Shells, shields, and pads!

November 30, 2014 by WonderBaba Blog
Shells, shields, and pads! Sounds like an armies’ artillery checklist but it’s actually a list of items which can make the life of a breast feeding mum so much easier!
Here’s an explanation of what each of them do and how they can help!


Breast shells – these are plastic hard devices similar in shape to a breast pad. They have a soft silicone pad which sits against your skin and a hard outer shell which sits over this. They can be ventilated or non ventilated. The ventilated ones serve purely to prevent t-shirt rubbing and general friction or discomfort to your breasts, this is very useful if you suffer from engorged breasts or cracked and sore nipples. The non-ventilated shells do the same thing except they amazingly collect leaked breastmilk. This means if you are feeding from one side and get a let down from both sides you can collect the milk from the side you’re not feeding from! Genius! It also means if your slightly engorged and not due to feed you can use them to drain a little excess milk from your breasts whilst saving it also. Collected milk can then be placed into a sterilised bottle or Breast milk bag for later use. The best brand of these, in my opinion, is the avent ultra comfortable breast shells.
Next we have shields! These are a thin soft piece of silicone which sit over the nipple to protect sore nipples when breastfeeding. They come in different sizes in some brands such as Medela and I think you should size up rather than down to allow for an easier latch for your little one. If you suffer from flat or small nipples these can help to teach your baby to latch properly. Avent also do one but they are thicker than the Medela ones and I’d say that’s a disadvantage. The pros and cons of using shields are debated constantly. The pros would be that they make it more comfortable to feed your baby and they can improve latch or make latch possible. The cons are that they can affect milk supply, they are fiddly and irritating to use and a baby can get used to them and be unwilling to feed without them, this is a real issue when you have to remember to have one in the changing bag or on your person at all times in case your baby gets hungry! They require cleaning and sterilising also. However, on balance, shields can turn a difficult and painful breast feeding into a positive experience, they can be used in the short term or long term depending on your milk supply. They can turn the whole situation around for a mum who has struggled and wants to give up feeding altogether. They are a good thing! But maybe avoid them if you can…. Unless your very organised and remember to pack these things on EVERY outing you take! I might have struggled with that bit…!
Finally… Breast pads! These are pads which sit in your bra and protect your clothes ( and your dignity!) from leaking milk! They are essential really and there’s loads of different types which all do the same thing really – however like anything – some are prettier than others! The lansinoh ones are great because they are individually wrapped and you can fling them in the changing bag, your handbag, bedside locker etc. Avent do night time ones which are a bit more absorbent and stay in place well. These are an essential items for the first few weeks until supply settles down and you get control of your body back!
I’d welcome any of your own hints and tips on these product ranges as experience and product awareness is really the key for helping new mums to find the best solutions for them!

Author: WonderBaba Blog

My name is Sheena Mitchell and I'm a pharmacist with my own business Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6. From working in the pharmacy I've realised that there are a lot of first time and experienced moms who might benefit from hints and tips from a pharmacist who can balance healthcare advice with real hands on experience from my important work as a mother of two! I hope to bring you regular advice and information and answer questions that you have! Being a mother and pharmacist are my two favorite things and I'm delighted to have this way of bringing my two worlds together! All questions and queries are gratefully received but otherwise sit back, relax, and let the solutions come to you!

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