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Medela Therashells vs Soft Shells – What is the Difference?

Deciding between bottle feeding and breastfeeding can be a very difficult and emotional decision. Bottle-feed or breastfeed, there are so many pros and cons for both. Many women feel pressured into breastfeeding when maybe it is not the right choice for them, due to a thousand different reasons.

But if you do decide that breastfeeding is the way you wish to go then there are some common problems that you need to be aware of and the possible solutions that are available before you even start.

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I am going to be comparing two breast shells Medela Therashells and Medela Softshells. Both are made by the same company and say that they can help with engorgement, inverted nipples, and nipple soreness.

Medela Therashells

Medela Therashells market themselves as being an economical single solution to two problems – sore nipples and flat/inverted nipples.

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So How Do They Work?

Therashells have small vents on them to ensure air circulation around the nipple area. This helps to prevent the nipples from chapping and prevents any further irritation.

Therashells come with two different backs that attach to the shells. The first back has a small opening which helps with flat or inverted nipples. It is advised that you start to wear these in the last few weeks of pregnancy to draw the nipple out. The second back has a large opening which is designed to help soothe sore nipples and protect them from any further irritation.

What Do you Get In The Box?

In the box, you will get two Medela Therashells, two shellbacks with small opening for flat or inverted nipples, 2 shellbacks with large opening for nipple soreness or engorgement. You will also find an instruction manual in there too.


  • Provide great relief from sore nipples
  • Helps to draw out flat or inverted nipples
  • Economical – solve two problems in one pack


  • An issue with the size of the product to fit over nipples correctly
  • Do not sit comfortably under clothing
  • Protrude and are noticeable under clothing
  • Very uncomfortable to wear

Medela Soft Shells

Medela Softshells are designed to help with the treatment of sore nipples and flat or inverted nipples.

softshells-breast-shieldBuy on Amazon


So How Does It Work?

Depending on which pack you choose, either the Sore nipples or Inverted nipples box.

For sore nipples, you are provided with two softbacks with wide openings designed to protect the nipple from any further irritation and promote healing. While for inverted nipples you are provided with the backs with the small opening which are designed to encourage and draw out the nipple. This will help with latching and make breastfeeding more comfortable.

What Do You Get In The Box?

In the box, you will find two shells, two backs, and four washable foam inserts. You will also find an instruction manual.


  • Make sore nipples more bearable
  • Useful pad to collect milk letdown
  • Prevent contact between sore nipples and clothing
  • Vent holes allow air circulation


  • Noticeable under clothing
  • The fit can trigger letdown
  • Provide a perfect environment for Thrush
  • Rubbing against the skin causing pressure marks

The Main Differences Between Medela Therashells vs Soft Shells

The main differences between these products are that the Therashells provide the backs to help with inverted nipples as well as sore and engorged nipples in one pack. While the Softshells only provide the backs for one issue in a pack. You need to select the correct pack that you require, either sore nipples or inverted nipples.

The Therashells also do not provide any inserts to collect milk letdown while the Softshells provide four shaped foam inserts for this purpose.

Common Breastfeeding Problems

Breastfeeding is a fantastic experience and has many advantages but it also comes with some common problems. Most mothers will have experienced at least one of these issues during their breastfeeding journey. From cracked nipples to breast engorgement, but there are products available to help.

breastfeeding baby

Some of the most common problems are:

Breast Engorgement

This is when your body produces so much milk that your breasts turn rock hard. This usually occurs after birth and in the first few weeks of nursing.

It is painful but the worst of this should be gone within a few days and completely gone in a few weeks. But there are things that you can do in order to relieve some of the pain and discomfort. You can make sure that you nurse frequently, massage your breasts while feeding, using a warm compress before each feed and a cold one after a feed. It is also important that you wear a properly fitted nursing bra.

Remember that you can frequently pump if you need to, saving the milk for later use. We compare what we think are the best breast pumps available, the Spectra S1 VS the S2 model.

Flat or Invested Nipples

The vast majority of nipples stick out, meaning that they are the perfect shape for your baby to latch on. However, some women’s nipples are either flat or are inverted. This makes it difficult but not impossible for a baby to latch correctly.

Neither flat or inverted nipples have any bearing on the quantity or quality of milk that you can supply. Most babies can feed without any issues but if yours can not then there are things that you can do to assist them. You can compress your areola while feeding or if you gently squeeze either side of the inverted nipple this can sometimes encourage the nipple to protrude.

Sore or Burning Nipples

Sore, cracked and painful nipples are I’m afraid part of the course of breastfeeding. If your baby is not latching properly or is positioned incorrectly then this can cause sensitive, chapped and sore nipples.

To try to prevent these issues or rectify them you must first check that your baby is latching correctly and positioned properly when feeding. After each feed try to let your nipples have some fresh air and then rub some nipple cream on them. Rubbing your own breast milk on them can also help with the healing process.

FAQ’s Medela Therashells vs Soft Shells


Once the cup is full in the Softshells, does the milk overflow?

The softshells do come with small foam pieces that you insert into the cup to catch any letdown that may occur. So they should not overflow, but you would be advised to check regularly.

Are you able to use the milk collected in the sponge?

It is not advised that this milk is fed to your baby as it will no longer be sterile and has not been kept at the required temperatures.

Can the Therashells be used prenatally to treat an inverted nipple?

Yes, the Therashells can be worn prenatally to help treat an inverted nipple. They recommend that you begin wearing them 1 month before your due date.

What are the Therashells made from?

The Therashell backings are made of soft, flexible silicone backs and the dome is made of polypropylene.