What is a Flange?
The flange is the part of the breast pump kit that fits over your nipple and areola. Before using your pump, you should measure your nipples to make sure you’re using the flange size that works best for you. This guide will help you learn the correct way to measure your nipples for a perfect fit.
Which Part is Your Nipple?
Believe it or not, women are commonly confused about which part of the breast is the actual nipple. As you see in the diagram below, the nipple is the raised part of your breast in the center of the darker areola. The measurement should be of the nipple only, not the areola.
Why is Correct Flange Size so Important?
Measure your nipples for flange fit size. Using the correct size flange enables you to remove milk in the most efficient and comfortable way. Flanges that are too small can cause pumping to be painful. Flanges that are too large can cause too much of your breast tissue to be pulled into the tunnel. Incorrect flange sizing can decrease the amount of milk removed during each cycle and possibly cause damage to your nipple.
How to Measure Your Nipples
If you have already received your Rumble Tuff® pump, use the nipple ruler that accompanied it to fit your nipple into the hole with the snuggest fit. That will tell you your nipple diameter in millimeters. You may need to stimulate your nipple a bit to help it become more erect before measuring. If you don’t have the nipple ruler, measure each nipple at the base where it meets your areola. Make sure to measure at the widest point because nipples are often not completely round. Remember that all flange sizes are listed in millimeters. Also, you should measure BEFORE you pump.
Things to Consider When Picking Your Size(s)
Once you have measured your nipples, you should consider trying the flange that is exactly the size of your nipple as well as a size that is no more than three millimeters larger than your nipple measurement. If you have a snug fit, you can apply any edible oil (like coconut or olive oil) to the opening of the flange tunnel as lubrication to help make pumping more comfortable. It’s always good to try two sizes (your exact size and one size larger) to see which works best for you.
What am I Looking for?
- Your flange should allow you to pump comfortably and remove milk well.
- Your nipple should move freely in the tunnel. Very, very little of your areola should go into the tunnel.
- If your nipple is larger than the opening on the flange you need a larger size.
- If your nipple stays in place and you get milk coming back towards you (instead of going into the bottle) it could mean your flange is too large.
- You should not have red or white rings or patches after pumping and you should not feel discomfort.
- When finished pumping, your breasts should feel empty.
As a Rumble Tuff® breast pump user, you qualify for free pumping support with our Lead IBCLC (lactation consultant). You may schedule appointments with her through this link https://www.rumbletuff.com/lactation-consultants. She can help you with flange sizing, pumping tips, and schedules for returning to work or exclusive pumping.