How To Measure Nipple Size: A New Mother’s Guide

How To Measure Nipple Size: A New Mother’s Guide

As a new mom, you’re probably feeling a wide array of emotions – a sense of joy, anxiousness, excitement, fear, overwhelmed, or possibly all of the above and then some. 

For new moms, the life you once knew seems to be in upheaval, and many things are changing. Not just taking care of your little one and yourself, but your body is changing a lot as well.

At Greater Than, we know how much of a new and beautiful experience you’re going through, but you may be feeling at a loss when it comes to how your body is constantly changing now that you’ve given birth. Especially if you’re breastfeeding, your breasts may be changing as well. Specifically, your nipples have gone through a lot. 

Now that you may be pumping, you may be wondering how to measure them to find the best nipple shield or breast pump for you. That’s why we’ve made this guide to prepare you for the physical changes your nipples are going through, especially after pregnancy. 

Keep on reading to learn the best measurement tips to find the nipple shield or breast pump that works for you. 

Why Should You Measure?

As a new mom, you may be feeling overwhelmed with all the information about what breast pump to get or if you need a nipple shield or flanges. Measuring your nipple size is the best way to figure out what kind of pump you need or if you need extra support while breastfeeding. 

It can be a matter of trial and error to determine what size gives you the best comfort and helps you, but learning how to measure your nipples may help you avoid unnecessary purchasing! Breasts, especially nipples, come in a wide range of sizes, so a one-size breast shield will not fit all women. 

Breast Shields 

Breast shields are the cone-shaped cup that fits your nipple and the circular area surrounding the nipple, otherwise known as the areola, called flanges or horns. They usually have a breast pump that is connected. 

Breast Pump

Breast pumps are connected to the breast shield or have a plastic tube that connects them. They create a gentle vacuum that presses your breast milk. 

Nipple Shields 

Nipple shields are intended for moms who have trouble breastfeeding their baby, specifically if they are having latch problems. Although they sound similar to breast shields, this is only intended for mothers feeding a premature baby, having flat or inverted nipples, and are advised by a lactation consultant. 

Tips and Tricks for Measuring 

You can use any ruler around your house. Here are some tips and tricks below to help you get a sense of measuring your nipples. This step-by-step guide is the general consensus on how to best measure your nipples.

  • Your nipples are nearly circles, so consider it in terms of measuring the diameter. You measure the diameter of your nipples, but do not include the areola! It is normal to have two different-sized nipples, so make sure to measure both.
  • Measure before pumping. Incorrectly sized flanges will affect the size of your nipples after pumping, and it’s also normal if the size increases while pumping. 
  • Convert inches or centimeters to millimeters to find your breast shield since that is how breast shields/flanges are measured.  
  • After measuring, add two to five millimeters to your measurement to find your flange size. 

Too Small

If your breast pump is too small, you will know because while you pump, at least some or all of your nipples will rub against the tunnel of the breast shield. 

Too Big

When you pump, more of your areola is being pulled into the flange and may even rub against the tunnel of the flange. If your nipple stays in place and you get milk back towards you instead of going into the bottle, it could mean your flange is too large. 

In Between

While you pump, your nipple moves freely in the tunnel, and there is space around it. Only a little bit of your areola is drawn into the tunnel. 

You should not experience any red or white ring patches after pumping, and you should not feel any discomfort. Always talk to your healthcare provider or seek a lactation consultant if you feel you have any breastfeeding or pumping issues. 

Why Choosing the Right Size Is Important

Breastfeeding is a great way to bond with your baby. Not to mention, provide health benefits for you and your little one. It can be intimidating to find the best breast pump and shield for you to start getting back into a routine, so choosing the right size is essential to get your breast milk expressed and avoid any discomfort. 

Breast pumps come with a range of benefits as they can help empty your breasts of milk, prevent nipple trauma, and provide maximum comfort while pumping. This can only really be done by having the correct-sized breast shield. 

Lo Sugar, Hi Electrolytes With Greater Than

At Greater Than, we know how emotionally and physically complex this journey can be for new moms, so that’s why we want you to know we have your back. If your baby is growing and healthy, we know you’re doing a good job (just in case you need the reminder). 

We make our electrolyte drinks with you and your little one in mind. That’s why we focus on getting you the information you might need and the key ingredients to support your breast milk supply.  


Breast-feeding: Choosing the Best Pump | Mayo Clinic 

Breastfeeding | CDC 

Breastfeeding and Pumping: 7 Tips to Success | Mayo Clinic 

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