Searching for the best nipple cream for breastfeeding? Here are 12 mom-tested options to treat sore nipples and dry skin, fast!
Breastfeeding can be quite the journey for the first time mom. And between finding the proper position, working around your newborn’s sleep schedule, and navigating other postpartum body changes, you’ll have your hands full. On top of that, you’ll likely encounter some initial breastfeeding discomfort.
Most women experience sore nipples, dry nipples, and in extreme cases, even cracks and open wounds. Thankfully, your virgin nipples should toughen up within a few weeks.
In the meantime, it’s important to care for your body with creams and ointments and take steps to avoid lipstick nipple latch.
Below, you’ll find 12 of the best nipple creams to treat tender nipples and dry skin. Each product is listed with their pros and cons and are all mom-tested and mom-approved.
12 Best Nipple Creams for Breastfeeding
The best nipple cream for breastfeeding may be different from mom to mom. But, here are several products that are high quality and offer great results. Whether you’re looking for all-natural and organic ingredients or have sensitive skin, you’ll find a product that’s perfect for you.
But, as a word of caution, be sure to look out for products containing Vitamin E or petroleum jelly. Petroleum jelly isn’t safe for infants to consume and experts don’t know much Vitamin E is safe for infants. Any creams you use that have these ingredients will need to be washed off before nursing.
However, easily recognizable oils, like olive, coconut, and organic shea butter are generally safe. And you can also use fresh aloe vera right from the leaf.
Lanolin (the waxy substance found in sheep’s wool) is the top choice for pediatricians to treat sore nipples. The AAP recommends using medical-grade purified lanolin. Lansinoh Lanolin is considered one of best lanolin nipple creams. Their brand is all natural, paraben free, hypoallergenic, odorless and tasteless and extremely hydrating.
Lansinoh also provides several other breastfeeding products and aids for new moms. If you’re allergic to lanolin, you can try Lansinoh soothies: gel pads, that provide quick relief and cooling for sore or cracked nipples.
- PROS: Lanolin is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. It works great for dry and cracked skin. (You can even use it on lips, cuticles elbows and heels).
- CONS: Lanolin is on the thicker side and can be a little tricky to spread on sore nipples. However, the consistency is great for spreading on the flanges of a breast bump to ease the suction while pumping. In addition, Lanolin may sometimes leaves greasy spots on clothing.
2. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is a great natural remedy for dry or cracked nipples. It has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties and reduces the risk of thrush and other dangerous infections. This single ingredient product has many uses, including food preparation, but is great for the skin. It’s easily found in grocery stores and is safe for babies to consume in small amounts. So, no need to wipe down your nipples before feeding.
- PROS: Easy to apply, single ingredient with antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties and great for healing.
- CONS: Can be messy to apply and will stain clothes. Be sure to wear breast pads to protect your clothing. (This goes for any oil-based or oil-containing products).
This moisture barrier cream is especially good at healing cracked and bleeding nipples. Aquaphor has a unique formula with 41% Petrolatum that allows oxygen to speed up the healing process. Other ingredients are Panthenol and Glycerin. This product moisturizes and acts as a protective armor for healing skin.
- PROS: Very good for extremely dry and cracked, bleeding nipples. Provides fast healing and relief. Easily found in stores.
- CONS: If you see any remaining oil on your nipples before feeding, you will need to wash it off with water. You can also use a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil.
Mama Mio is a medical-grade lanolin product with other healing ingredients like organic coconut oil, olive oils, shea butter, and calendula. This combination provides soothing relief for dry and cracked nipples. Mama Mio can be used for lips and cuticles, too.
- PROS: This product is natural, organic and mostly plant-based. It goes on easy, is very hydrating and safe for baby.
- CONS: Some report a greasy texture and it may stain clothes. It has a higher price when compared to similar products.
5. Prescription for Dr. Newman’s Nipple Ointment
This product is a special formulation created by a leading breastfeeding researcher. It is comprised of 3 ingredients that have nipple-healing and infection-fighting properties. If your doctor recommends this product, they will provide you with a detailed prescription that must be filled at a compounding pharmacy. You can also create the mixture yourself, but a prescription is required in either case.
The formula consists of:
- Bactroban (mupirocin) 2% ointment (not cream): 15 grams – This is an antibiotic used to treat skin infections.
- Betamethasone 0.1% ointment (not cream): 15 grams – Betamethasone treats skin inflammation including: swelling, itching, dryness, redness, allergic reactions, and conditions like eczema.
- Miconazole powder to make a final concentration of 2% miconazole – This ingredient treats yeast and fungal infections.
- PROS: It’s an all purpose nipple ointment that treats infection, dryness and inflammation.
- CONS: Requires a prescription and is more difficult to obtain.
