I recently took an amazing continuing education course on flange fitting and feeding gear to improve my knowledge and expertise on these to help better support my clients. The course was taught by the well respected IBCLC Jeanette Mesite Frem of Babies in Common. I like to think of her as the Fairy Godmother of Pumping! Check it out, she has classes, free Flange FITS guide and more for parents to be.
There were some huge revelations made that I'd like to share with you cool parents who like to learn from me. I decide to put this into a blog form rather than a TikTok to help fully explain how to find proper flange fit for breast pumping efficiency for maximum milk output.
So, as I always knew, having the incorrect flange size can lead to less output, cause pain with pumping and overall be inefficient and ineffective to creating a sufficient milk supply.
What I didn't know was the how do we fix this for everyone? I was doing it on a case by case basis. But I realized there are some general facts about pumps and flange fitting that all parents should know, even without a private consult. Pumping education should be included in breastfeeding classes and it typically is not.
Here are 5 tips on getting a proper flange fit & increasing milk output:
Measure your nipples
Check your flange type hard vs. silicone
Wearable vs. Stationary or Limited movement pumps
Check for comfort
Buy a flange fitting kit or book a lactation consult to use theirs.
How to measure your nipples:
Using a measurement tool in front of a mirror or snapping a pic with the timer on your phone will help you see best.
Measure each nipple individually since you may not get the same measurement on the left and right sides of your chest.
There are two ways to measure your nipple - a ruler and a circular guide.
Flat or inverted nipples can do this too. Be sure to hand stimulate your nipples a bit.
Use a ruler or measuring tape to find the diameter of your nipple (the horizontal width across it starting from the 1 mark) in millimeters (1 cm = 10mm). Measure the nipple alone, do not include the areola, which is the outer edge around your nipple. If you are measuring 1.5 = 15mm / 1.7 = 17mm / 2 = 20mm and so on.
Using the circles on your silicone measuring tool:
Place the nipple into the smallest hole you can comfortably fit into without forcing it.
Your nipple should fit completely inside the circle.
Make sure you can see your entire nipple inside the circle and right where it meets the areolar tissue.
The number in millimeters indicates your nipple diameter.
A printable one would look like this...I have my own available to download for free here: