Breast Augmentation Surgery Hinders Breastfeeding Success

Everywhere I go, I see women who’ve chosen to undergo breast augmentation surgery. I guess it’s no surprise since breast augmentation was the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure for U.S. women in 2010. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there were nearly 300,000 breast augmentation surgeries in 2010 – a 39% increase over the last ten years.

With the number of surgeries increasing at that rate, I wonder if many of the younger women have considered how that decision may impact their ability to breastfeed their future children.

According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), any kind of breast surgery – including breast augmentation – makes it at least three times more likely that a woman trying to breastfeed will have an inadequate milk supply.1

In another study done at Texas Children’s Hospital, 64% of women with breast implants had low milk supply, compared to only 7% of women without implants.2

Unfortunately, it’s not likely that young women considering breast implants are being exposed to these studies, which show that they will most likely have difficulty breastfeeding their own children. Then again, most young women probably aren’t thinking that far down the road – but they should.

Facing the challenges of breastfeeding in a society where formula feeding is the norm is difficult enough. Why make it any harder to succeed?

Studies show over and over again that breastfeeding is best (I breastfed my own daughters for 13 months and 18 months and wouldn’t change that). So let’s encourage each other and other women to make decisions that will be best for the children in this generation.

If you’re currently contemplating a breast augmentation procedure and want to be a mother someday, or even potentially want to have more children in the future, it may be best to wait until you’re finished having children if you want to have a successful breastfeeding relationship.

Read more about breastfeeding after breast surgery on the La Leche Leauge and Kelly Mom websites.

1 National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine, Safety of Silicone Breast Implants, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1999, p. 197.
2 Hurst, N.M., Lactation After Augmentation Mammoplasty, Obstetrics & Gynecology, 1996; 87: 30-34.


Information in this post is provided by an online resource for board certified plastic surgeons and updated information in the field of plastic and cosmetic surgery.

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