6. Earth Mama
Baby Center lists Earth Mama as the best organic nipple cream. It’s made from beeswax and plant butters like cocoa, mango, and shea, along with calendula. This product is great at moisturizing the sensitive nipple area and can prevent cracking and bleeding. It’s also the first non-GMO Project verified nipple cream.
- PROS: This product is organic and all natural. It’s also naturally antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial.
- CONS: Some report inconsistency in texture; sometimes smooth and other times more grainy. The package doesn’t come with a safety seal.
Earth Mama also carries a beeswax-free option for vegans.
Mother’s Love is an oil-based cream that can also serve as a lip moisturizer and pump lubricant. It uses beeswax which draws moisture into the skin, extra virgin olive oil, calendula, marshmallow root, and shea butter. This product has naturally occurring antibacterial properties as well as skin-loving vitamin A.
You can also use the leftover cream to treat diaper rashes.
- PROS: It has natural ingredients with antibacterial properties. It goes on smooth and silky and contains vitamin A.
- CONS: Some babies don’t like the olive oil smell. It doesn’t come with a safety seal and doesn’t soak into the skin as well as lanolin.
This wound care dressing product is made from 100% medical-grade, sterilized honey. It cleans nipple wounds, lifts dead tissue, and provides a moist healing environment for cracked nipples.
NOTE: Never make your own wound dressing with honey you have in the pantry. Honey can be extremely harmful to babies and children under the age of one. Only medical-grade, sterilized honey is safe to use.
- PROS: Helps significant nipple damage.
- CONS: Must use a warm washcloth to remove any remaining Medihoney before nursing.
9. Tubby Todd Nipple Balm
Tubby Todd nipple balm is a soothing balm made with coconut oil, aloe, and calendula. It helps to heal and protect tender skin and is safe for baby. This product can be used before, during, and after feedings. It’s also great for those with sensitive skin. Other included ingredients are: sunflower oil, beeswax, olive oil, and shea butter.
- PROS: It contains no lanolin, is certified organic and fragrance-free.
- CONS: High price tag.
10. Ancient Owl Cold Cream
This product is great for those with very sensitive skin and dry skin. It contains ingredients like lavender, Roman chamomile, and ylang ylang essential oils, known for their inflammatory properties. It is baby safe and can also be used as a diaper rash cream and to treat psoriasis and eczema.
- PROS: Multi-use, contains essential oils, safe for baby.
- CONS: High price tag.
This calming “Nip Balm” is a top-rated nipple-care product made with USDA organic ingredients like coconut oil and shea butter. Honest Company Nip Balm is hypoallergenic and unscented, safe for before, during, and after nursing, and is great for sensitive, dry, and cracked skin.
- PROS: USDA certified organic, safe for baby and hypoallergenic.
- CONS: Despite being unscented, some have reported a slight chemical odor.
When considering the best nipple cream for breastfeeding, breastmilk probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But, while it’s not technically a cream, breastmilk can provide effective healing for sore and cracked nipples. Breastmilk is soothing to tender or broken skin and contains natural skin softeners and antibodies to fight infections.
Simply express some milk after feedings and let it dry on the nipple for easy, all-natural relief.
- PROS: It’s free, natural and easy to use.
- CONS: There’s really no downside to giving this a try!
RELATED: Can I use Vicks while breastfeeding?
Other Important Breastfeeding Tips
There isn’t one single best nipple cream for breastfeeding just like there isn’t one right way or wrong way to mother. Your breastfeeding journey belongs to you and you can decide when and how to do it. It’s important to remember that if breastfeeding becomes too much of a challenge for you, causes you continued pain or emotional distress, it’s okay to find another feeding option for you and your baby.
Ignore the outdated saying that “breast is best”. “Fed” is best and it’s completely up to you how you do that!
But, if you do want to make breastfeeding a priority, here is some helpful information, resources, and products to make it easier so you can do it longer.
Breastfeeding and Your Period
Be aware that breastfeeding can cause irregular periods and you may not experience a period at all until your baby is completely weaned. Most women see this as a welcome break from aunt flow.
Lochia, or postpartum bleeding is different from bleeding during your period. This initial bleeding after labor should stop at about 6 weeks postpartum. Make sure you steer clear of tampons during this time to avoid infection!
Foods To Avoid While Breastfeeding
Many women have questions about what’s okay to eat while breastfeeding, and whether things like protein shakes are safe to drink. Hint: they are in most cases!
However, you should steer clear of foods high in mercury, foods that your baby may be sensitive to, and peppermint, parsley, and sage. (These herbs can reduce milk production).
An easy way to tell if your baby has food sensitivities is to simply monitor their behavior after feedings. If they seem more fussy, gassy, or have stomach problems consistently after eating certain foods, try to avoid them for the time being. Contrary to popular belief, you can consume alcohol, coffee, and soda in moderation.
