Is Your Flange Size Too Big? The Best Solution Is Here!

It’s critical to understand how to effectively pump whether you’re pregnant or have just given birth to your first child. You’re likely unfamiliar with the procedure, and it’s completely natural to be nervous.

There is a wide range of options for breast-pumping milk products on the market that might be overwhelming. Pumping moms will appreciate how important it is to choose the perfect flange fit.

What to do if you encounter a “flange size too big” matter? Don’t stress! This article will recommend the most effective way to find your correct flange size and address related questions. Let’s scroll down!

What Is A Breast Pump Flange? 

Before diving into the method to measure your flange size, it’s better to acquire knowledge of flange. This concept may be strange to a new mom. What is a breast flange?

A flange, often known as a breast shield, is a plastic device that perfectly fits your nipples. This funnel-shaped equipment creates a seal surrounding your areola and enables effective milk expression and collection via suction.

What would a standard breast pump look like? You can easily find a thousand breast pump flanges with a wide range of sizes from various online retailers, manufacturers, or baby product shops.

This product may be available in different sizes, ranging from 21 to 36 millimeters (mm) in most cases. Its size denotes the tiny tube diameter on the thin edge of the device. In general, a flange of 24 (mm) is normal on most pumps. 

It also comes in various materials, depending on your choice. It can be made of silicone, hard plastic, or glass. The most popular types are plastic and silicone because it offers high applicability, flexibility, and durability.

Is a breast flange the same as a nipple shield? The answer is no. They are two different items that benefit different purposes. So, you may wonder what eventually a nipple shield is. 

For those unfamiliar with this accessory, it is a silicone nipple that moms wear during the breastfeeding journey. This flexible device is to support newborns in breastfeeding. Overall, it is a utility to aid moms in making nursing more comfortable and easy.

In particular, if you suffer sore nipples while breastfeeding or the baby’s latch is challenging, it will act as a shield or a larger target. It is also useful for improving flat or inverted nipples in new moms.

On the other hand, a breast flange will support pump milk from the mom’s breast to improve milk production while reducing the pains from the nipples, as shared above. 

To sum up, you should tell the two accessories apart to purchase the exact product you need as some websites or stores have no return policy.

Breast pump products

Breast pump products

Why Is Correct Flange Size Important? 

Some mothers are quite easy to pump or breastfeed, so they feel the use of pumping aids is redundant. However, many people suffer from difficult breastfeeding, so these tools are truly lifesavers.

Why is choosing the proper size incredibly important? The proper flange fitment will effectively express as much mother’s milk as possible.

Your breast pump flange’s size is determined by the areola density of the breast tissue and the suppleness of your skin. In general, it brings many benefits.

To Avoid Nipple Issues

This useful tool produces a vacuum seal and gently draws your nipples into the tunnel for milk supply. If you choose the incorrect flange size, it can cause some nipple problems such as breast tissue damage, soreness, swelling, clogged milk ducts, nipple injury, or some cuts on your nipple. 

For instance, when you purchase an excessively tight flange, it will compress your breasts, causing blocked milk ducts and an awful pumping experience.

To Avoid Little Milk Production

Nonetheless, milk extraction may be tricky if it is not tight enough. The reason is the friction between the flange sides and your nipples is rather high, which causes constant rubbing. It results in a reduced amount of milk pumped out.

It can also result in unwanted nipple irritation, damage, and clogged ducts. And you’ll be less inclined to remain with it as well. Everything will be better if you choose the proper breast pump flange, easily improving milk outcomes. 

To Avoid Financial Waste

When you purchase a pump, it is usually available in one or two flange sizes. Thus, you may need to get a fitter size from the manufacturers or other kid product stores. 

It would be best to assure that any breast flange you purchase is specifically designed for your pump. That’s because each pump is unique.

A flange intended for another device is unlikely to work with the rest of your equipment, rendering it worthless.

