Mamma Musings

Is it safe to breastfeed when you have silicone breast implants

breast feeding mother

Pic Credit: Pixabay

With cosmetic surgery procedures becoming more popular, and more easily attainable for the average woman, the question about breastfeeding has emerged. Breast augmentation procedures are particularly popular amongst new mum’s. It’s a great way to turn back the clock and regain that pre-pregnancy size and fullness.  But what about those women who have already had breast implants, and now face the choice between breast and bottle?  It’s natural that these women might anticipate some complications or difficulties due to the surgery.  But what is the truth when it comes to breast feeding with silicone implants

Breast feeding alone can be a contentious issue amongst mum’s. Deciding what suits your lifestyle and what is best for you and your baby are choices that only you can make.  Mum shaming and internet trolling aside, you will get advice and tips that you never asked for, and are of little use.  Everyone, it seems, is an expert and they all want to give you their opinion, regardless of whether you want to hear it or not. Add breast implants to the mix and you could well send some of these ‘experts’ into a seismic spin. Keep in mind that the decision is yours to make.  Choosing to breastfeed is just that – a choice. Only you should decide what is best for you.  You are the expert in this case, and you know what suits your lifestyle better than anyone else. 

Are there any complications I should know about?

Whether you have silicone breast implants or not, there is always the risk of complications.  Around 68% of women choose to breastfeed their newborn.  This drops to 48% after around 6-8 weeks. This is due to varying reasons, but there will be a percentage of these who, despite the strong desire to breastfeed, are unable to continue due to complications.  

Having breast implants may carry a slightly higher risk, but there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to breastfeed successfully, with breast implants. 

What might affect my ability to breastfeed?

Your chances of being able to successfully breastfeed can depend on the size and placement of your implant.  The type of surgery you’ve had in order to fit the implants could also have an impact on your ability to produce milk.  For example, if the incisions are under the fold of the breast or through the armpit, there should be no change in your ability to breastfeed.  If, however, the incision is around the areola, and the milk ducts have been cut then you will be unable to breastfeed.  

 If the nerves and tissue become damaged, this too can affect a mother’s milk supply.  Scarring of the milk ducts can also have an impact, as can having a lower level of glandular tissue to begin with.

The only way to know for sure is to give it a go and see what happens.  Many women without implants find the process difficult too, so it’s really a trial and error process for everyone. 

 Does the placement of the implants matter?

person holding implant

Pic Credit: Unsplash

Most surgeons will place the implant under the muscle (and behind the milk glands).  This should not affect either milk production, milk supply or the ability to breastfeed successfully, as the glandular tissue (which produces the milk) rests above the layer of muscle. Alternatively, if you have implants placed over the muscle, it can be more challenging to breastfeed successfully.  Due to the fact that the chest muscle sits behind the milk producing tissue there is a higher chance that breastfeeding, following an over the muscle procedure, may put more pressure on the ducts and glands.  This can then interfere with milk flow and milk production (similar to an engorged breast).  The breasts may become more engorged if you have implants placed above or behind the muscle, and this in turn can lead to mastitis, pain and fever.  This can also be the case for women who have not had implants fitted, so once again give it a go and see what happens.   It is possible that larger implants may exert more pressure on the milk producing tissue.  Coincidently, larger natural breasts can also be associated with some difficulty in breastfeeding.

Is it safe to feed my baby with silicone implants? 

Absolutely, yes.  Having implants fitted will not cause any harm to your baby, if you decide to breastfeed.  The only things to consider are how easy it will be for you to feed successfully. Some women choose to wait until they have had children before embarking upon breast implant surgery, but that is a personal choice and you should decide what is best for you.  

Understandably, some women have raised concerns about silicone implants that have ruptured.  They want to know if this poses any danger to their baby if they are breastfeeding.  Tests have been carried out to determine the safety of breastfeeding if silicone enters the milk supply.  There was found to be no higher level of silicone in breast milk after a silicone leak than in baby formula.  Silicone itself is a harmless substance.  It’s found in most foods and liquids and causes no harm to the body.  It is absorbed into the system without causing any problems.  If you are having concerns about breastfeeding with silicone implants why not give one of the experts a call.  Enhance Medical Group are always happy to answer queries of this nature.  Their clients include women who have already had children, but many who are yet to embark on that journey.  

As breast implant surgery continues to rise in popularity amongst younger women, there is an upcoming generation who will go on to have babies after they have had implants fitted. They should be provided with all the information regarding size and placement of implants before they agree to go ahead.  This will give them the option to choose the best procedure to fit in with their future plans.  They can then go ahead, safe in the knowledge that any decisions they make at a later date will not be compromised. Yours and your future baby’s safety are paramount, and any reputable surgeon will make sure you are in possession of all the information you want, and they will not go ahead until you are completely satisfied that you are making a decision that fits with your current lifestyle and future plans. 

Note: This is a collaborative post

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