Nipples Rubbing Inside the Flange – Normal?

Jul 18, 2019 | cracked nipple, Irritated nipple, swelling | 3 comments

Are your nipples rubbing inside the flange?

Many moms frequently ask me this question as they struggle to find the right size flange. I completely understand your confusion because breast pumping companies often don’t make sizing straightforward. Allow me to clarify:

Imagine you’re trying on a flange and can barely fit your nipple into the tube. This size is too small for you. Immediately, your nipples touch the sides of the flange without any suction. They won’t have room to stretch, leading to friction blisters and incomplete emptying since the flanges compress your breast milk ducts. This scenario is not the nipple rubbing you’re aiming for!

Now, let’s address the issue of a large flange.

If you place your nipples in the flange and notice a large gap between your nipple and the flange, it’s too big. When you start pumping, both your areola and nipple will get sucked in, causing your areola to swell and rub against the sides. Although your nipple may not initially touch the sides, it will swell and possibly double in size after a few minutes. By the end of your session, you might experience significant pain. Frequent use of large flanges can lead to cracking, bleeding, and blisters, which is again not the kind of nipple rubbing you want.

So, what does the proper fit look like?

The right fit occurs when you can center your nipple perfectly in the flange, leaving just a small space between your nipple and the flange. When you start pumping, your nipples will rub against the sides of the flange, but this is normal. A close look will show that it’s your nipple being drawn into the tube, not your areola.

In the end, after pumping, you should feel comfortable and able to empty effectively. Using lube can ease the transition to your new flange size. Remember, sensitivity differs from pain. If you’re in pain, your flange size might be wrong, or you could be dealing with issues like thrush and vasospasms.

For more guidance on finding your ideal flange size, I recommend the Nipple Queen Ruler.

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  1. Crystal Nelson

    What is your website?

  2. Tiffany

    So for reference are you able to tell me what the nipple is this pictured measured and what size the flange was?

    • Crystal Nelson

      This picture was taken nearly 4 years ago and I can’t be positive but I want to say the flange size was 15mm.


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