See skin being pulled in front of your nipple is most likely to be what we call the "foreskin mirage."  It's not actually skin covering the nipple, it's really just the oil reflecting the color of your skin.  You should be able to see through it if you get a mirror or camera at the right angle and it stops happening when the oil is gone.

The oil is from lubrication even if you didn't use any for pumping because it can come from other sources.  Whether lubrication should be used them or not depends on which of the two reasons you need them:  

  1. For the smaller angled flange size If you don't need to control for elasticity, you can eliminate friction by using just a little edible oil like coconut or olive oils (too much and the flange gets too slippery). Dish soaps like Dapple and Babyganics or any with an anti-spotting ingredient will leave a lubricating film on silicone that can also help but may make the flange fall out of the bottle adapter too easily.

  2. To control elasticity (stretching too far that closes off the milk ducts) — If you're using them to control elasticity, you need to eliminate lubrication completely so the tacky silicone can hold the nipples in place to keep the milk ducts open.  When there's no lubrication, only the very end of the nipple will move during pumping so there's no friction and you're totally comfortable.  

See Lubrication Sources for a checklist of sneaky lubrication sources. 

Reviewed by Diana West, IBCLC

June 24, 2021