Finding the appropriate size breast flange or shield will help you increase milk production and have the most comfortable pumping sessions. Not sure what measurement you require? Follow the instructions below to determine the correct breast pump flange size.

What exactly is a flange?

A flange, or a breast shield, is the cone-shaped receptacle that fits immediately over the nip, areola, and breast. When the correct measurement is used, a seal is formed between the breast and the plastic or silicone, creating a vacuum for milk extraction.

Why getting the measurement right is important.

An appropriately sized flange or breast shield will assist in optimising milk output. If a flange is too small, it may constrict the tissue, obstructing mammary ducts. If the flange is too large, it may not extract all of the milk, which could decrease milk production. Using a flange that does not fit properly can also cause nipple irritation or injury.

How to measure the size of your flange.

To determine the most appropriate flange measurement for you, you must measure your nipple. Using a ruler or a measuring tape, determine the diameter or breadth of your nipple in millimetres. Do not include measurements for the larger area surrounding your nipple, the areola.

Determine the size of your flange based on your measurement. Below are common flange diameters in relation to nipple measurements. If your pump manufacturer does not offer one of these sizes, search for the size that is the closest alternative:

  • If you measure up to 17mm, use a 21mm flange.
  • If you measure up to 20mm, use a 24mm flange.
  • If you measure up to 23mm, use a 27mm flange.
  • If you measure up to 26mm, use a 30mm flange.
  • If you measure up to 32mm, use a 36mm flange.

Consider that breasts are not identical. Each breast may require a flange of varied dimensions. In fact, the size of your flange may alter throughout your pumping voyage. Before replacing your pump’s components, it is advisable to remeasure to ensure that you are still using the correct measurement.

The correct fit

You have the correct dimension flange if all of the following are true:

  • The flange comfortably encircles the breast.
  • When you pump, only your nipple and a small portion or none of your areola enter the tunnel.
  • Your nipple can move freely during thrusting without pressing against the tunnel wall.
  • After milking, your breasts are empty and tender.
  • Your milk supply is stable or increases.
  • Overall, your pumping sessions are painless and comfortable.

A closing remark

Finding and utilising the proper flange measurement is crucial for a successful and pleasant pumping experience. If you have queries about flange size or breastfeeding, a lactation consultant is an excellent resource. Spending a few minutes determining the size of your flange will go a long way towards helping you achieve your breastfeeding and pumping objectives.


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