Breastfeeding with Breast Implants

With my first child, in 1996, I attempted to breastfeed and had zero support, no means to really research breastfeeding, so naturally this was a complete failure.

With my second child I nursed for approximately 8 months, but I was still very uneducated about the whole process. I made many mistakes. I ended up weaning due to the belief that I wasn’t producing enough milk based off one factor. Engorgement. I was no longer feeling engorged so I thought I had an inadequate supply.

I’ve had breast implants for about 10 years now. During this time, people who have known, come to know or noticed have always felt the need to voice their opinion on my choices.

I’ve heard everything from “You were fine the way you were”, and “You should have loved the way you were” and “You looked better without them” to remarks about my self esteem and self confidence. I made this choice for myself. I reseached my Surgeon. I worked to earn the money. I saved my money. I wasn’t happy with what I saw in the mirror. I didnt do it to please anyone else. And at the end of the day, It was my choice to create the image I wanted to see in the mirror.

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I chose to have my implants placed Sub Muscular, often referred to as behind the muscle, however the implant is technically placed between the Pectoralis Major and Pectoralis Minor in a pocket created to hold the implant.

I chose a Periareolar Incision, which is essentially an incision that is made around the bottom edge of the areola. I chose this incision over the Inframammory Fold Incision (the crease under the breast), the Transubumbilical incision (incision made in the belly button) and the Transaxillary Incision (in the armpit) because I would have a shorter recovery time granted the type of placement that I had chosen. Recovery was lengthy with an “Behind the Muscle” placement. I expected to be sore and tender as you would expect with any invasive surgery. I knew I would need help but the one thing I dont think I completely understood was, You use your Pectoral Muscles for just about every movement your body makes, whether you know it or not. This wasn’t a breast Augmentation that would have a 3 day recovery.

I did not plan to have more children at the time and felt my family was pretty complete. About 5 years later, that all changed. We decided we wanted to have more children.

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We were fortune to have twins and I fully planned to breastfeed. Yes, with implants. Initially I was told this was impossible and not to waste my time trying. However, after some research I learned that there was information that indicated that the “impossibility” of breastfeeding wasn’t as “impossible” as I was initially told. This made me very happy.

The birth of the twins was quite traumatic, they arrived 5 weeks ahead of schedule and I had an emergency C-Section that wasnt as much of an emergency as I was led to believe. Both of my babies had some medical concerns and difficulty feeding and keeping milk down. Baby A recovered with me in my room, Baby B was taken to Intensive Care and I did not see her for 12 hours. I didn’t have a proper support network, accurate information and again constantly had someone in my ear saying “You can’t breastfeed (with implants)” for every reason imaginable from “it’ll wreck your body” to “they will pop” and “Silicone will leak into your baby and they will die” . Nearly every bit of information was nonfactual and based off no fact whatsoever. The thing that bothered me the most was they were repeating this to me and it was obviously something they believed too. We faced alot of issues. Over Engorgement, Poor Latch, Soreness, Overactive Letdown, Lip Tie, Tongue Tie, Dietary Concerns, Both were on Reflux Prescriptions. By approximately 6 weeks both were formula fed.

We were almost immediately blessed with another pregnancy, a baby girl. Again, I wanted to breastfeed her. I was determined. I was going to do it. Her delivery was complicated and we ended up staying in the hospital for 5 days. During that time I had some great, very supportive lactation certified nurses. It was sort of a relief to have the help because I needed it.

After I got home, I met a WIC Lactation Consultant named Sarah at the Casa Grande WIC Office and the Eloy WIC Office. Had it not been for Sarah and the information, help and encouragement, I don’t think our Breastfeeding relationship would have been such a strong relationship. I was one of the first women she had worked with that has breast implants, but she was incredibly knowledgable. If she didn’t have the answers, she would find them. Not only was she helpful in keeping our Breastfeeding strong during her 9-5 business hours, she was there for me at 10pm on a Sunday night when I just didn’t think I could do it one more time. Sarah went out of her way to provide me accurate information about medications and the safety and impact on breastmilk. She moved on from WIC and I was never able to thank her. My daughter and I shared almost a 3 year long breastfeeding relationship. An amazing lifelong bond was built between Azari and I.

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Fact is, breastfeeding with implants can be done. Not everyone can do it. Chosen placement may effect your ability, your incision location might be a comfort factor. But to blindy walk into the situation thinking you cannot do it is not much different than saying “My sister had a C-Section because her baby was breech, so I will also have a C-Section” when this couldn’t be further from the truth. Just as every birth and pregnancy is unique, so is every Breastfeeding Relationship, including those with implants.

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