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Moms with breast implants can breastfeed depending on the surgery, placement, and size of the implants. If the surgical incisions are in the armpits or under the breast fold, it won’t pose a problem to breastfeeding. However, if the areolas have incisions then there is a high chance of damaged milk ducts.
There is no way of knowing for sure until you try breastfeeding. If your flow is insufficient because of implants, you can supplement it with infant formula. Keep an eye on your baby’s weight to know if your breastmilk supply is enough or not.
Let’s a take look at what breastfeeding with implants involves!
Can You Breastfeed With Implants?
During pregnancy and breastfeeding, breasts often change size and shape. Breastfeeding doesn’t affect implants, but breast shape and size can. So yes! Implants allow breastfeeding. Implants placed behind or under chest milk glands don’t affect milk supply. However, the depth and location of the surgical incision also affect breastfeeding.
Did you know that breastfeeding also involves the nipple nerves? Baby suckling raises hormone levels (oxytocin and prolactin). Prolactin triggers milk production, and oxytocin is the letdown. Damaged nerves reduce this sensation and indirectly affect the flow of breast milk.
What Does Medical Research Say About Breastfeeding With Implants?
As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are no recent clinical reports in babies with mothers with a silicone implant. There is no method for detecting the level of silicone in breast milk but there are methods to measure the level of silicon resulting in no higher levels of breast milk when compared with mothers with silicone implants.
There is also no evidence of an increased birth defect risk in babies who are born to mothers with breast implants. Nevertheless, there are some breast implants that do pose some risks to the person, such as:
- The possibility of needing any additional surgeries for removal or correction
- Capsular contracture occurs with the formation when the scar tissue around the implant, causing a squeeze
- Changes in nipple and breast sensation
- Pain in the breasts
- Rupture in the implants
Here are Some Side Effects of Breastfeeding With Implants
Now we know that you can breastfeed with implants but there are just a couple of side effects like breast engorgement and mastitis. The former occurs when your breast feels full, is swollen and hard while the latter happens when you have fever and pain. Visit a GP, a healthcare provider, or your midwife, if you are extremely concerned about the symptoms.
Tips to Breastfeed With Implants
Listed below are a few things that can help you increase the production of milk and also help the baby receive all the nourishment as needed:
1. Breastfeeding Often
The practice of breastfeeding your baby at least 8-10 times a day can help establish, as well as, maintain milk production. The sensation of suckling will trigger your body to help produce more milk, therefore, the more you breastfeed, the more the production of breast milk will be.
Irrespective of the fact that you are only producing a small amount of milk, you’re still providing the baby with ample amounts of antibodies and nutrition in each feeding. Breastfeeding your baby from both breasts can help increase milk production.
2. Practice Emptying Your Breasts Regularly
While you can breastfeed with implants, emptying the breasts play an important role in the healthy production of milk. You might want to try using a breast pump or even manually expressing the milk after feedings to boost the production of breast milk.
The practice of simultaneously pumping both breasts resulted in a good and healthy increase in milk production. It also helps to increase the fat and calories in breast milk. Feel free to pump or hand-express to feed your baby breastmilk, in case they do not latch.
3. Herbal Galactagogues
Many herbs are believed to help increase the production of breast milk, this includes fennel, milk thistle, and fenugreek. However, there is no scientific evidence to back up the effectiveness of herbal galactagogues. Some studies have found fenugreek to help increase the supply of milk.
Some people do use lactation cookies which are readily available online or can be easily made at home to help increase milk production. The ingredients of these cookies include whole oats, flaxseed, wheat germ, brewer’s yeast, and herbal galactagogues. Having said that, there are only a few ways lactation cookies can increase the production of breast milk.
Here are some of the best foods to increase your breast milk supply!
4, Proper Baby Latches
This is a crucial part while you breastfeed with implants and also helps the baby get the most out of feedings. The key to a proper latching process is to ensure that the baby takes enough of the breast into its mouth. This begins by making sure that their mouth is wide open when latching. Also, your nipple must not be far enough into the baby’s mouth so much so that the gums and tongue cover an inch or two of the areola.
You can start by making sure that the baby is in the correct position and then guide them toward the breast. Hold the breasts from behind the areola using your thumb and the forefinger in a “C” position to make it easy for the baby to latch on.
You might also want to see a lactation consultant for better support and guidance. They are usually available at a hospital or a doctor’s office and can also observe your feedings and give you feedback on the baby’s position and latch.
5. Supplement With Formula
While you can breastfeed with breast implants, your milk supply may decrease because of incisions blocking your milk ducts. You must make sure to speak to lactation consultant or your baby’s doctor about supplementing your breast milk with baby formula.
Here are a few warning signs to know if your little one is getting enough milk or not:
- The slow and steady progress of sucking along with deep jaw movements when on the breast
- 6+ wet diapers and 3+ soiled diapers in a day
- Change of stool from black meconium to yellow, seed-like stool
Adding to the list above, the weight of your baby is another indicator of an adequate or inadequate supply of breast milk. Most babies lose 7 – 10 % of their weight in the first 2 – 4 days before they even begin to gain weight.
A Final Word on Whether Can you Breastfeed With Implants
The good news is you can breastfeed with implants but remember that it all depends on where the incisions cuts are and the size of your breast before surgery. Make sure your baby’s pediatrician knows if you’re concerned about breast milk production or your baby’s weight. Women with implants can breastfeed but if you’re worried, consult your doctor or lactation consultant. If your baby isn’t getting enough breast milk, talk to your doctor about supplementing with baby formula.