125. Flange Fitting 101: Finding The Right Fit With Your Breastpump
When it comes to pumping with a breastpump, you are likely NOT the size that comes with the box. If you'd like less discomfort and more milk when you pump, then you're in the right place.
This episode is sponsored by Ceres Chill. A breastmilk chiller that makes cooling and storing breastmilk on-the-go a breeze. Use affiliate discount code BREEZY25 for 25% off (This deep discount code works the week of Nov 14th 2022 only)
This podcast is not "medical advice". Please consult with your Healthcare Provider about your specific situation.
Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts here.
Follow along @breezy__babies on Insta for more tips and tricks.
Read the full transcript here:
Welcome to the Breezy Babies podcast, where we talk about all things boobs, babies and breastfeeding. This is Episode 125, flange Fitting 101. I'm Bri the IBCLC and I made Breezy Babies with you in mind to help ease your transition into parenthood. Becoming a parent changes your life and every way imaginable. Bumps in the road are going to come up as you move into your new role, but my goal is to help smooth out those bumps and help you become the most confident parent you can be. With good education and support, I know you can meet your breastfeeding and parenting goals. Let's do this together. Hey there, friends. How are you? Hope you're doing well. Baby is down for naps. Husband is gone at work today. Dog is down in the laundry room. She's not pawing at the door asking to get in, which means I am ready to podcast. I'm ready to chat with you and thank you so much for being here. I am excited to talk to you today about something that I talk about with pretty much all my clients. It's pretty rare that we don't talk about this topic, especially if we meet together multiple times, and that is Flange Fitting 101. Finding the right sized flange. Now, there is a lot to this, and I'm going to tell you the truth, I pumped with the wrong size flange. My entire pumping experience, I didn't really know how to size for flange size until I became an IBCLC, which was after my third baby was born. Now with my fourth, I just don't pump much. I've hardly pumped at all, to tell you the truth. And she just turned a year, so I don't see that changing anytime soon. But I always think back and I just think about how much more comfortable my pumping journey could have been. And it's not like my output really sucked. I mean, sometimes it did kind of stink, but I have pretty decent output. But I'm just thinking, how much more milk could I have pumped if I would have had the right sized flange when I was still working as a nurse on the unit and pumping all night? Or while I was gone away from my baby at lactation conference for an entire week, getting my hours for my IBCLC certification? Oh, my journey just could have been so much easier. So I'm going to talk you through it all today. I'm going to give you all the basics. Break down exactly how to find the right size flange, why you need the right size flange, and if you pump in any way, use a breast pump a little or a lot, especially if you use a breast pump a lot, then you are not going to want to miss this podcast episode today. I want to start by reading you a review. This is a Google review that was left by Brittany. I'll call her Brittany L because I think if I say her last name, I'm going to definitely say it wrong. This is a Google review, though, and she said Brie was so great working with me on a plan to make breastfeeding successful while also supplementing with a bottle. We have a plan moving forward that I am comfortable and confident with to keep us on the right track for the best breastfeeding experience for both me and my little one. That was a five star review on Google. So, so nice. Brittany. Thank you so much. I know we've already worked together, but if you send me an email to brief Breathe Babies, I'll give you any of my downloads completely free as a huge thank you. Well, as a small thank you for leaving me a review, but know that I am giving you a huge thank you right now. That means so much. Okay, I know that you are so ready to learn about flange fitting, but I want to tell you really quick that this week I have been prepping not only for this podcast episode, but also for my breastfeeding prep course that is coming up. And if you're listening to this podcast on the day that it came out, then I am teaching this live class today. If you're listening to this podcast after the first day it went live, then the class is already over. But no worries, even if you missed the live version. I kind of threw this together a little quickly because I last recorded this class in January of 2021, and then I was pregnant, not feeling well, and then pregnant, and then huge, and then delivered a baby and then had a newborn. So it's been so long since I've recorded this class. I just wanted a refresher. I wanted to add more to it, make it bigger, better, and it's finally time. So I kind of threw this together a little last minute. But even if you're listening to this, after the live class is over, you can still go and purchase it off my website. Breezybabies.com. It's a breastfeeding prep course, and you can still use Discount code latch Ten. Even if you can't make it live. If you're listening to this podcast early in the morning, you can still make it to my class. If you're pregnant in your first trimester, second trimester, third trimester, this class is perfect for you. It's basically like a hospital breastfeeding class, which I taught for years, by the way, except for you got to watch at home in your jammies. You don't have to go anywhere, and it's probably cheaper than your breastfeeding class at the hospital, and it's better. I guess I can say that because I actually taught the hospital breastfeeding classes for years. So I'll put the link in the show notes. Again, you can use Discount code latch Ten. Since you're in my crew, you listen to my podcast. I, of course, want to take care of you since you came and spent time with me today. Okay. I also have to tell you that today's episode is brought to you by a sponsor. This