Using the Right Size Flange: Avoid the Nipple Ripple

Sep 30, 2019 | Breast Pumping, Flange, Flange Sizing, nipple ripple | 2 comments

The “Nipple Ripple”. Allow me to explain this phenomenon and its profound implications for a comfortable breast pumping experience. The Nipple Ripple is a term coined from my years of flange sizing. I am shedding light on the consequences of using flange sizes that are too large for pumping, particularly concerning swelling of the areola and the subsequent swelling and discomfort of the nipple. Yes, we are talking about when your nipples swell into Bigger Nipples.

Why Does This matter?

Picture this scenario: you start pumping with a flange that is several sizes too big, leading to suction-induced swelling of the areola. The result? A significantly enlarged areola, causing the nipple swell disproportionately and, inevitably, resulting in nipple pain. The subtle aftermath of this mismatched flange size is what I’ve named the “Nipple Ripple.”

Online platforms may showcase animated pictures of the consequences of using a “too large” flange, but they often fall short of capturing the real-life impact on the nipple. This oversight might explain why many mothers struggle to find comfort in the pumping process, given the misleading information provided by breast pumping companies. 

Nipple Ripple

Here’s What to Watch Out For

If you observe swelling in your areola, accompanied and your nipples swelling, it’s a clear sign to size down your flange. Closing the gap around your nipple and sizing down is a crucial step.

The question then arises: What size should you be using? Determining the right size flange tailored to your nipple will not only enhance your pumping comfort but may also contribute to an increase in milk supply.

The significance of flange size becomes apparent when considering the mechanics of pumping. Optimal suction is achieved with a flange that minimizes space around the nipple, ensuring effective milk extraction. Conversely, using a flange that is too large adds suction to the areola, hindering milk flow and potentially leading to issues such as decreased milk supply, clogs, mastitis, chaffing, thrush, and just overall nipple damage.

In my five years of assisting mothers with their breast pumping challenges, I’ve developed the Nipple Queen Ruler. This innovative tool accurately sizes moms’ nipples to the products they need, eliminating the guesswork associated with adding millimeters to measurements. The size indicated on the ruler is the flange size to buy, offering a practical solution to common pumping issues.

For additional support, consider booking a pumping session with me so you can start enjoying your journey with confidence and comfort.

Nipple Ripple – Bigger Nipple – Created in 2019

Using the Right Size Flange 

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  1. Jannika

    Ok so that’s what my nipple looks like in the flange but the size lower was causing cracking at the base of my nipple and these gnarly looking blood blisters Uber the skin of my areola. And there’s no in between size what do I do?

    • Crystal Nelson

      What size do you use or what brand flanges are you using and have you been sized?


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