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Nowadays there are a lot of breast pump flange designs available for pumping. While most of them offers breast pump with hard plastic flange, there are more and more pump brand offering soft silicone flanges.
Why silicone flange, you may ask?
For those of you having sensitive nipples, silicone flange will give you more comfort because it feels softer and more comfortable. If you have elastic nipples, this will matter even more because silicone flanges helps to grip your areola better so that it won’t get pulled too deep to the end of the breast shield ‘tunnel’.
Finally, some of these soft flanges work in such a way to mimic how a baby latches right on your breast. This will improve pumping efficiency and promote better milk flow.
Which soft silicone flanges work best for pumping? In this article, we will discuss some of the popular silicone breast pump flanges and cushions used by pumping mothers as well as its compatibility with popular breast pump models.
Table of Contents
- 1 1. Beaugen Breast Pump Cushion
- 2 2. Pumpables Liquid Kit
- 3 3. Lacteck Babymotion Flange
- 4 4. Pumpin Pals angled pumping flange
- 5 5. Maymom soft-flange insert
- 6 My Personal Favorite
- 7 How To Choose The Best Silicone Breast Pump Flange for Pumping Breast Milk
1. Beaugen Breast Pump Cushion
Beaugen cushion is not a flange, but very popular among pumping moms. It’s actually a soft and stretchy cushion that you insert into your flange.
Using this cushion helps to minimise unwanted friction between your skin and the hard flange and improves pumping comfort. Additionally, it may help you to get better flange fit, especially if you are in between sizes.Note that the cushion is 1-mm thick, so using this cushion will reduce the flange size by 2 mm. Consider to increase your flange size if you already feeling ok with the current size.
- Can be used with wearable breast pump such as Willow and Elvie.
- Compatible with most breast pump flanges (except Pumpin Pals due to different design)
- Can last from 2-8 weeks (depending on usage frequency).
- Can only be used for 19-25 mm flanges (not smaller or larger than that)
Where to buy: Amazon (you can read more reviews there)
Original Beaugen Cushion (1st Gen) vs Clearly Comfy Beaugen Cushion (2nd Gen):
The 2nd generation of Beaugen cushions have clear color, stretchier material that promotes better nipple alignment.
2. Pumpables Liquid Kit
Pumpables Liquid Kit is a breast shield system that features full-length soft silicone insert inside a hard plastic flange. The soft insert will alleviate friction that is usually felt when you pump with hard-plastic flange alone.
Not only that, the liquid insert collapses and moulds to your breast as you pump, mimicking the way baby’s palate compresses our breast while nursing. You can see how liquid shield kit works in this video.
As a result, this system promotes better milk flow and better pumping comfort.
Personally, I tried Pumpables liquid kit when pumping for my third baby and I’m totally in love.
- Available in various sizes: 17, 21, 24, 27 mm (15 mm is under development)
- Compatible with most closed-system breast pumps such as Spectra S1 and Motif, but not wearable pumps.
- Will last for 2-8 weeks
- Cannot be used in wearable breast pumps
- Has a little bit of learning curve to assemble it properly because it contains multiple parts
Where to buy: Pumpables website
3. Lacteck Babymotion Flange
Lacteck babymotion flange is a soft silicone breast pump flange that mimics baby’s nursing motion while pumping. When the vacuum is applied, it compresses the nipple and areola to better encourage letdown and release milk.
- Multiple sizes available (15, 18, 21, 24, 27 mm)
- Compatible with two-piece breast shield systems, such as Medela and Maymom. Just replace the flange part and connect Lacteck flange to the base connector.
- One-piece design so that you wash less parts (compared to using soft insert or liquid kit)
- Top-heavy, use a bottle stand when you leave it attached to the bottle prevent it from toppling down
- Need to increase the vacuum strength from what you are using now. It shouldn’t be a problem for most moms. However, if you are already using the maximum vacuum strength, you may not get enough vacuum power when using this.
