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Women usually do not think much about the side effects of breast implants while getting the procedure done and later they end up trying to figure out the process of breastfeeding with implants in their breasts. If you are facing quite a similar dilemma, we are here to make things simple for you.
Here is everything you need to know about breastfeeding while having breast implants.
What Are Breast Implants?
To enhance the size and shape of your breasts, experts/doctors inject a saline solution or implant silicones under the chest muscles. This may be done either for cosmetic procedures or reasons such as asymmetrical breasts. Though they do not pose any medical problems, they directly affect the mother's breastfeeding capacity.
Can You Breastfeed While Having Implants?
Contrary to popular belief, it is quite possible to breastfeed your baby while having breast implants. But the milk supply is what is affected by the procedure.
However, it depends on a number of factors such as the type of breast implants or the damaged milk ducts.
Commonly, implants are either saline-filled or silicone. Most mothers are worried about their implants rupturing and seeping in their milk. Research says that saline water mixed with breast milk does not cause any problem if ingested by the baby. Silicone implants are considered to be safe as they do not rupture easily. However, it is important to discuss with your doctor regarding the correct position of the silicone implants although it does not affect the breast milk in any way.
As a matter of fact, most of the women without breast implants also experience problems while breastfeeding due to improper latching and positioning. The diet of the mother also contributes exponentially when it comes to boosting milk supply. Therefore, it is important to educate yourself about all these in order to keep issues at bay.
What Are The Types Of Breast Implants? How Do They Affect Breastfeeding?
There are majorly two types of breast implants - silicone and saline-filled. While both these are safe for breastfeeding, the important factor to consider are the places where the incision is made and the area of the implantation.
Types of incisions
The placement of the incision during the surgery plays a very important role to help you breastfeed. An incision made in the fold of the breast, under the breast or near the armpits is extremely safe as they do not cause any harm to the milk ducts or the nerves. However, incision done near the areolas damage the nerves may directly affect the milk-producing capacity of the breast.
Area of the implantation
Ideally, implants should be placed at the back of the breasts, between the breast tissue and the chest muscles. This does not cause any harm to the delicate milk ducts and sensitive nerves. On the contrary, implants placed anywhere near the areolas can reduce the nipple sensitivity and interfere with the milk supply.
What Problems Do Breastfeeding Mothers Face While Having Implants?
During and after pregnancy, the breasts undergo a lot of changes. It is natural for the breasts to swell and the nipples become more sensitive. If you have implants in your breasts, they may interfere with the natural changes in your breasts and cause a lot of problems.
1) Less nipple sensitivity
This is the major problem your breast implants may give you while breastfeeding. Nipples tend to become less sensitive after implants, which may hugely affect the milk production. If the nipples are not sensitive to the baby's sucking, the milk ducts do not secrete milk. This happens when the nerves near the areolas are damaged due to implants.
2) Breast engorgement
The swelling of breasts during and after pregnancy is natural. However, with implants, this condition aggravates. The implants may put extra pressure on the breast tissue, causing nerve damage.
Mastitis is a common condition during breastfeeding which is caused due to the milk ducts being blocked. This condition is usually accompanied by fever. Although this condition is common in women without breast implants, having implants can put you at more risk of developing the condition. Also, antibiotics which are used to treat the condition may take more time when implants are involved.
Will You Have Enough Milk Supply?
Basically, the milk supply will largely be based on the type of surgery you have chosen to have. But if your surgery is conducted in a proper manner and in no ways affecting the nerves and milk ducts, your milk supply will not be affected.
If you are experiencing problems with your milk supply, it may be due to insensitive areolas. In such cases, you can try to increase your breast milk in by using breast pumps. They will help stimulating your nerves and milk ducts to produce more milk. Though it may be too much of an effort, it will certainly be worth it. Massaging your breast 8-12 times a day will also help your milk supply. There are many ayurvedic foods that you can consume in order to increase your milk flow. Trying to learn the correct technique of latching your baby and the ideal position to breastfeed will also help solve your problem to a great extent.