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Jenny Eden: This is a guest post by my friend Sara who is a Certified Lactation Counselor and also just so happens to have breast implants. 🙂
On the morning of my breast augmentation, I remember quickly asking my surgeon, “So, will I be able to breastfeed one day?” He answered by saying something like “most likely” and I dismissed the topic altogether.
It was probably just a question my mother had told me to ask. Breastfeeding was a subject that my eighteen-year-old self didn’t care very much for.
A little over a decade later, breastfeeding is something that I care a lot about. Enough that I’ve chosen a career focused on it.
Women who choose to nurse their baby often place a lot of self-value in their success with breastfeeding, so let me start by saying this…
Most nursing mom’s experience challenges while breastfeeding, whether they have implants or not.
The human race has managed to survive despite those challenges, so breathe easy. You and your baby are going to survive this one.
In short, “most likely” was a pretty accurate answer from my surgeon about a woman’s chances of being able to breastfeed after an augmentation. But let’s dig in a little more.
How Incisions Affect Breastfeeding
Getting your incision around the outside of your areola (periareolar) is most significantly associated with lactation insufficiency. When the incision around the areola is made, the lactoferous ducts may be severed, preventing the milk from being able to reach the nipple.
In the event that this was your place of incision, give breastfeeding a good college try! Milk ducts can repair themselves, just like nerves, muscle and skin. Just be sure to keep yourself open to other forms of feeding.
The most important rule about feeding your baby is to feed your baby.
Crease (Inframammary), armpit (axillary) and belly button (periumbilical) incisions are less likely to cause damage to the nerves and ducts used during breastfeeding.
I had an imframammary incision and was able to breastfeed successfully for several months. One challenge I faced, was clogged milk ducts located near my armpit. It seemed that the milk moving from those ducts had a hard time making its way around my implants. Using warm compresses while in a forward leaning position offered a lot of relief.
Tips for Successfully Breastfeeding with Implants
- Avoid wearing tight bras which could decrease milk supply. Try using a tank with built in cups to eliminate pressure around your breasts. Or you could just set those girls free!
- Surround yourself with wise counsel. Whether its a lactation professional, a grandma who breastfed a few babies, or a friend/partner who knows how to comfort you, create for yourself a supportive village.
- Be sure to notify your baby’s pediatric care provider of your breast augmentation so that they can monitor your baby’s growth closely.
- Go with the flow! Keep your expectations light and give it your best shot.
That last one, you can actually just apply to everything about motherhood 🙂