There are multiple reasons this could be happening:

SIZING — You may not be using the right size.  See Finding Your Best Flange Size and/or reach out to our inhouse Lactation Consultant for help finding the right size.

APPLICATION — If you're using our silicone flanges, make sure you're following our silicone application method.

WORN OUT MEMBRANES OR VALVES — Make sure your pump membranes and valves are in good working order, especially if it has been a while since you replaced them.

CONDITIONED TO LET DOWN TO PAIN — You might not be getting a strong enough letdown because your body doesn’t yet trust this new, more comfortable sensation/feeling that’s happening at the nipple area. The brain and subconscious have been programed over time to have a letdown when they feel the pain from the standard flanges. Putting on a more comfortable flange might not be triggering as strong of a letdown. 

Try to relax your shoulders, lean back, forget about the pump (as much as you can), and think about something that makes you happy or laugh.  It can also help for someone to rub or touch your skin somewhere else on the body, like a shoulder or foot massage.

NIPPLE ELASTICITY — If too much tissue gets pulled down into the tunnel of the flange it could be compressing on the ducts and not allowing them to flow as well.  
See Do Elastic Nipples Cause Low Milk Supply?

There are other less common reasons that can cause less milk drainage, so if none of these fit, reach out to our inhouse Lactation Consultant for personal help.

Reviewed by Diana West, IBCLC

June 10, 2021