Short story: wondering what to do when the 21mm flanges are still too big. Read on for more detail.
Everywhere I look there is talk of women needing bigger breast shields when pumping. I have the opposite problem. I downsized to the 21s and still have lots of extra space around the nipple and end up with a lot of areola in the tunnel. I called Medela and they sent me an insert for the 24s that the lady thought might help, but it is no better than the 21s. Pumping is becoming a nightmare and I am not sure what to do. Here are my issues:
1. Breast/nipple pain. I am always at least a little uncomfortable, varying from mild tenderness to excruciating pain. It is worst in between pumping/nursing. I think I have vasospasm to begin with and I suspect the flange fit is worsening the problem. I started using an OTC version of Dr. Neuman's APNO and I also use a lot of coconut oil. These help but only a little.
2. Trouble with positioning. I can't use any sort of hands-free setup or my nipples go way off-center and the milk stops flowing.
3. Need both hands. After the initial let-down the milk will stop flowing. I get about 1 oz from each breast and then nothing. My breasts still feel full. The only solution I have found so far is to switch to just one side at a time, hold the flange in one hand and massage the breast with the other. I get a lot more this way but it takes a long time. I am concerned with how long my pumping breaks are getting to be since I also have to scald the milk after each session due to lipase.
These problems are getting worse the longer I am back at work. I am only just barely keeping up with her intake and if this gets any worse and I can't make enough I don't know what I will do. We barely have any extra in the freezer.
Suggestions? The lady I spoke to at Medela said I should see a LC but I don't really have time for that