Going into having a new baby you may have beautiful images of you and your baby bonding while breastfeeding. I know I did. I thought it would come naturally and be such a peaceful connecting experience, and it totally can be. However, it can also be really hard and sometimes painful. Especially in the beginning when your soft virgin nipples haven’t had the life sucked out of them yet. I say this after breastfeeding 2 children and now have tough saggy gorilla nips. Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about.
Having the right nipple cream for breastfeeding can make all the difference in the beginning. Finding the best nipple cream for breastfeeding right out the gate can help you avoid any of the really serious nipple cracking and soreness. Hopefully you won’t be thinking about totally ditching breastfeeding all together. It really does have so many benefits for you and your child so I do encourage anyone that wants to breastfeed to make the effort and reach out for support if you need it (lactation consultants can be your life savers or a postpartum doula can help as well)!
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Why Do I Need a Nipple Cream?
Honestly not everyone will need one, but many women could definitely benefit from a nipple cream. In several studies the number of women that complain of nipple pain or discomfort varied but was up to 96% of mothers in the first 6 weeks postpartum. I didn’t use nipple creams regularly, but in the beginning it really did help with the pain and discomfort of trying to figure out latching properly. Breastfeeding is a skill and does not just come naturally for you or your baby. It’s going to take some time. While you are going through that learning phase a nipple cream can really help you stay the course. Having sore or painful nipples rank in the top 3 reasons why mothers stop breastfeeding earlier than they planned.
If you would like an alternative to a nipple cream Peppermint gel and peppermint water have also shown to provide a lot of relief and prevent nipple cracking/pain in many studies. Prophylactic use to prevent the cracking was the most beneficial after every feeding. Peppermint does have a natural numbing effect, which could be problematic for your infant. Although, the studies did not comment on wiping it off prior to feeding I would recommend wiping it off so that your infant doesn’t experience the numbing sensation.
What Do I Need To Look For In A Nipple Cream?
Remember this is going on your nipple so whatever you are putting on your nipple is going into your baby’s mouth, so we need to make sure it is safe and also effective. I’ll get into what ingredients to avoid later. If it says on the bottle you should wipe off the cream prior to nursing, well that’s a pretty good sign it’s not all that safe. I would definitely look into the ingredients a little more closely. Typically plant based, natural ingredients are what you are looking for.
- shea butter:
- calendula extract
- coconut oil
- fragrance free
- olive oil
Ingredients to Avoid?
- alcohol– can be so drying to your skin so anything with alcohol in it can make your issues worse.
- parabens– these are typically used as preservatives for products but they can really do some damage to your health. They are hormone disruptors and can lead to infertility and cancer.
- petroleum and mineral oils – can be toxic to your baby when ingested.
What About Lanolin?
The use of Lanolin is a controversial topic. Lanolin comes from the oil that is extracted from sheep’s wool and helps to keep their wool waterproof. To be used manufacturers soaked it in pesticides to remove any parasites. There are forms of medical grade lanolin which claim to be safe to use without wiping them off because they remove the pesticides from their product. There is often small amounts of pesticides still found but no more than found on the fruits and vegetables that we buy from the grocery store so they are often claimed as safe to use. Infants have a very immature gut until about 6 months so keep that in mind when making your choice. Lanolin can be very effective so it comes down to a personal choice and what you feel comfortable with.
The best products with Lanolin are: Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple Cream or Modela Purelan Lanolin Nipple Cream. Lanolin is typically a little thicker/sticky and hard to get off. It will stain your clothing so wear breast pads after use. Lanolin has a long history of helping sooth sore, cracked, or dry skin so they both have rave reviews on it’s healing and nourishing abilities.
The Best Products to Overcome Nipple Pain
To be honest I will never recommend any products that have ingredients that I consider to be unsafe. I truly believe that our health is far more important than any results a toxic chemical can give us. So that is why you will really only see natural products on this list. Most of these products have about the same ingredients with just slightly different formulations so all of these options could be the best nipple cream for breastfeeding depending on what you are looking for.
Every item that I am recommending have over 80% 5 star reviews on Amazon so they are all great in their own way. They also all have things that people don’t like or have problems with. The truth is no one product is right for everyone. So here are the best nipple cream for breastfeeding based on crowd sourced reviews:
Best Budget Option
only $6.29/oz which is the most affordable when it comes to safe and all natural products!
Not only is it made with all natural ingredients that are safe for your baby, but it’s also at a great price point per ounce. It has many multi use options for chapped lips, dry skin, and diaper areas. No petroleum, preservatives, and lanolin free!
