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Ep. 104- Breast Pump Accessories: alternative flanges, inserts, and more!

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This is Maureen Farrell and Heather ONeal and this is The Milk Minute. We’re midwives and lactation professionals bringing you the most up-to-date evidence for all things lactation. So you can feel more confident about feeding your baby, body positivity, relationships, and mental health. Plus, we laugh a little or a lot along the way.

So join us for another episode. Welcome to the Milk Minute Podcast, everyone. We have a very important episode as we say every week, but we really mean it this time. No, this one’s good. This week we are going to talk about pump accessories, namely extra flanges and flange inserts to make your own Franken pump. I’m a huge fan of the Franken pump.

And also, I just want to shout out to all the lactation consultants out there that are working with people who are endlessly finding brand new, interesting things and inserts and coverings and connectors to go on their pumps. And it’s like a rat race. You just are trying desperately to keep up and make sure you know what’s going on with all the latest stuff.

So we hope this helps you all out as well. Yeah. And I just want to dispel the misconception that any of us have any education on this, unless we go get it ourselves because like, did they ever. Really teach you anything about the practical side of using a breast pump in your classes? Totally not. Me neither.

And also just as an aside, if you want to join our Patreon, you can see the video where we show all of these inserts and accoutrements. Yeah. So you can visualize it yourself. Okay. Well before we start that, do we have a question? Of course we have a question. I don’t know, sometimes we don’t. What is it today, Heather?

This is a question from Sierra Jurgen. She says, I’ve been listening to your podcast for the last two weeks and loving it. Thank you, Sierra. I’m currently 30 weeks pregnant and really want to breastfeed with my first baby. Today I’m asking a question for my friend, Dana, who has a three-week-old baby.

In your podcast you frequently talk about how a sleepy baby isn’t good. Her baby, up until this week, was feeding normally, but now it’s starting to fall asleep shortly into a feed. She is trying several things to keep baby awake, but baby is just sleeping every time he starts eating. He is not jaundice and doesn’t seem to have any other health issues but is in contact with her doctor too. Our questions are: how can she keep him awake and what could be causing this? How do we prevent this?

Sierra, I think I might know what’s going on here. Oh, tell me. So if we’ve ruled out all of the scary stuff, which I’m assuming they have, because they’re in contact with the doctor, so heart conditions and any kind of weird are genetic things going on. Seizures also, sure they’ve probably rolled that out.

What I see happen a lot of the time is, and this happens especially with first-timers, who get scared to death at the hospital when they say you need to feed your baby every two hours. You feed baby every two hours on a schedule; you need to wake them up to feed. And they never tell them when to stop doing this. So they go home and they wake their baby up every two hours, whether they want the boob or not.

And then for half of those feedings, baby is really super tired and not ready to eat and just doesn’t want to wake up. So it could be that if you have a medically well baby who is completely stable and has been cleared by the doctor as being medically well, let your baby sleep. Yeah. And, and like, you know, often around that age, we see some fun sleep developmental stuff where like, you’re like, oh, maybe I know what nap schedule they have.

Just kidding. Now I have a week of weird nap stuff. And then, you know, babies kind of back on a rhythm. I usually, yes, like Heather said, we have a well, baby, we’re not concerned about their health. This is just the one weird thing. I usually say, let it be for 24 hours. Right. Keep track of your diapers if you’re concerned if they’re actually getting enough milk, but just let babies sleep when they want to sleep. Keep them in a safe sleep space, wear them if you’re concerned, you know?

And just see how it goes. Yeah. And you might find that if you are truly feeding baby when baby demands to be fed, they’re awake. You know, so it could just be that you’re catching them during their sleepy times and you’re doing that so often the baby is now even more tired because we keep interrupting their sleep.

And with a three-week-old, probably by the time we’ve answered this question, it has already changed. Yep, exactly. So for everybody out there with a baby who’s a newborn, who’s just a couple of weeks old, yes, things change really quickly and they feel very urgent when they change. But then usually your problem is different tomorrow.

Yep. And Sierra actually sent us this question from our email address on the website. So thank you for going to the website and checking it out. We’re super proud of it. And if you haven’t been there yet please go check it out. We’ll link it in the show notes.

Heather, did you know, I have an Etsy shop? Yes, I creep on there regularly. Well, listeners, if you didn’t know out there, I have an Etsy shop with my personal artwork on there. I have stickers, posters, t-shirts, but my favorite items are my surprise mugs. I have a couple of color changing mugs featuring my little illustrations of volvulus and breasts.

And boy, are they a surprise, especially when you give it to your boss that you do not like, and they pour hot coffee in it and labia’s a bound, I like to give them to like my mom or dad when they visit. Pour them a cup of tea and watch their face. And really, I think everybody needs these in their homes.

So if you would like one for yourself or anything else that I make you can visit etsy.com/shop/thewanderingwom6. That’s etsy.com/shop/thewanderingwom6, but with the six instead of a B. And of course that link will be in the show notes. Thanks.

Yay. Okay. Well, I’m excited to get into this. I’ve been having fun with this stuff. Okay. So you’re going to have to walk me through this because all of this stuff kind of started coming out after I had Heidi. Yeah same, I feel like it’s been the past couple years has been an absolute explosion in people creating things to help people pump more.

Yeah. Which I love. I’m into it. And I’m so excited about these things. Cause I think they are an amazing tool to help us use pumps in a more effective way. And you know, I just want to assure you if you’re having trouble pumping, for most people, the problem is the pump. The problem is not your body. Right.

