Today we share a story sent to us by Sara, a LactApp user who could relate to one of our last articles. The post was about how to choose the right breast pump funnel size. Here is her experience:
Hello, first of all, I wanted to let you know that I love your app. On more than one occasion it has helped to give me peace of mind, so thank you. I just read your article about breast pump funnel sizes and I couldn’t agree more.
I was fortunate that my start in the world of breastfeeding was fairly easy. There was some initial discomfort the first time my baby latched on and a little nipple irritation after she had spent the second night literally glued to my breasts. But I had no other complications.
I gave birth in Switzerland, where by law, the basic health insurance must cover visits by a midwife for six weeks after delivery. How much this support helps in such an intense period of life can’t be put in words!
During one of these visits, two weeks after giving birth, I asked my midwife to show me how to use the breast pump, as I wanted to get familiar with how it works so that I could express breastmilk before the postpartum checkup with a gynaecologist. She recommended, that I use the smaller funnel, which was 21 mm in diameter. The first time I used it, we noticed that the left breast barely created a vacuum, and of course, not a drop of milk came out.
A faulty pump?
The difference between how the breast pump fitted at the right breast and the left was so much, that we thought the pump was defective. The second time, after many attempts to fit the funnel properly, I began to feel a pain in my left breast. As it did not go away, I reduced the intensity of the pump’s extraction, but finally, I had to stop. The next day I told my midwife, and when she checked my breast, she told me that I was starting to get a blocked duct. I saw that the pain came back every time I pumped, so I decided to stop until I had to do it again.
When my baby was seven weeks old, I had a consultation with an IBCLC lactation consultant (for a totally different issue) and, upon seeing my nipples, she told me that in her opinion the 21mm funnels were too big for me, so she gave me 17mm ones.
That night, when I tried the pump with the new funnel, I couldn’t believe it. The pain and discomfort were completely gone, the pump was perfectly achieving a vacuum at both breasts and I was able to pump both breasts without any problems. The difference in production was huge. Whereas before I had been able to pump at most 30 ml per session, suddenly I was able to pump about 60 ml.
Adding 2 mm
As explained in the LactApp blog post, to know the right funnel size you have to measure the diameter of the nipple and add about 2 mm. In my case, I measured my nipples only a couple of months ago and, indeed, they measure 15 mm, so the 17 mm funnels are perfect.
As a fun fact: I measured them after one of the admins of the breastfeeding Facebook group I’m in, who was actually my lactation consultant, did a survey to find out what the most common sizes were. Most of the women who responded said they had nipples between 15 mm and 17 mm.
Since then, I always recommend to my mom-friends, to make sure they are using the right size. And I think it’s important for other women to know that if they can’t find a breast pump in their size, there are options.
Pumping is still not my favourite thing, but now that I have to pump three days a week when my baby is in daycare, I’m thankful that I found the right size funnel. I really don’t know if I could have handled using the one that came as standard.