Flange Guide – Know Your Right Size

What is a Breast Pump Flange?

One of the accessories that you would need for pumping is a breast pump flange. When it comes to a flange, the right fit matters a lot. They come in different sizes, so it is important to know your size for maximum output and size.

A breast pump flange is a plastic piece that fits directly over your nipple to form a seal around the areola. This creates a vacuum that gently draws your nipple into the funnel for milk extraction. Having a poorly sized flange can lead to breast damage, pain, and poor output, which can lead to premature weaning of the baby from breast milk.

Finding the Right Size

Finding the proper size for a breast flange is based on the diameter of the nipple, not the areola (the softer pigmented skin around the nipple).

  • First of all, determine the diameter of your nipple. The standard flange size is often 24mm, but you may need to select smaller or larger flanges based on your measurement.
  • Then, compare the diameter of your nipple to the available flange size options.

Once you receive your pump, go ahead and try it out. Look for your following signs to determine if you have the right flange size:

Too Small

Does your nipple rub the sides of the tunnel? Does it feel uncomfortable or look red or irritated? This means that it could be too small.

Too Large

Is a large part of your areola being pulled into the tunnel with your nipple? Is it turning white or red? Then it could be too big.

The Perfect Fit

When your flange size is correct your nipple should be centered in the tunnel and able to freely move in and out of it. It should mimic your infant’s natural suckling pattern with gentle suckling/tugging. If it’s painful or your blood flow is cut off you might have the wrong size.

Get Help

If you are a new mother and are having trouble deciding your flange size, then you should see a lactation consultant for guidance. You can also measure your nipple diameter using this great PDF – Spectra measurement,  that you can download here and print for the right flange size.