And so it’s really nice actually to see companies providing new tools to help us do that better because pumping is an unavoidable reality for so many people. A lot of these are very affordable and there’s a lot of options and it’s just acknowledging like, Hey, pumps, suck. They suck. It’s a pun, but also they’re really shitty sometimes.

So like, let’s make it better. Let’s make it more comfortable. Let’s make it work better for your body. Let’s have more options. So today I have kind of two categories of things we’re looking at. I have flange inserts, which are separate items that you’re adding into the stock flange from your pump. And then I have two alternate flanges that you can add on to most pumps.

I think people are afraid to invest in these and try them because they feel like adding something to their name brand Spectra pump, for example, would not make it better or would like void the effectiveness of that pump. But it’s not like a car seat. I think like the way we think about car seats is like, you can only use the inserts that come with that car seat otherwise the car seat manufacturer won’t back the safety of it.

This is not that. This is your pump. You’re allowed to do whatever the heck you want to this thing. For the most part, you’re not like going to change a piece of your pump to add it. You’re just like putting a thing on top of it. So, you know, it’s like an aftermarket seat cover for your car to make your cushy tushy, you know, that kind of thing, but it’s for your nipple.

And you know, sometimes it’s not that it’s even going to improve the effectiveness, but it might improve the comfort. Yes. Which I out front, I’m going to tell you. Before I started all of this, pretty much every pump I’d ever tried, I was like, this is uncomfortable. There’s no way to make it comfortable. No setting I can change. You know, it’s not that my nipples not in there in the right the way. It’s not that the flange doesn’t fit. It’s just like that hurts.

So I was motivated to try these. So let me start with the flange inserts that I have. I just have four different ones just for today. And so these are things like you have your regular pump, you have your breast flange, and you’re just putting it inside of that to either resize the flange or to make it more comfortable.

Okay. So let’s specifically talk about why someone would want to do this. Right. So like we’ve mentioned so many times before, having a flange that it’s the right size for the diameter of your nipple is super important because when we pump our goal is to essentially just pull the nipple into the tunnel of the flange and not your whole areola. Because when you pull that whole areola, it takes the force away from like the suction force we want solely aimed at the nipple and the milk ducts and not just the breast tissue around that.

Yeah. Because it can actually cause inflammation, pain, and it can sometimes even collapse the duct to where you can’t actually get milk out. Right. And funny enough, this feels like the opposite of the advice we give people for latching baby.

Right? When we latch baby, we’re like get as much breast tissue as you can in there, but really imagine baby’s mouth as the wide part of that breast flange and baby’s throat as the tunnel and the tongue, the troughed tongue is actually very small. That would be the opening. That would be like the tunnel on the flange is the baby’s tongue, that tube it creates, right?

So it’s like baby’s cheeks and lips and everything are that nice wide part of your flange. And then that troughed tongue, the very back of the palate and the throat or that little tube at the end. So the reality is the only part we want to go into that tunnel or the tube is your nipple, and we want it to stretch without just yanking your whole boob in there.

We don’t want it to cause excess swelling. We don’t want it to cause pain and we want it to actually be effective. Right. And also, you know, your nipple is meant to stretch up to 300% but your whole boob isn’t. Right, your areola is not. So at some point that tissue changes as you move back to where it’s not going to be stretchy anymore.

Not that it can’t. So the areola is still has some stretch to it, but it doesn’t want to. It’s not, it’s not the same though. And, and like, you know, a lot of breast pump manufacturers send their own sizing guide and I’m going to say for most pumps, I don’t think they’re great.

A couple of pumps, like the Willow and some like that, they do have kind of unique sizing stuff going on to definitely take a look at it. But for most of these pumps that have like a separate flange and bottle, we’re actually trying to get your flange size as close to your nipple as it’s comfortable. So that might be one millimeter bigger than the diameter of your nipple.

It might be four, but typically that’s the range that most people are comfortable. And I err toward the smaller side of that. And when we say fit it to the smallest size comfortable that’s before pumping, cause your nipple will swell the minute you start to pump. And so people will be like, when I pump, I see my nipple expand and touch the inside of the tunnel.

So does that mean it’s too small? No, your nipple is going to expand to this, it’s almost like a goldfish. It’s going to grow to the size of its pond. So we mean measure it prior to pumping. So just kind of do a gentle nipple, rolling to evert it, put your flange on, and we really want to see like two millimeters on either side of space between your nipple and the outside of the tunnel.

Yeah. And you know, it’s a lot of people ask me about sizing and unfortunately I typically recommend two sizes. Because so I have a 17-millimeter diameter on my left nipple, right? 19 millimeters sizing is the most comfortable for that. But somebody else with the 17-millimeter nipple might feel most comfortable with 21.

Or maybe 18, you know? Because everybody is innervated differently also. Yeah. And really the stretching when we get to the part of the tissue that isn’t meant to stretch anymore, the problem with that is the nerves get inflamed. And we have nerve stretching, which is nerve damage. And that’s why we get those like lightning bolt vasospasms randomly throughout the day.

And. I just imagine it’s the nerve trying to heal itself and trying to shrink back to its normal size from where it was stretched too much. And it kind of cramps like a, like your calf will cramp in the middle of the night. So, you know, if you’re feeling these vasospasms, there’s a chance that you’re using a flange size that’s too large.

Yeah. So let’s talk about the inserts that I have now that you understand why you might use these. Right? Because it is usually I find most people prefer to put an insert in than to be like buying the whole breast flange from the company, especially something like spectra, it’s like a whole piece. It’s not just the little funnel part. And, and these also tend to be softer. They are not a hard plastic, so people prefer them for comfort.

