Community Curated • Updated 03, 2019
If you’re a mother who started breastfeeding pretty recently, chances are you’ve already encountered the annoying and painful problem of sore nipples. This is a type of harmless skin irritation that a lot of new mothers face, and it usually isn’t something you should be concerned about.
Nursing your little one is not always smooth sailing from start to finish since it takes a while for both parties to adjust to the breastfeeding process and find the most comfortable positions during the actual feeding.
In fact, poor latching is considered to be the number one culprit behind sore nipples, so until the baby perfects its latch it’s very likely you’ll have some more bouts of this irritating skin condition. That’s why it’s always best to consider getting an ointment or a nipple cream that will make the breastfeeding time comfortable and as painless as possible while l soothing those irritated nipples.
Nipples are one of the most sensitive areas on a woman’s body and taking good care of them is very important for your overall well being. Buying the right product can sometimes make all the difference in the world, which is why it’s good to always be informed about the details concerning nipple creams and ointments.
If you want to know more about this, you can check out our guide to choosing the right nipple cream where we cover some basics on what to look for in a nipple cream so you make the best choice This guide is especially convenient for all the new and inexperienced mommies out there.
But in this product guide, you’ll find a selection of the best nipple creams on the market right now, carefully picked out among many products for their organic ingredients and special formulas meant to provide the best nipple care possible.
In the FAQ section, you can also find some of the most frequently asked questions concerning sore nipples and nipple creams, just to make sure you haven’t missed out on anything important you need to know about.
The Medela Tender Care is a solid lanolin-based solution, designed for moms who find nursing causes them discomfort. Made with all-natural ingredients, this nipple balm is completely safe for both mom and baby, and its nutrient-rich formula that includes lanolin, oat beta-glucan, and capric triglycerides helps soothe and hydrate sore and cracked nipples. Just a word of caution: according to the company, it doesn’t need to be removed prior to nursing, but some Amazon reviewers have found this one to have an unpleasant smell and taste, so we recommend that you remove it just to be on the safe side.
Heal your tender nipples during breastfeeding with a certified organic, fragrance-free balm, safe for both mom and baby - and if you’re concerned about it, let’s make it clear - there’s no need to wash it off before nursing. Honest’s Organic Nipple Balm is a top-of-the-line product made with food-grade USDA-certified organic ingredients and it’s also certified organic by A Bee Organic. The product is as gentle and as effective as mothers need it to be: it doesn’t contain lanolin, petroleum, PEGs, or synthetic colors and fragrances - it’s made in the USA and hasn’t been tested on animals. If you’re still worried that it might bother your baby, don’t be - it’s hypoallergenic, unscented, and unflavored. Honest’s Organic Nipple Balm is specifically designed to soothe irritated and sore areolas during breastfeeding or breast pumping, with organic ingredients such as shea butter and natural tamanu oil that go deep, moisturize and aid the skin’s natural function. The natural oils like coconut, jojoba and castor oil work together to moisturize the sensitive skin around the areolas, while ingredients like Aloe Vera leaf juice, calendula flower extract, and beeswax help soothe skin irritation with their anti-inflammatory properties. When combined, these ingredients are immensely effective in calming the tender areola tissue and easing the discomfort associated with breastfeeding and pumping.
Motherlove’s Nipple Cream is one of the most loved among mommies, as shown by the excellent reviews on Amazon. Made with gentle, USDA Certified Organic Ingredients like marshmallow root, calendula flower, extra virgin olive oil, shea butter, and beeswax, it’s one of the most effective lanolin-free nipple creams on the market. Not only does it do an awesome job at softening and healing cracked and irritated skin around the areolas, but it’s also safe for both mommy and baby, as it’s made without lanolin (which might contain pesticides) and Vitamin E, which can’t be safely ingested by babies and newborns. End result? It doesn’t have to be washed off prior to breastfeeding and with frequent use, helps relieve pain from sore nipples.
This award-winning balm is excellent for nipples sore from nursing, but it’s also more of a multi-purpose solution. You can use it as a lipstick primer or lip gloss, especially if you suffer from chapped lips; it softens dry cuticles or heels; it can be perfect for touching up beards and mustaches; it shapes eyebrows and can even fix pigment - and we’re sure you can find even more uses. But all that put aside, it’s actually amazing as a nipple butter, and if we quote Motherlove here, it helps “soothe sore nipples...after painful breastfeeding sessions when your tits are so cracked & dry they resemble desert soil.” It contains no additives, so it’s relatively safe for the baby, although you might want to remove it prior to nursing if you have any fears concerning lanolin. But as far as formulas go, the Dr. Lipps’ Nipple Balm has a fairly simple one - 100% pure, medical-grade lanolin which can be traced to unpainted Australian sheep’s wool and is purified from environmental pollutants, making it as safe as lanolin can be. That also means that there are no chemicals, additives, mineral oils, fragrances, parabens or sulfates that you have to worry about - this awesome nipple cream is hypoallergenic and safe for all skin types, even sensitive ones.
