If you are asking yourself this question, it’s likely been quite a journey for you to discover you have elastic nipples in the first place. Finally thinking you nailed down the issue with a fitted flange or insert that is longer, only to discover, you can’t empty halfway through your session. You end up pulling your nipples out of the flange to let them go back to normal size, reposition, and continue to pump. You even end up trying the Switch Method but after a day or two, you still can’t empty without repositioning. Why?
Have you ever played with a Chinese Finger Trap?
One of my favorite comparisons to explain! Let’s start with a typical pumping session of 30 minutes. Think about all the stretching your nipples go through in that time. When you start to pump, your nipples appear normal but as you pump your nipples start to stretch farther and farther and within a few minutes your nipples may reach their final stretching point and your milk output starts to slow down. What is happening? Let’s look at the Chinese Finger Trap explanation. If you only put the tip of your finger in the trap you will have no issue getting your finger out. But the more you push your finger in the trap, the trap grabs hold of it and won’t let go. Not only will it not let go, but it gets tighter and tighter as you pull and you can feel the tension around your finger. Now imagine this was your nipple, the farther and farther your nipple stretches, the ducts (Lactiferous Sinuses) within and behind your nipple start to constrict. This is why moms have to reposition and rest for a moment in order to get their nipples to go back to size and let the ducts fill back up with milk. This is the Nipple Trap.
Is there a solution?
There are a few things that can be done but if you made it this far you know the options are limited. You are facing a combo problem: Your nipples are pulling in too much and sizing down is constricting the ducts within the nipple. The first step is to evaluate your situation; are you able to size up, still be comfortable and able to empty? Would sizing back up outweigh the need to constantly reposition your nipples? If the answer is YES, then please size back up.
Is it too uncomfortable to size up? Are you needing to size down to 17-21mm? The option here would be to try the Beaugen Cushions. I go into more detail here about them and how they are designed to be sticky so they hold your nipples from stretching too much. This is a good choice but they only last 2-8 weeks depending on how often you use and care for them. You must also consider if these would be too restrictive on your nipples. I pointed out how sizing down and the pulling constricts the nipples, you may have the same issue when using Beaugens but as these only last a few weeks, I think it would be a great idea to give them a shot. If you don’t respond well to them, they wouldn’t have lasted long anyways, but if they work, how wonderful would it be! Here is a coupon just in case you want to try them: 10% off Beaugen Cushions, use code: BC-savethemilk
What if sizing up is too uncomfortable, sizing down is too restrictive?
You can try Pumpin Pal. These are designed to have a wide opening around the areola. They will suck in a lot of areola with your nipples and this can allow your milk to flow better. You will notice the angle of the Pumpin Pals are shaped like cones. After a few uses you may notice your areolas and nipples have a cone appearance, this is normal and wont be an issue as long as you are comfortable and able to empty. The standard way to use these is pointed down as you can see from the first picture on the left, but you can also try turning them upside down where the flanges are pointed up, as seen in the second picture on the right.
If you have more questions about elastic nipples, please check out my other blogs, Do You Have Elastic Nipples?, Are Elastic Nipples Really and Issue? and Elvie Users, Are Your Nipples Really Elastic?
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