According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), if a woman undergoes breast surgery, she is three times more likely to suffer from lactation insufficiency (inadequate milk supply). As breast milk provides the best nutrition for a baby, this statistic is frightening.
Formula does not have the many of the benefits of a mother’s milk. Breast milk contains the perfect amount of lipids and proteins for a baby. It is rich in bio-available vitamins and minerals that are easily absorbed. As it contains white blood cells from the mother, breast milk is boosts the baby’s immunity. Additionally, breast milk provides hormones and enzymes to keep the growing baby healthy. Babies who are breastfed are healthier later in life and have slightly higher IQs. They suffer less from respiratory ailments, gastrointestinal disease, asthma, ear infections, and asthma. With all this evidence, one can see why the American Pediatrics Association (APA) recommends that all babies be breast fed.
However, if a woman has breast surgery, there is a great possibility she will not be able to provide her baby with breast milk. Women who had surgery by an incision of the nipple area (periareolar incision) had the most problems. The women were 5 times more likely to have insufficient milk supply. When studying women with breast implant specifically, 64% had lactation insufficiency. For women without implants, the rate is 7%.
Have implants also discourages women from attempting to breast feed in the first place. Many women fear complications, and therefore, don’t even try to breastfeed. Research is not clear as to why breast surgery causes an inadequate milk supply. One theory is that the milk ducts are damaged. Another says the implants place pressure on the breast tissue and damages it. It is difficult to say whether problems are due to the implant or the surgery to put in the implant.
Breast implants also lead to other breast problems such as infection. Galactorrhea can occur where breast milk is produced when a woman is not pregnant. Additionally, galactoceles (milk filled tumors) can appear.
Being able to breastfeed your child is important. If you are considering having breast augmentation surgery, it is crucial you understand the potential consequences. Having the surgery may prohibit you from being able to give your child the best nutrition. Formula does not come close to breast milk.