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  5. Medela Personal Fit Breastshield... does anyone know how to pick which size??

Medela Personal Fit Breastshield... does anyone know how to pick which size?? Lock Rss

Hi there,

I have a Medela breastpump and I suspect that the standard breastshield might be too small for me. Problem is, how do I work out which of the larger sizes (L, XL, XXL) I need? The only place I can find them for sale is online or stores will "order them in" for me. Not that I think they'll let you try them on first in any case. So, has anyone had experience with these and can give me some advice on selecting a size without trying them on? They have the size of each shield in mm... do I just measure my nipple?

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks
Carrie
Good question! I went to the BF clinic at King Edward (Perth) and they commented that the standard size was too small for me - due to my nipple being larger than usual (TMI i know!). So i bought a larger one, they supply a medium, and i bought an XL (two sizes up). The paperwork doesn't say much except you know if the breastshield is the right size when you answer yes to:
- is your nipple moving freely in the tunnel?
- Is minimal or no areolar tissue being pulled into the tunnel of the breastshield?
- do you see gentle, rythmical motion in the breast with each cycle of the pump?
- Do you feel the breast emptying all over?
- Is your nipple pain free?

Not particularly helpful! It would seem the hole in the breastshield should be the same size as your nipple, without the areolar? That is what i take that to mean.

Unfortunately the day after i purchased the bigger breastshield (which took me a long time to find, i finally found in a chemist so bought it) my pump packed up on me, so I can't say if it was any better or not. I have since bought a Avent Isis manual pump second hand for $20 and am much happier with it!

I've managed to find a little more info on some US sites. They recommend that if your erect nipple (like it is during feeding) is the same size as a quarter then go the L size and if it's bigger than a quarter then go the XL. Another site recommended that if the M is "just too snug" then go for L and if there is significant swelling and sticking to the sides in the M and/or breast lumpiness/not draining then go for the XL.

I get a fair bit of swelling with the pumping but I don't know if that's just because I've got to put it on so hard to get the milk out. I tried the quarter thing sort of... a 5c coin is slightly smaller and a $2 coin is slightly larger, so I stuck them in front of my nipple... Seems the 5c might just cover it and the $2 might be slightly bigger but I'm not 100% sure given it's hard to see what seems to be a mm or 2 difference between me and a coin.

Cindy, did the BF clinic recommend the XL to you or did you just decide that? Do you still have the XL breastshield? Maybe I could buy it off you?


Hehehe... Just as an aside, I don't think that your nipples (or mine for that matter) are "larger than normal"... when I was looking up all this info one lactation consultant commented that around 50% of the time she is recommending a larger size! Seems the M is probably the average size that no one actually is because most are bigger or smaller.

Carrie
This is why this site can be so great!!! I gave up breastfeeding after 2 weeks because my nipples were so sore and my nipples started bleeding when trying to express with the Medela breastpump. I talked to the lactation nurse etc. tried everthing I could and no one mentioned that the shield might be too small. I thought that for some reason my nipples just weren't up for it but I now know that the sheilds were most likely too small. AAAARRRRGH!

I am now trying for my second so I will definitely look into it. Although my DS has never been sick and is doing great on formula so it was not the end of the world.

Just wanted to rant!!!!
I totally understand your frustration. The only reason I even thought to look into it further was because a friend of mine has the opposite problem (too small for the M size that comes with the pump). She had a look at the pictures on Medela's site, had a look at me pumping and figured it looked a lot like the "shield too small" pictures. It's very deceptive because (at least for me) my nipples appear to fit ok in the M shield, it's just that they only just fit and then swell a bit during pumping.

I think like Drs, it seems it depends which lactation consultant you talk to. Something I have noticed though is that Mothers' Direct (ABA's online store) doesn't sell the larger breast shields so maybe it isn't as common a thing to try with many lactation consultants.
Hi Again,

To answer your question, I just chose the XL at random. I am a bit impulsive that way. I still have the shield, but I am considering getting the pump fixed, just i have to send it to Melbourne and pay $35, not sure if it is worth it or not. I am kicking myself because I missed out on buying a second hand mini pump for $20 on the weekend, would have been cheaper than getting mine fixed. As I said though, I am pretty happy with my Avent manual pump.

Hi Cindy,

I've decided (after a lot of putting things near my nipples that have a diameter of 30mm or 25mm -- it's all I could find!) that I'll have a go with the L (27mm). I'll post here with the results.

I reckon $35 for the pump getting fixed is worth it. Medela pumps are pretty good. Plus at least they have the option of different sized shields. Depends on how much you're getting out of your Avent I guess. I'm back at work so I'm finding the lower milk expression a real pain in the butt.

Once my friend got the right size breast shield she basically doubled her output overnight (she has a Swing). She now pumps 100 mL each session and this is even an hour or so after bubs has fed. If I were to do the same thing I'd probably only get 30 mL. I basically get the most when I pump at work.

Carrie
Hi Carrie,

I LMAO at the idea of you measuring your nipples against everything you could find. I also think it is pretty funny that we discuss such issues with strangers over the net. If we had net nanny on we would be barred from this conversation lol.

I am back at work two days per week and i get between 80 and 100ml from each express while at work. That is until yesterday when I tried to express in an unlocked room, because my usual room was occupied - i was so paranoid about someone walking in i got none....like I said the manual pump seems to work ok, in fact better than the electric one which i struggled to get a let down with. Having said that i would like to try it with the bigger breast shield, as it may finally start working for me. I am currently trying to buy another second hand one from the paper, so fingers crossed.

Good luck with your new breast shield. Let me know the results smile

Cindy

Yes, it is pretty funny. It's strange though, since giving birth, getting breastfeeding established with some help from midwives and being in front of your other breastfeeding friends your boobs seem to take on a life of their own and are no longer something terribly private!

In any case, I have an update. The L size seems to be marginally better but I'm still getting some sticking to the sides of the shield tunnel. I think I'm going to have to try the XL after all. I have worked out what the problem is though and why I had all the confusion. It's because I seem to get a lot of swelling when I pump. Much, much more than I do with breastfeeding. My nipples after bubs has been on them will fit normally in the M breastshield. I have watched the whole process and when I'm pumping, it all starts out properly (free movement in the tunnel, etc) and then I begin to swell.

The only thing I'm concerned about is that if I go the XL, then I'll just swell until I'm too big that one as well! I'm afraid there will be no limit to how big they'll get ;0)

Anyways, worth a shot I suppose. I'll let you know how I go. But that's my tip in any case. If you swell heaps more pumping than you do feeding then go 2 sizes up to start with.
Ok, the verdict.

It appears that despite the fact the XL looks like the "correct" fit, the L seems to work very slightly better.

I seem to have bumped up a little in what I express as well. It's more comfortable at the very least so well worth getting the different size even though I didn't get a dramatic increase in milk pumped.
My update is that I have stopped BF, I started taking the normal contraceptive pill, and even though my Dr advised it was unlikely to affect supply, I am afraid it did - it completely dried it up. Once I realised I was running low and stopped I didn't even get engorged or have single leak, so I guess it was really gone. I miss it a bit, but after nearly 9 months, I guess I am ok about it anyway.

Glad to hear that you got some result from the new breastshield. Good luck with your feeding.

Cindy, that's a shame. Yeah, 9 months and on food starts to take over anyway. You've done really well. I went on the mini pill (progesterone only... is that the same one you're on?) and it didn't really cause me much issue with supply. My stupid period on the other hand does. A week before I drop dramatically.
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