The potential problem
If your breasts have been surgically enlarged with silicone or saline implants, your nipples may be more or less sensitive than normal. Once you've delivered a baby and your milk has come in, you may have exaggerated breast engorgement with pain, fever, and chills that are more intense than usual.
Note: If your breasts were augmented because of underdeveloped (hypoplastic) breasts, you may have trouble producing enough milk. Use a pump after each nursing session to stimulate production.
Can I breastfeed?
It's likely, but it depends on the kind of surgery you had. Incisions made under the fold of the breast or through the armpit shouldn't cause any trouble. The most popular method, making a "smile" incision around the areola, puts you at greater risk for problems.
If the nerves around the areola were not cut or damaged during surgery, you may be able to nurse fully or partially. Nerves are vital to breastfeeding because they trigger the brain to release prolactin and oxytocin, two hormones that affect milk production.
Your chances of breastfeeding also improve if your milk duct system is intact. There's no evidence that silicone from silicone implants leaks into breast milk, but even if it did, it probably wouldn't harm your baby. Silicone is very similar to a substance used to treat babies' stomach gas.
You won't know the full extent of nerve damage — if any — until you try to nurse.
Let your baby's doctor know about your surgery. She'll need to keep a close eye on your baby's weight gain to make sure he's getting enough to eat.
If you're able to produce only a portion of the breast milk your baby needs, you'll need to supplement with formula.
If you're thinking about getting breast implants but want to nurse your baby, postpone surgery until after you've given birth and breastfed your last child.
Have you had implants and tried to breastfeed? Please share your experience with us.