Behold these curvy, intriguing little gleaming objects. They’re called Silverettes. And they are LIFE. CHANGING.
If you are a nursing or soon-to-be nursing mom, read on. Otherwise, be glad you’ll never need Silverettes, and do *not* read on unless you want to witness some of my finest TMI on the internet. (Or if you are researching these as a potential gift for a mom-to-be who you know wants to nurse. They would be awesome for that.)
* UPDATE: Get $5 off your order from silveretteusa.com with coupon code PS5! *
*UPDATE 2: Still wearing them religiously, 9 months strong! So glad to have these while my little one is teething.*
So now, allow me to tell you everything I know about Silverettes. To know them is to love them.
What are these things? Basically, these are dainty silver cups that you wear on your nursing nipples 24/7 to heal whatever ails them, from ordinary soreness to really bad stuff. At four weeks in, my personal ailments were in the “really bad stuff” category: crazy trauma (including deep wounds that didn’t have time to heal between nursing sessions and kept reopening — one caused a nipple shield to fill up instantly with blood), redness and stinging that I feared was the beginnings of thrush, and overall pain that made me cry and shake every time we nursed. I was thinking about quitting nursing by the time I got them — a very big deal for me, as I was hellbent on making it work after never getting it down with my first baby and pumping exclusively for eight months. Yes, you read that right, eight months. (Another story for another time.)
I had tried the following: every nipple cream out there, including Dr. Jack Newman’s prescription APNO, breast milk, being topless constantly (this is why I didn’t want people over — thanks for understanding, friends, and you’re welcome for not squirting you!), sunlight, coconut oil, olive oil, Medi-Honey, cabbage leaves, a rice-filled cold pillow thingie for boobs, nipple shields, and probably a few more. Nothing worked.
So, I was desperate, and not daunted by the healthy price tag (they’re real, 529 quality silver, so not cheap). And thank goodness, because I can safely say that these babies were a crucial part of being able to continue and heal my breastfeeding relationship with my baby, which is still going strong months later.
“Why didn’t you just correct your latch?” you might ask. Well, our issues weren’t as simple as a bad latch. I also had a massive oversupply, among other physical challenges. (I will post the whole gory story here soon so that it may help others.) By four weeks, after seeking advice from several experts, I hooked up with lactation consultant Erica Charpentier, IBCLC. She sent me to a pediatric ENT who ruled out a tongue tie, and referred me to a cranio-sacral therapist, Tami Joy Hindin, for a few sessions that I think really helped. She also taught me about biological nurturing/laid back breastfeeding, and encouraged me to follow my instincts, one of which was to nurse on only one breast for a few weeks. (!!!) Things were starting to click. But even still, my wounds were so bad, they would open up at the merest touch, let alone the suck of a vigorous nurser like my baby. I needed to heal, fast.
It was Erica who told me about Silverettes. She said these are extremely popular in Europe, where women are wearing them from day one in the hospital, and are starting to gain traction here in the States. They work by taking advantage of the healing properties of silver, which is naturally anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory. They also fill up and bathe your nipples in milk in between nursing sessions, which I think probably helps as well, since breast milk also promotes healing. (Check out their website for more information.) Added bonus: baby ingests nothing, unlike with all those creams.
Guess what? They worked. Within hours of wearing them, my nipples had turned from their usual purplish-red (the color of PAIN) to pink. The change in color was so profound that I ran to my husband to show him, and he was amazed. The pain had already begun to subside, and my wounds started looking better. Within three or four days, the wounds had significantly healed. And after a week or so, I was able to bring Lefty back into rotation after three weeks of her wounds being too bad for anything but manual expression.
How do you use them? I wear mine under these Naturally Nature bamboo nursing pads:
You’re supposed to clean your Silverettes twice a day with baking soda. I keep a little bowl of it in the bathroom, and create a little paste to clean each one morning and night. And I wear them 24/7. The edges can feel a little sharp if they hit a bump on your areola, especially at night (I’m a stomach sleeper), so I sometimes sleep without them. But I think they work best if you wear them non-stop.
Pretty much every time I put my pad and Silverette down somewhere to nurse in public, somebody looks at them curiously, and I start sermonizing. Nobody has ever heard of them, it seems. I am on a one-woman mission to change that, because these are so incredible, and saved me from so much pain and heartbreak. I plan to continue wearing them, and to wear them from day one with future babies.
So, please share this post far and wide. And stay tuned for my regular programming, as well as a more detailed account of my breastfeeding story, which I hope will help others. I found a lot of solace reading about other moms’ struggles and triumphs while Googling odd, scary things like “breastfeeding sore red nipples blood coconut oil” late at night in those early days. So it is the least I can do to pay it back.
Happy nursing, mamas!
Where to buy: You can get Silverettes here through their site or on Amazon. (With the PS5 coupon code, they’re slightly less expensive on the Silverettes site.) Silverettes can also turn your cups into keepsake jewelry when you are done with them, if you like! (Cute, eh?) Check out their website for details. Me, I’ll probably donate them to another mom!