Do Breast Implants Have An Effect On Breastfeeding?

By Melissa Portunato MPH, IBCLC, RLC

Do you have a breast augmentation? Have you heard that you won’t be able to breastfeed because of them? Well, that is just simply is not true. Rest assured mamas! You can still absolutely breastfeed your baby with breast implants. Most moms who have had breast implants will produce milk; but it is important to know that breast implants may have some impact on your breastfeeding journey. Know the facts. Be prepared. And let us help you bust through the myths so you can get off to the best start with breastfeeding!

Here’s everything you need to know about breastfeeding with implants.

Is Breastfeeding With Implants Safe For My Baby?

The main concern with breastfeeding and implants is the risk they will burst, leak, and contaminate your milk. Implants can be filled with either saline or silicone, both of which have low levels of toxicity. According to the CDC, there is no contraindication with implants and breastfeeding. The risk of breast milk contamination from implants is extremely low. It’s actually riskier not to feed your baby breast milk than to nurse with breast implants. There is currently no documented reports of infant contamination by breastfeeding with implants. Start the conversation with your doctor if you continue to be concerned about breastfeeding with breast implants.

Type of Surgery Is Important

Research tells us, breast implants that have been placed under the chest muscle are less likely to damage nerves and negatively impact breastfeeding. Was your nipple removed during surgery? Incisions made around the areola can affect the nerves. Yet incisions made under the breasts or belly button are less likely to have any influence on nerve damage. Unfortunately, no matter the type of breast surgery, it can still have effects on the nerves, ducts, and glandular tissue of the breast. Injured nerves can reduce the feeling in your nipples which can impact your milk let down response creating issues with low milk supply. Scar tissue can prevent milk from flowing freely putting moms with breast implants at a higher risk for engorgement. In the early weeks, focus on skin to skin, frequent nursing or pumping, and have a support system. Proper breastfeeding management right from the start will help you be successful and meet your breastfeeding goals.

Will I Make Enough Milk?

We won’t know until after the baby’s born and you start making milk whether you will have low milk supply. Most moms with implants make plenty of milk and never need to supplement yet there are reports of breastfeeding moms who struggle with low milk supply. In the event you are not producing enough milk, you will want to start pumping right away with a Spectra Baby hospital strength pump. Work with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant prenatally to review your history, address your concerns, and customize a plan to help you meet your breastfeeding goals.

Remember Mama, breastfeeding is so much more than just nutrition. Every drop of breastmilk is pure love! Breastfeeding with implants is totally possible. Whether or not you will have a full or partial milk supply really depends on the type of surgery you underwent. At Spectra baby USA, we support you and we’re here for you! Join our Facebook support groups, chat with a IBCLC, and find a local Spectra Baby Certified IBCLC to get support when you need it most.

A Mother’s Story of Faith, Hope, and Love

By: Nikki Braverman, Brand Manager Spectra Baby USA

Motherhood. It starts long before the baby is born. From the moment those two little faded lines pop up, the floodgates open happiness, excitement, anxiety, fear; sometimes an overwhelming combination. The advice is coming from all directions whether it’s asked for or not. Hey, don’t get it wrong – support is a beautiful thing, and everyone can benefit from it. But never forget the power of pure instinct and faith; sometimes it pushes through life’s most difficult challenges. Lauren Bender, 33, is a perfect example.

When Lauren’s water broke at 16 weeks, she was devastated. Her long-time trusted OB-GYN called her as she was getting examined in the emergency room with her husband, and immediately started offering her condolences. After all, Lauren’s history was concerning. While her first pregnancy nearly three years ago was successful and resulted in a healthy birth, she had recently suffered from two back-to-back miscarriages. She was told if there was a third, the chances of her continuing with a healthy pregnancy would drop drastically. Although Lauren was advised it would be in her best interest to accept that this pregnancy was not going to progress, and the safest option would be to terminate the pregnancy in the safe confines of the hospital; Lauren held onto one thing, Madelyn’s heartbeat.

Here’s a summary of Lauren and Madelyn’s journey:

Spectra: Walk us through the day your water broke.

Lauren: It was on a Sunday morning in March. My family and I just arrived at church. I leaned over to grab something and felt a sudden large gush. Having suffered from two miscarriages, I immediately thought it was blood and ran to the bathroom. When I realized that it was fluid and not blood, I knew that my water broke and that was much worse.

Spectra: No one really prepares you for having your water break so early on. What happened when you were admitted to the hospital?

