In 2010, over 318,000 women had breast augmentation surgery.
This is the most popular procedure that can provide women with a heightened self-esteem and can allow them to feel less self-conscious about their bodies. However, the question if a woman who gets pregnant after having breast surgery can successfully breastfeed is the biggest issue for women.
The good news is that in many cases, you can. The best plastic surgeons and ICBLC or International board certified lactation consultants will be able to put your mind at ease and provide facts about breast augmentation and breastfeeding.
How Does Milk Production Work?
In the day immediately following your baby's birth, your breasts will automatically produce colostrum first, then milk. This production is caused by hormonal changes and, barring special circumstances, that occurs in postnatal stage. After several days, milk production is determined by what is called supply and demand. The more frequently your baby nurses, the more your milk glands will be stimulated, and the more milk you will produce. If the milk glands are not stimulated, your supply will decrease. For example, if you begin to give your baby a bottle of expressed milk or baby formula in the middle of the night and are not pumping during that time, within several days, your body will stop producing a large amount of milk during that time. Likewise, if you decide not to nurse your baby, your breasts will stop making milk within a short period of time. After breast surgery, though, you may not have the same experience of increased demand causing increased milk production.
What Do Studies Say?
Dr. Marianne Neifert and colleagues at the University of Colorado School of Medicine have found that after breast surgery, women may be three times more likely to experience a decreased milk supply (lactation insufficiency). If your incision is in the area around your nipple, you are even more likely to have problems with milk production. Similarly, Nancy Hurst, RN, MSN, from Texas Children's Hospital, found that about two-thirds of women with breast implants have trouble with milk production. In the general population, approximately 7 percent of women have insufficient milk production. Read both reports.
There are a few other considerations to keep in mind. First, having breast implants may deter some women from even trying to breastfeed. One reason might be that these women are afraid of having troubles from nursing, or may have been told that they would be unable to nurse after breast surgery. Others may be wary of their breasts having a saggy or stretched out appearance after nursing.
According to the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, though, breastfeeding has not been shown to make the breasts saggy any more than pregnancy or the natural result of aging.
Where Should I Go For Help?
Before you deliver your baby, you can see a lactation consultant for help. Lactation consultants are experts in breastfeeding, and many hospitals and birth centers employ them. Ask your obstetrician for a recommendation, as surely he or she knows who are International board certified lactation consultants in your area are the best. Also, if you are considering breast implants, talk to your surgeon before you have the surgery. The best plastic surgeons will talk to you about all of the issues pertaining to your decision to pursue breast augmentation surgery.
If it is determined that you are not able to exclusively breastfeed your baby, talk to his pediatrician about what type of baby formula to use as a supplement. If you can nurse even a little bit, you will be providing your baby with the best start in life.
There are many issues to consider when deciding if breast surgery is the right decision for you. Thinking ahead to the future is an important part of making this decision. If you are still in your childbearing years, talk to trusted and board certified consultants to see if your surgery would likely impact your ability to breastfeed your baby.