Many pumping related issues can be helped by ensuring that you are using the right size flange for your breast. So how do you know if you’re not? You’re busy enough with a baby, without having to worry about your flange causing you grief! We’ve compiled some warning signs for you to look out for next time you pump.
Pain or discomfort
An incorrectly fitted flange may cause pressure or chafing on your nipple and surrounding area, leading to discomfort or pain. Pumping doesn’t have to suck, and you shouldn’t simply put up with pain while pumping. Getting the right size flange for you will mean you have the best possible comfort, seal and milk flow.
If your pump flange size is too big, you can pull your areola unnecessarily into the pump funnel and damage the skin and tissue. If your pump flange size is too small, you can rub your nipple against the plastic or block milk duct openings. Going through the check-list below can help you to identify whether your flange is a good fit or not.
An ill-fitting flange may not create an adequate seal, causing a reduction in suction and efficiency. This may impact your milk output. If you have a good seal you should get good milk flow (squirts or faster droplets of milk), and after pumping for a session, you should feel that you've drained as much milk as you can.
Overstretching or rubbing of the nipple caused by a larger flange size can lead to cracks, bleeding, or other types of damage to the nipple. If you find yourself needing ice packs, or heat packs when you’re finished, then check your flange size, and seek help from your lactation consultant or doctor.
If you’re still unsure what size you should be using, we have a handy guide on measuring your nipple. We’ve also answered seven of the most common questions about flange sizing here.
If you continue to experience any of these symptoms, it is important to speak with your doctor or lactation consultant to determine the issue to ensure a comfortable and effective pumping experience. If you’re looking for some extra comfort after being fitted with the correct flange size, a Milkdrop cushion can ensure you have a comfy pump every session.