Breast Pump Lubricant: How It Can Improve Breastmilk Pumping

The first time I had to use a breast pump, I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of equipment involved. Not only did I have to assemble all the parts into the pump itself, but then there were all these accessories with confusing names. One of them was called a flange (or nipple shield or breast shield) and it was used in conjunction with another piece called a funnel.

The idea, I learned later on, is that your nipple goes into one end of the flange and milk flows out through an opening at the other end where it collects in some sort of basin or bottle below. Sounds simple enough right? Well, as it turns out there is more than one way you can lubricate your flange so that pumping becomes less painful and efficient!

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Should you lubricate your breast pump?

There are a few reasons you might want to use lubricant on your breast pump. Lubricant can make pumping more comfortable, helping with milk flow and suction. It can also make your pump more efficient at extracting milk from the breast, which means it will work better and faster (and so, hopefully, be less painful).

If you’re unsure whether or not you want to use lubricant on your pump and/or nipple shields, it’s best to talk with an expert first. A lactation consultant or doctor may be able to offer advice based on their own experience with different brands of nipple shields in conjunction with specific brands of lubricants.

If you want to use something other than breast milk, there are several ways to lubricate your breast pump flanges. Some options include, olive oil, coconut oil or aloe vera. Calendula ointment can be an effective option for those with sensitive skin but will not keep the milk from drying out.

CoBoo Natural Pumping Spray - 1 oz Bottle
  • PERFECT GLIDE REDUCES FRICTION AND CHAFING- lubricates and moisturizes your skin and nipples
  • 100% NATURAL FOOD-GRADE INGREDIENTS- hypoallergenic, vegan and safe for baby
  • SPRAY APPLICATION- spray directly on breast pump flanges, keeping hands clean and milk germ-free
  • For best results spray in temperatures above 50º F

Olive Oil

Olive oil is a natural, edible product that has been used for centuries as a lubricant. It can be used to lubricate breast pump flanges, nipples and the suction base of your electric or manual pump. You can also use it to lubricate the motor of your breast pump if you feel that it’s not working as well as it should be.

If you choose to use olive oil as a breast pump lubricant, check with your doctor first since some people may have sensitivities to this type of product.



  • Olive oil is a natural product that can be used to lubricate your breast pump.
  • It’s cheap and easy to find, making it an ideal choice if you’re looking for an alternative to the commercial lubricants on the market today.


  • Using olive oil as a breast pump lubricant can be messy, especially if you’re using an electric or manual pump.
  • It also has the potential to stain clothing and linens, so be sure to clean up any spills immediately.

Coconut Oil

To apply coconut oil to your breast pump flanges, you’ll need a tiny amount (about the size of a dime). Then, rub the lubricant around the edge of your flange and inside of it with your fingers. You can also put some in a sandwich baggie and use that to spread it around on all sides. Either way is fine!

If you’re using this method with any other kind of breastpump besides Medela’s Purely Yours® Breast Pump or Symphony®, be sure to read up on how much coconut oil each brand recommends for their specific models so that you know how much is “enough” for proper suctioning action without going overboard.

Once your flanges are well-lubricated, place them on your breasts and pump as usual. You should be able to get a good amount of milk out with minimal issues!

Although you can use coconut oil as a breast pump lubricant, it’s important to remember that this method is not recommended by Medela. They recommend using their own brand of lubricant instead.


  • Coconut oil is safe for use inside the breast pump and does not have any harmful chemicals.
  • It’s inexpensive and easy to find at most grocery stores. -It’s a natural lubricant that won’t harm your breasts or pump.


  • It may leave behind a residue that can clog up your pump if not removed thoroughly.
  • It can be messy and difficult to clean up.
  • There are no FDA-approved ingredients in coconut oil, so it’s not as safe as some other alternatives.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a great option for breast pump lubricant because it’s moisturizing, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal. It’s also safe for the baby and won’t cause any allergic reactions.

Very affordable, and comes in a pump dispenser bottle that makes it easy to get the right amount of breast pump lubricant. The only downside to this product is that it doesn’t last as long as some other brands, so you may need to reapply it more often.




  • Very affordable
  • Moisturizes and protects sensitive skin
  • Can be used as a nipple cream for breastfeeding moms
  • Safe for babies and won’t cause allergies
  • Good for sensitive skin
  • Works well as a pump lubricant


  • Doesn’t last as long as other
  • May need to reapply more often

Calendula Ointment

Calendula ointment is made from marigolds, and it has a long history of use. In fact, it’s been used for centuries to treat diaper rash and chapped skin. Calendula’s soothing properties make it an effective natural alternative to breast pump lubricants that contain petroleum jelly or other artificial ingredients.

Calendula ointment is also a great choice for breastfeeding moms who want to avoid using petroleum jelly and other synthetic ingredients. In addition, calendula ointment has been shown to help relieve dry skin and itching associated with eczema.



  • Calendula ointment is easy to find at most drug stores or health food stores, and it’s inexpensive.
  •  Is safe for use on any part of the body, including nipples and areolas.


  • Can be messy and sticky, which makes it less ideal for use in public.
  • Some breastfeeding moms find that using calendula ointment causes their nipples to become red or irritated.

Breast Pump Lubricant: How It Can Improve Breastmilk Pumping

Ways to lubricate breast pump flanges – Conclusion

We hope this post has helped you understand what lubricants are available and how they can be used on your breast pump flanges. We recommend that you try one of the options above, as they have all been proven to work well with no major side effects.

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