Breastfeeding with Implants

Breastfeeding After Augmentation?

an article by Peter Callaghan

To breastfeed, or bottle feed? The benefits of breast milk as well as colostrum, a precursor to breast milk, are significant. Colostrum can begin being produced in women during their second trimester, although it normally begins two to three days after giving birth.

Colostrum is made up of many proteins, is high in calories, and contains immune globulins which help prevent infection to infants that are breastfed. Breast milk is not only sterile, but easy for babies to digest and contains no allergens. While breastfeeding is widely considered the best option for a baby, many women who have breast implants may have a more difficult time with breastfeeding, compared to their non augmented peers.

Some women who have had breast implants have reported difficulty in breastfeeding. According to a study done by Norma Cruz from the Division of Plastic Surgery at the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan, women who breast fed after having saline breast implants had a lower rate of success with breastfeeding than women with hypoplastic (low tissue volume) breasts who had breastfed before having augmentation done.

The subjects in the study were given questionnaires which provided both demographics of the subjects, as well as success rates at breastfeeding. While the subjects in the study were all relatively close in age, the differences in those who reported successful versus unsuccessful breastfeeding were compelling. The success rate of those who breastfed that had no augmentation had a success rate of 88%, while those who had saline implants recorded a success rate of only 63%.

Additional supplementation of milk needed increased by 19% in the same group that had the decreased success rate at breastfeeding. The success rate of those who breastfed after augmentation was decreased by almost 25% compared to the mothers who hadn’t had augmentation at the time of nursing. This study included 212 women, 107 who had saline implants, and 105 women who had not had augmentation at the time of breastfeeding.

However, breastfeeding also has many important benefits for an infant, such as increased proteins, easy digestion, and even protection from infections. Studies show that there is a difference between the success rates of women who breastfeed after breast augmentation and those who breastfeed that have not had augmentation.

While some women who have had augmentation are successful at non-supplemented breastfeeding, the rate of success is considerably lower than that of their peers who have not had surgery. Many women who have had augmentation also show a higher rate of needing to supplement.

The rate of success for augmented women seems to be linked to the type of incision done when they had the breast augmentation surgery, with the periareolar incision approach having the lowest success rate for positive breastfeeding results. Overall, the numbers from different studies seem to suggest that having breast augmentation, along with the type of incision used, both affect the success rate of a woman’s ability to successfully breastfeed.