Select right flange size

Select right flange size

Is It Hard To Know Your Flange Size? 

If selecting the proper flange for your breasts is getting difficult, you’re not alone. A pumping specialty store may be able to assist if you’re experiencing trouble finding the correct fit.

Because various types of pumps have different geometric flanges, you might find that certain pumps are more comfortable or operate better for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different sizes and brands. 

If you want to know your exact breast pump flange size, we will show you how to measure it right below. Scroll down and keep reading!

Different flange sizes

Different flange sizes

How To Measure Your Flange Size? 

Here are useful tips for new moms who have just given birth for the first time: 

Understand Standard Flange Size Guide

As mentioned above, most flange pumps come in common size, but the breast pump flange size still varies by manufacturer. All in all, your pump’s normal size ranges from 24 to 27 (mm).

The truth is that this standard size may not correctly fit your nipple. When it’s your giving birth time, you may require a larger flange sizing.

Don’t feel sorry for the money when you have to throw away the wrong flange included. Some people may have had bleeding breasts because of stubbornly taking it.

Measure The Diameter Of Your Nipples

First, you need to take the measurements of your nipple diameter from your nipple base. You should be aware that the size of your nipples will be the main factor determining the size of your flange. 

To ensure you get the entire flange sizing of your nipples, activate them by massaging them between using your thumb and finger or adding cold to it before measuring.

You can use a ruler or measuring tape to ascertain the size of your nipple, especially width across or diameter in millimeters (mm). Pay attention that the size is not the diameter of your breast or areola, the larger and darker skin around the nipples. 

What’s more, it would be best to choose the breast pump flange with a slightly bigger size than your nipples to support the movement.

It’s also important to determine the diameter of both nipples as their dimensions may be a bit asymmetrical. Take note of the numbers you have measured.

Measuring tapes

Measuring tapes

Check Your Flange Size

The following table lists standard flange sizes concerning nipple measures. Each breast pump manufacturer should specify the size of the flanges that match the width of your nipple. 

If any of those recommended sizes aren’t available from your manufacturer, seek another closest number.

For instance, if your pump comes from the Medela flange brand and your nipple size is about 22 (mm), you should go for a pumping flange with 24 (mm). Alternatively, you can also consider Maymom flanges. Check the parameters below for more detail:

  • If your measurement is around 32 (mm), use size 36 (mm).
  • If your measurement is around 26 (mm), go with 30 (mm).
  • If your measurement is around 23 (mm), go with 27 (mm).
  • If your measurement is around 20 (mm), go with 24 (mm).
  • If your measurement is around 17 (mm), go with 21 (mm).

Again, your breast might not be the same flange sizing. Each boob may need a flange of a specific width. In reality, the size of your breast pump flange can alter during your pumping adventure. 

Therefore, it’s a great idea to take nipple measurements before replacing your pumping parts to ensure you’re still utilizing the right flange size.

Surprisingly, an interesting trick to replace a ruler or measuring tape is using the ASL gesture. SLA stands for the “I Love You” expression for those who don’t know. 

Make the sign and compare your fingers to get an approximate flange sizing for your nipple. 

  • If your thumb is between 24 and 26 (mm), the nipple size is 21 or 23 (mm).
  • If your pinky is from 20 (mm) or less, the needed nipple size should correspondingly be 30, 27, or 24 (mm).

However, you should only apply this method when measuring tools are unavailable in your home because they can lead to unwanted errors.

Reassess Your Flange Size While Breastfeeding

Your nipple size can alter while you’re pumping. The flexibility of your skin and the density determine the right flange size of your nipple. As a result, you should reevaluate your nipple width throughout a pumping period.

While pumping, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is it possible for the device to empty your breast?
  • Do you feel pain while pumping?
  • Is the excess space inside the flanges occupied by an areola?
  • Do you have a free-moving nipple that is located in the middle?
  • Does your nipple push on the edges of the flanges?