- Cannot be used in wearable breast pumps
Where to buy: Lacteck website
4. Pumpin Pals angled pumping flange
Pumpin Pals offers silicone flanges for small and extra-small size. These flanges are compatible with most breast pumps (do pay attention that they have different set for Medela/Lansinoh/Hygiea and Spectra S1/Motif Luna).
These flanges uses Elast+Assist Technology (EAT) to promote better milk flow for moms with elastic nipples.
Personally I have tried this flange set and had better pumping comfort and more output compared to using hard-plastic flange.
- Compatible with two-piece breast shield system.
- One-piece design so less pumping parts to wash.
- Only available in small and extra-small size (not suitable for moms with large nipple size)
- In general, Pumpin Pals are not designed to use with wearable breast pumps, but some moms had success using silicone Pumpin Pals with Willow.
Where to buy: Pumpin Pal website or local baby stores.
5. Maymom soft-flange insert
Maymom offers soft silicone insert that you place inside the hard plastic flange. The best thing about Maymom insert is their extensive size option, ranging from 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 24 mm. It can be used in normal breast pump such as Spectra as well as wearable breast pump such as Willow and Elvie.
Maymom soft-flange insert is great when your breast pump comes with limited flange sizes. This is also a good candidate if you have elastic nipple and simply need a longer flange ‘tunnel’. I personally tried this with Freemie collection cup and it works pretty well.
- A lot of sizes available
- Works for both normal breast pump such as Spectra as well as wearable breast pump
- Widely available in most countries
- It does not provide extra compression such as Pumpables Liquid Kit and Lacteck
Where to buy: Amazon
My Personal Favorite
Among these breast pump flanges and cushion, Pumpables liquid shield kit is my favourite. The material felts amazingly soft, providing the much needed comfort as we pump. Its full-length insert (all the way to the valve) ensures that there’s no suction loss as you pump. The compression that it provides can be evenly observed all around the nipple and areola (not only in limited direction as in the case of other brand). These features make it outperform other silicone flanges.
Of course, this comes with limitation such as more parts to wash. However, for me, better comfort and milk flow are my utmost priority. I hope in the future, Pumpables would come out with a version compatible with wearable breast pumps.
How To Choose The Best Silicone Breast Pump Flange for Pumping Breast Milk
First of all, if you are doing well with hard-plastic flange, this is purely optional. The first benefit that you get by using soft flange is better pumping comfort. The next potential benefit is better milk output due to better flange fit. If you are pumping frequently, at work or even an exclusive pumper, I highly recommend you to try this.
FYI, a latching baby removes milk from the breast by applying suction and compression. On the other hand, breast pump works by applying suction only. Pumpables liquid shield kit and Lacteck flange provide the compression that is otherwise not present in most pumping experience. Thus, expect much better pumping comfort when you are using these two kits.
Do note that when you are switching to a new flange system, your body may take a while to adjust to the new flange system. Give it two-week or a month to decide whether the soft flange is working well or not.
Before deciding which one to buy, consider the following:
- The type of breast pump you use. For normal breast pumps, you can use either one of them. For wearable breast pumps, your options are Beaugen and Maymom insert.
- Your objective. Some moms simply need better pumping comfort. Some want to experience the extra compression that mimics a nursing baby, like the one offered by Pumpables liquid shield kit and Lacteck. Some looking for solving elastic nipple problem, while others need a better flange fit. Ask yourself, which one is your priority and choose from there.
- Your breast shield size. As I have explained, some soft flange or cushion have limited size, such as Beaugen and Pumpin Pal. So make sure you choose one that offer a good fit for you.
- Availability. Not all of these kits are sold widely in every country. I think Maymom is the one you can easily found in most countries. Pumpin Pal may be available on selected baby stores. Pumpables and Lacteck offers international shipping, while Beaugen only ships within US.
I hope this article helps you to choose which soft silicone flange is best suited for your need. If you have any questions, you can share it in the comment section.
Have you tried any of these soft flanges? Feel free to share your experience with us!