So the first one I want to review is from Legendairy Milk, which I love these inserts. I will say that off the bat. They are a soft silicone and they are large enough to cover that whole breast flange. So they have a nice wide funnel and they cover the whole tube. And so you would just like pop this, say you have a Medela pump into the stock 24-millimeter flange. Most of these inserts are made to fit a 24-millimeter flange. If you want one to fit a different size, you may have to look for that somewhere else.

But because that is the stock one that every pump company sends, the inserts then, if we’re looking to get smaller than 24 millimeters are going to come to fit inside that. Question. Yeah. For someone that’s not used these before. If you have a 21 at home, because you were already trying to find the size that was right for you, so you went and you invested in 21-millimeter flanges. Will this 19-millimeter Legendairy fit in there because it’s soft and squishy?

So you might be able to fit it. Some of these are soft enough you can fit them in. My one precaution is that you want to make sure they’re not creating a fold once you start to suck with them, once you like start to do it. So I have fit these in a 21 millimeter before. It was tight. I actually put a little bit of coconut oil on it and like slid it. And this is a thick enough silicone that if you can get it in, it’s really not gonna fold too bad. But I would say just like do some test sucks and watch it and make sure it doesn’t crumple in there.

Okay. Other question, sorry. So how much is this Legendairy Milk insert and like, why would you buy this instead of just getting another hard plastic, 19-millimeter flange? So if you buy this directly from Legendairy Milk, it is $13, $12.99. For one or for two? For two, for a set. I will say off the bat, they’re out of stock a lot because they are super popular and why they are super popular is because they are very comfortable.

So most of the time, if people are looking for this soft silicone insert versus getting a hard flange replacement, it’s for comfort, because maybe we’re seeing nipple injury from rubbing against the hard plastic. Maybe you just feel pinching, burning, just general pain when you’re pumping even if you have the right size.

But if you are feeling pinching and getting nipple injuries, you might be using a size too small, right? Maybe, maybe phone a friend before you invest more money into another size. Do you have more questions about this insert? I like this one a lot. I think it’s just, it’s just very comfortable. And frankly, it’s a lot sturdier than some of the soft inserts, which then have to get replaced more often.

Right? Okay. Yeah. I was going to say this is very sturdy. Like the silicone is soft, but it’s, it’s thick. I, so my question about this is when you stick this tunnel down inside the other tunnel, it creates a little bit of a ledge here. So does your nipple ever extend beyond that and then rub on the tip of that?

So we call this mushroom nipple and if you can imagine your normal mushroom that grows out of the ground where the tip is fatter than the base. If you have nipples that stretch beyond the end of your inserts, you can get swelling just at the end, and that’s really painful. So let me see this one. This one in particular, despite the fact that it’s like a clean-cut edge, it’s not like particularly sharp, so it can happen and that is a problem that we see with inserts.

There are ways to get around it, but if your nipple is extending that far into the flange, we might have a different product for you. Oh, Legendairy inserts, love them. I would give them a, I don’t know. Should we rate them? Should we do rating system? I mean, it’ll have to be you cause I haven’t used them on my own nipples.

Okay. I can’t, I’m not a numerical person, whatever. Love these, use them all the time with my Spectra pump. You’re not a numerical person? Not in that way. Like if I had to be like 10 out of 10, I’d be like, well, it’s really like a nine point. No, maybe it’s like an, I just don’t know. Maybe it is a 10 out of 10.

I have a hard time doing that. Okay. But I do really love these. Do you want to give them letters then? Like A+? That makes more sense to me. This gets a solid A. An A. Okay, well, Legendairy Milk. You’re welcome. Okay.

So the next brand I have are Maymom inserts, and these are probably the most popular ones. This looks like one of those silicone wine cork things. Pull the cork out of the wine bottle, you can use this to stick in there. And it, so it’s basically, instead of covering the whole breast flange, it just covers the tunnel. So it’s a thicker piece of silicone that goes straight all the way in the tunnel and then a thin one that just kind of makes a seal around it.

These guys, depending where you buy them range between they’re like usually around $15 or $20 depending where you get them for a set. And so these are really nice because they just fit well. They don’t add a lot of extra, but I’ll say they also don’t add a lot of comfort in my opinion.

They’re kind of a stiffer silicone. They’re really, in my opinion, just for changing your flange size and not really for adding cushion. I feel these are the same cost as a new set of flanges. So if they don’t add comfort, then why not just buy the flange size that’s smaller? You could add them.

The thing is you can switch them from pump to pump too, you know? So if you have like a couple of pumps that are all 24 millimeters, you could just buy one set of these. Oh, that makes sense. Yeah, because I think most of the people that I work with now have at least two pumps. They have like their one at home that’s like the Mac daddy or the Mac mommy of pumps. And then they have like the hands-free that they use at work. Yeah. Okay. And then, let’s see. So Maymom, I dunno, we’re gonna give them a B. Like they work, they size well, I just don’t think they’re comfortable.

Okay. The next one I have are the Willow inserts, which are obviously made for the Willow pump. These are interesting. So they are a softer silicone. They have this weird scalloping around their little funnel. They’re, they’re kind of like the Maymoms where they’re made mostly just to go into the tunnel and there’s not a whole lot on the flange. I don’t love these because the scalloped part tends to leave like a mark on my areola and I have to like peel it off and I’m like, Ooh, that doesn’t feel good.

