This is a common issue that pumping moms struggle with (myself included!). I feel like it’s very important to educate about this because unknowingly having elastic tissue can be very painful and can definitely make you stop your pumping journey prematurely.
How do you know if you have elastic nipples?
- No matter what flange size you use, it will extend and be stretched into the tunnel and usually always hit the back of the wall: this can be problematic because too much for the areola is being pulled into the tunnel and it’s compressing the milk ducts and decreases milk flow.
- It can also be very painful. I know when I was exclusively pumping for my first child, I didn’t know I had elastic nipples for about 5 months, and it was extremely painful. I had blisters, I was bleeding and I was about to stop. So this is why I want everyone to know about this because over the years, I have found this is a common thing amongst pumping moms.
- Moms that only directly latch their babies have no idea if they have elastic tissue and it doesn’t matter, but for us pumping moms, it is a big deal!
This video below shows you what it looks like if you have elastic tissue and you’re pumping with regular flanges. And YEP, these are my nips! I dealt with elastic tissue for so long in pain and I feel compelled to share the word that pumping does NOT need to be painful!
I have elastic tissue, what do I do now??
- Pumpin Pals: They hands down saved my pumping journey (little did I know for 7 years!)
- They work because they have a different shape than regular flanges. So see these regular medela flanges. These are the pumpin pals, notice the difference in shape. Instead of a hard abrupt transition between these two parts, Pumpin’ Pals tapers between the shield and the funnel part, which reduces discomfort and fits the breast more naturally. Its more ergonomic in a way. Okay, I could talk about those forever but I’ll move on LOL.
Check out Pumpin Pal flanges here. They were my pumping lifesavers.
2. Lacteck Baby Motion Flanges: These flanges are made of silicone and are thought to help with elastic tissue if you downsize your flange. For example, if you measure and are a size 24mm, then getting the next size down (21mm) may be a good option for you.
3. Beaugen Breast Pump Cushions: Another option for elastic nipples are these BeaugenCcushions. They are inserts that go inside of the flanges you already have. They reduce the flange size by about 2 mm, so these are also good if you’re between 2 flange sizes. They are different than your typical inserts because they are kind of sticky and they can hold back some of your breast tissue that gets pulled into the tunnel.
4. Try out different size flanges. Try to go up or down a size. Sometimes the larger size flanges have longer tunnels and that can be very helpful and sometimes smaller size flanges can help hold back your tissue.
5. Lube your flanges with coconut oil. You can read all about that here in another blog I wrote but this paired with my Pumpin Pals was an absolute game changer!!
I hope this was helpful! I love sharing about elastic tissue because I had no idea what it was, I thought something was wrong with me but the more I talked about it and worked with pumping moms, the more I realized how common it is. If you ever need flange or pumping help, I’m always here, so book a consult if you’re having any issues!