The materials we use to make our flanges are based on the challenges we’re trying to address.
Our two smaller flanges sizes (Small and X-Small) are made with medical-grade silicone, not for comfort (although most people do find them much more comfortable) but because smaller nipples tend to be more elastic, which can close off the milk ducts.
If you have elastic nipple tissue, the silicone flanges are lifesavers. The inside surface is designed to be slightly tacky so that it can hold the breast tissue in place and prevent the nipple and/or areola from being pulled too far down the tunnel so that it closes off milk ducts. That tackiness makes it hard to get deep enough in the tunnel, so they need to be put on following our silicone application guide and lubrication can't be used at all or it won't let the tacky surface hold the nipple in place.
If you don't have overly elastic nipple tissue, our silicone flanges can be used like any regular flange by adding a little edible oil like coconut oil or olive oil on just the nipple (not the areola). You only need a little oil or it can get really slippery and hard to apply the flange.
Our three larger flanges are made with medical-grade hard plastic so they're easy to put on like other hard plastic flanges and they have an angled design so you can lean back without spilling milk. It's fine to use lubrication with them but it's not always needed.
Reviewed by Jenn Foster, MS, IBCLC, CD
February 8, 2022