Some people complain of some white balls that form in some of the products. Manufactures report this is due to the changing of temperature and can easily be dissolved by rubbing with warm hands. Many users reported that the product can stain clothing so be sure to use breast pads to save your clothing.
Ingredients: Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil*, Beeswax*, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter*, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract* *Organic
Mommy’z Love Organic
This product is multipurpose, odorless, and has the most amazing return policy!!
This product is made in the USA and certified organic, free of lanolin, petroleum, dyes, cruelty free, gluten free, GMO free, has no synthetic fragrances, and has no staining. They also offer a lifetime return policy no questions asked. It really doesn’t get better than that. You do have to buy it directly from them, but their amazon page also has the same return policy in the description.
It is a more thin oily blend so be aware of this prior to purchase if you prefer a creamier balm.
It really does live up to the promises of no staining to your clothing. It is nice and slick when applying. A little truly goes a long way and it can be used for far more than just nipple care.
Ingredients: COCOS NUCIFERA ( COCONUT ) OIL* HELIANTHUS ANNUUS ( SUNFLOWER ) OIL * CERA ALBA ( BEESWAX ) * OLEA EUROPAEA ( OLIVE ) FRUIT OIL* BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII ( SHEA ) BUTTER* CALENDULA OFFICINALIS FLOWER OIL* ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF* (* CERTIFIED ORGANIC INGREDIENT)
Best for On The Go
Only nipple balm in an easy to apply stick with all natural ingredients!
This 100% all natural nipple balm is in this convenient stick form to minimize contamination since you can apply directly to the area without using your hands, cruelty free, no lanolin, petroleum, parabens, or artificial fragrances.
t is convenient with a lot less mess than your typical jar alternatives. It has a light sent and is safe to use without wiping off before you nurse.
It can rub off on clothing so wear breast pads after use. If your nipples are really sore it may be slightly uncomfortable to apply it directly to your skin from the stick.
Ingredients: Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Polyhydroxyst-Earic Acid, Heptyl Undecylenate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Lauryl Laurate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Wax, Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Tocopherol, Citric Acid.
Other Great Products
- MotherLove ($12.99)– This product really goes a long way and can be used for so many things (chapped lips, dry skin, diaper cream, you name it). Many people saw relief after one use. It melts like butter between you fingers and is very easy to apply. Can cause some staining on your clothing so wear breast pads. Some people reported a slight scent (like olive oil) and allergies to the product. Confirm with the ingredients list to determine if you might be allergic.
- Honest Mama Calm Your Nip Balm ($14.95)– Many women found relief or improvement of symptoms over 1-3 days. It is silky and glides on well. it has no sticky residue like some other nipple creams. Which makes it easy to clean off of pumping equipment if you use it for pumping. It has a very slight natural scent and milk taste that most babies have no issue with. It can stain clothing so wear a nursing pad to protect your bras/clothes.
- Bamboobies Organic Nipple Balm ($10)– It helped reduce the pain with nursing when nipples were in rough shape and could be used for dry skin in other areas, lip balm, and so much more. So many people loved this one! It is more liquid like consistency vs a cream. It can stain your clothing so use nursing pads. There is a slight scent of olive oil to the product. Do not buy from Amazon. Some purchases reported product was sent that was expired, seal broken, and product leaking. It is best to buy directly from the manufacturer for the best quality product.
- Tiny Human Supply Co. Nipple Balm ($12.95)– had a slight smell of honey, worked almost immediately, had no staining of clothing, and can be multi-use. It can be a little grainy and difficult to get out of the container according to some users.
- Milkies Nipple Nurture Balm ($11.95)– a little really goes a long way and can be used for all sorts of issues including dry skin, lip balm, or even diaper cream. It does have a slight smell like olive oil, can stain your clothes so wear nursing pads, is more liquidy than creamy, so it can be on the messier side.
There are so many great options out there and it is really hard to know which one is the right one for you. It’s important to know what factors are important for you and what to stay away from. If you aren’t interested in safe non-toxic products than this list is not for you. In my opinion the best nursing cream for breastfeeding list just can not have ingredients I would not be willing to put in my own body, because your baby will be basically eating it every few hours.
You may not even need a nipple cream but I would have one on hand at least in the beginning of your breastfeeding experience. You really don’t want to wait until your nipples are a disaster and you are about to throw in the towel. If breastfeeding is your preferred method to feed your baby this can save your experience.
Jess is a registered nurse with over 6+ years of critical care experience for patients young and old and is the mother of two small children. After having her own children she felt inspired to provide mothers with real actionable guidance and education to make informed decisions throughout their pregnancy and postpartum experience.