Whether you’ve had breast surgery in the past or are considering it in the future, you may have wondered how it will affect your ability to breastfeed.
So, here’s some information that’s not always included in surgical pre and post-op teaching that will help you to answer that question.
You CAN breastfeed with implants, both silicone and saline.
- Under the muscle or on top? – It doesn’t matter. This will not affect milk production and breastfeeding success rates. *Implants under the muscle = easier to check breast for lumps.
- Does the location of my incision matter? – It could. The most common incision placement is sub-mammary (or under the breast). This type of incision could potentially cause nerve damage impairing nipple to pituitary communication.
- Oh no!! I had a sub-mammary incision. How do I know if I will be able to breastfeed? – If you have regular nipple sensation, you will be able to breastfeed. If you have impaired sensation or numbness, you may have low or no supply.
- What if I have leaky silicone implants? – You can still breastfeed. An analysis regarding this issue demonstrated that infant formulas contain 79 times more silicone than the breast milk of a mother with silicone implants. The “even higher” part mentioned below…..is 79 times higher……fact check that number here.
“We concluded that lactating women with silicone implants are similar to control women with respect to levels of silicon in their breast milk and blood. Silicon levels are 10 times higher in cow’s milk and even higher in infant formulas.” – Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
You WILL PROBABLY be able to breastfeed after a reduction. The potential problem is that the lactiferous sinuses (tubes that carry milk from ducts and out through nipple) are severed during surgery. The milk has nowhere to go. Here are the numbers:
- 10% of women have NO milk after a reduction
- 10% of women have ADEQUATE milk supply after a reduction
- 80% of women fall somewhere in between, meaning they will need to supplement with formula, but can still breastfeed!
Well what can I do? – Time is your best friend after a reduction. The body has its own way of “healing” itself and reconnecting blocked pathways. Starting at about 5 years after breast reduction surgery, chances of having greater milk supply starts to increase and keeps increasing over time.
What to Look For During Pregnancy
Normal breast changes during pregnancy include:
- tenderness or soreness
- increase in size
- darkening of areola
If you experience these changes during pregnancy after breast surgery, it is a very good sign that you will produce an adequate amount of milk once baby is born!
What NOT to Look for During Pregnancy
Leaking milk or colostrum. Some moms are leaky, some are not. Both are normal and not indicative of milk supply.
As always, happy breastfeeding!