Will Breastfeeding Ruin My Implants?

Kids involve sacrifice. Of all kinds. There’s just no way around that. Your breasts are going to be one of those things. Even if you choose not to breastfeed. You won’t have any control over how your body grows and swells during pregnancy. Especially as your body prepares on its own to nourish that new life inside of you. But if you have implants, you have to wonder, will breastfeeding ruin my implants?

I hate to break this to you…

The most common reason why women experience sagging isn’t because of breastfeeding, but rather due to pregnancy. There are changes in the breasts due to varying hormone production that cause the breast to first engorge and then to rapidly deflate, which is what causes sagging, and loose or wrinkled skin.

It’s not the production of milk or the child at your breast that causes these deplorable changes. (I’ve heard women describe post-pregnancy breasts as “pancakes” or “socks with oranges in them.” One woman showed me how she could actually roll up her breast like a burrito).

If you are already pregnant and you have implants….what is going to happen to your breasts will happen regardless of whether you breastfeed or not.

What will breastfeeding actually do to my implant?

Most women have concerns about how their breasts will look after pregnancy. Women who have implants may obviously and understandably even more concerned about the appearance of their breasts (given that they got implants in the first place). After all, implants aren’t cheap, and in most cases, aren’t covered by insurance.

Due to how and where breast implants are placed in the breast, they will not interfere with a woman’s ability to breastfeed, but also won’t be damaged or ruined when breastfeeding.

In most cases, the implant is placed underneath the breast tissue and also underneath the muscle wall. The implant itself is protected by your muscle tissue, and is also underneath the breast tissue. The areas of the breast that produce milk on generally on top of the plant. Everything that needs to be done by the breast tissue can be done whether there is an implant in there or not.

During nursing, the child won’t be able to bite, burst, or do anything else harmful to the implant.

So breastfeeding won’t actually DO anything to your implant. It’ll just be there, doing its thing, while the breast tissue around it does it’s own thing.

Does that mean my breast shape won’t change?

We aren’t saying that at all. The body can change dramatically during pregnancy. Theoretically, the implant is placed firmly, and shouldn’t move much. However, there are some types of implants that may drop or fall after pregnancy. This may be caused by the changes in the skin or in the breast tissue.

Subpectoral implants are placed under the muscle in the chest and are held up by the muscles, so any tissue changes in the breast shouldn’t affect them. Subglandular implants are above the muscle and rely on support from the muscle, which means that they can fall after pregnancy, but again, not because of breastfeeding.

Either way, the skin of the breast is going to be different. It will have stretched. The nipple may no longer sit in the same spot on the implant. In extreme cases, the breast may look strange as the implant continues to sit up high, but the remainder of the breast has fallen.

It is not uncommon for women who are self-conscious about the appearance of their breasts to undergo subsequent procedures after they are done with child-bearing.

It should be noted that even without having children, time can also have a negative impact upon breast tissue. Breast implants are not a “forever perfect” procedure. Long term, women who get implants often seek additional procedures to keep them looking great.

To breastfeed, or not?

Studies show that women who have implants and want to breastfeed shouldn’t let the worry of the appearance of their breasts hold them back, as breastfeeding itself won’t cause any additional sagging.

After all, its all the fault of the pregnancy.

And we aren’t going to go back and undo that.

Weight loss can also be a problem for your implants

Even if you don’t breastfeed, losing weight dramatically after the birth of your child can impact the look of your implants. Your breasts may droop or lose some of their fullness because there is less tissue in the breast overall. Not the fault of the implant, it is just life.

Thinking about getting implants

If you don’t have implants yet, and you are debating getting them before or after a pregnancy, you should consult with a surgeon about his or her opinion on when to get the procedure.

Ask them questions about the procedure, and ask for before and after examples (including photographs), specifically of women who got implants before/after pregnancy. Seeing what the breasts looked like with implants after a pregnancy may influence your decision to wait to have implants, or to go ahead anyway, as the impact upon the shape turned out to be less than you worried.

Regardless, it is likely that the doctor will have some strong opinions about whether you should get implants before or after pregnancy, or they will have some real-world data on what you can expect for your breasts after a pregnancy with implants.

But as in anything, consider getting a second opinion before moving forward with a procedure, as many doctors out there aren’t scrupulous about telling you that “it’ll be fine” because they need the procedure to support the financial aspects of their practice.

For more info about breastfeeding, check out our Breastfeeding FAQs post: 100 Breastfeeding Tips For New Moms.

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