Many women breastfeed their children to provide them with the nutritional and disease-fighting benefits of breast milk. But if you have or are thinking about getting breast implants, you may be concerned about how they'll affect the ability to breastfeed. Will you be able to breastfeed? Will your milk supply decrease? Will your baby be affected by the silicon in some implants?

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Things To Consider

Fortunately, most women with implants—whether silicone or saline—can still breastfeed their children. Experts say that while many women with implants are afraid they won't produce enough milk or will leak silicon into their breast milk, their fears are unfounded. Still, you should consider the following points before scheduling breast augmentation pre-pregnancy:

  • Location, location, location: It matters where the implant is. You may choose to have your implants inserted through an incision in the nipple because scarring is less noticeable there, but this could inhibit your ability to breastfeed. The incision may cut the milk ducts, found in the nipple area. To avoid this, have the implants placed under the breast crease or behind the muscle of the chest wall.
  • Amount of pressure: If the implants place too much pressure on the mammory glands, they may not function properly, causing the body to produce less milk.
  • Post-mastectomy implants: According to the FDA, women who receive breast implants after mastectomies sometimes experience more touble breastfeeding; due to loss of breast tissue and mammary glands, it is often difficult—or even impossible—to breastfeed with the breast that was formerly removed.
  • Supplements: You may need to supplement breastfeeding with formula. A study conducted by the University of Puerto Rico's School of Medicine found that women with certain breast implants sometimes had to add to their breastfeeding routine with bottle feedings.

Implants And The Health Of Your Baby

Many women also worry about the effect their implants will have on their babies' health. But there is no risk of silicon leaking from the implants into your breast milk, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. In fact, silicon levels may actually be higher in store-bought formula than in breast milk from women with implants. A study by the Division of Plastic Surgery at Women's College Hospital in Toronto found that women with implants did not have significantly higher levels of silicon in their breast milk, and that silicon levels were much higher in infant formula.

The Choice Is (Still) Yours

Choosing whether or not to breastfeed is an important decision every new mother must make. But if you have implants, it may be more difficult to make this decision. Fortunately, most women with implants can still breastfeed their babies with little to no risk. If you have implants, be sure to discuss your plans with your healthcare provider to give you and your baby the most out of the breastfeeding experience.  

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