Lauren: I immediately had an ultrasound, and it was confirmed that my water had broken, and there was very little fluid. The terminology is called (PPROM), preterm premature rupture of membranes. PPROM only occurs in 8 to 10% of all pregnancies, and typically labor starts within 24 hours. My OB-GYN gave Madelyn a 0% chance of survival and recommended staying at the hospital until I naturally went into labor, inducing labor or terminating the pregnancy. She explained the risk of rupture and infection, should I continue with labor outside of the hospital. I was adamant that as long as there was a heartbeat, I would not intervene with the pregnancy. I also requested that I be discharged. Once again, my doctor reiterated the risks and advised against my wishes. It was then that I asked for a second opinion, and was referred to Dr. Paul, who specialized in multiples and high-risk pregnancies.

Spectra: How was his approach different?

Lauren: From the moment I met him, I immediately felt more at ease. His delivery was much gentler. Because of the gestation, he estimated a 1% chance of survival for Madelyn. But he also stated that he’s seen many miracles while in practice and will never say never. I then expressed my desire to be discharged. I had a two-year-old at home and wanted to grieve in privacy with my family. Because at that point, I still thought I would more than likely lose this baby. Dr. Paul agreed. He said I could go home and that I would come in for weekly visits.

Spectra: What was your thought process to keep you going? What precautions did you take during your day-to-day?

Lauren: At that point, I really turned to my faith, time would tell. I’m lucky to have a job that allows me to work from home and a supportive husband that took great care of our 2 year old and handled all our day to day responsibilities. Once I settled in, I started going online and doing tons of research. I came across countless stories of similar scenarios with babies surviving. Again, 16 weeks was a very early scenario, but I went on to learn that babies were pulling through in such cases. I joined an online group called “pprom premature rupture of membranes waters break,little heartbeats support,” Their slogan is where there’s a heartbeat, there’s hope. This group offered a lot of support and literature that helped me get through the coming weeks. I rested, drank lots of water, and continued to turn to my faith. It’s also important to note that I couldn’t start seeing Dr. Paul, my high-risk OB-GYN until I entered the “viable stage,” around 23 weeks. My weekly visits with my current OB before the 23-week mark were challenging. She continued to tell me “not to expect a miracle” and that the odds were against me. I would always leave crushed. But once I finally had the opportunity to transfer over to Dr. Paul, I started to feel much more positive, and each weekly visit felt better than the next. He would say things like “I can’t believe you’re still pregnant. This little baby is a fighter!” He was very encouraging.

Spectra: What did you do to stay positive?

Lauren: It was hard, I honestly wavered. I just had to know that I did everything in my power to give Madelyn every opportunity for survival. That attitude really helped me push forward. I also had a lot of support from my husband, friends, and family. They would call, come over, pray, bring me cooked meals, and always offer a shoulder to cry on. Work was also a helpful distraction; I would rest and work from my laptop in bed. This was my day-to-day until I finally got admitted into the hospital.

Spectra: Tell us about the birth.

Lauren: I was admitted at 26 weeks and was immediately put on steroids. Within 24 hours of my second dose of steroids, I had an adverse effect and went into labor. I was given magnesium sulfate to slow it down and it worked. Another 10 days of hospital bedrest went by and on Labor Day evening I started to bleed heavily. I was monitored closely overnight and the next morning it was advised to have a c-section at 28 weeks while the baby and I were both healthy and well.  Later we learned the bleeding started as a result of acute placental eruption, which was enough reason to justify moving forward with the C-section. Madelyn was born on May 29th, 2018. Following her birth, she was admitted to the NICU and initially was on full life support. She gradually weaned from an oscillator ventilator to a traditional ventilator and continued to be intubated for 4 weeks. She also had a nasogastric tube (NG tube) placed and received her milk through this tube for the next 14 weeks.

Spectra: Describe your experience in the NICU. When did Madelyn get to go home?

Lauren: The NICU was a rollercoaster of emotions each day. I would arrive at 7:30am and leave at 5:00pm each day. During that time, I would kangaroo (skin on skin time) with Madelyn for as long as I possibly could. The Neonatologist would do their rounds each day and allowed me to be a part of the decisions on her care. Luckily, Madelyn didn’t have any major setbacks during her NICU stay. At times, her progress was extremely slow, but ultimately, she just needed time to rest and grow stronger lungs. I left each day, trusting Jesus would watch over our sweet girl and sustain every bit of her health. I prayed that each nurse assigned to Madelyn would have great favor over her. That she would receive care from them as if it was myself caring for her. Evenings were hard, but that was the time I needed to focus on my 2 year old at home.  During Madelyn’s 4 month stay at the NICU, I learned a lot. So much more than I had ever wanted to know, but it prepared me to have a child with special needs home. On her discharge day, September 28, 2018, I felt fully prepared and equipped to care for Madelyn. I knew her distress cues very well and how best to handle them. The nurses and Neonatologist taught me and gave me all the tools I needed to be the best mama for Madelyn and her special needs. I’m so grateful for all of them during her NICU journey. They will always have a special place in my heart.