I mean, these are just very similar to the Maymom. They’re just a little bit more flexible. And then the, and they’re shorter. So they do tend to work better for the wearable pumps that don’t have as long of a tunnel. So like you have to cut the Maymom ones to fit inside the Elvies and stuff like that because of their suction holes are further in the tunnel.

See, I just feel like that’s too complicated for most people. Yeah. That’s why a lot of these wearable pumps get such poor reviews. Cause people are like, what the fuck they don’t work. I’m not gonna, you know, join a Facebook group and try 800 things. I’m just going to resell it. Hmm. Oh, that’s a question I have.

So since these are technically able to be sanitized, how do you feel about people buying them used on eBay? Personally, I would say as long as you’re going to sanitize them when you get them and you don’t trust a stranger, do it. Great. Like there’s not that many nooks and crannies, these. These really sturdy ones seem like they would hold up.

The, yeah. The big thing is for like the softer ones, it’s just like, how much have they been used? You know? And they’re, they’re cheap. So maybe just buy a new pair instead of paying the same for shipping from eBay. Oh yeah. You know? Shipping these days. But often these get thrown in like as a freebie when you’re buying a used pump or something. Right. Okay.

The last insert I want to talk about are the BeauGen inserts. They are more expensive. They’re $21 bucks a pair. We affectionately refer to these as nipple condoms. They are extremely thin. They maybe only move you in like two millimeters from where you were before, if you’re using it for sizing. But they are very soft and stretchy and they’re mostly just used for comfort.

So they’re made for a 24-millimeter flange, but you can fit them in smaller ones. So actually what I often do with these is I pair them with like, if I have to use, say the Willow insert, I throw these inside of them and they’re just super flexible. And I, when I got them, I was like, are these going to do anything?

This is so thin. What the heck? And then I tried it and I was like, thank the Lord for this nipple condom I have on. So with the, with the Willow, you’re saying that you would put the Willow insert and then put the BeauGen in? Yeah, so like for my Elvie Stride where it has a short tunnel, I use the Willow inserts.

I mean, partially just cause like I have them so whatever. And then I throw the BeauGen ones inside because that scalloping part like hurts my areola and it just takes away any of the pinchy feeling. Interesting. So literally like a condom, just dulls the senses a little bit and in a good way this time I swear.

They’re really versatile and really comfortable. The only problem is they wear out pretty quickly because they’re so thin and it’s recommended you replace them every couple of weeks and they’re kind of expensive for every couple of weeks. Yeah. Like, depending on how much you use them, you know, like a lot of people replace them on the same schedule as duckbills and membranes because they’re thin. A lot of people use them beyond that and that’s fine, but they rip easily.

Like you can damage them easily. So, you know, A-. A-. Interesting. Okay. Yeah, so that’s just four inserts. I’m sure there are dozens more. If you guys have any favorites, please make sure to email us or message us on social media and let us know. I’d be happy to try them out. Yes. Send us photos of your Franken pump inserts because I’m fascinated by this.

And really the more we talk about it, the more these companies are going to make what we are already creating. They’ll just make it a little bit easier for us, I think. Yeah.

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Okay. So the next thing I want to talk about is like kind of similar but slightly different. So I have here the Pumpin Pals flanges and the LacTeck flanges. So these do not go into your, the ones that you get with your pump, they replace them. Yeah, they’re not inserts. They’re literally replacements.

Now, why would we want to do this, Maureen? So again, if we’re having trouble with comfort, if we’re not getting as much out of our pumps, if we need to size differently, or if we’re having trouble with what people like to call elastic nipples and what I like to call just regular nipples, these are two different solutions for a kind of number of problems.

But if your normal flanges just ain’t working out. How do you know if your normal flanges aren’t working? So a lot of people try these if no matter what they do they feel like they’re getting pinchy feelings or they are getting nipple injuries or their nipples are just super swollen after pumping, no matter what they’ve tried. It’s kind of like, oh, you’ve tried and you’ve changed your settings and you’ve put the nipple condoms on and whatever.

Or if your nipples consistently stretch so far that they’re actually like almost they are, or they are almost hitting the back of your flange tunnel. Aren’t elastic nipples is such a mystery? That I just, I hate that term. Me too. Because like our nipples should be elastic. They should go all the way down in your baby’s throat.

So why wouldn’t they go all the way down the throat of your nipple flange? Maybe that’s how, you know you nailed it? Yeah. But also that’s painful. Right? Cause this is a, like, it’s not, it’s hard plastic. Yeah. So these are just, anyway, you, you would, you would consider looking into these if you’re like, oh, I have elastic nipples or I just can’t get very much out, but I know I have supply or I’m having a lot of discomfort.

These are slightly more expensive too. So that’s why a lot of people try other stuff first. Okay. So the Pumpin Pals are specifically marketed for elastic nipples. Really? Really. And they come in, you buy them in sets and they send you a bunch of different sizes and their company, as far as I understand, is really helpful with customer service and will absolutely help you out if you’re having trouble with that. So, you know, I bought the standard set for the Spectra and it comes with this little Spectra adapter to fit them into as well so you don’t have to like cut apart one of your Spectra flanges to make it work.

And they’ve got a small, medium, large. And so what they sell are these here, you touch them. They kind of, they’re flanges kind of remind me of the top of the haakaa. And one of the things that they do is the angle that the tunnel comes out of the flange at is trying to mimic the angle of your baby’s throat, right?

