Breast Pump Flange Sizes: What You Should Know

A breast pump flange is a funnel-shaped plastic portion that slides over the nasopharynx. It creates a vacuum seal around your areola before sucking your nipple into its receptacle to extract milk.

The majority of pumps feature a standard 24-millimetre (mm) flange. However, they are available in a variety of diameters, typically ranging from 15mm breast pump flange to a 36mm one. The size specifies the diameter of the tiny tube on the narrow border of the flange.

The optimal flange fit will allow you to efficiently express as much breast milk as possible. The extent of your flange is typically determined by your breast tissue and skin elasticity. If your flange is too snug, it will constrict your breasts, causing milk ducts to become obstructed and milk to be released more slowly.

However, if your flange is too lax, you won’t be able to extract all of the milk from your breast, which can reduce your milk supply. It can also cause unneeded nipple discomfort and even nipple injury. If breastfeeding is painful, it can reduce your milk supply. You are also less likely to continue.

What size flange should you use?

Check the website of your pump’s manufacturer to determine your size. Most companies provide a size guide for flanges based on the diameter of your nozzle.

To measure the diameter of your nipple (its breadth), you will need a ruler or measuring tape. Coins can also be used to estimate: A dime is approximately 18 millimetres in diameter, a penny is 19 millimetres, a nickel is 21 millimetres, and a quarter is 24 millimetres.

Before measuring, stimulate your nipple by rubbing it between your thumb and index finger or applying ice to ensure that you have its exact measurement. Concentrate on its base diameter and exclude the areola. Remember to measure both of your nipples, as their proportions can vary.

Flanges vary from company to company, so you may need to experiment with several. You may discover that the flanges of a different brand fit your body better. It may take some time to locate the optimal gear, but the vast majority of pump and flange combinations are acceptable.

Keep in mind that your nipple size (and, consequently, your flange size) may fluctuate as you breastfeed.

How do you know whether your flange is too large or too small?

Some indications that your flanges do not meet properly include:

  • Your breasts are moving excessively or insufficiently while milking. The movement must be as delicate as the movement of your bite within the tunnel.
  • Your nose is rubbing against the tunnel’s walls, causing distress.
  • Your nipple and a portion of your areola are drawn into the tunnel.
  • After milking, your nipples are either translucent or red. This may signify a flange that is too narrow.
  • After milking, your breasts are still distended. If they are substantial and firm, then the milk has not completely evaporated and your flange may be too large.

Finding the ideal flange may require some perseverance, patience, and trial and error, but it is well worth the effort. Consult your physician or a lactation consultant if you’re having problems. In your search for the ideal flange fit, he or she can provide you with some advice.