It is estimated that 4% of women have had breast implants, and the majority of those women have the procedure done prior to childbearing age. If you are wondering if you can breastfeed with implants you are not alone! There has been a lot of confusion around whether or not a woman who has had breast implants can breastfeed her baby. Let’s break down the facts surrounding breastfeeding and implants so you can know what to expect.
Can you Breastfeed with Implants-Just the Facts
Simply put, most likely yes. A breastfeeding mama is feeding her baby from her breast, but your whole breast is not made of milk. There are milk ducts that produce and supply the milk that comes out of your nipple from mulitple tiny holes. These milk ducts cover the entire breast and start to fill with colostrum during pregnancy and then milk comes in shortly after giving birth. Interference with the milk ducts is the most common issue when you want to breastfeed with implants.
Most often breast implants are inserted below the muscle and therefore, usually do not affect the milk ducts. The milk ducts lie on top of the muscle, so an implant incision made through the armpit or underneath the breast tends to interfere less. Some women can have milk ducts that extend to the armpit area, which is rare; however, incisions around the nipple can cause increased issues since the milk ducts are often interfered with. Studies show that the best chance for a successful breastfeeding journey is 5 years post-surgery. At this time the breast tissue has had time to heal and repair itself if needed.
If you breastfeed with implants there is a higher chance (than women who have not had a breast augmentation) of potential issues. No matter what, having a correct latch, good positioning, and support is most important when it comes to breastfeeding. Occasionally there can be other issues when you breastfeed with implants from scar tissue blocking milk ducts, sensitivity in the breast or the location of the implant can reduce the flow of milk.
Despite any potential problems or hurdles, you can breastfeed with implants. Rarely are there issues that can fully prevent a woman from breastfeeding with implants. The human body is an amazing thing and can heal itself, there is a possibility for some glands and ducts to reconnect if damaged during surgery. In addition, the glandular tissue itself continues to develop and grow during pregnancy and breastfeeding. So, future children may have a higher supply of milk, better flow, or fewer issues than previous children.
Read More: Facts About Your Period While Breastfeeding
How to Have a Successful Breastfeeding Journey if you Breastfeed with Implants
Whether you decide to breastfeed with implants or not, there are many ways to set you and your baby up for a successful breastfeeding journey. In the beginning, it might be super important for you and your baby to have the perfect setup, environment, and latch to have a good breastfeeding session, but as time goes on, both you and your baby not only figure it out, you get your own groove of what works for you. These are tips that are more than just feeding positions,
Helpful Real-life Breastfeeding Tips:
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether from a professional lactation consultant or your partner to keep the baby awake or even help settle the baby to nurse properly. If you do breastfeed with implants you might run into other issues and it is important to address them quickly to ensure a successful breastfeeding journey.
Know that there are plenty of tools at your disposal that can help you while you breastfeed with implants, from nipple shields, breastfeeding pillows, breast milk catchers, various types of pumps, etc. You might need one or more of these to have a successful breastfeeding journey, especially if you are to breastfeed with implants.
It won’t always be pretty or glamorous as breastfeeding is a full-time job, literally a nonstop job with no breaks because even when you are not breastfeeding you are still producing milk, thinking about when to feed baby next, making sure you are getting the right nutrients, getting enough rest (easier said than done) and plenty of water!
Although sore or cracked nipples, clogged ducts, milk blebs, mastitis may be common, it also may mean that there are other issues that need to be addressed. Often simple changes to your breastfeeding routine can help these common yet sometimes painful side effects.
Fun Facts about Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is a beautiful experience to share with your baby, if you breastfeed with implants some of these cool facts might mean even more to you. If you need a little pick-me-up or just want to feel encouraged about your breastfeeding journey, these are for you!
Breastmilk is similiar to a snowflake and no two women produce the same exact milk. It is dependent upon many factors from your diet, age, and other outside environmental factors and it is all different!
Breastmilk changes throughout the day, in the morning you will produce thicker milk and as the day goes on it thins out and eventually has the natural melatonin in it that the body needs for a restful night’s sleep.
Your body will start producing colostrum as early as 2 months into pregnancy
Breastmilk consists of proteins, fats, vitamins, and carbohydrates, it is essentially the most perfect well rounded food.
Milk ducts can expand all the way to the armpits and are shaped like a flower over your breast muscle.
Even a malnourished mother can still sufficiently breastfeed her baby, which is just another testimonial at how amazing our bodies are!
Regardless if you breastfeed with implants or not, the benefits from breastfeeding for you and your baby (for any amount of time) are worth it. Most likely, your breast implants will have little to no impact if you decide to breastfeed with implants. It is common to experience some bumps along when breastfeeding, especiallly as a first time mom. If you do breastfeed with implants, it could be a common issue not the implants; luckily it is easy to find help. Breastfeeding is an amazing journey for you and your baby, regardless if you breastfeed with implants, the bond and benefits for both you and your baby will last your entire life.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on Extended Breastfeeding: How to Confidently Wean and Keep the Amazing Bond With Your Baby.
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