There is so much conflicting information out there on how to choose the right size pump flanges. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula! Proper sizing is unique to each individual and is not just measuring your nipple size and adding x, y, z millimeters. In fact, generalized instructions, including those on nipple and flange measuring tools that comes with pumps, is inaccurate for most people.
Why is flange size important?
Using the correct size flanges makes a huge difference in your comfort during pump and your ability to completely drain the breast and collect more milk. You may also be able to collect the same amount of milk in less time by using a properly fitting flange.
How do you find the right size pump flanges for you?
The best way to determine the right size pump flanges for you is to try a bunch of sizes while actually pumping to see what size fits best. When I meet with clients for the first time, I always offer a flange fitting if they are pumping even occasionally. During a flange fitting we use nipple size as a starting point and then try all the sizes around that measurement to find the best fit. It’s hard to try all the sizes if you don’t have them, so I bring along a sterilized set, with sizes 10-24mm, to each home visit. Taking the time to determine the right size breast pump flange can save you from wasting money on poorly fitting flanges, not to mention a bunch of time and unnecessary discomfort.
Who should have a flange fitting?
While I want everyone to be able to pump comfortably, not everybody needs a flange fitting.
You probably don’t need a flange fitting if:
- You have an ample milk supply and rarely pump
- Pumping is comfortable and you get lots of sprays with your current flange size
- Your breasts feel well drained after a 20 minute (or less) pump session
Consider a flange fitting if:
- You are an exclusive pumper
- You are trying to increase your milk supply to meet the needs of your baby
- Pumping is uncomfortable
- Your nipples change color during pumping (lighter or pinker) or become swollen
- You feel like there is milk left in the breasts after pumping
Your insurance may cover all my services, including prenatal consults, back to work planning, follow-up visits, and flange fitting. Check your insurance coverage here, and then schedule your consult.