Every breast pump comes with a flange. But not all flanges are created equal and are going to fit every woman’s body. You want to make sure the flange you use fits properly. There are many good reasons why you want a good fit. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know.
Most breast pumps come with one or two sizes of flanges. These sizes might fit the majority of women who use them- but often times they don’t.
There is no sense in suffering with a flange that doesn’t fit properly. You will want to make sure yours is comfortable before you being your breastfeeding journey.
Many times you can order a different size flange from your breast pump manufacturer, on Amazon or from other major retailers.
What is a flange?
The flange is a very important part of a breast pump. It is the part that comes next to your body that forms a vacuum seal with the areola. It is recognizable because it is shaped like a funnel.
A flange helps create suction to extract the milk from your nipple. It also draws your nipple into the tunnel where milk is extracted from.
How to know if your flange fits correctly
You will know you have the right flange fit when:
- No parts of your nipple rubs against the side
- Your nipple is centered in the tube
- your areola is not pulled in when the pump is going
How to know if you have the wrong size of flange
There are several ways to recognize whether or not you have the wrong size of flange.
If you ever experience pain while pumping your flange might be the wrong size or if you notice your nipple is becoming chapped, discolored or injured in anways.
This would be a good time to re-evaluate your flange and find one that fits better.
Different Types of Flanges
Hard Plastic: Hard plastic flanges are the most affordable option and are often included with manual pumps. They are lightweight and durable, but can become uncomfortable after extended use.
Silicone: Silicone flanges are more expensive than hard plastic, but they are also more comfortable. They conform to your body and create a gentle suction that is ideal for long-term pumping.
Glass: Glass flanges are the most expensive option, but they offer the best suction and comfort. They are also lightweight and durable.
How to find the right size of flange
Flanges come in many sizes. Finding the right size of flange is important because you want it to fit comfortably. If your flange is too small it could cause a lot of unnecessary pain. If your flange is too big it could cause milk to spill out which would be a waste of that perfect liquid gold.
To begin to find out what size you need, you’ll need to take two measurements:
First, with a measuring tape, measure around the base of your nipple (not including the areola). This measurement will tell you what size flange you need.
Next, measure the distance from your nipple to the inframammary crease (the crease under your breast). This measurement will help you determine the length of the tubing you will need to connect the pump to the flange.
Once you have these two measurements, consult a sizing chart to find your perfect fit!
Now that you know how to measure for a pump flange, it’s time to choose the right one for you.
More Breastfeeding Posts You May Enjoy:
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- 8 Breastfeeding Problems After a C-Section (And What You Can Do!)
- 5 Essentials for Preparing to Breastfeed Your Baby
- Why Is Breastfeeding Painful?
- The Ultimate Guide to Dairy-Free Breastfeeding (From a Dairy-Free Mom)
Katie Clark is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She has helped thousands of mothers and families around the globe navigate breastfeeding challenges and questions since 2015. She has a passion for creating research-based, helpful breastfeeding education and helping parents find a way to make breastfeeding work for them. Katie is a mom of three little boys and lives in the great state of Colorado. She also has a degree in Communications with an emphasis in print journalism.