Spectra: Can you tell us about your breastfeeding journey?

Lauren: Breastfeeding was always essential to me. I breastfed my first, Molly for 16 months, and only stopped once I became pregnant because my milk dried up. While I was pregnant with Madelyn, I had a dream that I was breastfeeding her. I took it as a sign and clung onto it. Once Madelyn was born, she was on high oxygen support, so she wasn’t allowed to nurse or take a bottle until she was 14 weeks old. In the meantime, I pumped religiously, which was also encouraged by the hospital. They fortified my breastmilk with human milk fortifier and later with formula, to give her the extra calories she needed (*this is standard protocol for micro-preemies).  

Spectra: Did you work with a Lactation Consultant in the hospital? How was that experience?

Lauren: Yes, and I LOVED her. We hit it off right away. Luckily, having breastfed before, I already had a good understanding of breastfeeding and knew the different nursing positions. The LC was incredibly encouraging and supportive the whole time we were in the NICU. Finally, at 14 weeks we tried giving Madelyn a bottle, but she didn’t take to it at first. She immediately choked and gagged, so we stopped. The next day I tried breastfeeding, and she was a complete natural! She latched right away and nursed for nearly four minutes. She did take a while to learn to take a full feeding, particularly during my letdown. At that point, I was working from the hospital and would arrive daily at 7 a.m. My lactation consultant would assist me daily. It was a long process for Madelyn to build up her stamina to take all her feeds orally (breastfeeding and bottle), but I give my lactation consultant a lot of credit. She devoted so much time working closely with us and I don’t think we would have gotten discharged nearly as soon if it weren’t for her.

Spectra: Can you go more in depth about your pumping journey? We know at one point; you were exclusively pumping. How was that different?

Lauren: I started immediately pumping after Madelyn was born, even before we knew if she was going to make it or not. When your baby is in the NICU, you’re limited on what you can do because it’s so regulated. The hospital encouraged that Madelyn receive breastmilk, and I knew it was one of the best things I could give her during that time. My breastmilk came in within 48 hours after her birth. She was getting tiny doses at first, about two mls every couple of hours. Madelyn was only two pounds at this time. The hospital provided me with my own pump and supplies; this way I didn’t need to bring everything back and forth. I continued to pump every 2-3 hours until my milk was established at 4 weeks. After that point, I pumped every 4 hours. During the 3.5 months of exclusively pumping, I pumped 4000+ oz for Madelyn.

Spectra: How is Madelyn doing today?

Lauren: She is doing great! At 10 months, she’s off oxygen completely now. She has some catching up to do with gaining weight and gross motor skills, but I know without a doubt she’ll get there. She’s a determined girl!

Spectra: What advice do you have for moms in similar situations?

Lauren: Find people to lean on – support groups, friends, and family. I’m a Christian, so prayer is something I turned to daily. Make sure you choose a doctor you trust. I interviewed a few different specialists and needed a referral to leave my regular OB-GYN to transfer over to Dr. Paul. The process was a little awkward, but so worth it. I was much more at ease with Dr. Paul and trusted his direction.

Lastly, remember that you’re your baby’s advocate. No one is going to love and fight for your baby as much as you are. Yes, listen to professionals but don’t hold back from doing your research and trusting your mama instinct.

Notes from the LC

Melissa Portunato MPH, IBCLC, RLC

All babies benefit from the nutritive properties of breast milk but the benefits are even more important for premature babies. Premature or preterm babies (born 3 or more weeks before their due date) are at a greater risk of infection and health problems early in life. Breastmilk can never be duplicated and can enhance the health, growth and development for fragile babies.

Mothers of premature babies produce milk different in composition than full-term babies. Preterm milk is higher in fat and easier to absorb enhancing brain development and neurological tissue. Research suggests premature babies who receive breast milk have 10 times lowered risk in contracting life-threatening illnesses. As a matter of fact, breast milk is so important for premature babies that it is quite likely they will receive donor breast milk if mom cannot provide her own breast milk.

