"Will I be able to breastfeed?" This is one of the most common questions we are asked by prospective breast augmentation patients.
For women considering breast enlargement before they have completed their families, it is naturally a concern that implants could prevent them from being able to feed their babies.
However, a new study shows that they have little need to worry. The study, published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, was carried out in Argentina and involved 100 pregnant women with breast implants, as well as 100 pregnant women with natural breasts. The participants were an equal split of first time mums and women who already had children.
When the women gave birth, they measured their ability to breastfeed (exclusively or partially) after 24 hours, 48 hours and 30 days. A majority of women with silicone gel breast implants were able to successfully establish breastfeeding – 93%.
The figure was only slightly below the group of women without breast implants, who achieved a 99% success rate.
However there are many reasons why a mother may decide to stop breastfeeding or choose to feed a combination of breast milk and formula, which must be taken into consideration when reviewing this study.
Crucially, the study demonstrated no physical impediment to establishing breastfeeding in mothers with implants, for the vast majority of patients. What’s more, the researchers found no difference in the ability to feed between patients whose implants had been inserted via a submammary (under the breast) or areolar (around the nipple) incision.
Although this will ensure your chances of being able to successfully breastfeed are not impaired, it is still advisable to wait 12 to 18 months before becoming pregnant following a breast enlargement. This allows for healing of scars and breast tissue and the full return of nipple sensitivity.