Posted by Krystal Duhaney, RN, BSN, IBCLC Jun 26th, 2023

A Key To Successful Breastfeeding Lies In Proper Flange Sizing

A Key To Successful Breastfeeding Lies In Proper Flange Sizing

A Key to Successful Breastfeeding Lies in Proper Flange Sizing


Breastfeeding is a beautiful and natural way to nourish and bond with your baby. However, it’s not always smooth sailing for every new mother. One of the most common challenges women face is discomfort and pain during their breastfeeding journey, often caused by improper flange sizing. Nursing mothers might be surprised to learn just how vital proper flange sizing is. Just like the perfect bra fit, the perfect flange fit will not only be more comfortable, but it will also help improve milk output.

Have no fear, Mama! We are here to help! Keep reading to learn the importance of proper flange sizing, its impact on breastfeeding success, and a few essential tips to help you find the perfect fit.


Understanding Flange Sizing

A breast pump flange is the funnel part of your breast pump that comes in contact with your breast. The flange is a funnel shape in order to draw your nipple into the tunnel and extract the milk. Flanges come in different sizes to accommodate different nipple and breast sizes. Finding the right flange size is essential to ensure efficient milk expression as well as to prevent discomfort or possible nipple damage. Flange sizing is unique to each individual. What works best for one mama, doesn’t mean it’s the best for you and your body. This is why checking with a certified lactation expert can help you. We would love to help you, click here to make an appointment.

The Importance of Proper Flange Sizing

  1. Comfort: Breastfeeding should be a comfortable and pain-free experience. Using the wrong flange size when pumping can lead to sore nipples, friction, and decreased milk supply. Properly sized flanges ensure you are comfortable by stimulating (not rubbing) your nipples, which lets your milk flow freely without causing discomfort.
  2. Milk Expression: Proper flange sizing promotes effective milk expression. With proper flange sizing, the flange creates a seal around the breast, allowing the breast pump to extract milk efficiently. This ensures a consistent milk supply and prevents clogged ducts, mastitis, and other discomfort.
  3. Milk Supply: As we’ve discussed, milk supply is built by supply and demand. If you have the wrong flange sizing, it can decrease your milk supply. When your breast is not fully empty from a pumping session, it sends a signal to your body that less milk is needed, potentially leading to reduced milk production over time. Proper flange sizing will help maintain a healthy milk supply, ensuring your baby gets the nourishment they need and elongating your breastfeeding journey together.


Tips for Finding the Perfect Flange Fit For You

Start by measuring your nipple size. Measure your dipple diameter at rest and while pumping. This measurement will guide you in selecting the proper flange size.

Next, consult a lactation consultant. If you’re unsure about the correct flange size, or feeling discomfort, seek help from a lactation consultant. Lactation consultants are trained professionals who can help you find your proper flange size and with any other breastfeeding needs you may have.

You can also experiment with different flange sizes in order to help find the one that fits you best. Some breast pump manufacturers offer flange sizing kids, which allows you to test a variety of sizes before committing to one. Make sure you pay attention to how the flange feels during pumping to see if it’s a comfortable fit.

Finally, watch for signs of a proper fit. The proper flange fit will leave enough space around your nipple, ensuring it moves freely within the tunnel. It should not rub against the sides or pull excessively on the skin. Look for a gentle pulling sensation without any pain or discomfort.

Remember, you’re not alone, Mama! You can do this!

You can find support in our Facebook group, The Official Milky Mama Lactation Support Group. Let us know if you found this information useful, or if you have any further questions! 

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