies before they know if they will want to have children or before they meet the men they’ll want to have children with. Most women do not know how many children they will want to have before they’ve had one or more. It’s hard to know the answers to these questions before you’ve been a parent.
The good news is, the odds are in your favor in terms of breastfeeding, even if you do get breast implants. If you were able to breastfeed prior to having breast augmentation surgery, you should be able to breastfeed after. If you’ve never been pregnant, tell your doctor up front in your initial consultation. Dr. Feldman will not offer incisions through the areola for women who desire children as this cuts through the breast ducts and has the highest chance of interfering with breastfeeding. This is another reason why submuscular breast implant placement is important. Placing implants under the breast, and under the muscle, will likely not affect your ability to breastfeed.
Some women decide to have breast augmentation because of malformations of the breast that can be more complex to fix. These would include women with insufficient glandular tissue and those with widely spaced, tubular, or asymmetrical breasts. However, for young women with normal breasts who seek to have them enlarged, the surgery is straightforward and unlikely to cause difficulties with breastfeeding later on.
Women who have breast augmentation may experience a time lag between having the surgery and getting full feeling back in their breasts, but if you still have feeling your nipples, you have a much better chance of having a full milk supply. Neither saline nor silicone breast implants pose a risk to the baby while breastfeeding.
Again, Bancroft Feldman recommends that you postpone breast implants until you have finished breast feeding your babies, but if you have already had breast implants or do not know what your family planning will be in the future, there’s still a great chance you will be able to breastfeed even with implants.