The flanges that come with your breast pump may not be the correct flanges for your breasts. Just like breasts come in different shapes and sizes, so do breast pump flanges.
The flange is the part of the breast pump that you hold against your breast while pumping. Flanges are not one-size-fits-all.
Look at your nipple while you pump. Does your nipple move freely in the flange tunnel? Do you see space around your nipple? Does most of your areola stay out of the flange tunnel and not get sucked in with your nipple? If the answer to these questions is yes, congratulations; it sounds like you’ve found your perfect flange fit.
If you notice your nipple rubs against the flange tunnel, your flange may be too small.
If your areola is sucked into the breast flange tunnel and rubs against the side, your flange may be too large.
To make pumping even more interesting, your breasts’ size and shape (specifically, the difference) may require you use different sized flanges for each breast. Or you may find you need different sized flanges at different stages of your pumping journey. You may even need a different size at the start of your pumping session, and then find it more comfortable to switch to a different size partway through. The important thing to remember is there are many different variations of “normal” and what works for someone else may not be the best solution for you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
If you’re looking for a private space for pumping support, join us in the #WeCanPump Facebook Community.