Breastfeeding with implants

I have not done an update about breastfeeding for a while. It’s not because I don’t want to share it with you, I really do. But it’s been hard. Really hard. Breastfeeding does not come easy, pretty much every woman has problems to overcome. My problems came in a very unexpected form. I know I’m still dealing with the emotional impact.

No one goes into this expecting major problems. You expect the normal, painful latch, bleeding nipples, thrush, mastitis. I did not deal with any of these. What I dealt with is chronic low supply due to insufficient glandular tissue (IGT). Basically, I am missing a good portion of the milk producing tissue in the breast.

IGT often goes with Hypoplastic breasts, known as tuberous breast deformity in the plastic surgery world. But I did not have tuberous breasts. What I did have was severely underdeveloped breasts. I had always worried that having small breasts naturally would be a problem with breastfeeding, but like you hear over and over, size is not an indicator of how much milk you can produce. While I was worried I also let that be a comfort. My problems with low supply were a bit blindsiding.

When Gabrielle was born I was able to let her nurse almost right away. I knew to ask for help from a lactation consultant right away to start with a good latch instead of working to correct one. I was given a nipple shield right away for borderline flat nipples. We did great while at the hospital and home. Until Gabrielle went in for her first well baby appointment and it was discovered that she had lost too much weight and couldn’t keep her body temperature up.

To make a long story short, after a hospital stay to get her back to healthy we went home and routine changed. I was constantly pumping to see how much she was getting, she was getting bottles. Nursing had stopped. After two weeks of this I had enough and went back to nursing then following with a bottle.

I spent time working on pumping to try and improve milk supply. I ate oatmeal (I hate it), drank dark beer, took supplements. I even ordered medication online, medication not FDA approved for lactation but that had the side effect of increasing milk supply in lactating women. At my peak I was able to produce what is considered a half supply (3oz every 6 hours while pumping, full is 3oz every 3 hours, pumping carries by each woman). It wasn’t easy, both on the body and mentally/emotionally.

We worked through low supply, nursing strikes, bottle preference issues. We worked through frustration and tears.

I promised my husband that I would stop all the extras once Gabrielle was 6 months old, and I did. She still is nursing now at close to 8 months. But it is more casual nursing. What she gets is very limited, but there is more benefits to nursing then just breast milk.

Through all of this I learned that the changes I had during pregnancy were more about healing from my pervious surgery (3 months before pregnancy) and pregnancy weight gain, not actual breast changes. Breast changes can be a huge indicator in milk supply for some women while in others it is not an indication at all. It gave me a false sense of confidence. But on the good side the limited changes I had in pregnancy and nursing made it so now I have no real difference in my breasts. Of course that could change as the last of my milk fries up, but it’s doubtful. That is the biggest concern expressed by most women who are pregnant after a breast augmentation.

When it comes to the entire experience I can say it was more stressful then I was expecting. Everything I was prepared for die not happen. And even the more natural look I thought I would have afterward hasn’t happened.

I’m not really sure what will happen from here. It is a follow the baby’s lead. I am glad that I pushed so hard, even with the stress and emotional toll it took. I am also glad I never really invested in good nursing bras. I did not have size changes through the day, so a good fitting nursing bra wasn’t as essential for me. Gabrielle and I have passed every goal I had set once problems started. Everything past 6 months is icing on the cake.


  1. bralessinbrasil

    Seriously, you’re doing awesome and like you said there are other benefits of breastfeeding beyond just the milk (I remember reading that latching can actually help with lung development, for instance). I forgot to ask before, did you ever try the SNS system throughout all of it?

    Anyway, I’m so glad you post these updates, I always try to direct women here who have the same problems.

    • I did get an SNS (supplemental nursing system for those that may not know). Unfortunately it was never suggested to me by any lactation or mescal professionals. By the time I found out about it on my own she wouldn’t tolerate it. So next time I’ll be sure to have it on hand to start using before I have to resort to a bottle.

      • Heh I was going to mention SNS too. My BFF used SNS with her daughter. Her kids both had a tongue weakness that meant they had a hard time swallowing, so she had to supplement to make sure they got enough.

        I’m glad you caught it before Gabrielle was harmed, and that you are taking care of yourself.

  2. Allison

    You did great! It’s very sad and anxiety-provoking. I had similar problems with nursing, and ended up pumping and bottle-feeding. I don’t think you missed out on much with the SNS. I found it very frustrating and not very helpful.

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