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Potential Effects Of Breast Augmentation On Breastfeeding

A photo of a mother breastfeeding her newborn

When women become mothers, it is only natural for for many of them to want to breastfeed their babies. It is known to be the healthiest nutrition possible for a growing infant and is one of the best ways to bond with a baby. However, they may be concerned that they are unable to do so due to having breast augmentation surgery earlier in their life.

A digram showing where a breast implant is placed under the breast tissueThe reality is that in the vast majority of cases, breast implants should not prevent you from being able to breastfeed your newborn. On the contrary, there can be some differences in the breastfeeding if you have implants. For example, it may be slightly more painful in the beginning due to an increase in sensitivity of the nipples. This should decrease with time and you and your baby will get used to the process. The opposite can be true as well, where there is reduced sensitivity, which can lead to not realizing that the baby is not latching on correctly. Overtime, you will be able to realize any issues as they become prevalent and correct them as you go along. It will definitely be a learning process.

One potential side effect of having a breast augmentation and producing milk is that you may experience engorgement that is more extreme than those that had not had the surgery. This is simply due to the fact that there is less space under the skin of the breast, thus there is less room for expansion of it when the milk is discharged. Some find this to be extremely uncomfortable, while others have little to no complaint. Unfortunately, there is a higher chance of infection due to this. Due to the reduced space and pressure, it is more likely for your ducts to become clogged. This can lead to a condition known as Mastitis.

Thankfully, there are a number of things you can do to prevent your risk of developing Mastitis.

A digram that shows what happens to a women's breast if she gets infected with mastits

Keep your nipple area clean and moisturized.

Bacteria can build up easily if nursing pads are left on too long, and if there are cracks in the skin it only exasperates the problem. Changing nursing pads frequently is critical to reducing your risk of infection. If you do notice cracks in the skin of the nipple you should use an ointment that is specifically designed to address that problem, such as lanolin.

Take hot showers daily!

It’s incredible what something as simple as taking a hot shower can do. “Massaging your breasts under the hot water will increase the blood flow to the breast. This keeps everything moving smoothly through the ducts and can help with the problem of feeling over engorged,” says board certified plastic surgeon Otto Placik, M.D.

Pump after your baby is finished eating.

Pumping after the baby is done eating is great as it ensures there isn’t any milk left behind that could harden inside the breast. This also keeps everything moving smoothly through the breast.

If you feel that you have Mastitis, contact your physician immediately!

In many cases you will need an antibiotic to safely treat the infection. Follow your doctor’s instructions completely, as it can help to relieve the pain quickly. Most doctors will likely recommend that you continue to breastfeed or pump so that you do not have to give up entirely, but that will depend on a number of factors. Using a hot compress on the area can also help to reduce pain and inflammation while promoting the duct to unclog naturally. It is critical that you follow all instructions from you doctor, however, as they may differ.

One of the main factors of whether or not you will be able to breastfeed will depend on the expertise of the doctor that performed your surgery. Most surgeries are done as to not interrupt any ducts in the breast, but not all. For many women it is not clear if they will definitely be able to breastfeed until they try, but it should be noted that most women are in that situation, even if they did not have surgery. If you are very concerned about this you can ask your physician for more information based on the type of surgery that you originally had.

If you are wondering if the breast augmentation you had will affect breastfeeding it is important to know that you are not alone. There are many support groups available online and in the community that can help you to deal with any implications that might arise and help you along the way. Whatever your personal outcome might be, you should also remember that there are many women that can not breastfeed for a number of natural reasons and it will work out in the end. Just be patient and forgiving with yourself when learning so that you can have the best possible bonding experience with your baby in those wonderful early months.