Earlier this month, the Medical Journal of Australia published a study which revealed that one in five women who underwent cosmetic breast surgery were unable or unwilling to breastfeed their baby. This is compared to one in ten who had not undergone breast augmentation surgery.
Performed by researchers at the University of Sydney, the study surveyed more than 300,000 NSW women who gave birth between 2006 and 2011. While the study highlighted the fact that women who had a breast augmentation procedure were less likely to breastfeed, the reasons why weren’t clear.
The study did not suggest that breast augmentation impeded breastfeeding. In fact, other research has proven that most women who have such a procedure can successfully breastfeed their baby.
Breastfeeding and Breast Augmentation: Potential Risks
Generally speaking, women who have undergone breast augmentation surgery should be able to breastfeed without any problem. For most women, the implant doesn’t apply pressure to the milk ducts and cause them to become blocked. There is also no proof that the saline or silicone has a negative effect on the health of your baby.
Nipple sensitivity (or lack thereof) tends to be the main cause of breastfeeding woes for women who have had this procedure. A woman who has lost sensation in her nipples may require additional stimulation or support to help her with milk flow. Women with hypersensitivity may also experience the same problem.
Other issues not related to breast augmentation can have a direct effect on a mum’s ability to nurse. This can include underdeveloped (hypoplastic) breasts, widely spaced breasts, and even certain breast shapes, such as tubular breasts.
Tips for Successfully Breastfeeding
The study highlights the importance of encouraging all women to breastfeed through identifying potential problems and offering support.
New mums can have a strong start when breastfeeding by:
Start Nursing Right Away. Feed your baby immediately after birth.
Seek Solutions. Women who may have trouble with production or lack nipple sensitivity may find pumping or additional nipple stimulation helpful.
Get Help. Enlist in the help of a lactation consultant before or soon after your bub is born.
Stay Comfortable. Invest in a soft cup nursing bra and comfortable purpose-designed nursing clothing. The Peachymama range of clothing for new mums allow them to stay both relaxed and fashionable.
Breastfeeding may be natural, but it sometimes does not come naturally. If you have breastfeeding problems, seek help, have patience, and be kind to yourself.