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Did not work for me
I exclusively pump since my baby never learned to breastfeed. I was originally using the standard Medela shields — the lactation consultant said I should use the standard 24mm size but I found them too painful. I then tried the 27mm size and they are more comfortable, but I’m not able to pump quite as much milk. So I tried these Super Shields in the Medium size, but I didn’t notice any difference in comfort level or pumping output when compared to the 27mm Medela shields. Also, the downward angle of these shields just made it more likely that milk would leak into the tubing. So overall these did not work for me.
Better at emptying the breast and more comfortable than the hard plastic breastshields
I use the Medela Pump In Style. I usually pump during the days when I am at work and then breastfeed in the morning and at night. I can never get all the milk out when pumping, and while the relative inefficiency of the pump (compared to a baby) is normally just an annoyance and not a huge problem, it became a real problem when I took a trip that required me to be away from my baby for about 36 hours straight. By the end of the trip, I was engorged and had a few blocked ducts; this was the cumulative effect of not being able to fully empty my breasts. (This was partly due to exclusively pumping and partly due to the fact that I didn’t have enough privacy to get a good letdown on a few pumps.) I was hoping this product would help my pump do a better job, both for everyday pumping and in case I should have to be away from my baby again, and I have found it pretty helpful in this regard.OVERVIEW: the Super Shields are more comfortable than the hard breastshields that come with Medela pumps and also help the pump do a better job of more fully and evenly emptying the breast. It’s a little harder to get a seal with them, though, and if you start your pump completely full, you may be better off using the harder shields to start the pumping.PROS: The Super Shields are definitely more comfortable than the hard shields that come with the Medela pump. (I use the 24mm ones.) The graduated design makes them easier on the breast, as does the softer plastic. Also, because rotating the breastshields slightly really does help evenly empty the breast, I did not have problems with uneven drainage like I sometimes do with the hard shields. In part because I can comfortably use a higher setting on the pump when using these breast shields, they often allow me to express more milk, although pumping still never seems to empty them as fully as a baby can.TIP: Note that if you’re using one of the Medela double electric pumps, you don’t have to fool around with trying to force these into the hard shields as the instructions tell you to do – just use them in place of the hard shields – they fit right into the Medela connectors! (They are a tiny bit looser than the Medela shields, though, so be careful if you are re-positioning the shields while pumping so the connectors don’t come loose! Otherwise you may find yourself crying over a little spilt milk.)CONS: Even with the Simple Wishes hands-free bra, it can be difficult to keep these breastshields sealed over my breasts. I have to make sure the hands-free bra fits just right to keep the seal – the hard shields are more forgiving in this regard. If these aren’t well sealed, I will find milk along the bottom of the breastshields. (What a waste of milk – ugh!) Wearing the product at a slightly rotated position as the video on the PumpinPal website recommends does not resolve the problem – only getting the seal right does. Once you get a good seal, however, there is no leakage problem.One selling point of these breast shields is that they make it possible for you to lean back while pumping, so that the whole experience can be more comfortable. You can lean back and pump, it’s true, but if you lean back more than a tiny bit, the pumping takes much, much longer, and you won’t get as much milk, so I don’t recommend it. I still pump in the same mostly upright somewhat uncomfortable position.One thing other than your posture that can slow down milk extraction with these breast shields is if you are really full – in this case, extracting that first half-ounce or ounce or so takes noticeably longer than with the hard shields. Once your breast softens a little bit, however, the milk will flow more quickly. If you only pump once during the day, this might be a problem for you. When I have this problem, I start with the hard Medela breastshields and then switch to the softer Super Shields after the milk is flowing well.Overall, I’m pleased with this product – it’s more comfortable than the hard breast shields, and once you take the time to get them positioned properly, they’re also more efficient than the hard breast shields. Just don’t expect to kick back in the La-Z-Boy and pump once you get them, and be aware that the foremilk pumping with them may take longer if you’re really full.UPDATE, April 2012: Recently went on an almost-three-day business trip without baby. This was the longest we had been separated, and these shields made all the difference as compared to my previous separation from baby. I used them the whole time I was gone, and had no problems with blocked ducts at all. I highly recommend these, especially to anyone who has to exclusively pump for any length of time!
Slightly more comfortable, but still rigid and a little awkward
As far as comfort, these are a slight improvement over the standard shields that came with my Medela breast pump. I have to be careful to align these new shields correctly or the tops of my nipples will rub against these shields. Also, these do not fit quite as easily in my breast pump bag as the ones that came with my pump because the shape of these makes them slightly larger even though they are the same "size" (24 mm). Additionally, these do not fit as well into my hands-free pumping bra as the standard-shaped ones do. They are slightly more comfortable than regular shields, but I’m not sure if the improvement is big enough to justify the hassles mentioned above or their price. I had thought that these would be flexible or made of some softer material (like silicone). However, they are made of the same rigid plastic as my other shields.
No more back pain
I can pump more milk in a shorter period of time with these shields compared to the Medela ones. They can make your nipples raw and bleed if you use with high suction and no lubricant. I was using Lansinoh cream but have moved on to the MotherLove cream and it helps greatly. I’ve read where some moms use olive oil instead.I cut my pumping time in half using these shields and with them being angled, I can sit back more and decrease my back pain….in fact no back pain since using these! I own 2 sets now. Highly recommend them.
I suspect that breast shields are a highly personal thing so I don’t want to discourage anybody from trying them but in my experience (exclusive pumper 8 months and counting) these do not produce more milk nor do they fit in my medela shields. I actually got about 2 ounces less the few times I used them. They are a bit short for my taste and on the expensive side. If your on the fence about them you might wanna pass.
These flanges allowed me to continue pumping and storing milk for my baby. I have the Medela PIS and desperately bought every size of flange but alas, all of them hurt me and warped the shape of my lady bits! I bought these directly from the manufacturer (cheaper) and they fit directly into the Medela PIS connectors. The Super Shields have made pumping a lot more comfortable. I do not know if they increased production but they did allow me to continue pumping when I was ready to quit. Thanks to these flanges, my baby can have expressed milk.