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Will Breast Augmentation Affect Breastfeeding? Here's What To Know Before Surgery

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Breastfeeding is a tricky business, and can be affected by many different variables. Inverted nipples, stress, a baby's lip or tongue tie; it can all, potentially, impact how breastfeeding is experienced by both the mother and the baby. So why not consider another potential variable into the mix, right? Will breast augmentation affect breastfeeding? Turns out, there are a few things you should know before scheduling that consultation or heading into surgery.

According to BabyCenter, if your breasts have been augmented you, most likely, can go on to breastfeed (if you choose to do so, of course.) Breast augmentation can affect nursing, but it doesn't always inhibit the overall experience. Some women who have had breast augmentation, like saline or silicone implants, can still breastfeed successfully, and others have varying degrees of difficulty with the process. Drugs.com explains the range of problems that can be caused by breast augmentation, "Nerves, milk ducts, and milk glands can be damaged during implant surgery. Injured nerves can decrease the feeling in your nipple area. This may reduce your let-down response."

But BabyCenter offers reassurance that most breast enlargement surgeries won't interfere with breastfeeding, reporting the following:

"It depends on the kind of surgery you had, but most approaches are compatible with breastfeeding. Incisions made under the fold of the breast or through the armpit shouldn't cause any trouble. A 'smile' incision around the areola increases your risk of having breastfeeding problems."

If you are considering breast augmentation surgery, but want to be able to breastfeed, it's important that you talk to your surgeon. Changes can be made to the type of incision or surgical process you undergo to preserve your ability to breastfeed. Drugs.com explains, reporting the following:

"The area where your implants are placed may also affect your ability to breastfeed. Breast implants can be placed in between your breast tissue and chest muscle. They also can be placed under the chest muscle to prevent damage to milk ducts and nerves. Implants placed under the chest muscle will not cause silicone to go into your breast milk."

These are options you'll want to discuss with your doctor before deciding to undergo surgery (if breastfeeding in the future is important to you).

What impacts can breast augmentation cause with breastfeeding? Well, when your milk comes in, you might experience "exaggerated breast engorgement," according to BabyCenter, and you might also experience more severe symptoms of mastitis, including severe fever and chills. In some instances, you might not be able to produce enough milk and will have to supplement with formula or donor breast milk.

The tricky part about breast augmentation is that you won't know how your breastfeeding abilities will be affected until you try to nurse. BabyCenter explains that if you have most or full feeling in your nipples, you will be more likely to experience full milk production. But because breastfeeding can be affected by breast augmentation, the site recommends waiting until you have weaned your last child to undergo surgery, if at all possible.

You might have read that silicone implants can allow your baby to imbibe silicone along with breast milk, but What to Expect explains that this shouldn't be a concern for women who are breastfeeding after getting implants, reporting the following:

"In the unlikely event that your breast implants contain silicone, there’s no risk to your baby if you breastfeed. In fact, cow’s milk and formula actually contain more of the element silicon than breast milk from moms with implants."

This should be reassuring to those with silicone implants who still wish to breastfeed. What to Expect also points out that the underlying reason behind having breast augmentation can dictate whether breastfeeding is successful or not. Breast augmentation for cosmetic reasons can mean that breastfeeding is possible, whereas breast augmentation because breast tissue never developed can mean there might be more problems with breastfeeding.

If you simply added an implant to otherwise functioning breasts, breastfeeding may not be affect at all. However, if you never had functioning breast tissue before your implants, you'll need to speak to your doctor about whether breastfeeding in the future will be possible for you.

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