2 shells, 2 silicone membranes
Dealing with leaking breast milk during feeds
As you feed your baby, you may notice your other breast leaking milk. This type of leaking breast milk affects many mums – and some more than others! However, breast leaking is perfectly normal, especially during the first six weeks 1 – it’s not necessarily a sign that you have too much milk. But if you’re concerned you might have an oversupply, read our expert advice to find out more. In the meantime, milk collection shells can help.
What are breast milk collection shells?
Milk collection shells are worn over your nipple to collect leaking breast milk, ensuring that not a drop that leaks during feeds goes to waste. Medela milk collection shells are made from skin-friendly materials and shaped to your body, making them comfortable and discreet to wear.
When to use milk collection shells
You can wear milk collection shells during breastfeeding to catch leaking milk as described above, as well as between feeds to avoid wet patches. Just remember to remove them every two to three hours and let your breasts air-dry, as this prevents any excess moisture damaging your nipples. And avoid wearing breast shells in bed at night, as this can cause skin tenderness – you could try disposable nursing pads to absorb heavy leaking breast milk instead, or Ultra thin disposable nursing pads if your flow is lighter.
How to use Medela milk collection shells
You’ll need to assemble the two parts of the milk collection shells before use, which is easy to do:
- The soft, flexible silicone membrane is designed to be gentle on skin – place it on to the outer shell, snapping it all the way around.
- Once assembled, place the milk collection shell inside your bra, with the membrane’s opening centred over your nipple. The handy spout should be facing upwards.
It’s a good idea to wear a nursing bra when using milk collection shells. These tend to be a bit roomier than a typical bra, ensuring the shells apply less pressure to your breasts.
Using your saved breast milk
Only breast milk collected during breastfeeding should be fed to your baby – throw any milk that collects between feeding sessions away. When you remove the milk collection shell, lean forwards slightly. Then use the shell’s special pouring hole to transfer the breast milk that has been saved during a feed into a sanitised container, such as a breast milk bottle or storage bag. If you’re not going to feed this milk to your baby immediately, refrigerate the container straight away, and use within 24 hours.
How to clean Medela milk collection shells
It’s important to keep your breastfeeding accessories clean, and this includes breast milk collection shells. Before the first time you use them – and once a day thereafter – sanitise the breast shells like this:
- Separate the parts and place them in a small pan filled with cold distilled water. If distilled water isn’t available, add a teaspoon of citric acid to tap water to help prevent limescale build-up.
- Bring the water to the boil, and continue to boil the breast shells in it for five minutes.
- Drain off the water with care, and let the parts dry on a clean cloth.
It’s also important to clean milk collection shells after each use. Separate the parts and wash with a mild cleaning solution. Then rinse thoroughly in cold water, and dry on a clean cloth. Both the outer shell and inner membrane are dishwasher-safe, so you can also use this method of cleaning, or you could use a microwave bag.