In the world of breast pumping, there are several ways to describe our unique nipples, and one such term that gained attention since 2018 was Tater Tot Nipples. This was coined to describe the specific effect Willow 1, 2, and 3 users faced. It’s important to understand what this means and how to prevent it so you can have a comfortable pumping experience.
What Are Tater Tot Nipples?
Tater Tot Nipples occur as a result of the unique suction mechanism of the Willow 3.0 pump. Unlike traditional breast pumps that intermittently suction the nipple, the Willow 1 – 3.0 maintains continual suction. This extended suction holds the nipple in a stretched state throughout the pumping session. While this is great for milk dropping into the canister and preventing leaks, once you’re done pumping, it temporarily retains the elongated shape of the flange tunnel, resembling a tater tot.
Why Does This Happen?
The phenomenon is not just about the suction of the nipple; it also involves the areola. The Willow’s consistent suction inadvertently draws in more of the areola along with the nipple. This increased suction boosts blood flow to the nipple area, potentially leading to temporarily enlarged bigger nipples. Even though the picture above may look funny, that’s actually what Tater Tot Nipples look like when using Willow.
How to Prevent Tater Tot Nipples
The key to avoiding Tater Tot Nips lies in accurate sizing of the flange:
1. Get Properly Fitted:
Use the Nipple Queen Ruler for precise measurements. It’s uniquely designed to give accurate sizing without the need to add extra millimeters. Correct sizing is crucial because it ensures that the flange fits just right, focusing the suction on the nipple alone and not on the surrounding areola.
2. Size Down for Continual Suction Pumps:
For pumps like the Willow 3.0, which has a continuous suction, it’s advisable to select a flange size that closely matches your nipple size. This prevents the excessive suction of the areola and helps maintain the natural shape of your nipples post-pumping. There are several other issues you could face when using flanges that are too big, you can read more about it here but for now, let’s get back to the tater tot nips!
By understanding the concept of Tater Tot Nipples and taking proactive “measures” (pun intended🤣) to prevent it, you can ensure a more comfortable and effective pumping experience. Remember, every mother’s body is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Don’t hesitate to reach out for personalized advice or consult a lactation professional if you’re experiencing discomfort or uncertainty with your breast pump.
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