Nursing Aids-Breast Shields & ShellsBreast shells are used in the last few weeks of pregnancy to help flat or inverted nipples to stretch out - so it will be easier for the baby to have something to latch on to. The rigid plastic puts a firm pressure on the ligaments around the base of the nipple. Medela and Avent now make a model with a more comfortable material, which offers some give and yet is still effective in applying pressure. The cost difference however, is considerable. Combining the shells with the Hoffman Technique of exercises can be very helpful preparation when needed. Make sure you have a lactation consultant check your nipples a few months before birth to help avoid problems that can be worked on while you are still pregnant! Breast shells can also be used to collect milk if you are a heavy leaker. If you have sore or cracked nipples (hopefully you will take measures to prevent this before it happens), breast shells help to keep anything from touching them.
Medela SoftShells TM (Inverted Nipple Kit) The firm plastic on the outside has air vent holes just on the top and a soft, flexible silicone back for comfort. It also comes with washable foam inserts to soak up the leaked milk.
Medela SoftShells TM (Sore Nipple Kit) are the same as the Inverted Nipple Kit except the opening in the silicone is wider and the main intent is to keep anything away from the sore nipples.
Medela's TheraShells TM are a redesigning of the old Hobbit Breast Shells TM(pictured). They have a smaller firm plastic shell with air vent holes just in the top so any dripping milk doesn't go all over. It comes with two sets of inner rings - one for flat/inverted nipples and one for sore nipples afterwards. They are very small and discrete.
The Milk-Saver is a patented new invention that will change the way women breastfeed their babies. Think of it as a breastmilk reservoir that fits in your bra cup. While you breastfeed on one side all the excess flow from the other side is collected within the Milk-Saver's chamber. You can then save this milk for later use. You can also attach a bag of your choice and collect the milk directly into it if you choose. This way you can utilize every drop your body produces and not waste any that would just be soaked into a pad. It easily pays for itself instead of purchasing extra artificial milks for supplemental uses! Check out the cool t-shirts they make in the clothing section!