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What do I Need to Keep in Mind about Flange Size?

I previously discussed here how to choose the correct flange size for your breasts, and also how much breast pump flange sizes can vary between different products in this blog. In addition to this, today I would like to share some important considerations to avoid confusion about flange size during your breastfeeding journey. 

As you may know, your body is not symmetrical, which means that your nipples will not be identical either. Therefore, it is very important to keep this in mind, and be aware of it from the moment you become pregnant. 

Is it possible for my nipple size to change during pregnancy?

Mothers undergo changes during pregnancy, including an increase in nipple size ranging from 12 to 25mm in diameter. These changes occur during mamogenesis, where:

  • The ducts multiply
  • The skin tightens to accommodate the gland
  • The nipple and areola enlarge
  • The areola darkens 
  • The Montgomery glands become more noticeable

Can my nipples change during my breastfeeding journey?

Nipple size changes are also common during breastfeeding as nipples are very elastic and expand during pumping, and some women may even need to switch to a larger funnel during the session.

Therefore, I would recommend to periodically check flange size once a week or whenever experiencing pain or discomfort, to prevent nipple trauma and ensure optimal breast drainage and maximum milk expression. 

What to do if you are concerned about your nipple size?

As we all come in different shapes and sizes, some women may feel worried or embarrassed about having larger nipples to talk to their health care providers about it. If you are pregnant and concerned, it would be a good idea to ask for an antenatal consultation with an IBCLC qualified lactation consultant. Although larger nipples usually don’t cause any problems with breastfeeding, seeking advice can alleviate any concerns. 

Sometimes, the issue is not with the nipple size itself. Babies may have small mouths, which can make it difficult to fit the nipple into their mouth. An IBCLC can work with you and your baby to help your baby open their mouth wider, making it easier to latch properly and feed comfortably. 

When faced with this concern, it’s important not to panic and seek help from a qualified IBCLC lactation consultant. We can offer support during pregnancy and after the baby is born to help you navigate this potentially overwhelming situation. Seek as much support as you need throughout your entire breastfeeding process. It will make you feel more confident and secure. 

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