Can you breastfeed with implants?
Breastfeeding with implants
You may be encouraged to know that many mothers with breast implants have successfully breastfed their babies. The amount of milk made can vary from person to person.
Some women produce a full supply, others a little bit less than that, and some a lot less than that, so it is quite variable.
Know that every drop of breast milk is good for your baby, and also that you can boost your milk supply by using a few strategies.
Breastfeeding is also so much more than just the milk itself. It’s also about building a relationship with your baby.
Even if, despite all your efforts to increase supply, your body is making less than your baby needs, it is still possible to feed your baby at the breast using a device called a nursing supplementer.
This device will enable a supplement (donor breast milk or formula) to be given to your baby alongside your own milk, with all feeding done at the breast.
Some women may not produce a full supply because of breast implants.
One of the reasons can be because there may not have been enough glandular tissue within the breast initially, even before surgery, possibly being the reason why you considered having breast implants in the first place.
Glandular tissue is essential for making milk.
Another factor that may impact on achieving a full supply can be the way the breast implant surgery was performed.
If the surgeon cut around the areola area and cut into some ducts or nerves, this could impact on achieving a full supply by potentially affecting the let-down of milk.
A third factor to consider if you’ve had breast implant surgery is where in the breast, the implant is.
If it is above the pectoral muscles, this can sometimes put pressure on the milk-making tissues and affect supply.
In this situation, the breast implant could potentially inhibit the growth of the milk-making tissue in the breast, and put pressure on the milk ducts, preventing milk from coming out of the breast, and therefore preventing your breast emptying efficiently.
Also, if your implant is above the pectoral muscle, you may experience more engorgement than some other mothers.
In that case, please check the information regarding how to treat engorgement quickly.
If, however, your breast implant has been placed beneath the pectoral muscles, you’re far less likely to experience these things.
However, even if you have several factors against you, e.g., you have had augmentation surgery with an incision made near the areola, and the implant is above the pectoral muscle, it’s still possible to produce a full supply and not experience any problems.
The most important thing is to work hard at establishing your supply and seek skilled lactation support if needed – there is always a way to go forward!
Review dates, references & further resources
Version 1.1 published in March 2019. Next review date: Jan 2022
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