Silicon boobs, hungry baby?
Will your new boobs get in the way of breastfeeding?
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons there were nearly 300,000 breast augmentation surgeries in 2010, which is a 39 percent increase over the last ten years. There were also almost 22,000 breast implant removals for a nine percent increase over the past year, while other cosmetic surgeries have been declining.

Experts such as say breast augmentation carries risks like other surgeries. And for women who have had breast surgery before getting pregnant, questions and concerns about the possible effects of breast implants on their ability to breast feed a baby is the biggest issue that must be answered.

How does milk production work?

Within the breast, or mammary gland, milk ducts produce milk after the baby’s birth, and these carry the milk down to the Nipple Areola Complex. A rich nerve supply provides sensation to this area allowing the milk to be released out of breast. This is called let down-reflex. Let down may be experienced when infants start to suck and swallow, and milk starts to drip from the opposite breast; a full sensation in breasts happens after the first week of nursing, cramping of the uterus and a thirsty feeling are experienced.

What factors matter?

The two main factors that can affect milk supply and production when a woman has undergone breast implant surgery are the location of the incision, and the placement of the implant.

Incisions in the areola and placement of an implant under the milk ducts, rather than under the chest muscles, cause the most problems with a woman’s ability to nurse. Another thing to consider is the size of the implant. Larger implants are more likely to compress the milk ducts and impede the flow of milk. Placement of the implant under the chest muscle creates fewer problems with breast feeding. Study data do not seem to show any difference between silicone and saline implants on the ability to breastfeed successfully and even though there were health concerns about silicone in the past, there is no evidence that the newer silicone implants present any kind of danger to a nursing infant.

Any surgery can have an effect.

Several studies have shown, however, that any kind of breast surgery can create problems with breast feeding.

In a study conducted at the University Of Colorado School Of Medicine, women who had breast surgery were found to be three times more likely to have problems breastfeeding than those who did not have breast surgery, and women who had breast surgery through an incision in the nipple area were five times more likely to have insufficient milk. Any woman who plans on nursing her children needs to keep this in mind and might want to wait until she is done having babies to get her breast augmentation done.

One place not to compromise.

Possibly the most important consideration for a woman who is planning breast implant surgery, whether she wants to breastfeed or not, is considering only board certified plastic surgeons to provide her best chance of a successful outcome. Board-certified plastic surgeons have the most extensive training and skills to protect a woman’s ability to breastfeed children after breast augmentation surgery, and are best qualified to accomplish the appearance she is hoping for with the fewest possible complications.

If a breast surgery is done before a woman gets pregnant, and she experiences low milk production, she must also seek for advice from a board-certified lactation consultant who can provide her the best advice. Some first time mommies experience difficulties in breastfeeding, which is very normal. Breast tissue grows with each pregnancy, so expect an easier breastfeeding experience on your 2nd time. Other factors that cause low milk production should also be a question mothers should raise to their lactation consultants.

Why not share your experiences below, or ask our experts for more information.

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