Most women panic that breastfeeding could change the appearance of their breasts.
The study of about 120 mothers with breast implants found that breastfeeding was not a serious risk factor for breast sagging. “Women are free to breastfeed without any concern about affecting the appearance of their breast augmentation. Since nursing is useful for a mother’s and child’s overall health.
Dr Jeffrey Salomon, an assistant clinical professor of plastic surgery at Yale University School of Medicine, said breast implants do not interfere with a mother’s ability to breastfeed. The implants are placed under the breast gland, either above or under the pectoralis muscle so there is no disruption of the breast gland or the milk ducts to the nipple in either instance,” Salomon said.
Studies show that the most common cause of sagging breasts is breast changes after pregnancy. “These changes are associated with the diminished production of the hormones that enlarge the breasts during the pregnancy.
While a woman is pregnant, breast tissue is engorged and expanded. After childbirth, the amount of these hormones are vastly reduced and the breasts deflate, causing sagging.
Breast implants are a crucial commitment towards a new you – attaining a more desirable breast shape, size, and countering the impact of ageing or weight loss, and moving towards a desirable body shape. It requires monetary resources, lifestyle changes related to any surgical procedure and of course adjusting to life after surgery. If you are a young woman who has not yet had a baby, it is common for you to ask – will pregnancy ruin breast implants?
The answer to this is NO.
A More Natural Look
Most women said that their implants appeared more “natural-looking” post-pregnancy. Breast augmentation usually allows women a perkier looking shape, and the fullness at the top of the implant may seem more deflated because of loss of skin elasticity post-pregnancy. The size of breast implants and the size of breasts were before surgery may also play a factor in your outcome after pregnancy.
It’s common for a women’s body to change during pregnancy, and it is not abnormal for there to be changes to her physical appearance after childbirth. Pregnant women’s bodies went through a hormone-induced triathlon, so don’t be unkind to yourself by expecting changes overnight.
Wait until you reach 6 months postpartum, or even longer if you are still nursing, to assess the state of your breast implants.
Will Breastfeeding Ruin My Implants?
No, breastfeeding shouldn’t influence your implants or the appearance of your augmented breasts.
Breast Implants and Pregnancy
Pregnancy alone won’t affect your breast implants. During pregnancy hormone levels fluctuate, which can cause breasts to swell and enlarge. During pregnancy, breasts are increasing in volume as they prepare for breastfeeding. When breastfeeding is over, your breast will shrink in size as the breast volume decreases.
These changes in the size and shape of your breasts can be permanent. While the breast implant stays in place and holds its shape and size, the rest of the breast may take on a different look. It is critical to say how much of a change will occur because it is different for every woman. Some women may face very small change that doesn’t seem to make a difference. For women who experience a more extreme change, a breast lift can solve this problem and restore the breasts to the way they looked before.
Breastfeeding with Implants
Generally, women with breast implants are still okay to breastfeed their babies. Implants are placed under the ducts that produce milk and therefore, should not disrupt breastfeeding.
However, there may be problems with breastfeeding based on where the incisions were made while the implant surgery. If incisions were made around the areola, possibly it may cause nerve damage, which can affect the mother’s ability to breastfeed. If a surgeon used a periareolar incision – an incision made directly below the areola may negatively impact the viability of the milk ducts.
These types of problems with breastfeeding are more the exception than the norm. It is a good idea to let your doctor know that you have implants so they can be sure to monitor your baby’s weight to be sure they are getting enough to eat.
Effect of Breastfeeding with Implants
Here are some of the problems that you may face:
Low milk supply
Depending on how your augmentation surgery was done may have faced trouble with producing enough breast milk to exclusively breastfeed. According to the Institute of Medicine, women who have had breast implants three times as likely as other women may have face low breast supply.
If nipples lost sensitivity, may have a less effective letdown and lower milk production.
If nipples are more sensitive than normal, may develop sore nipples, which make breastfeeding difficult.
Women with implants are likely for mastitis.
Women with implants are may face a greater risk for exaggerated breast engorgement.
Effect of Breast Implants on Milk Production
The following factors can affect milk supply with breast implants:
The type of incision you had
Some surgical forms cause more harm to milk ducts, glandular tissue, and nerves than other forms.
Incisions made around the areola
Pigmented skin around your nipples is more likely to sever milk ducts and affect the nerves that play major a role in breastfeeding.
Incisions that are made under the breast
The breast that meets the chest wall or through the armpit usually cause less damage. Damaged ducts, glands, and nerves can usually repair themselves, but it happens gradually with each monthly cycle.
Where the implants are placed?
Implants can be placed under or over the layer of muscle in the breasts. When they’re over the muscle, they’re put pressure on milk ducts and glands, which could slow down the production of breast milk.
Why you had the surgery?
If you had surgery because you had underdeveloped (hypoplastic) breasts, you may have a problem with producing enough milk. However, the implants increased your breast size, but the functional structures required for breastfeeding are still underdeveloped.
If you had breast augmentation after a mastectomy, you will not be able to breastfeed on that side, because of the loss of breast tissue and glands that produce milk.
Could my breast implants harm the baby?
There’s not much conclusive research about this. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, “Research is limited.
The Institute of Medicine research shows that silicone or any harmful substance has not been found in women’s breast milk with implants. The levels of silicon in infant formula were found more than in the breast milk of women with or without implants.