If one of those signs shows while you pump, let’s seek another new one. 

Buy The Right Size Flange

Order the appropriate flange size depending on what you’ve measured and considered. 

Order the right products

Order the right products

How To Know If Your Flange Is Suitable?

The lactation consultant advises utilizing the COMFY technique to identify the proper breast pump flange size. The name is short for five key guidelines, which are as follows:

  • Centered nipples: Your nipples would feel free and unrestrained without scuffing the tunnel sides and causing red marks or pain. 
  • Only a small part of the areola tissue goes into the tunnel: A small areola part would be pulled inside the device in each pumping time. 
  • The motion of your breast should be rhythmic: Whenever the tool moves, your breasts will move, but extremely gently. 
  • Feel comfortable breast pumping. You wouldn’t feel tenderness nipple pain while pumping cycle. 
  • Yields well-drained breasts: The pump should extract a reasonable amount of milk output after the pumping session. Thus, your breasts should be considerably lighter and softer when you’ve finished. 

Signs to know a proper flange 

Signs to know a proper flange 

How To Tell If Your Flange Size Is Too Small Or Big? 

The truth is that it is quite challenging to tell whether you are using the incorrect size. It may take some patience, persistence, or trial to discover the desired flanges. 

If you feel it is too hard, here are some tips to tell if your flange is too big or small. If it’s a wrong size flange, it may show the following signs:

  • It rubs the skin around the areolas because it pulls your nipples against the flange tunnel sides. 
  • It squeezes and pinches nipple areas.
  • Your nipple becomes discolored, white, or red.
  • The milk production is little. It can’t extract all the milk.  
  • You will feel sore while extracting milk. 
  • While pumping, your breasts move excessively or insufficiently instead of moving gently. 
  • Your breasts are still full, heavy, and stiff after the process. It means the remaining milk hasn’t removed its content out of your breast as the pumping flange is too big. 

Big flanges

Big flanges

When To Switch To Another Flange Size?

Examining the state of your nipples is the simplest method to determine whether you require another new one. When you notice them appear red or uncomfortable, the device is not too small to fit your breast. 

Besides, you need to purchase a new one if your areola area gets sucked into the flange tunnel, which causes your nipples to turn white or red.

It’s time for you to switch to another size. It’s common to have a faster checkout of a few different options before finding the right flange fit.

You should know that some silicone types are unavailable for some pump companies. Some manufacturers may only have small to average-sized options. 

Women who require a different size pump may have to purchase from a different source than the brand that made the pump they’re using.

Some people are concerned that new types purchased from other suppliers or firms may not work the pump they already own. 

Don’t worry! This combination will work correctly, even though matching them can be tedious.

Considerations to purchase a new product

Considerations to purchase a new product


What Happens If You Use A Flange That’s Too Big?

You might suffer some discomfort, including painful nipples, low milk supply, pinching, areola pulling, or painful milk extraction.

Can Pumping Damage Your Nipples?

Yes! If it’s a wrong size flange, you have difficulty controlling the suction, which causes damage to breast issues and results in some problems like mastitis.

Is It Normal For Nipples To Be Swollen After Pumping?

The good news is yes! Nevertheless, if the swollen nipples do not recover after 15 or 30 minutes, you may apply the incorrect size flange.

Does Higher Suction Mean More Milk?

The answer is no. Higher suction might cause excessive squeezing of your nipple, preventing milk production from your producing glands.

Plastic flange

Plastic flange

The Bottom Line

This article has ultimately got to the bottom of your questions related to flange fit. Is your flange size too big or small? It’s not the matter at all with our advice. You should purchase a new type to avoid nipple issues and financial waste. 

If you feel this task is difficult, apply the recommendations mentioned above. If the situation is worse, contact the local lactation consultant for advice. Your pumping time will be much more enjoyable!

Related Articles:
The Surprising Importance of Your Breast Pump Flange
Finding the Right Breast Pump Flange Size