In short, the answer is usually yes. Dependent on the procedure you had, whether there was scarring to the milk ducts and the amount of glandular tissue left after surgery, your ability to produce milk can vary.
How Do Implants Effect Breastfeeding?
If an incision is made near the edge of the nipple or areola, the nerve that triggers the neuro-hormonal reflex that helps create and release milk may be cut, halting the process.
If the incision is made under the breast or arm pit, the glandular tissue and nerves remain intact, so milk supply should still be plentiful.
Though rare, a tummy button incision can cause damage to breast tissue when implants are positioned.
Where implants are placed can cause issues too. If the implants are located beneath the muscle layer of the breasts, then milk production will be impacted less than those found between the glandular tissue and muscle layer.
Scars can expand to the milk ducts, effecting milk supply. Worse, if the milk can’t reach your baby, you could experience engorgement and mastitis. Fever, chills and pain are not uncommon either.
Implant surgery can cause women to experience discomfort, pain and sensitivity across the breast region. In this case, though you may be able to produce milk, you could find breastfeeding too difficult.
Can Damage to Glands and Nerves Heal?
Fortunately, yes. Glands and ducts can reconnect themselves after surgery and nerves tend to repair themselves over time. During pregnancy and times of breastfeeding, glandular tissue will also grow, aiding any loss.
Is Breastfeeding with Implants Safe?
There is no substantial proof either way to justify a yes or no. For example, it’s currently unknown whether silicone ingested through breast milk could cause any serious harm, though many researchers think it unlikely. It could however cause breast inflammation.
What to do if you do experience issues?
- Get advice and support from an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant), a peer supporter or breastfeeding counsellor.
- Try milk-producing remedies, such as nettle, goat’s rue, fennel and fenugreek.
- In severe cases, you may be prescribed drugs. As with natural remedies, take note of the side effects, such as depression.
- A breast pump can help with stimulation.
Though implants can alter how well you produce milk, there are ways to correct issues ensuring your baby stays hydrated and gains necessary antibodies to keep them well.