Using lubrication prevents the silicone flanges from being able to control elasticity because the tacky silicone can't hold the tissue in place to keep it from stretching as explained here.  If you've been using lubrication but now want to eliminate it so you can use the silicone flanges to control elasticity, you'll need to remove all sources of lubrication.  It will take between 3-5 days for oils to work their way out of the skin so here's a strategy to minimize friction during the transition:

  1. Eliminate ALL sources of lubrication, including the sneaky ones
    • Pay particular attention to your dish and bath soaps
    • Be sure to change your sponges, brushes, and washcloths

  2. Clean flanges with a silicone cleaner:  This removes soap residue (usually an anti-spotting ingredient) that bonds to the silicone.  Our silicone cleaner works well for this purpose.  The LilyPadz brand available on Amazon (without free shipping) is the same formula with a different label.  Other silicone cleaners (such as those used to clean adult toys) may also work, but we've seen that some do not.
  3. Wipe nipples with witch hazel:  For up to three days, wipe both nipples with witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) (without aloe vera) both before and after pumping to remove surface oils.  
  4. If you have any friction soreness, you can use a tiny dab of 1% hydrocortisone on the sore spot up to four times a day for up to five days to prevent blisters and accelerate healing.

You'll know the lubrication has been completely eliminated when your nipples stay against the sides of the silicone tunnel and only the very end of the nipple moves at all.  This should feel completely comfortable.  

If you're still seeing more than the end of the nipple move, take another look at the lubrication source checklist.  If you don't see any other reason, reach out to our inhouse lactation consultant and we'll help you look for it.  :)

Reviewed by Diana West, IBCLC

October 19, 2021