Can I Breast Feed My Child After Surgery?
Are you concerned about not being able to breastfeed in future after undergoing breast augmentation surgery? Well, good news is, it is still possible to breastfeed! However, there are a few important factors that will affect your breastfeeding success.
Type of incisions made:
The type of incisions made will determine the degree of damage to milk glands, ducts, nerves or blood supply. Milk ducts and nerves, channeling from various lobes/ sections in the breast, are gathered at the areola. Breast implants inserted through the inframammary (breast fold) or transaxillary incision (underarm) will not likely affect the milk ducts/ nerves, therefore will not interfere with the transport of milk for breastfeeding. However, if the implant was inserted through the periareolar incision (around nipple), it’s likely that the milk ducts and nerves were cut, and thus breastfeeding might not be possible.
Sensation in the nipples:
Nerves in the areola are responsible for signalling the brain to release hormones that helps produce milk. If you still have feelings in the nipples after the breast augmentation surgery, it’s a good sign that your nerves are still working and you will have a better chance of having a full milk supply. However, surgery performed with the periareolar incision could result in the loss of sensation in the nipples, thus interfering with the milk supply.
Placement of implants:
The placement of implant will affect the pressure within the breast. If you wish to breastfeed in the future, it is better to place the breast implants under the breast muscle to keep the milk duct intact. Implants located between the glandular tissue and the chest muscle can exert more pressure on the milk ducts and interfere with milk production. Getting the surgery done by a reputable surgeon will also reduce the risk of damaging the milk ducts or nerves, and ensure that the women’s milk supply will not be affected.
Amount of glandular tissue present before and after surgery:
The amount of glandular tissue present in your breast will determine the amount of milk you are able to produce when nursing your child. Women getting implants for cosmetic reasons have a good chance of breast feeding. However, women who get implants due to abnormal breast development may have insufficient glandular tissue for milk production. In such cases, the glandular tissue may have never developed and it is more likely to occur in women with widely spaced, tubular or asymmetrical breasts.
Post surgery scar tissue formation
Another factor to consider is the possibility of breast engorgement/ infection due to scar tissue formation. Scar tissue formed around implants may cause tightness, distortion and pain in the breast, which could affect the women’s breastfeeding experience too. Pressure may be built up in the breast and if the milk can’t drain freely from the breast, women with implants may be more prone to excessive engorgement and mastitis.
Consult your doctor
It is important to inform your doctor that you wish to breastfeed after the augmentation surgery. Your doctor will advise you on which technique and type of surgery will give you the best opportunity to breastfeed. The doctor will also be more careful not to damage the nerves and milk duct when performing the surgery.
Tips to breastfeed with Implants
If you already have implants and you wish to breastfeed, you should take extra care to get breastfeeding off to a good start so that your milk supply can be maximized. An IBC lactation consultant will be very helpful in providing you with support to successfully breastfeed once your baby arrives. She may provide you with methods to increase your milk production from the very beginning and manage any pain you might experience. During the first few weeks, it is important to breastfeed a lot so that your body will get the to produce more milk. Meanwhile, if your breast milk has not come within 5 days of giving birth or you experience nipple pain while breast feeding please seek help from your doctor.