Finding the right fit is always important – whether it’s for clothing, shoes, or your breast pump flange. One of the most common questions we get from breastfeeding moms is how to maximize their output while pumping. But many of them don’t realize the answer has a lot to do with flange sizing. The correct flange size makes the pumping session both more comfortable and more efficient since it stimulates the breast more effectively.
FINDING YOUR CORRECT FLANGE SIZE
To determine your flange size you’ll need to measure your nipple. Use a ruler or measuring tape to find the diameter of your nipple (the horizontal width across it) in millimeters (1 cm = 10mm). Measure the nipple alone, do not include the areola, which is the outer edge around your nipple.
Add 3-4 mm to this measurement- this is because it’s better to have a larger breast shield diameter than your nipple base size so that when your breast pump is used and creates a vacuum, it’ll make your nipple slightly larger. So, if your nipple base measures 20mm across, your flange size is 24 mm.
Make sure to measure both nipples, you may need two different sizes!
Tip: Before measuring, stimulate your nipple so that it perks up to allow a more accurate measurement.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR FLANGE SIZE IS CORRECT?
Your whole nipple should fit comfortably without much, if any, of the areola entering the tunnel before you start pumping.
Your nipple should be centred in the middle and move freely in and out of the tunnel while you pump without causing rubbing, redness, or pain.
Your pump should express most of your milk and your breasts should feel noticeably softer and lighter after every pumping session.