Confused About Breast Funnel Sizes?

By Stella Dao, M.D.

 

I see so much confusion about the sizing of breast funnels (shields) for pumping. One of the best instructional articles I have seen about breast funnels comes from Dr. Elizabeth Jones. Dr. Jones published a wonderful summary of how to fit breast funnels in the Journal of Neonatal Nursing in their February 2009 issue, Vol 15, Issue 1, pages 14 – 17.
First, I would like to explain that the Freemie’s breast funnel, is basically the same as traditional breast shields.

Freemie funnels vs. traditional shields 

Not only is the Freemie funnel similarly shaped to traditional shields, but the additional flat surface of the Freemie funnel lends to a comfortable fit, plus more surface area for a better seal.

Different funnel sizes for different times

In her article, Dr. Jones provides the following information:

“The selection of the correct size shield requires observation and experimentation. Many women experience swelling of the nipples during pumping so it is important to observe at least 5 minutes of continual pumping. ”

“Many mothers find that they need different size shields for each breast. Occasionally the need for a larger funnel decreases once lactation becomes well established.”

 

To correctly fit breast funnels

Turn on the pump and check the following points:

  • Is the nipple rubbing or sticking against the side?
  • Does the base of the nipple blanch during the expression session?
  • Does it feel painful?
  • Can you see a ring of skin flakes on the inside of the funnel when the funnel is removed?

If the answer is ‘yes’ to all of the above, a different size funnel may be needed. With properly fitted breast funnels, the nipple moves in and out of the funnel freely. The areolar tissue should move only a little and there should be no pain.

You need a different size if the funnel is too big or too small.


If the tip of the nipple hurts while expressing, mothers should check that the nipple is in the center of the funnel.

Freemie’s funnel sizes

Freemie funnels currently come in 25mm, 28mm, and 32mm internal diameter–measured across the internal opening of the funnel. The cups come in one size and are interchangeable with all funnel sizes.

If you have questions about how to find the right breast funnel size for you, please consult with your lactation professional.

About the Author: Dr. Dao, inventor of the Freemie system, is a board-certified practicing physician in northern California, where she lives with her husband and children.

*See also, Fitmie soft inserts for soft silicone sizes 15-28mm.

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