Because your nipple kind of curves down your baby’s over their tongue and down a little bit. So they’re, they’re trying to mimic that instead of a straight flange. And you actually put this on like a haakaa where you roll back the flexible breast shield and then put your nipple in and then roll it back over your areola.

You’re looking at me skeptically. Why? I mean, I just, I didn’t know that. Yeah, that’s what they say in their instructions, except the large size is a hard flange, so I don’t understand what I’m supposed to do there. Okay. Here’s why I don’t understand it and why I was looking at you weird. I don’t understand why you would need to do that and roll it back because it’s not like you’re creating a lot of suction. Right?

So what they say, the reason that they say in their little booklet to do it is because I guess if you have elastic nipples, it’s hard to like isolate just your nipple in there, and a bunch of your areola tends to get sucked in. So they are, you’re trying to like, just get your nipple in that tunnel.

Okay. I don’t know. That’s what they say in their booklet. I’m sure they have some great videos on their website trying to sell you on it. Now here’s the part that I messed up on, to be honest. So I ordered these and I was going to like try to measure if my output was better with them. And actually I pumped really kind of like normal to small amounts this week.

And then, and I was kinda confused as to why, and I was like, maybe these flanges just don’t work. And then I started bleeding like a stuck pig because I got my period, which was several weeks late and I’ve literally never bled so heavily in my entire life. Not even from injury. I think this is the most I’ve ever bled ever.

Guys, I use a menstrual cup and I had to get up four times the first night to empty it. It holds 25 milliliters and it overflowed on me four times. That’s crazy. And then like, I basically have kept that schedule up for 48 hours. So I’m like great. I just bled the same amount that I did after childbirth.

What? Not fun. I remember that after Heidi, like my first postpartum period, I was like, oh, hello, something has changed being in your thirties, getting your period back postpartum. What’s happening? Apparently. Anyway. So I’m going to say, I cannot judge the volume that I expressed with these, except to say that it was like, not that off from my normal volume.

So it’s good. I will try these again sometime and let you know. But they were comfortable. I did find them a little hard to put on, to be honest, the whole, like flipping it back. I was like, I’m going to follow the instructions so I can give like an honest review. Maybe I shouldn’t have, cause that was hard to do.

Cause it’s not like you’re just putting a haakaa on. It was like, I don’t know. You had to do that, but then I kind of had to like, hold that one on while I put the other one on and then like reach over and start my pump cause they kept slipping. Oh. So I don’t know. Maybe I was doing it wrong. I tried a couple of times and it just didn’t quite get better.

Like you need to actually have a pal to use your Pumpin Pals. I felt like I needed a pal to get these on the way that you’re instructed to. Anyway, but I will say they were comfortable. I will also state, I do not have like quote elastic nipples. I don’t know, my nipples don’t stretch to the ends of the earth, you know?

So they don’t like go all the way down this tunnel. Don’t know if that matters. I did take Pumpin Pals’ like sizing quiz and get the products they recommended trying to see how that would work out for me. But yeah, so far, I mean they’re a very nice and helpful company and they have lots of options and it’s certainly not the most affordable thing though.

It’s like $40 or $50 for a set of these, but it does come with all of the accessories that you need. Why do you need a set? If they go through the measuring guide, why don’t they just send you the one you need? Well, we all know that measuring, like doesn’t always work out.

I mean, like I said before, right? Usually I tell people to get two sizes and see what’s going on. I’m hoping maybe that’s what they’re assuming with this. You know, I got a small set. There’s also a large size set that you can get. I mean, cause this large one is significantly larger. This, this green hard one is significantly larger than this one.

So I mean, how are these supposed to fit the same person? I don’t know, honey. Help us Pumpin Pals. Help us understand. But yeah, I honestly found them very comfortable to use so, and I didn’t have any of the like pinchy feeling that I get when I use regular hard flanges. So which one did you end up using? The pink one.

The pink one fits. So, and you are normally a 17? Well, that is the diameter of my nipple. I usually use a 19. And this pink one is a medium to small is what it says. She’s a medium, because this is kind of like a funnel shape. So it looks like they kind of fit a range of sizes, but I’ll say I’m intrigued by the concept and the company like, so they sent me an extra small, a medium small, and a medium, and then you can get like a large, extra-large, I dunno.

The other annoying question that you might not know is the larger set, all hard plastic, like you’re the largest one in your set? So it says the large set includes one pair of medium hard, large hard, and extra-large hard shields. Versus the small set has an extra small silicone, a small silicone and a medium hard shield.

Hmm. I wonder why some of them are hard and some are silicone? Not totally sure, but I have gotten a ton of really good feedback about these from people who have, as I have quoted elastic nipples and for a lot of people, these are a huge game changer for pumping. So my big feedback is I feel like the silicone ones are hard to put on and I kind of feel clumsy with it, but they’re very comfortable to use.

So do you ever use the hard one and put one of your BeauGens in there or something? I didn’t try that yet, but I could. Because if the big thing is the hard ones more uncomfortable and pinchy, but this one is easier to manage and use then could we not just add a little BeauGen comfort inside?

Sure could. Okay. Pricey at that point. That is, that does actually, oh, it feels like a hard $60 at that point. Yeah. But I will say these are like very sturdy silicone flanges. I don’t feel like these are going to like wear out any time, so that’s nice. Yeah. I don’t know. So I did not like them as much as the next product I’m going to talk about.

Okay. So what grade are we giving these Pumpin Pals? I might do like a B-. I’m sorry. You didn’t give it a C though cause you’re really nice. I’m too nice. Well, it’s not like. I didn’t because it was actually comfortable to use. You know, it’s like actually pumping with them was really nice. It was just getting set up and trying to figure out which ones fit and how to put them on.