Despite purified lanolin being all safe for mothers, some still don’t like it as part of their nipple products and are willing to go for something more natural and organic. But don’t worry, Bella B’s Nipple Nurture Butter is the plant-based alternative you’ve been looking for. It will soothe and heal your nipples, and all the while your baby stays 100% safe. This nipple butter is made with edible ingredients that have no taste, so don’t worry about added artificial ingredients. This nipple cream’s healing power stems from the amazing mixture of cocoa, mango, avocado, and shea oils, and you won’t struggle to get the product out of the package as you do with lanolin products. While this part is great, the mixture of all-natural ingredients leaves stains, so if you go with this one, make sure you stock up on nipple pads too.
This nipple butter is a favorite for all mothers who want go for organic products, and the proof is in its high rating on Amazon. Made with plant-based ingredients like cocoa mango butter, and olive oil, this all-organic product is a perfect natural remedy for your nipples. It’s widely used in hospitals, and it’s so good that it can also be used on other parts of your body that need healing like lips and heels. The healing properties of calendula and candelilla are well known, and this butter contains plenty of these. It’s safe for your baby and there’s no need to wash it off before breastfeeding, but considering that you need to use larger amounts at a time, it might turn out to be more expensive than the other options on this list.
A simple yet efficient nipple cream, bamboobies have outdone themselves with this award-winning nipple product. Made with just 5 ingredients that include olive oil, beeswax, marshmallow root, shea butter and calendula flower, this nipple cream is perfect for all mommies and babies who also have sensitive skin or suffer from eczema or other skin conditions or allergies. It’s a bit greasy, but it’s worth every penny. It provides protection and moisturization that lasts long after you’re done nursing. Oh, and if you or your baby are sensitive to strong smells or fragrances, don’t worry, this nipple cream is fragrance-free.
Mommy balm is another organic fan-favorite. Made with a variety of organic ingredients which include apricot and sunflower oil, chamomile extract, calendula oil, and cocoa butter, this balm seems like a thick mess, but it’s actually really light. Users rave about how easy and fast is absorbed by the skin, and the results are simply amazing. Significantly lower pain and discomfort, and while there might be some thicker traces of the product on your nipples some time after applying it, your baby won’t tell the difference and will latch on right away. Some users report a strong smell of maple syrup and others say that babies with more sensitive stomachs might have digestive problems, but it’s definitely worth a try considering its healing power.
You’re not too keen on lanolin? Cora’s Organic Nipple Balm does the job perfectly well without. Its gentle baby-safe formula infused with shea butter, chamomile, marshmallow root, and coconut oil ensures quick absorption and deep hydration, leaving your sore nipples and the skin around them healthy, soft and supple, preventing cracking and dryness. The proprietary blend is made from ingredients that are high quality, plant-based, and sustainably sourced, with no trace of parabens, sulfates, dyes, or artificial fragrances, let alone animal cruelty. All-in-all, it’s an excellent product - the only downside we can think of is that it’s not that cost-effective - and customers have complained about the amount of product received when compared to similar brands.
As far as nipple creams go, the Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple Cream is fairly popular, with great reviews and plenty of satisfied and recurring customers - and it’s the #1 recommended nipple cream by lactation consultants and doctors in the US, which is no small thing. The all-natural 100% Highly Pure Anhydrous Lanolin does get the job done, providing relief from the discomforts of breastfeeding and taking care of sore and cracked nipples. Due to the natural texture of lanolin, the tube might require some gentle kneading prior to dispensing, so to some mothers, it might be a bit too difficult to apply.
While cracked, dry, red, and sometimes even bleeding sore nipples shouldn’t be considered a normal effect of breastfeeding, they are a pretty common occurrence in new nursing mothers. Breastfeeding shouldn’t be a painful experience, which is why it’s important to treat sore nipples as fast as possible - you certainly don’t want to make the condition worse!
It’s recommended that you visit a lactation consultant as soon as you can after you notice the occurrence of sore or bleeding nipples. This is important because the lactation consultant can guide you through the best latching techniques so you can prevent further onsets of sore nipples, as well as tell you if there’s a more serious, underlying problem behind the sore and cracked nipples.