Breastfeeding a premature baby may come with challenges. They might have a harder time learning how to latch and staying latched to the breast which can make feedings take a little longer. You can still provide breast milk to your baby even if baby is not latching directly to the breast. Using a hospital strength pump is an effective way to express milk and establish a healthy milk supply. Pumping a minimum of 8-12 times per day will ensure healthy milk production. Combine breastfeeding with skin to skin – which has been proven to increase milk volume, increase weight gain, stabilize the baby’s heartbeat, and is even linked to premature babies going home sooner!

Working closely with a medical team including a lactation specialist like an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant), Pediatrician, and Neonatologist will help in providing the support and education parents need to be successful. Are you pumping for a baby in the NICU? Share your story below! We’d love to hear more about your journey!

Pain vs. Discomfort with Breastfeeding: When to Call Your Provider

Breastfeeding should not hurt. Nipple soreness and tenderness during the first weeks is normal as your body begins to learn how to nourish a baby at the breast. When a baby is latched and feeding correctly, there is no reason you should be experiencing any pain, yet so many women suffer from breast and nipple pain when feeding. So when should you call your provider?

Discomfort vs Pain

Discomfort is defined as an annoying inconvenience that is still tolerable.  As you adjust to breastfeeding, your tender breast tissue is not used to being sucked on over eight times per day. Thus, things can get a little raw.  Using breast compressions for a better let down, using breast milk to heal and treat sore nipples, and alternating positioning can all help with the transition. Discomfort during feedings, might involve mildly chafed skin or a short bout of pain (under 30 seconds) at the beginning of a feed. These symptoms are usually from getting used to breastfeeding in the first 1-3 weeks but typically should not last much longer. Symptoms that cause discomfort don’t usually affect your quality of life or outlook on breastfeeding.

Pain is defined as a sensation that is affecting your normal daily routine.  If pain is making you dread breastfeeding due to sharp deep pain or cracked bleeding nipples help is definitely in order.  If you’re trying not to grind your teeth or want to scream expletives into a pillow, it probably means you should get some help as soon as possible!  Adjusting to life with a newborn can be hard, there is no reason that breastfeeding pain should be one of those reasons.

Trouble with Latch

The top reason for nipple pain with breastfeeding is due to a poor latch.  Unfortunately, a poor latch is a very common issue when first starting out.  There are a lot of causes but common ones include inverted nipples, tongue tie, and low birth weight (making baby’s mouth small for a nipple). Like any new activity, it can take some practice and guidance for both mom and baby to get the hang of latching correctly.  An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) can show you signs to look for and how to optimize your positioning to make your baby’s latch the best it can be.

Engorgement Issues

Engorgement is a common issue with the start of breastfeeding as the breasts adjust and learn to keep up with your baby’s specific needs. This can make the breasts more sensitive and harder to latch on for baby.  This should adjust with time but in the meantime, some advice on effectively managing engorgement can make a big difference.

Thrush or Vasospasm

Thrush is caused by a yeast infection.  It typically starts in the baby’s mouth and can be spread to your nipples if not caught quickly.  This typically causes sharp shooting pain and intense itching of the breasts. Vasospasm is a circulatory problem that can also cause sharp nipple pain and leave the nipple looking blanched due to poor blood flow.  Poor circulation can be caused by issues like poor latch, a bra that is too tight or cold weather. Both these issues can make feeding unbearable, with some women choosing to pump until they recover or even stop feeding altogether.  The good news is treatment is available for both and you can continue feeding with the help of your provider.

Still not sure? Talk to a local Spectra Baby USA Certified IBCLC

Pain is the top reason for women to call it quits on breastfeeding.  It is crucial to get support when you are struggling, whether you think it’s normal or not. Since it’s recommended to breastfeed for at least 6 months (although 1-2 years is now considered ideal for baby’s health), continued feeding is crucial to give your baby all of those amazing benefits from your milk.  Getting help early on has been found to greatly reduce the chance of early weaning.  Your provider or breastfeeding consultant can provide insight and tips that you may not have thought of to make the breastfeeding journey as smooth as possible.  Sometimes just having that added support can make a world of difference. It’s always good to add another cheerleader to your team as you conquer motherhood!

Regardless of how you would categorize your pain, if you feel something is off or that nursing could be better, don’t hesitate to get the support you need.  You can schedule a one on one consult with a Spectra Baby USA Lactation Consultant here. Surround yourself with as much support and knowledge as possible. Check out our extensive blog of resources!  Don’t think you have to do it alone. Spectra Baby USA is here for you!

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