Breast Pump Comparisons


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Breast Shield Fit For Medela, Ameda and Avent Breast Pumps: Every Body is Different

Do you need a larger breast shield?

Graphic of Ameda breast pump flange with hands Breast shields, flanges and funnels are different terms for the same thing: the part of the breast pump that fits directly over the nipple and areola, the colored part around the nipple. One study revealed that at least one-third of women using a breast pump could use a larger breast shield.

When breast pumping, the vacuum causes movement of the nipple within the tunnel or cylinder of the breast shield, and you should see a gentle pulling movement in the areola with each pump cycle. The nipple should be moving freely, without touching the sides of the tunnel. If you do not see any movement of the areola or if the nipple is rubbing the sides of the tunnel, your breast shields are too small. After pumping you may see a ring of skin flecks within the tunnel, and you may feel that there is still milk in your breasts that needs to be expressed. You may experience discomfort immediately on the sides of your nipples or it may take several pumpings before you notice soreness. These are all signs of a poor fit.

It is important to note that nipple size can change when using your breast pump and can change over time, so you must evaluate your fit issues while pumping. However Ameda suggests, as a rule of thumb, that if your nipple is larger than a U.S. nickel (22 millimeters or mm) you will need a larger flange or breast shield than comes standard with your pump. The standard Ameda breast flange is 25 mm. The standard Medela and Avent breast shields are 24 mm.

Ameda Breast Flange sizes

Custom Breast Flange without Insert 30.5 mm
Custom Breast Flange with Insert in place 28.5 mm
Standard Breast Flange 25 mm
Standard Breast Flange with Reducing Insert 23 mm
Standard Breast Flange w/Flexishield Areola Stimulator 21 mm
The Ameda flanges and inserts are sold in a set, so there is no chance of buying the wrong size.

Medela Breast Shield sizes

Glass Breast Shield 40 mm
PersonalFit Breast Shield 36 mm
PersonalFit Extra Large Breast Shield 30 mm
PersonalFit Large Breast Shield 27 mm
SoftFit Breast Shield 25 mm
PersonalFit Standard Breast Shield 24 mm
Breast Shield Insert 21 mm

Avent Breast Shield size

Breast Shield with Massaging Petals 24 mm
Breast Shield with Massaging Petals Removed 27 mm

Super Shields: Another Solution to Breast Shield Fit Issues

Pumpin Pals Super Shields image

The Super Shields for your breast pump by Pumpin Pal come in one universal size that will fit nipples from sizes 22 mm to 30 mm. (Please see update below.) The angled design permits sitting back in a more natural position. The Pumpin Pal sales page for their Super Shields is very low key. To gain a better understanding of how the Super Shields work, read the testimonials page and view the instructional video at the "video hints" link on their website.

These Super Shields fit Medela, Ameda and Avent Isis breast pumps. Now even users of Avent breast pumps can have a larger breast shield.

Other Sources:
Choosing a Correctly Fitting Breastshield (by Medela)
Breast Flanges: The Importance of a Good Fit (by Ameda)


(UPDATE 4 March 2008. I just received the following email from Pumpin Pal)

Dear Matia,

First of all, thank you for sharing information about our Pumpin' Pal Super Shields with moms. So many don't realize there's an alternative to the traditional style of flange.

We now offer two larger sizes: Large (29-35mm) and XLarge (35mm+). Our (original) Medium fits 23-29mm (yes, we used to say it fits up to 30mm, but we realized that many moms needing a 30mm found it a bit too small; hence, we designed larger ones to accomodate them!) Our Super Shields also work well with Bailey and Lansinoh pumps.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Our goal is to make pumping more comfortable for moms world-wide. We believe that if moms can pump comfortably, they'll continue to provide breast milk longer for their babies, either by nursing and/or pumping. Both mommy and baby benefit!


Shannon O'Donnell


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