There are several ways to treat sore and cracked nipples - some more effective than others. After each feeding you can do the following:
Gently clean the nipples - water is a very simple and great means for cleaning the nipple after breastfeeding. Make sure to gently rinse the nipple to lower the risk of infection. For cleaning, you can also use a gentle non-perfumed and non-antibacterial soap once a day. Avoid liquids that contain alcohol or perfume, because it may further dry out the nipple.
Use a nipple cream or ointment designed especially for nipples and extra-sensitive body areas - our careful selection in the product section can greatly help you with choosing one that will suit you best.
Use medical-grade lanolin that’s made for breastfeeding mothers - lanolin can be another great solution for sore nipples, which you can apply on the nipples after each feeding. It’s a pain-relieving treatment and also helps wounds heal faster without causing them to form a scab. Another good thing is that it doesn’t need to be removed before you nurse (although if you want to be extra careful, you can). For a great medical-based lanolin product check out the Original Nipple Balm by Dr. Lipp in our product list.
Painkillers - if the pain gets really bad you can also try taking some painkillers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen around half an hour before breastfeeding. They can help reduce pain and swelling.
Hydrogel dressings for nipple healing - if all else fails you can always try the hydrogel dressings, which are designed to soothe the pain and heal the spot faster.
Sometimes when the pain from sore nipples gets too bad, it’s recommended that you stop nursing for a day or two, and pump your breastmilk instead, just to give your nipples a little bit of time to heal. Talk with your lactation consultant on how to use a breast pump properly so you don’t cause any further irritation. For the best breast pumps, check our guides on the best manual and electric ones.
Make sure to visit a doctor if the soreness isn’t getting better in the course of several days, especially if you notice inflammation, oozing, fever, pus, and other potential signs of infection. You’ve got to be careful not to allow bacteria to enter the open wound (if there is one) since this might lead to breast infections, like, for example, mastitis.
Nipple cream does help with relieving pain from sore nipples. Nipple cream and ointments are designed to be safe to use on a sensitive area such as the nipple and to help speed up the healing process of dry, cracked, irritated, sore and even bleeding nipples. The emollients used in nipple creams have the task to soften the skin on and around the nipple area, as well as to hydrate it so your skin can regenerate more quickly and become more resilient in the future.
But, making sure your baby develops a proper latching technique is one of the most important things you need to take into consideration if you want to prevent further onset of sore nipples.
If the nipple cream contains organic ingredients, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t breastfeed or pump after you’ve applied it to the sore nipples area. For the best effect, provided that the nipple cream is natural and organic, it’s best to apply it a couple of times a day. Removing it every time before a feeding can be too bothersome at times, and sometimes even cause another onset of skin irritation.
As we said in the previous answer, if the ingredients are organic and the nipple cream formula consists mostly of natural ingredients, then it can be considered safe for babies. When using a nipple cream shortly before you breastfeed, you should also be mindful of the scent the cream contains and check with your baby if he or she likes it or not. Some babies are more sensitive to certain types of scents, and sometimes it can interfere with their desire for feeding.
If your nipple cream contains synthetic ingredients, or you just want to be extra sure that your baby doesn’t ingest anything you don’t want them to, then you can remove the nipple cream before breastfeeding.
But, to avoid the hassle, it’s a good idea to search for natural and organic-based nipple creams, and make sure you’re always on the safe side when it comes to you and your baby.
Many nipple creams and ointments contain lanolin because it’s considered one of the best emollients which are also natural, although there is some controversy in some types of lanolin extraction - for more, check out our article on nipple creams.
Lanolin is considered safe to use during the breastfeeding months, and it’s generally safe to breastfeed after you’ve applied lanolin to your cracked and sore nipples.
When using lanolin or lanolin-based creams, make sure to search for one that has a 100% natural or organic declaration on it.
As we saw above, cracked and sore nipples are a common thing amid new and nursing mothers. Most of the time it’s nothing to worry about and with a proper latching technique and a proper nipple cream, it will go away on its own in no time. Just make sure to always use clean hands when applying the nipple cream, so you can be extra-sure no unwanted bacteria will end up on an already irritated spot.
We understand how wide the market is nowadays, especially when it comes to baby products and mommy products, and how time-consuming and confusing the whole new mommy experience can be. That’s why in our guides we’re always trying to bring the best products currently available to the attention of mothers who want only the best for them and their little ones. We also make sure to cover all the possible options customers may want and search for: good price along with good quality (we think these two should definitely come in pairs), natural ingredients, products that are environmentally friendly and so on.
We hope that with this guide we’ve answered your questions on what a good and safe nipple cream product should contain, or maybe gave you some new insight into it, so next time you know exactly what to search for and purchase. In the meantime, make sure to check out all our other guides for the best baby and mommy products currently on the market!