The 411 About Breastfeeding and Breast Augmentation

Have you ever thought about feeding after a breast augmentation procedure? According to a recent study at the University of Sydney, one in five women who have breast implants don’t breast-feed their babies, with researchers speculating that those who don’t may be worried about compromising their implants or transmitting implant materials into their breast milk.

RELATED: Myth-Busting Breast Augmentation

According to Dr Huy Tang, Cosmetic Surgeon at Australia’s largest cosmetic surgery provider, The Cosmetic Institute, despite being the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure on the planet, there are still many myths surrounding breast augmentation – particularly when it comes to pregnancy and a woman’s ability to breastfeed following the procedure.

“It’s a common misconception that once a woman has breast implants, she can’t breastfeed. But the fact is, I’ve operated on many women who have gone on to successfully breastfeed their babies, with no negative affects.  That said, every woman is different and it’s important that patients are clear about the facts before they decide for or against breastfeeding their baby following a breast augmentation,” he says.

Here, Dr Huy Tang addresses a list of the most common questions concerning breastfeeding after breast augmentation:

Is breastfeeding likely to change the shape of an augmented breast?

“It is impossible to predict the change in augmented breasts after breastfeeding,” he says. “As a rule, women with smaller breasts would generally expect less change to occur when breastfeeding, compared to those with larger breasts,” he adds.  According to Dr Tang, in both natural and augmented breasts, genetic factors such as skin quality and elasticity are the major factors that influence whether breast shape is likely to change.

How much time after breast augmentation should a woman wait to fall pregnant or wait to breast feed her children?  

“We normally recommend six to 12 months post-op to allow the augmented breast to completely settle before falling pregnant,” says Dr Tang, who recommends visiting forums and talking to other women who have breast fed post operatively. “Recovery time can vary from patient to patient so it is important that you’re prepared to be flexible should recovery take a little longer than anticipated,” he says.

Does breast augmentation affect a mother’s milk supply?

According to Dr Tang, breast augmentation will not affect a mother’s milk supply. “As long as you are being operated on by a reputable surgeon and there has been no damage to the milk ducts or nerves during surgery, there will be no affect on your milk supply.

“Some women find it very difficult to breastfeed and a woman can have a poor milk supply regardless of whether they have implants or not, it’s rarely the implants or surgery that hinders the supply of milk,” he says.

Are there are any dangers associated with breastfeeding after breast augmentation, either for the mother or the baby?

A common fear among women is that their implants may “leak” and be toxic for a breastfeeding baby, however Dr Tang provides assurance that there are no known dangers to either the mother or baby when breastfeeding with implants.

“The implants we use at The Cosmetic Institute are the best in the world and are made of a gel substance that remains within a solid membrane and does not leak into the body, even in the rare case of a rupture,” advises Tang. “The chances of an implant leaking or rupturing are exceptionally low, however in the rare case that this did occur, there would be no harm to the mother or baby in terms of toxicity.”

Having said that, he does warn that it is crucial to find out what implants your surgeon will be using and whether the materials are safe should a rupture occur.

Will augmented breasts tend to be more sensitive/painful when breastfeeding when compared to non-augmented breasts?

When it comes to sensitivity, it is possible that an implant could cause feelings of slight discomfort in the breast. “It’s not always the case, but the added weight and volume of the implant can result in increased sensitivity,” says Tang. “Breasts generally become more sensitive during pregnancy and the added volume from implants could increase this sensitivity,” he adds.

Are augmented breasts more likely to sag or change shape after pregnancy and breastfeeding than non-augmented breasts?

The doctor stresses that while the implants remain unchanged with pregnancy and breast-feeding, the tissue surrounding them may change shape. “Regardless of whether a woman has implants, her breast shape can change during or post pregnancy based on factors including genetics, age and skin quality,” says Dr Tang.

“Since there’s no sure way to tell whether a breast will or won’t sag following pregnancy and breastfeeding, if a patient is concerned about this and considering having children in the not too distant future, I will generally advise them to delay their augmentation. Post pregnancy and breast feeding, we can ensure that all breast changes are taken into account before deciding on the size and type of implant that should be used,” he says.

Image via Mom Junction