is so exciting for me and I love that. Series is my first sponsorship because I love their products. So today's episode is brought to you by one of my favorite companies in the Lactation space. Series Chill. Series is a threeinone breast milk chiller that makes pumping, storing and feeding a breeze. If you've ever had to pump your milk at work in the middle of the night or while you're away, you know the frustration of juggling storage bags and frequent trips to the fridge or freezer. Series is a sleek storage system that stores all your milk in one place. It keeps your milk cold for up to 20 hours without any bulky ice packs or Insulated cooler bags. You have to go to the Series website just to see how beautiful and durable the double walled stainless steel is. The Chiller can hold up to 34oz at a time. It's dishwasher safe, TSA approved. It's even compatible with all major breast pumps so you can pump directly into the chamber. All my pumping friends agree it's truly a game changer if you pump and store breast milk on the go. And guess what? I have a discount code for you this week only. You can use code Breezy 25. Breezy 25 for 25% email@example.com. That's C-E-R-E-S. Chill, Chil.com. Or you can just click the link in the show notes if that's too hard to remember. That code for 25% off is good for this week only. November 14. If you're listening to this after this week, come back next week and I'll share a different discount code for you for a little bit less. But if you are thinking that the Series sounds like a good fit for you, then go and use the 25% off while it's good for this week, that is an affiliate code, which means that I do get a portion of those sales, but I only talk about brands that I love and really trust. Lisa, the owner and creator of Series. She has the biggest heart. She has even been a guest here on the Breezy Babies podcast. Before you can go back and listen to her podcast episode about storing breast milk. And I know that you're going to love her and love her product that's shaking up the pumping space. OK, let's talk about the Lange fitting. Now, this is such an important topic because did you know that the standard size for flanges is between about 24, 27, 28? Find that most people that get a breast pump, it either shows up with a 24 or a 25 millimeter, and then it has a larger size, which is usually a 27 or a 28 millimeter. Now, let me just start by saying almost nobody are those sizes. Almost nobody, believe it or not. So the chance of you being the size that comes in the box of your breast pump is slim to none. What I have found in my practice, and I know that all my lactation friends have found the same, is that most people need to size down, and I'm talking way down. Now, you might be wondering, why do they come with a size 24, 25, 27 or 28 if nobody's that size? That's a good question. I am wondering the same thing myself. And I'm always thinking, okay, eventually, one day, this has got to change. They've got to learn that that is actually not a standard size. I listened to a conference, a lactation conference recently where they talked about flange fitting flange size, and the presenter talked about how they came up with a standard size of about a 24 or 25 by measuring the average circumference of a newborn's mouth. But why are we measuring a newborn's mouth when it comes to a flange and not the average size of a mother's nipple? Don't know where that came from. Obviously needs a little bit of updating. But I can tell you with pretty good assurity because I have sized hundreds and hundreds of families that you're probably not the size that comes in the box and more than likely smaller is going to be better for you. So if you are dealing with things like painful pumping, low milk output, persistent milk blips, which are tiny little white dots on the end of your nipple, if your nipples are very swollen after pumping, that is a huge sign that you are using a flange that is too big. So I don't even really get too surprised anymore. I just know that people are usually not oh, my goodness. Usually using a flash that is too big, which takes me into tip number one. You probably need to size down on your flange size. Now, you might be thinking, my flange doesn't my breast pump doesn't come with a smaller flange. It does. I've never met with a client where we weren't able to find them a flange that is in their size or an insert that was in their size that could size down their breast pump. So I promise you, you can find the right size. There is a size small enough. I've seen all the way down to 13. Believe I've even seen an eleven millimeter flange. Don't quote me on that. But for sure, I've seen all the way down to 13. Okay, let's move into tip number two. Let's keep this moving. Tip number two is your nipple should not look swollen after pumping. Let's break this down. Just your nipple should be pulling into the tunnel of your breast pump and not the areola. Okay? The areola is the dark area that's around your nipple. We don't want any of that pulling into the tunnel. Now, most people have a lot of their arrival pulling into the tunnel while they're pumping, and that's why their nipple looks so swollen after they pump. Now, again, when I was pumping with my first three kids, I just used the size that came with my breast pump. I didn't know. I just figured everyone was that size. And even with my second and my third baby, I worked in the hospital on a postpartum unit as a nurse. I worked in women's services, and we gave out flanges all day to not to all of our patients in the hospital because most were breastfeeding, they didn't need a breast pump. But for those who had their baby in the NICU, they were separated. They needed to use a breast pump for whatever reason. We would just grab the standard size and we'd hand it to them. And it came with either a 24 25 or a 28. And it was like, oh, yep, that's perfect. That's just what you need. So I know now I'm looking back to when I was pumping with those standard sizes. Sometimes I would even go up to the 28 because I'd be like, oh, this sometimes the 25 just doesn't feel right. I'm going to try the 28 and just see what happens, guys. My