And I tried a couple of times, I was like, maybe it’ll get better the second time. Did not get better the second time. So do they have a set for Medela or other ones? Yes. They have a couple of different sets. But since I’m using the Spectra or did the spectra set, it came with this Spectra adapter piece that you put them into that I’m also using for my LacTeck flanges.

So I didn’t have to order two, let me see the connecting piece. So it’s basically, the connecting piece is essentially a Spectra flange with the flange cutoff. So it has like the gooseneck piece and a piece that connects to the backflow protector and the threaded piece on it. So I don’t really know what you’d call this other than an adapter.

Okay. Yeah. Although there’s another piece that I forgot in the washing rack. Oh, so it’s actually a two, a two adapter. So the silicone ones have a little hard plastic neck that goes on to them so they fit in there, but the hard ones just fit directly in. So actually since I forgot that stupid piece, you could do that.

Yeah. So you can do it either way where you put the small silicon ones in the harder flange, or you just use the harder flange itself. That’s crazy. Or use the silicone one by itself with the extra adapter piece onto the adapter piece. See, this is where things get a little weird you guys. It is. And at the end of this, I will describe so far the Franken pump that I’m using the most.

Okay. I’m ready for this. This is very helpful for me, by the way. Oh, good. Yeah. So the next one I tried was the LacTeck baby motion flange. And so this is another one that’s all silicone and it does meant, so they have this like silicone flange and it has this special little bumpy, thin piece of silicone on the bottom that is supposed to mimic the way a baby’s tongue moves under your nipple while it’s feeding.

And I will demonstrate to Heather here by turning on the pump, how that looks at least when my nipple is not in it, I’ll show you pumping later, but let’s see.

So do you see Heather, how that part on the bottom kind of pops up a little bit? It almost looks like a muscle contracting, right? It looks a little different when my nipples in there versus me, like putting my hand over this to you. I need to see it. Want me to show you? Okay. Kind of do. I mean, while we’re here.

Describe what you see Heather. So as your nipple is getting sucked down into the tunnel, the little softer piece on the bottom is contracting like a muscle and kind of squeezing up on the bottom side of the nipple, just like a tongue would. We’ve done stimulated her. Oops. That’s okay. It was enough to show you. It was helpful though, to see, as you know, how far down your nipple goes.

Not very far, right? I know yours doesn’t go down very far. So I imagine though that somebody who’s nipple does go down a little bit further, would get more bang for their buck out of that little contracting silicone piece. Yeah. And both these and the Pumpin Pals just extend that flange tunnel a little bit and make it softer, you know?

So that’s really helpful when your problem is that your nipple shoots to the end of a hard plastic tunnel. Right, right. I mean, I kind of feel like that silicone piece could contract even more. I agree. I will say that is kind of my biggest complaint about this is I feel like I want that. I want the baby motion piece of it, that little section at the bottom to be like wider and maybe go more, almost a little further up my areola, but I also get probably if they made this part of the flange thinner, it wouldn’t be as structurally sound.

Yeah. Just thinking about how a baby’s tongue actually does work. It works like that, but just like a lot more. Yeah. Yeah. So I like the concept a lot. In execution, it works, but maybe not as well as I want it to. But it’s a very comfortable flange to use. I like it better than really any of the other ones I’ve tried.

And this one just goes directly in, it doesn’t, it goes directly into the Spectra adapter piece. It doesn’t need an additional adapter piece because, so it’s, it’s kind of the best of both worlds. It’s like the silicone piece that only needs one adapter instead of two. Yeah. So I’m using the adapter I got from Pumpin Pals, but you can get an adapter like that somewhere else, too.

You know what, this kind of feels like when you run your finger down the baby motion piece of it? It almost feels like if you were to rub your finger down your throat, like where your trachea is. Oh. Or like right where your thyroid is at the bottom. Yeah. Interesting. Yeah. Yeah. So I actually, I’m going to venture to say, I might give this one, like an A+.

Not that improvement doesn’t exist cause obviously it could get better, but I really like it. And this is now my preferred pumping flange. So you can’t put that in a hands free, can you? So there is a hack for everything, Heather, if you know the internet, like I know the internet. I don’t know the internet like you do. Teach me.

If you’re willing to like, perhaps cut some of these flanges in different ways you can probably make it work for a number of different pumps, including hands free ones, but you will likely have to shorten this. And they’re expensive things to have to shorten, you know? Yeah. I don’t, I probably would try one of the previous inserts that we talked about for the hands-free before I would go chopping up my LacTeck baby motion.

Okay. Okay. So a set of these is $25 and a lot of these companies like Legendairy has one, I’m sure Pumpin Pals has one, but they have IB CLC bundles where they give you a discount price on a set of sizes. And usually you just get like one of each size so that you can help size your clients and they can buy them if they want to. Then you have to deal with sales tax.

Well, they don’t have to buy them from you because they usually only send you like one of each size, not a pair. Oh yeah. So it just like, it helps you understand how they work and sell their products. But anyway, just so you know, like their IB CLC bundle is $55. But like, shouldn’t they just give that to me? A hundred percent.

Yeah. Okay. I mean, if they want me to sell their product, no offense, but like, you can go ahead and if I can’t resell it, you can go ahead and just give it to me. Yeah. You can buy a set of pairs, but it’s going to be more expensive. Anyway, that’s available, you know, if we can think about it, but I really like this.

