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Elastic Nipples: What are they? What do I do?

Image owned & featured on Little Pumpling Instagram.

What are elastic nipples?

When you use a pump, your areoles go further than half way into the tunnel. This is due to the skin being stretchy and more elastic aka 'elastic nipples'

Don't worry! It's not bad. It means you'll have to adapt your set up to make sure you're as comfortable as possible.

Do I have Elastic Nipples?

If we were in a session and you mentioned elastic nipples... this is how it'd go.

Before I explain what elastic nipples are. I need you to make sure you have measured yourself correctly. You want the best flange fit.

I could do this for you or you can do it yourself.

You can use a mirror and measuring tape


A printable created for nipple measurement.

Mayamom - Printable nipple ruler (slider)

Pumpables - Printable nipple ruler (circles for best fit)

Once measured and the correct flange on.

Put your pump on. Pump for a few minutes. Look down or take a photo/video on your phone. What do you see? How does it feel?

  • Do you look down and see your nipples travelling down the tunnel of the flange?

  • Do you feel your nipples touching the back flow protector or connectors?

If yes to either- it could be elastic nipples.

Not a problem, don't worry! You don't need medical help :)

I'd consider your journey so far before worrying whether you have 'elastic nipples' or not.

If you're confident you're wearing the right flange size and your milk output is suitable for you and baby then it's okay! Seeing your nipple stretched isn't what you're used to - I get it. But it'll soon become normal to you. Tell yourself, if you're not experiencing any discomorts, you can keep doing what you're doing and don't worry about the term you heard on the internet.

However, before we completely dismiss this, I'd like to check on your comfort.

  • How do you feel about your milk output suitable for you and baby?

  • Do you experience frequent blocked ducts?

  • Do you feel sore, in pain or have cracked nipples?

If you experience any form of discomfort then we need to explore things further. I respect difference in journey until someone is uncomfortable, unhappy or in pain. If you feel your milk is low, experience frequent blocked ducts or have nipple pain and discomfort, we need to adapt and implement some changes. You shouldn't be in pain when you pump. These tips are all in order to improve your journey and make you feel happier and more confident breastfeeding.

Image of coconut oil, nipple balm and breast pads all used for nipple comfort,

c Little Pumpling Instagram.

What do I do with elastic nipples?

Ease friction

When your nipple moves against the flanges it can be uncomfortable or worse it can hurt. The tension can cause nipple blisters. We want to look after our beautiful nipples so here's some tips.

  • Lubricate - use coconut oil or olive oil along the tunnels of your flanges.

Create comfort

  • Ease discomfort - use nipple balm before and after a session. (I use Weleda)

  • Place a BeauGen cushion within your flange which are made of silicone to provide a softer feeling. The cushions make the tunnel 2mm smaller which eases how much of your areola is able to travel down the tunnel.

  • Mayomom also have a highly recommended breastshield insert.

  • Increase space - opt for a longer neck/tunnel flange

  • If you're using a Medela breast pump these Nenesupply ones are brilliant compared to the default Medela ones. Size 17mm has a silicone surround.

  • Switch to Silicone Flanges

  • Lacteck Babymotion flanges are highly recommended. They are made of silicone and flex to mimic nursing (Libra Health - UK Distributor). They also come in mix and match sizes - hooray for companies that understand boobs are sisters not twins!

Image owned & featured on Little Pumpling Instagram.

Release Milk Flow

Some people with elastic nipples find their milk ducts are being restricted as they touch the pump/pressed against the funnel. Pumpinpal flanges are especially designed to ease restriction potentially increases the once restricted milk flow. The smaller sizes are made of silicone for extra comfort. You can buy sets of multiple sizes to make it easy to interchange too! (Libra Health - UK Distrubuter)

Do you have more EN tips you've learnt during your EP journey? Share them by joining in on the conversation on our instagram page.

Final Thoughts

I hope you've learnt 'elastic nipples' are not game over to your breastfeeding journey. It describes your nipple movement within a pump. Congratulations - because know you've learnt something new about your body, you can make well informed judgements about your pumping experience and you'll be able to make educated decisions about which products you buy to make life comfier.

Be kind to your body and never think ill of yourself because you may be 'different' to others. I believe EN are more common than we think but as it's an intimate topic there is little data on it. Nipples are bioengineered to be stretchy. It's normal :)

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Need to chat about this?

Please email if you find this and any other topic about exclusively pumping difficult.

I am taking bookings for 1-on-1 EP Support sessions.

These sessions sessions are a safe space to talk freely about your breastfeeding experiences. There's no judgement - just a supportive space from one exclusive pumper to another.

This article uses affiliate links to showcase the products recommended. This does not change the price for you but if you choose to purchase it will give a small commission to Little Pumpling. We see it as a thank you and a sign of your support. All commissions keep the project going :)

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