The right size pump flange can make a huge difference in your Lactation Journey! Most breast pumps come with one or two flange sizes that attach to your breast. It is unlikely that either of these sizes is going to be your best fit. It does happen sometimes. Breasts and nipples don't come in just two sizes.
We now have options to find a more custoimized fit for our pump flanges. This is a game changer for comfort, pumping efficiency and milk output.
When we are using a size that is too large, our breast and nipple is not experiencing the proper contact and stimulation to help express the most milk for our pumping session. Additionally, often the breast itself (areola) is pulled into the tunnel of the flange along with the nipple. This can result in pain and damage. This results in less output for multiple reasons. One reason is the lack of good stimulation and the other is pain. Pain can inhibit the milk letdown especially if it is chronic. Conversely a size too small can pinch and hurt the nipple and and lead to less milk output.
Some parents don't experience pain with the worng size flange but their pumping efficiency and milk output will likely still be affected.
When we are fitted for the right size, the results are much better comfort while pumping. It also can often mean larger milk sprays, more milk output overall and less time needed to pump. If you are pumping, it is always best to seek a good expert flange fitting to maximize your milk supply and ensure comfort and a good experience.
In my experience, I have worked with clients who expressed immediate improved comfort and bigger sprays of milk. This resulted in expressing more milk in a shorter period of time. Those minutes add up over your 24hr and weeks of pumping.
What to do next? See an IBCLC who is trained in flange fitting. They should try multiple sizes with you and watch the whole pumping session to determine your best fit. New knowledge in flange fitting has been presented in conferences designed for IBCLC’s. Ask if your practitioner has taken recent courses in this specialty and book a flange fitting session!
Takeaway? Flange fit Matters!
Lactation Consultation at Home can offer this service at your home, in the office and virtually!