And so what I’ve settled on, at least for now, I might change my mind later, but what I’m pumping with now is I have my Spectra S1 and I’m using the Spectra backflow adapter. And then I’m using that Pumpin Pal adaption piece with the LacTeck flange. I’m using the Legendairy Milk duckbill, because look at these, these have a pull tab so you’re not freaking pulling the duckbill off by the part that you can’t fucking break.

So if you guys use the Spectra you’ll know that the part that releases your milk into the bottle, it’s this little duckbill shaped thing. And to get it off, you have to like yank it from the most sensitive part that like absolutely has to close well. You know. If you’re using your pump.

And so Legendairy sells a Spectra compatible duckbill with a pull tab so you’re not breaking it when you clean it. That’s awesome. Yes. So now I have those and I also think, frankly, they’re slightly better quality than the Spectra. Yeah. And it just looks like it’ll hold up. And it’s pink so I can stop losing it.

Yeah. And then I actually have a Maymom bottle adapter on there so I can put a Medela bottle on here so when I pumped with my shitty titty, I can use those little, tiny two-ounce bottles and I don’t feel like I’m not producing much if I only get like half an ounce. Girl, that is a Franken pump if I’ve ever seen one.

But you know what? I’m just telling you, man, when you look at the people who are exclusive pumpers, pretty much every one of them is using a Franken pump. They have eight pumps and they put it all together in a way that works for them and is easy for them. On one hand, I’m so happy that all of this exists.

On the other hand, it’s like, by the time you figure this all out and what works best for you, how much money have you spent? Yes. I would love to do a research study on that. Just like how much have you spent total between lactation consults, pumps, pumping bras, pump adapters, pump inserts, pumps in general, hands-free pumps.

You know, I think that this is, we just need to acknowledge really quick that this is a very privileged thing to be able to do, which it shouldn’t be. Because everyone should be able to feed their baby with their own body. And I will say if I wasn’t basically trying to do you know, firsthand research for you guys out there with the podcast, probably I would not have bothered with the Pumpin Pals because I don’t have elastic nipples.

I would have just bought the LacTecks. I probably. You know, there are some pieces I have because other people gave me like sets of bottles and stuff. I probably wouldn’t have the Medela bottles if they hadn’t been given to me in a big box of stuff people never used. You know, so if I was doing this on a small budget, I’d probably have the first pump that I still had and a couple of pump inserts or flange inserts.

Yeah. And just, you know, keep in mind, help people out. If you have stuff that you’re not using anymore, get on Facebook and be like, Hey, does anybody want this? Like, don’t sell it. Okay. Unless you also really need the money, but like, can we maybe pay it forward with your pumping stuff and just know that it’s going to come around and help somebody else?

You know, like if you were a person that is privileged enough to be able to spend $200 trying to figure out your pumping situation, please consider donating it to somebody in need because you know, full disclosure when I had my son I was on like full government assistance. I was in school. We had no money.

Like we lived on our wedding money for over a year, which was tight. And we, I mean, yes, all the food stamps and all the WIC and all of that. And I didn’t have any nursing bras, like none. And could not afford them.

And somebody gave me theirs from like 1995 and I was, it was very funny to wear them because they were not attractive and they were like, JC Penney’s nursing bras 1995. But it changed the game for me because I was able to more conveniently feed my baby, which was one less barrier for me. So if, if you have anything that you can give, even if it’s like old, just know that somebody might really appreciate it.

Yeah. The first time around one of my cousins gave me an old pump of hers and all of her old bottles and I deeply appreciated that. Cause I did not know anything about it. I really didn’t have the money to be buying stuff. So, you know, that was incredibly kind. And I wore that one out, you know, but like, it was the nice Medela Pump In Style, which, Pump In Style Advanced, right, that like my insurance did not cover.

And I actually didn’t know my insurance covered a pump at that time. I had no idea how to get one. Me either. Yeah. I used a used one also. The Medela Pump In Style and same, the same shit. And it had been used for two babies. So it really, it was probably not in great shape at that point and I didn’t know any different, you know, so geez.

I was like, seriously guys, like we’re sitting here today and we know these things, but like I did not know it at the time. And I remember the stress of trying to figure it out. I didn’t even know I had options. So if this is the first time you’ve even realized that you have options, don’t feel stupid.

Okay. There is a very steep learning curve when it comes to feeding your baby in general, but then you add pumping on top of it and it’s like, this is not natural and requires a lot of education. So if you need help, please reach out. This is something that obviously Maureen has used them all now because she’s made it her mission in life.

Yeah. And honestly, like, as my budget affords or as companies send us samples, I’m going to keep doing this until I stop lactating, because this is my last baby and I want to try to stay on top of this as much as I can, but like, man, this is hard to do as a lactation professional. Every time I turn around, someone’s like, what about this new thing?

And I’m like, what the fuck is that? Yeah. Yeah. And the lingo. I mean, my gosh. Thank God you guys go so deep on the internet because I’m so busy producing a podcast and running a business and having a family and working full time that I don’t have time to like troll the deepest dregs of the internet to learn the new, the new cool breastfeeding thing.

You know, what I’ve actually has helped me stay on top of it? Is being in one of the breast pump resale groups on Facebook. Because every time something new comes out, somebody buys it and resells it like immediately, you know. That is a good tip. Yeah. So, so I, the one that I’m in is like the Exclusive Pumping Yard Sale or something.