Even if a little amount of silicone did get into your milk, it’s very unlikely to harm your baby. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, silicone is safe for your baby to ingest.
What if I can’t able to produce enough milk?
If your breast milk production isn’t quite enough to meet your baby’s needs, you’ll need to supplement with formula or donor milk. If you have to supplement, important to remember that any amount of breast milk that you’re able to provide your baby is beneficial.
Is it safe to breastfeed with implants?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and, there haven’t been enough recent clinical reports of problems in babies of mothers with silicone implants.
There’s no evidence of increased risk of birth defects in babies born to mothers with breast implants.
Breast implants do pose some risks;
- May need extra surgeries for corrections or removal
- capsular contracture, which takes place when scar tissue forms around the implant causing squeezing
- Some changes in breast and nipple sensation
- breast pain
- rupture of implants
Tips for Breastfeeding With Implants
Tips to help you breastfeed with implants:
Breastfeeding your baby 8 to 10 times each day can be beneficial to establish and maintain milk production. The sensation of your baby suckling your breast encourages your body to produce more milk.
Even if you’re not able to produce enough amount of milk, you’re still providing your baby with antibodies and nutrition with each feeding.
Breastfeeding from both breasts can also improve breast milk supply.
Empty breasts regularly
Emptying breasts plays a vital role in milk production. Try to use a breast pump or manually expressing milk after feedings to improve milk production.
A 2012 study found that pumping both breasts simultaneously is beneficial in increased milk production and also increased amount of calories and fat in breast milk.
Try herbal galactagogues
Some specific herbs believed to help naturally increase breast milk production, such as:
- milk thistle
Some studies have found that fenugreek may help increase breast milk supply.
Some women also use lactation cookies. Generally, these cookies contain ingredients like:
- whole oats
- brewer’s yeast
- flax seed
- herbal galactagogues
- wheat germ
Research is limited on the effectiveness of these lactation cookies on increasing breast milk production.
Make sure your baby latches properly
The key to proper latching is ensuring the baby takes enough breast into their mouth. This begins this make sure that your baby’s mouth is wide open when they latch on. Your nipple should be far enough into your baby’s mouth so that your baby’s gums and tongue cover an inch or two of your areola and also make sure your baby is positioned well.
Try to hold your breast just behind the areola with your thumb and forefinger in a “C” position this makes it easier for your baby to latch on.
You may also consider seeing a lactation consultant, too.
Supplement with formula
If you’re not producing enough amounts of milk, speak to your baby’s paediatrician or lactation and consultant about supplementing breastfeeding with formula.
Some signs that your baby is getting enough milk:
- slow and steady sucking with deep jaw movements
- six or more wet diapers and three or more soiled diapers throughout the day
- stools that change from black meconium to yellow
What can I do to breastfeed my baby properly if I have breast implants?
A lactation consultant can help you get off to a good start by ensuring that your baby has a good latch and is well-positioned for nursing. She can also help you to deal with nipple sensitivity.
The more often your baby nurses, your body will get the signal to produce more breast milk. Your lactation consultant may suggest you use a breast pump between feedings, too, to strengthen the message.
I want to go for implants. Should I need to wait until after I’m finished breastfeeding?
Yes, waiting is good. If you‘re thinking about breast implants and want to be able to nurse your babies, postponing surgery until after you’ve weaned your last child will be beneficial for breastfeeding and establish enough amount of milk supply.
Will breastfeeding change my breast implants?
The size and shape of women’s breasts may change significantly during pregnancy and after breastfeeding, but the fluctuations happen in breast tissue, not in breast implants.
Breast implants are inserted under the breast tissue and chest muscle, so they are shielded by many layers of protection. Baby cannot bite, tear, burst or otherwise harm your implants while nursing and the pressure from enlarged breasts will not cause implants to rupture or contort. Breastfeeding should not change or compromise the structure of breast implants.
How do pregnancy and breastfeeding impact breast tissue?
While pregnancy, fluctuations in hormone levels and weight cause breast tissue to expand, and breasts engorge with milk. And skin responds by stretching to accommodate these changes. After the birth of the baby and nursing of the baby, your breasts will possibly shrink back to their pre-pregnancy size, but the skin may be stretched too far to contract fully around your now-smaller breasts.
The outcome of this is often loose, sagging skin and deflated-looking breasts. Post-pregnancy losing a substantial amount of weight can intensify the loss of fullness and the development of a drooping appearance.
However, these changes do not affect your implants themselves, they can affect the aesthetics of your breast augmentation, and you may no longer be happy with the surgery.
What are the options are after breastfeeding?
There are some options for restoring pre-baby shape if you have breast implants.
Breast implants possibly can be exchanged for a smaller or larger size, a different shape or a different material. Replacing your current implants with a larger size could better fill out the breast skin envelope, counteracting the deflated look and restoring lost firmness. But remember that exchanging your breast implants does not affect the position of your breasts. If sagging is one of your primary concerns, a breast lift is ideal for you.
A breast lift elevates the breast tissue of your breast and removes excess skin. If your breasts are sagging after breastfeeding, this process will be helpful to recentre your breast tissue around your breast implants. A breast lift can be done on its own or combined with an implant exchange based on your needs.
If your concerns extend beyond your breasts, a mummy makeover may be a good option for you. Mummy makeover surgery targets multiple parts of your body affected by a pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. You need to choose the combination of procedures that address the problems that bother you most.