A breast pump flange, also called a breast shield, is a piece of plastic that forms a seal around the areola and fits directly over your nipple. It can also be called a breast shield. Because of this, a vacuum seal is created, which gently pushes your nipple into the flange tunnel so that milk may be extracted. Flanges measuring 24 millimetres come standard on many pumps; however, depending on your measurements and the amount of experience you have pumping, you may need to pick either smaller or bigger flanges.
The improper flange size can reduce the amount of milk produced, cause pain and injury to the nipple, and even result in mastitis and ductal constriction if it leads to clogging of the milk ducts. It is also essential to have the appropriate flange size to allow for sufficient pump suction and milk evacuation.
Visiting a lactation expert before you start pumping for the first time can be beneficial in evaluating the appropriate flange size for your nipple size and the density and fullness of your areolas. This can make a significant impact on the quality of your pumping experience.
How to Choose Your Flange Size
When determining the size of your flange, keep the following considerations in mind:
- Do not pump your breasts before measuring; however, you should slightly stimulate your nipple.
- To ascertain the diameter of your nipple, you can measure it using a measuring tape or a measuring instrument with a silicone flange.
- Take a measurement in millimetres of your nipple at its widest point, which is often the base.
- Most mothers discover that increasing their nipple size by 1 to 3 millimetres results in a flange size that is both pleasant and successful.
Available Flange Sizes
From 10mm to 40mm, flanges and sizing inserts are available. Sizing inserts are made of silicone and lower the size of standard 24mm flanges. Suppose the manufacturer of your pump does not provide your flange size. In that case, a lactation consultant will assist you in locating a flange or sizing insert that is compatible with your pump and will allow you to continue pumping.
Alterations to the form and size of your breasts and nipples are possible due to nursing and pumping. If you begin to experience discomfort or agony during pumping, you should check the fit of either your breast shield or flange. It is conceivable that the breast shield does not fit adequately anymore due to a change in the size or form of your breast or nipple. You need to consult a lactation consultant to evaluate how well the breast shield and flange fit. Additionally, it is recommended that you contact the company that manufactured your breast pump to obtain information on the breast shield and flange sizes that are now available.
Is it Possible for Flange Sizes to Change?
Possibly! Alterations to your breasts are possible between the third trimester and after the baby is born. It is vital to check your flange size if your pumping sessions are becoming uncomfortable or less successful since your breasts may change as you pump breast milk. Additionally, your breasts may change as you continue to pump breast milk.