nipples were always swollen after pumping. I just didn't know it at the time. And now looking back, I know that I am actually such a smaller size, and what a difference that could have made. If I would have used a smaller size, it would have been more comfortable for me to pump while away from my baby, and I would have more than likely had better milk output. My pump would have been more efficient if I would have had the right flange size. So that might be happening with you as well, especially if you haven't sized yourself and you haven't sized down. You might want to look into that. Okay, let's move to tip number three. Let's talk some more. And tip number three is you have so many options with flanges. There is no one size that fits all. So there are a lot of options. I'm going to explain some of them to you, and honestly, it's enough to make your head spin. But just know that there's a lot of options. When it comes to flange options, there are inserts that you can buy for your existing flanges. There are even new flanges, like the hard flanges that come with your breast pump. You can buy new ones of those, and it doesn't have to be the name brand. You guys, you might look into your personal breast pump. Like, let's say you have spectrum. You might say, oh, my gosh, they only go down to a 21. There's nothing smaller. There is something smaller. You can buy a generic brand. Even just off of Amazon, there is one that is compatible with your breastfeed. I've never had a trouble finding one for one of my clients. So you can get a new hard flange. That's kind of the classic shape that you're used to. You can even buy cups that go inside your bra that make it a little bit more discreet to pump. You can hack those cups with almost any breast pump. Things like the legendary cups, things like that. You can make it work with almost any breast pump. There are even cups that come with silicone inserts, which again, is the legendary milk cups that I just suggested. There's also things like pump and pals that have an angle so you don't have to sit so far forward. And guess what? You can even turn the pump and pals upside down. And sometimes that works better for some people. Yes, when you do that, the melt pools a little bit, but sometimes that just is more comfy for certain pumpers. So here's our goal. Number one, comfy fit. We don't want enlarge swollen nipples. We don't want any pain with pumping. Number two, we want to maximize milk output. You may never pump as much as your baby eats in a feeding, but we want to at least be in the ballpark. If your baby is exclusively breastfeeding, no problems with weight gain or anything like that. But you've never pumped more than a half ounce or 1oz total at a time, especially when you skip a feed or you're away from your baby, then that is a flange fitting problem and possibly even a pump problem. Which brings up a good point. Make sure you have a good fit with your breast pump as well. Is the suction okay? Is the pull too much? Is the pull of the breast pump too little? Do you respond to that breast pump? There are definitely some pumps on my Easy pleaser list, and there are also some breast pumps on my I wouldn't spend the money on it because it's not worth the gamble list. If you want to know exactly what those breast pumps are, reach out to me directly. I don't want to blast any specific companies on this podcast, especially because some of the brands that I don't love still can be a good fit for some of my clients. Whenever we talk about breast pumps and especially flange sizes and inserts and all of that, it's just like finding the right sized shoe. You know, shoes are not a one size fits all. One that's comfy for one person feels awful on another. Same with flanges and flange inserts. If you don't know what a flange insert is, it's a little silicone insert that you can size your 24 millimeter flange down to, say, a 17 or a 19 or whatever size you need. They're pretty cool, pretty inexpensive, honestly. Again, there are so many flange options that they could just make your head spin. And there are so many hacks you can do with cups that hide discreetly inside your bra. Even hacks where you can buy a portable battery and make your plugin pump portable. Really, friends, I'm telling you, the sky is the limit. And I don't even have enough hours to present every single topic, every single option for you in this podcast. So just know that if pumping is not feeling quite right, there are options. Options you probably never even heard of or considered. I highly suggest working with an IBC. Of course, I would always love to work with you. I do accept SelfPay and some insurances. I have a team of three IBCLCs, so we can usually fit you in quick, like within days. You can always check that in the show notes. But again, don't put up with a flange that is too big. You can order a free nipple ruler online. You can print it off, cut out the little squares, the little circles. I mean, and while that's not my favorite option, because it's kind of a pain to print it off and cut it out and get it just right and do the measurement. There's even some circle measurements that you can buy pretty inexpensive on Amazon. And you can measure your nipples and make sure that you have the right franchise. Again, if you need help, work with an IBCLC, but I'm telling you, there is the right flange for you. It can take a little bit of trial and error, a little bit of trying this size, trying this insert, trying this new flange to find the right one for you. OK, let's review tip number one today for Flange Fitting 101 on finding the right fit. Tip number one was you probably need to size down on your flange size. Tip number two was your nipple should not look swollen after pumping. And tip number three was you have so many options with flanges. There is no one size that fits. All. Listen, thank you so much for listening and today. I so appreciate you taking the time. You know, I will be back next week for another fresh podcast episode with you. I hope you have a great day. And of course, I'm going to leave you with your strong. You are smart, you are beautiful, you're a good friend to all. Bye.