In a nutshell
It all depends on what kind of implants you have, and how they were put in. Generally speaking, saline implants should be fine but silicone ones may not be. And, whichever kind of implants you have, if the incisions made to put them in have damaged your milk ducts, then you may find you have problems breastfeeding successfully.
What the expert says
The first thing you need to know, says our expert GP Dr Philippa Kaye, is whether you can even attempt to breastfeed or not all comes down to the type of breasts implants you have had put in.
What might go wrong if I do try to breastfeed with implants?
Many women with implants do feed without problems, says Dr Philippa, but, if there is an issue, it can be to do to with where the incisions for the implants were made.
“It’s possible that some of your milk ducts might have been damaged during surgery,” she says. “This is most likely with incisions that were made just under the areola [the dark area around your nipple], and less likely with incisions under the breasts or in the armpits.
Women with implants may also find that their nipples are less sensitive. “And this means that, when your baby starts suckling at your nipple, your ‘let-down’ response – that triggers the release of milk – may be affected,” says Dr Philippa.
Breastfeeding after implants – one mum’s experience
Lauren, of the mums in our Facebook community, had breast implants after her relationship ended in 2013. She already had a child and tells us she knew, before having the implants, that at some point in the future she’d want another child and would want to breastfeed again.
“During the consultation about my implants,” she says, “my main questions centred around being able to breastfeed. We spoke about where the incision would be, where the implant would be placed and what the risk was of nerve damage, all of which could impact breastfeeding in the future.
“After researching what I could on Google and more chats with the consultant, my mind was made up. In May 2014, I underwent the operation in a fantastic facility in London. I was very happy with the result and carried on my life as normal.”
In 2018, Lauren had a baby girl. “Ten minutes after being born,” Lauren says, “she latched on amazingly and nursed for almost an hour. I knew then that my decision to have breast implants had not impacted my ability to feed my daughter.
“We were able to have 4 wonderful weeks of breastfeeding and a further 5 weeks of mixed feeding before I decided to stop.
“My implants had no impact on my ability to breastfeed: the feeling was exactly the same as it had been when I breastfeed the first time round.”
Will breastfeeding affect the shape of my boobs if I’ve had breast implants?
It’s pregnancy, not breastfeeding, that can affect the shape of your boobs – whether or not you’ve had breast implants.
Will there be any issues with a boob lift as opposed to a boob job?
The issues with a breast lift are the same as they are with implants, says Dr Philippa.
Dr Philippa Kaye works as a GP in both NHS and private practice. She attended Downing College, Cambridge, then took medical studies at Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’s medical schools in London, training in paediatrics, gynaecology, care of the elderly, acute medicine, psychiatry and general practice. Dr Philippa has also written a number of books, including ones on child health, diabetes in childhood and adolescence. She is a mum of 3.