Breast Pump Flanges and How to Determine the Right Size

Breast Pump Flanges and How to Determine the Right Size

Jul 30 , 2020


Megan McDonough

As any breastfeeding mom will tell you, using a breast pump can be a huge help. Pumps allow you to express breast milk for your baby, as well as store extra milk for later.

When it’s time to choose a breast pump, you’re going to want to pay extra attention to how the flange feels and fits on your nipple. Any soreness or visible marks (cuts, redness, etc.) usually means that you need a different flange size.

What is a breast pump flange?

As we covered earlier this month, A flange (or breast shield) is the part of the breast pump that positions directly over the nipple and forms a vacuum seal over the areola, drawing your nipple into the tunnel for milk extraction. When you’re pumping, the flange is what secures over the breast for suction and release. 

Finding the perfect fit

Flanges are essential for pumping, so you’ll want to make sure you get one that fits your nipple just right. Most pumps come with 24mm size flanges to fit the 24mm size. You can test this out to see if it works for you and if not, many companies sell sizes ranging from 21mm - 36mm. 

If your flange doesn’t fit quite right, chances are you’ll know. Incorrectly sized flanges can lead to soreness of the nipples and blocked milk ducts, which can impact milk production. 

If you are noticing any issues with breast pump suction, an incorrectly sized breast pump flange is usually the cause. Proper suction is very dependent on having the correct contact with the nipple and breast tissue. 

When you’re looking to find the correct flange size, you’ll want to make sure that the flange is also the correct size for your nipple shape and the areola density and fullness. Seeing a lactation specialist, either in person or virtually, can help you determine the best fit. 

With a good flange fit, your nipple is centered in the tunnel and able to move in and out. Essentially, the motion should mimic your baby’s natural suckling pattern. 

When you order the Lilu Massage Bra, we include a sizing chart that you can easily use to measure in the comfort of your home. 

Signs you’ve got the wrong size

Our bodies are all different, so don’t worry if you don’t fit the standard 24mm size breast pump flange. If you're unable to consult a lactation specialist or are still having trouble determining your size, there are a few tips that can help. 

First, take a look at your nipple and see if it is rubbing the sides of the tunnel. If it feels uncomfortable or is red or irritated, this is a tell-tale sign you may need to increase the size.

On the flip side, if you notice that a large part of your areola is being suctioned into the tunnel with your nipple, then your flange is most likely too big, especially if the areola is turning white or red. 

When you finish pumping, do your breasts still feel full of milk? When the flange size is incorrect, you most likely won’t be pumping out all the milk that’s ready to come out. 

Keep in mind

It’s not uncommon for a woman’s breasts to change between the third trimester and after giving birth, so consider that as your breast size fluctuates, so will your desired flange size. It’s always a good idea to regularly check in and see how your flange is fitting. Any pain or discomfort is an indication that something needs adjustment. 

If you've found the right fit and want to give your pumping experience a boost for more comfort, help prevent clogged ducts or to help keep your milk supply up, you can consider adding breast massage and breast compressions to your pumping routine. The Lilu Massage Bra can help, so you can get the benefits of breast massage hands-free.

Lilu Massage Bra with flanges

Lilu Massage Bra

Related Posts

Pumping mistakes you might not know you’re making and how to solve them
Pumping mistakes you might not know you’re making and how to solve them
When pumping, there's always room for improvement. To remove some of the guess work and stress around pumping, here's a
Read More
Postpartum Hair Loss: What to Expect and How to Deal with Hair Loss
Postpartum Hair Loss: What to Expect and How to Deal with Hair Loss
Postpartum hair loss can feel a little overwhelming and wreck with your confidence. Here’s what you can expect about los
Read More
Why Haven't You Heard of the Lilu Massage Bra?
Why Haven't You Heard of the Lilu Massage Bra?
The Lilu Massage Bra is empowering moms on their pumping journey, allowing them to pump more milk in less time, all whil
Read More

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published