If milk leaks from underneath your flanges, the most likely reason is that your nipples are not deep enough in the flange.

Your nipple should be well past that sharp turn where the flared out part meets the tunnel under the flange.  We find there are four things that help get in more deeply:

  1. Turning back the flange back another quarter inch or so when you're putting it on:  fold it back at the third ring like normal and then another quarter inch or so (~6mm).  This makes unfolding a little harder but it's worth it to get in deeper.  (Here's a video showing how to unfold the flange that may help.)

  2. Make sure you're holding the bottom of the folded back flange firmly back (in a horizontal position like this) when you're bringing it to the breast because if it touches your areola first the vacuum can't pull your nipple any further into the flange.  


    Link to photo 

  3. If you can tolerate it, turn up the vacuum a little more.

  4. The Nipple Nudge might help!

    • Fold the flange back and hold it with the hand on the opposite side of the breast you're putting the flange on.

    • With the hand next to that breast, point your index finger (or your knuckle if your nails are long) up into the breast from underneath, pulling your wrist toward your body so your finger rotates and pushes your nipple out from behind.  You'll need your finger or knuckle to be far enough back that there's room for the flange.  
    • Once flange is touching the areola, you can release the finger and use that hand to help unfold the flange against your breast.

imageLink to photo 

Not getting deeply enough in the tunnel can greatly reduce milk removal so let us know if you need more help getting in deeply.  

Reviewed by Diana West, IBCLC

June 10, 2021