Younger women who are thinking about undergoing a breast enhancement are often concerned that having implants will one day get in the way of breastfeeding. At Soler Cosmetic Plastic Surgery in Tampa, FL, Dr. Pedro M. Soler can perform a breast augmentation that will in no way affect a woman’s ability to safely breastfeed a baby.
What You Need To Know About Breast Enhancement and Breast Feeding
Women are often surprised to learn that having breast implants in no way interferes with lactation or the ability to successfully breastfeed an infant. This is because the implants are placed between the chest wall and the pectoral muscle, and do not come into contact with the breast ducts or mammary glands that produce milk.
Although it is less common, in some surgeries the doctor will place the implants over the pectoral muscle. This still should not interfere with mammary gland production, but if this is a concern, you can discuss with your doctor during the consultation exactly how you wish the implants to be placed, and what your incision options are.
Lactation Trouble Not Linked to Implants
While it has been established that implants do not come into contact with the mammary glands and should have no impact at all on milk production, there are some women with implants who are disappointed to find that they have trouble breastfeeding. However, the reason for this has nothing to do with the implants themselves.
If a woman was very flat chested prior to having a breast augmentation, it is possible that she might have had difficulty with breast feeding whether she had surgery or not. Successful breast feeding does require a certain amount of natural breast tissue. Other women may have enough breast tissue but are genetically pre-disposed to low milk production.
How the Mammary Glands Work
The glands that produce milk are located in the breast tissue close to the surface of the breasts. When an implant is inserted, it does not come into contact with these glands at all. Even in the case of a breast reduction, where some glandular tissue is removed, there should still be plenty of breast tissue left to allow for milk production.
If You Have a Concern About Lactation
While the presence of implants neither helps nor hinders breast feeding, if you have very little natural breast tissue you might wish to take some extra steps to ensure adequate milk production. Working with a lactation consultant and taking natural supplements that are known to improve lactation can be helpful. There is also prescription medication on the market that your OBGYN might recommend to boost lactation.
Timing of Pregnancy and Surgery
While there is no rule against becoming pregnant right after breast surgery, it does stand to reason that one must allow several months for the healing process to take place. Ideally, a woman should wait 3 to 6 months after surgery to get pregnant.
Some women find it more practical to wait until after pregnancy to have their procedure done, since pregnancy and breast feeding can sometimes change the shape of the breasts. Whatever you decide, you can rest assured that this surgery will not interfere with lactation.
Waiting Until After Childbirth To Have Surgery
Although undergoing breast surgery in no way affects the ability to breast feed, many women do prefer to wait until they are done with childbirth and nursing to undergo this procedure. This allows the mother to get a better sense of how her body has been affected by childbirth, and then take the necessary steps to fix what is bothering her.
Mothers sometimes find that they want breast surgery alone, or may decide to schedule a full “mommy makeover” that includes a combination of procedures to address different problem areas. Ideally, to maximize the effects of a surgical makeover and to make the results last longer, it is a good idea to wait until you are completely done having children before scheduling this type of multi-step procedure.
The “Mommy Makeover”
This is a term used to describe several procedures that can be scheduled at the same time to help a woman return to her pre-pregnancy figure (or better!). An inevitable effect of bringing a child into the world is that it causes numerous changes in a woman’s body – some of them are reversible with diet and exercise, but some are not.
Breastfeeding can also cause the breasts to stretch out or change shape, leaving some women feeling that their breasts look nothing like they did before having children. A Mommy Makeover may include a breast augmentation and/or lift, liposuction, a tummy tuck, and a Brazilian butt lift. If you are finished breast feeding and are thinking about undergoing a more dramatic makeover, your doctor can help you decide if surgery might be right for you.
Special Considerations for New Mothers
The childbearing process is very hard on the body, and the period of breastfeeding and infant care that follows can be exhausting. This is why we always recommend not rushing into surgery too soon after childbirth. If you do decide to wait to have surgery until after you have had a baby, it is important to give your body plenty of time to heal. It is also a good idea to wait to see what bounces back, and what does not!
In the case of breast feeding, we recommend that a mother does not schedule any type of breast surgery until she is certain that she will not be breast feeding again in the near future. This is because she must allow for the post-surgery healing process to take place. While a woman will likely feel fine within a couple of weeks post surgery, it can take several months for the breasts to heal and settle completely.
Having More Children Later
Sometimes mothers go through a full Mommy Makeover and later decide that they are not done having children after all! There is of course no rule against this, and women are always free to schedule additional tweaks down the road if they feel it is necessary. Many women find that with careful diet and exercise post-surgery, they are able to maintain their figure for many years, even after having more children.
In terms of the ability to breastfeed, there is no procedure or combination of procedures (breast augmentation or otherwise) that can get in the way of a mother’s ability to successfully nurse children. We only ask that a woman be fully healed from her surgery before she attempts to breast feed again.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Breast Augmentation?
Adult women of any age (that is, 18 years of age or older), who are in good health should be able to take advantage of this type of procedure. However, if you have ongoing health issues, are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, or are currently breast feeding, you will have to wait to have breast surgery.
We also discourage smokers from having breast augmentation and other cosmetic surgeries performed, because surgery of any kind is always more potentially dangerous for smokers. If you are serious about having cosmetic surgery, we strongly suggest that you quit smoking.
The Consultation Process
If you aren’t sure if you are a good candidate for breast implants, this can be discussed during the initial consultation. This is a good opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have, and to share any concerns about your health or medical status.
If you are planning to become pregnant in the near future, or if you have any concerns about your ability to breast feed after surgery, this should be discussed with the doctor. Unless there are truly extenuating health circumstances, the doctor will be able to put your mind at ease about any related concerns that you may have.
Is It Safe To Have Breast Implants?
Breast implants are thoroughly studied, FDA-approved medical devices. They are considered safe for most women with a low risk of adverse effects. Breast augmentation remains one of the most common forms of cosmetic surgery performed today. No matter what stage of life you might be at, having breast implants should be a safe choice for most women.
Finding the Most Skilled Plastic Surgeon in Tampa, FL
If you are thinking about undergoing breast surgery or wish to learn more about any other type of cosmetic surgical enhancement, contact us today at Soler Cosmetic Plastic Surgery in Tampa, FL. Dr. Pedro M. Soler has expertly performed hundreds of breast augmentation procedures with beautiful results.