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What Are Milk Catchers (+ When To Wear Them)?

two pink shells on a light blue background

Milk catchers are small, dome-shaped containers. They're worn inside a bra to passively catch surprise leaks. Lactating mothers may leak when their breasts are full, after warm showers, or when pumping or nursing. Milk catchers allow the mother to conveniently save every precious drop of liquid gold.

What Is Passive Collection?

Passive collection is a way of accumulating milk without active suction. In fact, most milk catchers function without suction. Instead they cradle the nipple and naturally gather the breast's let down.

Are There Other Names For Milk Catchers?

Yes! Milk catchers are also known as…

  • breast shells

  • milk collectors

  • collection cups

  • milk savers

Can Milk Catchers Replace Breast Pads?

It's totally up to the mom and her needs. Breast pads are cozy pieces of fabric making them naturally thinner, while milk catchers are sturdy, but flexible pieces of silicone.

Can You Wear Milk Catchers Overnight?

Brands do not recommend wearing milk catchers overnight. Having nipples enclosed in silicone for extended periods can lead to condensation. This can worsen sore and damaged nipples, and isn't the healthiest for normal ones.

How Much Milk Does A Milk Catcher Hold?

1-5 ounces. Below's a table comparing top brands.


Per Cup Capacity


Dishwasher Safe







1.4oz - 2.5 oz



1.4oz - 5.3oz






2.5oz - 4oz

natural suction


How Many Milk Catchers Do You Need?

Most brands sell two cups, but you can also buy one at a time. 

How Often Should You Empty The Milk Catcher?

Every 2-4 hours (if you want to save the milk).

How Often Should You Clean The Milk Catchers?

After each use. Most brands recommend hand washing. With a wide mouth milk catchers

are fairly easy to clean. Some are also dishwasher safe.

Which Type Of Bra is Best for the Milk Catchers?

Loose fitting bras that allow enough room for a little bulk. Nursing tank tops or shelf bras are great too. Whichever bra you choose, try to make sure it can hold the catchers in place, because they can move around.

We unfortunately didn't know about milk catchers during our nursing journey. But if we were to choose one today, we'd try out this brand.

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