Will breast augmentation affect your ability to breastfeed?

Posted on the 14 October 2015 at 12:00

Breast augmentation is something that many women undergo for various reasons, whether it’s to correct an imbalance in the breasts, to enhance self-esteem or as a post-cancer reconstruction, the fact remains that many women have implants. Of these women, many also wish to have children - and it’s a common concern of women to know whether they can breastfeed successfully with their augmented breasts. I know that I worried about this in the past, having gotten my breast augmentation before I had even considered the possibility of having children. I am pleased to say that I was able to breastfeed fully successfully with no problems - and while there are some possible complications, most women have milk for their first baby with supply increasing as they go on to breastfeed. The breastfeeding question is a common one asked by many women when they are considering breast augmentation, and there’s no simple answer per se. In reality, it’s always going to be different between the patients, the surgeon, and the breast augmentation technique that is going to be used.

There are various different types of surgery and breast augmentation that you can undergo, and it's important that you discuss these options with your surgeon in order to understand which is going to put you in the best possible position for breastfeeding in the future. It's important to note that while there is going to be a good chance of breastfeeding available to you after you undergo breast augmentation surgery, there are no guarantees and every patient is going to be slightly different. It's best to always have a consultation and an in-depth discussion with your surgeon or doctor in order to answer this question. It really is something that needs to be discussed fully as it’s a personal decision for you and one that may impact on your family.

There are a couple of things that are important as far as breast augmentation surgery is concerned, and the original state of the breasts prior to surgery is an important factor to consider. While small breast size in and of itself is not a complete predictor for the ability to produce milk, it can impact on the production. People with certain breast shapes are more likely to experience complications, including people with:

a. Tubular shaped breasts
b. Widely spaced breasts
c. Undeveloped breasts and
d. Asymmetrical breasts

The reason for the possible issue with milk production is because if there is little breast tissue to begin with, the production of milk may suffer.

It’s important to have a frank discussion with your surgeon or doctor prior to considering your breast augmentation surgery, as there are potential risks, but a discussion about the possibility of damage to ducts or nerves will ensure you are entering the decision fully informed. There is no reason why you wouldn’t be able to undergo breast augmentation and then breastfeed successfully if you have spoken to your doctor about the risks.

You can also choose to speak with your doctor about the preferred location of the incision - as they will often choose to make an incision in a less-noticeable location (such as the areola) but this may reduce your ability to produce milk owing to the potential damage of nerves.

Another thing you can speak to your doctor or surgeon about is the location of the implant - as the positioning of the implant will have a direct bearing on milk production within the body. You can opt to get your implant positioned under the chest muscle which will have less pressure on the glandular tissue, and it will be less likely to impact on your milk flow. Ultimately, you only need to have a good conversation with your surgeon to find out if implants are going to impact on your ability to breastfeed, and so long as you are diligent, you really can have the best of both worlds - excellent breasts that you are proud of, and healthy happy babies fed on your own breast milk.

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