Do Breast Implants Affect Breastfeeding and Breastmilk Supply?
Mothers who have recently given birth and who may have previously had breast augmentation surgery may be worried that the previous surgical procedure could have adversely affected their ability to provide their baby with some milk. This is understandable as the main contact point between infant and mother is the breast and the nipple themselves. With breast implants, a number of questions may be running through the minds of nursing moms- “Do breast implants affect breastfeeding?” or “Was my supply of breastmilk affected by the said medical procedure?” In this article, we look at some of the possible answers to these questions. Read on and find out!
Breast Implants and Breastfeeding: Can they work side by side?
Right off the bat, we can say that mothers who have had breast implants can still breastfeed and nurse their babies. However, there are now a number of considerations and variables to look into that may affect your breastfeeding ability and experience. Women can still breastfeed even after a medical procedure such as breast implants because the said procedure normally won’t involve the breast’s areas or ducts that produce milk. In addition, the type of silicone material used in breast implants at present will most likely let the milk flow out normally.
What are some factors that can affect breastfeeding after breast augmentation?
Breast augmentation can still carry the risk of affecting breastfeeding depending on which type of surgery was conducted and which part of the breast received the incision. The typical procedure for breast augmentation will have the doctor cutting through what is called the folds of the inframammary which is the crease found just below the patient’s breast. This is where the implant is inserted and secured in the pecs (pectoral muscles), a cluster of muscle fibers located under the tissues of the breast. For this kind of augmentation, the implant is actually inserted away from the breast resulting in the current ducts remaining unaffected and unclogged and still linked to the patient’s nipple.
The above-mentioned breast surgery is one of the most common types of augmentation of the breast. There will be some cases though, where a different kind of procedure is called for which involves cutting around the areola or the armpits. This is usually done for cosmetic and aesthetic reasons as the scar will not be as seen or visible in this kind of incision. This areola incision can affect the nipple’s sensation and can also result in some ducts that are severed. These adverse effects will not be known to the patient though until she tries to breastfeed. There are also some other types of procedures that may have the implant inserted on top of the pecs (pectoral muscles) which may interfere with the flow of breastmilk due to blocked ducts. Individuals are advised to closely coordinate with their doctors to ensure that they get the type of procedure they prefer.
Another thing to consider which can possibly affect the breastfeeding after augmentation will be the reason why the augmentation was requested to begin with. For people with breasts that are shaped regularly and those with fairly symmetrical breasts who only had to surgery to give their chest that extra push or boost, then breastfeeding may likely not be affected. However, those women who may have had breasts that are tubular or those who are flat-chested may encounter some problems in terms of their milk supply or production as their supply could have already been limited even before the surgery. This can even be linked to the patient’s breast development as some women won’t develop as much glandular tissue for adequate breast milk production.
Some Tips for Those Who Underwent Breast Augmentation and Still Want to Breastfeed
For those who want to breastfeed despite undergoing a surgical procedure such as breast augmentation, experts are suggesting that individuals start strong and ensure that they are able to address other issues they had even before the completion of the surgical procedure. These issues may include glandular tissue that is insufficient, an indicator of which would be that the breasts did not experience any changes while the patient is pregnant.
Experts also advise mothers to take in supplements that are natural to help to promote the production of milk. These are called galactagogues and can be used as a form of natural supplementation to improve breastmilk supply and production. Listed below are some of these herbal supplements:
- Fenugreek- Among the galactagogues, this herb may be the most popular and most often used due to its high effectiveness in terms of increased production of breastmilk. People who are allergic to soy and peanuts, however, may need to steer clear from this herbal supplement as it can also cause allergic reactions.
- Blessed Thistle- A plant used for centuries due to its effectiveness in increasing the supply of breastmilk, blessed thistle is best consumed together with fenugreek. Blessed thistle can also be taken as a tea or in capsule form thrice a day.
- Alfalfa– Alfalfa is a form of pea which can also help in the increase of the supply of milk. Similar to blessed thistle, it is also ideally used together with fenugreek.
- Goat’s Rue- While goat’s rue is one of the most potent galactagogues in that it can significantly increase breast milk production and supply, it should not be taken raw as it is considered toxic. Goat’s rue should be used in commercially available forms of capsules or tea leaves.
The breastfeeding mother should also check that her infant is latching correctly and properly as this can affect the amount of breastmilk the baby can get from his or her mother. For any concerns, patients may consult with a healthcare professional such as a lactation consultant. Women who had augmentation of their breasts should also be cautious in terms of possible infection of the breasts known as mastitis which can lead to pain, scar tissue and the possibility of having the implants replaced or removed.