If you’ve had a breast enlargement and are wondering if you can breastfeed with implants, the answer is yes. It is possible to nurse after surgery.
It’s a common belief that having a boob job means you’ll have trouble breastfeeding. But it’s not always the case. Many women with implants CAN breastfeed easily and successfully.
Even mums with natural breasts can find breastfeeding difficult. You just don’t know how you’ll go until you try. So if you’ve had work done and want to give it a shot, unless there’s been damage to your milk ducts, there’s absolutely nothing holding you back.
Trading up the twins
There are many reasons why a woman may choose to have breast implants. Perhaps she’s always been insecure about her small chest. Maybe she’s had a partial mastectomy for health reasons and had to have reconstructive surgery on one breast. Or it could be that her boobs dramatically changed shape or size from breastfeeding children.
It’s a personal choice and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. However when a boob job can cause anxiety or concern is if a woman has a baby following her procedure and wants to breastfeed. This is because many people wrongly believe that having implants means you’re no longer capable of producing breast milk. Other common myths are that babies can’t latch on successfully, and that silicone implants are dangerous to the baby.
Luckily, none of these myths ring true.
When it IS a problem
According to the Australian Breastfeeding Association, problems with breasfeeding when you’ve had breast surgery generally only occur in these instances:
- Nipple was moved to a different position – This can disrupt the nerve supply to the nipple and areola, but usually is more common with breast reduction surgery than implants.
- Milk glands or ducts were damaged during surgery – However, nerves can (slowly) regrow and glandular tissue can develop during pregnancy.
- Milk supply is affected – This can happen if the surgery was needed due to lack of breast tissue, or breast nerves or ducts were cut in the procedure.
- You’ve had a full mastectomy – Women who have lost only one breast can still breastfeed from their other breast.
Nursing mums with breast implants may also find their breasts to be hyper sensitive or painful, or the opposite with little sensation or numbness. This often depends on how soon after having their boob job they’re attempting to breastfeed. And they can also be more prone to engorgement and mastitis.
Every woman (and her baby!) is different though. And so too are breast enhancement surgeries. So it really does depend on the individual as to whether breastfeeding will work for them or not. The key thing is not to give up if it’s what you really want to do. (Although of course there is nothing wrong with bottle feeding with formula either).
Tips for finding that flow
If you have had breast implants inserted (or other breast surgery such as a lift or reduction), and are keen to breastfeed, here are some tips:
- Seek professional advice early – Discuss your desire to breastfeed with your doctor during your pregnancy to get advice on how best to prepare for breastfeeding.
- Hire a lactation consultant – Consider getting an expert on board in the early days after birth to ensure you have personalised one-on-one help. They will help your baby to latch on properly, show you how to fully empty your breasts, encourage frequent feeding and other tactics to help with milk supply and feeding.
- Take lactation supplements – Medications such as herbal galactagogues can help boost milk supply.
- Get support – Ensure your partner or friends and family are able to help you out after the birth while you focus on breastfeeding, getting enough sleep and looking after your mental health.
- Supplement with formula – If you’re finding it difficult, you can always top up your milk feeds with formula from a bottle to make it easier and more manageable.
- Think ahead – If you haven’t had implants yet but plan to, and also want to breastfeed in the future, chat to your doctor before the surgery. This way they can determine the best approach to protect your future milk production.
Best of luck with your breastfeeding journey – implants or not! And just remember that whatever works (breast milk or formula) is what’s best for you and your baby.
Wondering about any other body enhancements or procedures you had before getting pregnant? Read our article here about pregnancy and motherhood when you have tattoos, piercings, botox and more.