Breastfeeding and PPD
Breastfeeding may create positive feelings in some women, or for others, it can contribute to postpartum depression. This varies from woman to woman and can even vary from pregnancy to pregnancy.
Many women report initial feelings of being down or blue the first few weeks after pregnancy. These baby blues typically go away on their own. However, if you continue to struggle with feelings of intense sadness, loneliness, anger, or rage, you may be experiencing postpartum depression and/or anxiety.
If you do experience this, be sure you talk with your doctor so you can get your mind healthy and consider whether breastfeeding is affecting your emotions negatively. You may also want to explore a safe antidepressant for breastfeeding.
Regardless of their nature, don’t be ashamed of your postpartum emotions. PPD is common and something your doctor will be happy to help you understand and control!
Losing Weight While Breastfeeding
Many women lose weight simply through the act of breastfeeding, but if you want to be more intentional, follow the tips below.
- Continue to eat filling and nutritious meals that are at least 1800 calories a day
- Plan regular exercise
- Practice moderation (not restriction)
- Try for higher protein meals
While these tips can help you safely lose weight while breastfeeding, you should always keep an eye on your milk supply and make adjustments as needed!
Helpful Breastfeeding Products
Along with the best nipple cream for breastfeeding, you can also try these helpful breastfeeding aids. New moms love these proven products for pumping, comfort, and healing.
- Disposable nursing pads
- Reusable Nursing Pads
- Silicone breast pumps
- The electric speCtra breast pump
- The electric Elvie breast pump
- Nursing tanks and tops
- Underwire-free nursing bras
- A nursing pillow
- A large water mug
- Cold/hot compress
- Hook around the neck nursing covers
When should I be concerned about my nipples during breastfeeding?
If you’ve found your best nipple cream for breastfeeding and are still experiencing discomfort or pain, open wounds, or sores, it’s time to talk to your doctor and/or a lactation consultant.
Your healthcare provider can make sure you’re not at risk for infection and treat your broken skin. You should also consider working with a lactation consultant to adjust your baby’s latch.
Breastfeeding can be uncomfortable, but should never cause pain. A shallow or improper latch will do just that!
If you notice pain in one single area of your breast, experience discharge other than milk, feel a hard spot on your breast, have clogged ducts for several hours (your milk won’t let down), or you have a fever or flu-like symptoms, talk to your doctor as soon as possible.
And if you notice an allergic reaction, stop the use of your nipple cream right away and consult your doctor.
If you ever have any concerns while breastfeeding or want help selecting the best nipple cream for breastfeeding for your unique body and baby, don’t hesitate to talk to your healthcare provider. They will be more than happy to assist and no question is too silly or too small!
You can breastfeed with certain nipple creams that are vegetable-based and/or free of harmful ingredients for newborns. Check your product’s packaging for instructions.
Some items may require you to wash off your nipple cream before breastfeeding and others are safe. Here are some safe nipple creams that don’t require cleaning:
1. Lansinoh Lanolin Cream
2. Coconut Oil
3. Mamamio Keep Calm
Cracked and severely damaged nipples require extra care and attention. Here are some of the best products to try:
Dr. Newman’s All Purpose Ointment
PROS: It’s an all-purpose nipple ointment that treats infection, dryness, and inflammation.
CONS: Requires a prescription and is more difficult to obtain.
PROS: Helps significant nipple damage.
CONS: Must use a warm washcloth to remove any remaining Medihoney before nursing.
Aquaphor Moisture Barrier Cream
PROS: Very good for extremely dry and cracked, bleeding nipples. Provides fast healing and relief. Easily found in stores.
CONS: If you see any remaining oil on your nipples before feeding, you will need to wash it off with water. You can also use a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil.
Healing sore nipples typically requires a multipronged approach:
1. First, investigate your baby’s latch. Make sure they have a deep, comfortable latch that doesn’t put too much pressure on the nipple. You can work with your OB or lactation consultant to ensure a proper latch.
2. Next, be sure to wear loose clothing and leave the nipple exposed to the air as much as possible.
3. Consider using a nipple shield while nursing and apply nipple cream after each feeding.
4. You can also try breast shell nursing cups for added protection between feeds.
5. Talk to your doctor if you notice signs of infection like redness, rash, or fever or if your wounds don’t begin to heal in a couple of days.
If you liked this post for the best nipple cream for breastfeeding, be sure to check out:
- 14 Breastfeeding Essentials for New Moms
- 40 of the Best Breastfeeding Tips
- 20 Important Things to Know About Breastfeeding
- 3 Must-Have Newborn Items
- Clever Newborn Baby Hacks
- 3 First Time Mom Books Worth a Read
- Amazing Mom Hacks you Need to Know
Have more questions about nipple cream? Anything you think I should add? Let me know in the comments!