Flange Fit Advice
Hello Everyone! FTM here looking for some advice on the flange size/fit for my Medela Pump in Style Advance.
At first I used the 24MM sized flange that came with my pump, however I noticed that a very large amount of my areola was being sucked into the tunnel once I began to pump. It looked like there was about 5MM of my areola being sucked into the tunnel all around (think my nipple + a 5MM circle of areola all around). There was actually one time when I appeared to have bruising on my right breast because of it and it hurt for days. Also, I did not appear to be getting much milk from either breast using this size (~2oz combined after about 30 minutes pumping).
I purchased a 21MM flange after researching a bit and now only my nipple gets sucked into the tunnel. Prior to beginning suction, my nipple is centered and can move around, however once suction starts and as it continues, my nipples seems to swell and slightly rub on the sides of the tunnel. It does not seem to be affecting milk output though, as I was able to get 4oz on my left breast the other day and another 2.5oz from my left breast only after pumping for approximately 15 minutes
Everything I've read says the nipple should not rub up against the tunnel and fit freely in the center prior to suction, but nothing about what it should look like during. Is it normal for my nipple to swell up slightly and expand in the tunnel? It doesn't hurt and is not uncomfortable.
Should I have stuck to the larger flange? Even if a lot of my areola was being sucked in? This option did hurt during pumping.
Any advice is appreciated!
Re: Flange Fit Advice
Pumping shouldn't hurt, so I don't think you should use the 24 mm flange. It sounds like the nipple is moving back and forth easily when you are pumping? If it doesn't hurt, output is good and you feel like your breasts are being drained reasonably well, then it should be fine, whatever it looks like.
Re: Flange Fit Advice
My nipples swell up and expand in the flanges when I pump, so I don't think that particular experience is unusual or abnormal. I also had to use 21 mm flanges for the first few months of pumping when I went back to work. After a few months, it seemed like my nipples sort of permanently swelled to a larger size, and I've had to use the 24 mm flanges ever since then. But I agree with bfwmomof3--if it doesn't hurt, if you are getting good output, and feel drained, you probably are using the right size.