A woman may want breast implant surgery and look forward to being a mom who breastfeeds her babies. Some of us might think we have to choose either implants or breastfeeding, which is not true. However, there are important things to consider before going ahead with implant surgery.
Whether a woman can breastfeed after implant surgery depends on where the doctor makes the incision. Those made through the armpit or under the breast fold allow the insertion of implants without damaging nerves or milk ducts.
Severed nerves may prevent the hormones oxytocin and prolactin from being released. These hormones are responsible for triggering milk production and flow.
Should the surgeon make an incision around or on the brown nipple area, or areola, it does not mean nerves and milk ducts will be cut, but it does increase the likelihood of that happening.
There is also a possibility that after surgery, pressure from the implants will traumatize the ducts and nerves, limiting milk production and the possibility of breastfeeding. If you are getting an augmentation and plan to breastfeed it is important to let your surgeon know so he or she can plan accordingly.
Some women worry that chemicals from breast implants might contaminate their breast milk. Studies show that even if a silicone implant leaks it is very unlikely that molecules of silicone could penetrate milk ducts. The same is true for saline implants, and even if saline found its way into a duct, it is not considered a health risk.
Still, if you know this is something you will be anxious about, consider having augmentation surgery when your breastfeeding days are over. Anxiety is not only uncomfortable, it may interfere with your ability to breast feed.
The results of one research study shows that women who are anxious about chemicals getting into their breast milk are more likely to have problems producing an adequate supply. One study does not make something a fact, but is worth thinking about.
Consider also the possibility of experiencing pain when the breasts are full of milk. This does not prevent breastfeeding and using a breast pump may take care of the problem, but some women become uncomfortable enough to start bottle feeding.
Implants take up space, and if you get them to enhance breasts that are very small, there is a greater chance of manufacturing more milk than you can comfortably store.
Breastfeeding after receiving implants is not dangerous for you or the baby, and many women with implants successfully breastfeed. There will be obvious signs if your milk production is inadequate, and there are simple ways to boost milk production.
If your baby has six to eight soiled or wet diapers per day, breastfeeds eight or more times each day, and is gaining weight, you are producing adequate milk. It is recommended though, even if the breastfeeding is going well, to have a pediatrician verify this.
You can also stimulate your breasts to manufacture more milk by using a breast pump and giving your breasts a daily massage. Feeding the infant every three hours (8 to 12 times each day) will increase the production of milk as well.
While implants and breastfeeding are not a dangerous combination, it can lead to disappointment. Stimulating milk production will help some women with low milk supply, but not all; and why an informed decision is important.