A breast shield, also known as flange, is the connective device which secures over the areola to apply vacuum suction for breastmilk expression when utilizing a breast pump.  The breast shield or flange is adjoined to the pump motor by tubing and is considered to be a breast pump replacement part.  Flanges come in a variety of sizes and having a proper fitting breast flange is vital to successful breastfeeding. A breast pump is packaged to include breast shields/flanges within the kit contents.  However, the breast shields included with most breast pumps are 24mm (medium) one size fits most.  This does not mean that a 24mm breast shield/flange is right for you.  Having an ill-fitting breast shield can induce discomfort or pain and deters many women from breastfeeding compliance.  Utilizing a breast shield that is too large or small can cause inadequate milk removal leading to plugged ducts, mastitis (inflammation of the breast), and low milk supply.   So knowing your breast pump flange fit can certainly promote breastfeeding longevity delivering a more pleasant pumping experience.

Breast pump shield

Selecting the proper flange size is almost impossible without observing your nipple movement during a pumping session.  So when you are utilizing the breast pump make sure your nipple is centered and moves freely when the pump is engaged.  Your nipple should not rub the sides of the tunnel as this would indicate the flange is too small.  You should have a little to no areola (darkened portion of the breast) pulled inside the tunnel when suction initiates.  If there is no movement of the areola when the breast pump is cycling then it may indicate the breast shield is too small.  If too much of the areola is pulled inside the tunnel, you may be utilizing a flange that is too big.  The motion of the breast should be gentle and rhythmic with each cycle of the pump, and the entire process should be pain free and comfortable.  Pain or discomfort to include nipple tenderness while utilizing the breast pump may suggest you need a larger size flange.  After each pumping session your breasts should feel soft and well-drained.  Medela breast shields are available in five sizes:  small (21mm), medium (24mm), large (27mm), extra-large (30mm), and XX large (36mm).

Breastfeeding equipment and replacement items such as breast pump flanges can be obtained through a Durable Medical Equipment (DME) provider such as Aeroflow Healthcare Breastpumps.  If you’re interested in getting a double electric breast pump then see if you qualify through insurance by clicking here.  Owning a double electric breast pump has never been more affordable and easy with the help of Aeroflow Breastpumps.  Submit your information today!