Using a breast pump, just like breastfeeding, should not be painful or traumatic. If you are using a breast pump regularly, and you see an obvious, perfect ring around your areola, have no fear...it is most probably not ringworm. Chances are that you have trauma from the breast pump, and a few simple solutions can remedy the problem.
- Check that the pump's flange (the part that goes on your breast) is the correct size. Many breastfeeding mothers try to fit a large nipple into a standard-sized flange. Most breast pumps offer the option to buy different-sized flanges, so make sure the fit is comfortable and that you're not simply suffering through the process because you think "That's how it's supposed to be!"
- Keep the suction and the speed of the pump on slow and low. Remember that you want to mimic how the baby feeds, and even if your baby has a strong suck, it still does not compare to the strength of the pump on high suction.
- Make sure that your nipple is perfectly centered in the middle of the flange. If it's off-center, even just a little bit, your nipple will feel and look like it's been bruised. Take the time to make sure it's positioned properly before turning on the pump.
If you feel that your problems are not resolved, get in touch with a Board Certified Lactation Consultant.