But that one’s helped me really learn cause then I’m like, wait a second. What are they selling? Like, that’s how I learned about the Pumpin Pals and the BeauGens. And like, just like, what the heck is that in that for sale post? And honestly people are really helpful there cause they want you to buy their stuff.

So if you’re like, what is that? They’re like, oh, here. And so like really quick, let’s just talk about a couple of the main websites where people are buying these accoutrement, if you will. So Maymom has a bunch of the adapters, right? They kind of have aftermarket parts for like every single pump. Okay.

So yeah. Adaption pieces, flange inserts for sizing. I’m sure they have other stuff too. They have those bottle adapter pieces. Like they’ve kind of got all the intermediate pieces you need to pair different companies together. Okay. And then Pumpin Pals is just this brand, right? Yes. Pumpin Pals is just these specific flanges.

They have a couple of accessories too, like adaption accessories, but they’re pretty solidly selling the flanges that they’ve designed for elastic nipples. Yeah. So they have the shield sets. They’ve got a couple of different accessories, you know, like washing stuff and adapter parts and whatever. So pretty exclusively flanges.

Are there any other websites where you can find these weird? I don’t think you can find Pumpin Pals really anywhere else. I just found them on their website. Okay. Is there like another Maymom type of deal? I don’t know. So it’s like the LacTeck and the Pumpin Pal ones are pretty new to the market and like just being sold through them.

Okay. Okay. Okay. Well, that’s good to know, because I think it can get very confusing. I think there is another company like Maymom, but I’m not really familiar with any other ones. The Legendairy Milk is another company I mentioned. They’ve got sizing. They have actually this great, like silicone sizing like cutout thing where you can literally like put people’s nipples in it that I need to order.

Well, one of my clients ordered that the other day because we’re virtual. So she was in North Carolina and I’m in West Virginia and she was like, I went ahead and bought this. Is this helpful? And I was like, that’s extremely helpful. Thank you for doing that. So then I immediately went and bought them, but I couldn’t find the silicone ones on Amazon.

I found some hard plastic one. Yeah, I get it all right from their website again, because a lot of these companies are really small and they’re not necessarily stocking all their products on Amazon. So like the Legendairy Milk, they have a lot of random supplements that I don’t love, but they have flange inserts.

They have pumping cups. They have their own wearable pump. Okay. Well, I hope this helps you guys. You didn’t have any other ones? No. And I’ll link this all in the show notes and make sure it’s really easy to find. If you guys have follow-up questions, I’m happy to answer them. Yeah. And if you have other things that you want me to try, let us know.

And I guess the main takeaway from this is just knowing that you have options, that if you’re sitting there pumping and there’s something just not quite right, first of all, you don’t have to be a martyr to pumping. You deserve to have a pump that feels good to you. So if you can’t afford it like full, outright on their website, check out one of those reseller groups on Facebook. These are all parts that look like they can be sanitized very easily.

You know, the only thing that Maureen mentioned, which is smart is if it’s like a less structured silicone it might be a little bit worn out. So just make sure that you’re checking the quality before you purchase on a Facebook group like that. And you know, I just think you guys really should have the best experience you could possibly have with pumping.

And you know, if you have three months of pumping left, that’s three months, you know. Don’t think for a second that it’s like, well, it’s only three months. So I guess I can withstand the discomfort for that long. Don’t. Just don’t do it. Like, you know, people come up to him and be like, oh, don’t you just dread when that first pump, when you turn the pump on and I’m like, no. Yeah, not anymore.

Not anymore. Do you? Like, let’s talk about that. Let’s figure it out. Do you have an extra 50 bucks you could throw into it? Like let’s do it. Yeah. So if you’re full of dread before you have to pump every single time we need to assess. Yeah. And I’m happy to show you all of the other ways that I’ve made these work for other different pumps.

Oh my God. This was the Spectra edition.

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Okay, well, do we have an award that we can throw in here? You know what, of course we have an award because people are continually doing amazing fricking things every single day that we need to celebrate. You’re a pretty incredible group of listeners out there. All right. Well, today we want to give an award to one of our Facebook group members, Brandi.

Brandi says, “we took a respite from my son’s first birthday party to breastfeed. It was relaxing for both of us and a little emotional for me. Cheers to one year of nursing abroad!” And she’s got the cutest picture of her and her baby and they just look like they’re really enjoying a nice little booby snack.

And I have to say, I miss having an excuse to leave a party just for a minute, to have some quiet time with my baby. You get a little oxytocin rush and some snuggles and you never feel guilty really. I never did. Baby needs to be fed. Yeah. And no one will argue with you. It’s like, I kinda miss having that excuse.

And sometimes now I’ll just be like, I just need a minute. And now I still I’ll go and I’ll sit by myself, but I always feel a little guilty about it. It’s not as fun to sit by yourself. Well, do you think we can give Brandi the Booby Break Award? Oh, the Booby Break Award. Yes. Give yourselves a booby break today cause you’re doing great. And happy one year of nursing to you, Brandi. And we couldn’t be more proud of you.

All right, guys. Well, thank you so much for tuning into another episode of our podcast. The way we change this big system that is not set up for lactating families is to educate ourselves, our friends and our children. If you want to get a little more of us, please join us over on Patreon. For as little as $1 a month, you can get merch, exclusive video content, all kinds of stuff. We really just let it all hang out there on Patreon. We do. We really do, but if you can’t do that right now, we completely understand, and we would really appreciate it if you would just tell a friend.

All right guys, and don’t forget, you can email us questions and wins at MilkMinutePodcast@gmail.com. All right, bye. Bye. Off to pump.

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