Flat and inverted nipples are normal. If you’re worried about pumping, you’re not alone. I say this with the best of intentions – You Are Not Alone!
When pumping, one of the major issues moms with flat or inverted nipples face is getting their nipples into the flanges. This is because nearly all flanges and inserts are curved like cones to mimic the shape of the breast. For the majority, nipples protrude into the flange tunnel and when the pump starts, the suction easily takes in the nipple.
With flat or inverted nipples, when you pump, you have a large distance between the nipple and the entry of the flange tunnel. When the suction starts and you notice an air gap, you may hear some funny farting sounds and it takes several seconds or a minute to get your nipple to finally reach the flange entry. It’s time you likely don’t have trying to get your milk to start flowing while at work, or sitting there trying to line up your nipple to the right angle. If you do get the milk to flow, a lot of it will be lost down your shirt. What can you do?
The first step is making sure you have the right size flanges. Starting with standard flanges is a great option. Most times this can help the air gap be reduced and leaking to a minimum. Other times you may need to try something different, here are the options:
Pumping Pretty Inserts: These are flat rimmed, not curved like traditional inserts or flanges. There is no issue getting your nipples into the inserts at all because they are flat. The unforeseen issue is if your milk ducts around your nipples are close to the surface and they don’t like the pressure, you may not empty well. You may have to size up to see if that helps you empty better. These are an exact size, unlike other inserts or flanges that advertise as one size but actually are larger or smaller. They fit into 24/25mm but can fit into 26mm to 28mm because the rim of the inserts are wider than other brands. This also can help with leaking.
LacTeck Baby Motion Flanges: These are soft silicone that is flexible enough to pop the cone of the flange to get a better hold of your nipples. They come in a variety of sizes but are typically 1-2mm larger than advertised. For example, a 15mm fits more like a 16/17mm. You will need a base connector to use these with pumps like Luna, Spectra, and Babybuddha. You will not need any additional parts to work with pumps like Medela which already comes with a base connector. To read more about this product, click here. 10% off. Use code: SAVETHEMILK
Pumpin Pal: Shown in the main picture, are made of thick silicone. Shaped like cones but flexible enough to pop them back like a suction cup in order to try and suck up your nipples into the tunnels. The issue with these is they take a while to learn how to put them on. They don’t fit easily into pumping bras and they are heavy. I only recommend these as a last resort. You will need to buy base connectors and an adapter ring for pumps like Luna, Spectra, BabyBuddha, etc. They will fit in pumps like Medela. Even with these, moms are about 50% successful with emptying. You can buy them in three packs, sizes x-small, small and medium which are the better sizes to get. They have larger ones but moms typically don’t need the bigger sizes (25-36mm).
With any product you choose, it has it’s ups and downs and no one responds the same way to them. The best size and product to use will always come down to what YOU respond to. The only way to find out what that product will be is to start with knowing what issue you have and working on solving that issue. Wondering about your size? Click here.
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