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Having Children and Breast Implants

The most common among new mothers with breast implants is "Is it safe for me to breastfeed my baby?" The general consensus is that saline breast implants have no harmful effects on breastfed babies.

Because saline is a substance (saltwater) that occurs naturally in the body, saline does not have an ill effect on breast milk. However, the surgery itself may cause problems for a mother who wants to breastfeed, depending on the site of implant insertion.

Implants inserted from under the armpit or under the fold in the breast should not cause any damage to the nerves essential for breastfeeding. However, breast implants inserted through the areola may cause problems with milk supply. Surgeons do their best to minimize the disruption of the glands to the nipple area, but, as with all surgeries, complications may arise.

Additional complications may occur if there is a lot of scarring inside the breast tissue. This could cause pain during breastfeeding.

The jury is still out on the effects of silicone implants on babies. Although silicone implants were banned by the FDA in 1991, they still exist in the bodies of women who received implants before then. These implants may have more impact on breastfed babies than saline implants, since there is a slim chance that a ruptured implant would cause silicone to seep into breast milk. The amount of silicone that could possibly leak into the breast milk, however, is so miniscule that it is unlikely to cause any damage.

Just as saline implants usually won't affect a baby if inserted under the arm or breast fold, there is usually no risk of damage from silicone implants inserted the same way. Consequently, inserting silicone implants through the areola produces the same risk of nerve and nipple damage as saline implants.

There is no evidence that breast implants affect fertility or pregnancy. However, women who nursed a baby within one year of breast augmentation may produce milk for a few days after implant surgery. This side effect may be uncomfortable, but it can be treated with medication.