When measuring for the flange size to use with a breast pump or breastfeeding equipment, it's generally recommended to measure your nipple when it is in its natural state, which means measuring it "soft."
Comfort and Efficiency: Measuring your nipple when it is soft is typically more comfortable. It's also a more practical approach since breastfeeding and pumping usually begin when your nipples are not erect or engorged.
Realistic Fit: Measuring your nipple when it's soft provides a measurement that's more representative of how your nipple will fit into the flange during regular breastfeeding or pumping sessions. Nipples can change in size and shape depending on factors like temperature, arousal, and breastfeeding/pumping frequency, so it's best to select a flange size based on your "at rest" nipple size.
Prevents Irritation: Measuring when your nipple is soft helps prevent any unnecessary friction, rubbing, or discomfort that might occur if you were to measure when your nipple is hard or erect.
To measure your nipple for a flange size:
Gently press the flange (the part of the breast pump or breastfeeding equipment that surrounds your nipple) against your breast when your nipple is soft and not erect.
Ensure your nipple is well-centered within the silicone flange insert.
Turn on your breast pump or start breastfeeding to observe how your nipple moves and is drawn into the flange during suction.
Evaluate the fit to see if there's any discomfort, rubbing, or areola being pulled into the flange. If there are any issues, you may need to adjust the flange size accordingly.
Remember that it's common for individuals to use different flange sizes for each breast because nipples can vary in size. It's also crucial to regularly check the fit and comfort during pumping or breastfeeding, as your nipple size and shape may change over time. If you experience discomfort or pain while using a breast pump, or if you notice your nipple size changing significantly, it's advisable to consult with a lactation consultant or a healthcare professional for further guidance on flange size and positioning.