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Breastfeeding With Breast Implants – Can It Be Done?

While breastfeeding is natural and the best choice for babies, there are some conditions and situations where it may be difficult for a woman to nurse her child. One such circumstance is having surgery such as breast augmentation. But certainly any type of surgery that involves the breasts may affect a woman’s ability to breastfeed.

From what I have gathered, having breast implants does not automatically mean a woman cannot breastfeed, though some may think that is the case. The tricky part about nursing is that you don’t really know if you can do it until after you give birth and try it. And that’s the case for all of us, breast surgery or not!

A lot of it depends on how the surgery was performed and whether or not any milk ducts or nerves were severed. This is more likely to be the case if the incision is close to the areola. If the milk ducts are in tact, but some of the nerves are damaged, you may still be able to partially breastfeed and supplement by pumping, milk banks, or formula. The nerves are key to the supply and demand process that the body puts into action when it feels the baby suckling.

Women who’ve had breast implants put in may find that their nipples don’t have the same sensitivity as they did before. The might be extra sensitive or less sensitive. When milk come in, they may experience greater engorgement issues and pain. If they enhanced their bust due to having underdeveloped breasts they may not be able to produce enough milk to nurse full-time.

Then comes the issue of safety: is the silicone implant safe for baby? Most say yes, that silicone implants are compatible with breastfeeding because they do not leak into the milk. Again, it’s more about how the surgery was conducted. Be sure your doctor knows though, so together both of you can monitor how the baby is doing. Know what to look for (wet/soiled diapers, growth, etc.) to ensure the baby is receiving an adequate amount of food.

So, yes, breastfeeding with implants can be done. The issue lies more with the surgery itself rather than the implants. However, if you want to nurse your children you may want to delay having surgery until after you are done breastfeeding.

Have you or someone you know dealt with this?

Cynthia Brooks

Wednesday 14th of March 2012

Very interesting to know. I will never forget breastfeeding my babies. I have 3 daughters and I breastfed my 1st for about a week and no longer than 2 weeks. And my last 2 kids for about 13-16 months old. With my second I had supply issues and supplemented with formula. With my 3rd I drank a lot of infused teas and herbs and made it through without formula, but I always felt bad that my breasts struggled to make not enough or just barely enough. It was tough to take especially when all I had ever read said almost any mother could breastfeed. I guess it depends on the milk ducts and the ability to produce enough prolactin. I always thought something must have been wrong with my prolactin levels due to a messed up pituitary gland but I did not have a great doctor who wanted to do any testing so I just did the best I could. Now, a mother with breast implants I never thought whether it could complicate things but I suppose it could go either way.

Arlene Whitfield

Friday 18th of November 2011

I breastfed my three kiddos and I had a breast augmentation at 21. They are behind the muscle and inserted through my armpit. Breastfeeding was very easy and went smoothly. The only thing was I couldn't produce enough milk after my kids turned 4 months. Great post!! :))


Saturday 15th of October 2011

Very interesting. I always thought that a woman could not ever breastfeed with implants--always thought the milk ducts would get squeezed and no milk could be produced.

Janet W.

Friday 14th of October 2011

My daughter has a friend that has implants and she successfully fed both of her babies. It can be done!

Ina Mae O'Connor

Friday 14th of October 2011

Thank you for the important article. I think an important thing to remember is that nursing your baby is more than a way of feeding the baby, it is a relationship. Some mothers supplement at the breast with an SNS or Lactaid device if they cannot completely feed their baby with breast milk. Frequently, the ducts regrow and a mother has more milk with each subsequent pregnancy.


Friday 14th of October 2011

Yes, it is definitely more than just feeding! The bonding is a huge part and I think that's why a lot of us are concerned about NOT being able to. And as you mentioned that ducts may regrow - I think this is another reason why the answer I keep finding is "you'll know if you can when you try to do it." Our bodies are just amazing :)