Written by Sarah Mansell Published on 31st March 2021 Updated on 23rd May 2022

Breast shell, nursing cup, milk collector, whatever you want to call it, these clever little things can be a bit of a godsend when it comes to breastfeeding. Many new moms think that they’re only useful for collecting milk from the other breast during let-down. And while they do a very good job of that, they also provide loads of other amazing benefits that we want all mamas to know about because anything that makes breastfeeding a little bit easier for moms is always worth shouting about. 

Getting the facts straight - Nipple shields vs. breast shells

You’re trying to find out what cluster feeding is, learning to change a diaper with one hand, and figuring out how the hell to go for a pee when you’re holding a newborn, and now you’re also expected to learn the difference between a nipple shield and a breast shell. Will this onslaught of information ever end? 

We’ll make it simple – nipple shields are recommended by doctors or lactation professionals when your child has trouble feeding, whether that’s due to the baby not latching or the mother having an overactive let-down. These are worn during breastfeeding. A breast shell is used before breastfeeding or on the other breast during feeding and has several awesome benefits that will make life a bit easier. But we can’t promise you’ll ever figure out how to pee while holding a baby thing. 

Convince me, what’s so great about breast shells?

  1. Getting the most from your milk
    Breast shells can be super useful for catching any breast milk that’s leaking from the other breast during feeding or pumping. There are two great things about this. One, you won’t get milk on your clothes, and it will reduce mess (and laundry - hallelujah). And two, you won’t waste any of your precious milk. The Elvie Catch, for example, holds up to 1 oz / 30 ml of milk in each cup, which means no more wasted milk in your breast pads or on your top.

  2. Protect cracked or sore nipples
    Breastfeeding moms will all agree; there aren’t many things more painful than cracked nipples. Breast shells can protect your nipples from rubbing on your clothes or nursing bra if they’re cracked or sore from rubbing against your nursing bra or breastfeeding clothes. Not only do they prevent you from any more uncomfortable nipple rubbing, but they’ll help promote recovery as you stop them from being irritated further. A good breast shell will fit the natural shape of a woman’s breast and use a material like silicone soft on even the most delicate breast skin.

  3. Stop any embarrassing leaks and stains
    You’ve finally managed to get some time to yourself, and you’re rewarded with leaking breasts—the joys of new motherhood. If you’re prone to a leak or two, a breast shell can be a sigh of relief because it’ll catch leaks during the day and prevent stains. We’re firm believers that every mother should be able to leave the house without worrying about leaks, and nursing cups will give you the extra confidence you might need. 


As new moms, we’re bombarded with advice on things to buy. While we can’t vouch for baby perfume (yes, it’s an actual thing), breast shells like Elvie Catch can be so helpful for breastfeeding moms. From catching and keeping any extra milk to protecting your nipples during the day, we guarantee they’ll be more useful than a gentle floral fragrance.