flanges size? sore nipples/areola — The Bump
Breastfeeding

flanges size? sore nipples/areola

I am EP and I am in quite a bit of pain the past few days. I am using the standard size flanges that came with my medla pump but I think I need a different size.  I'm just not sure if I need smaller or bigger.

I have fairly small breasts so i would think that I need a smaller size but with the standard size part of my nipple rubs a side.  Also, a small part of the areola is brought into the flange each time.  I now have a nice raised sore ring of tissue around the nipple.  That is what hurts the most!

Should any of the areola be pulled into it when I pump?  Any advice on smaller or bigger?

Thanks so much!

Re: flanges size? sore nipples/areola

  • If your nipples are sore and rubbing, I'm guessing you need bigger flanges. I use the XL and there is a good bit of space around the nipple when the flange is in place, as long as I position it centered. My entire nipple is in the tunnel. There is a diagram in my medela manual if you can check that out.  I have the hard plastic ones and like them better than the softshields.  Also I only use the suction level up to  6.
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  • I EP as well and I ended up meeting with my local LC to try to get fitted for a different size flange.  I had the same thoughts as you - I'm small chested so I shouldn't need that big of flanges but I was wrong - I ended up using the 30 or 36 mm ones and am much more comfortable.  My LC said that most people actually aren't the right size for the standard size that comes with the pumps.

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  • Ah yes, I tried every single size on the market, and eventually had to custom fit my own (I have very small, flat nipples, so they didn't look like any of the pictures online).  No areola should be pulled into the flange, so that suggests needing smaller, but if the nipple is rubbing on the sides, that suggests needing larger.  It is also possible that you need different sizes for each side, just something to keep in mind.  Just for giggles, after you pump try measuring the diameter (straight line from one side to the other) of the nipple, not including any areola that may be swollen around the nipple.  The size that finally fit me was about a mm larger than my nipple after pumping.  I would caution against just automatically going for larger, I went up to a 30mm, which was not too painful for a few months, but then started giving me blisters on the areola, so I believe it is really important to get as good a fit as possible.  If you do need to go up a size, pm me.  I have a variety pack of flanges that I tried while working to figure out this very problem that I can't use, but spent way too much money to just throw away.  Good luck.

  • Oh yes, if you can see an LC, that would be ideal.  I live in BFE so it's hard to find anyone that knows anything about anything.
  • 1. Breastsize has nothing to do with flang size. Its nipple size (you can have small boobs and huge nipples or huge boobs with little nipples)

    2. Find a LC and get fitted. My had all the sizes so instead of buying a size and then going "oh this doesnt work i need the next size" you arent wasting money.

    3. Over the course of nursing/pumping your nipples can change sizes so what fits now may not fit in 2 months. I needed different size when i was pumping every 2 hrs , now that i pump 1/day i can use a smaller size.

    4. If its rubbing (but the nipple fits) try lightly rubbing 100% pure olive oil to coat the flanges so that it doesnt rub (i had this problem a lot at first too, now i dont need it)

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