How To Choose The Best Nipple Cream - A Guide For New Mommies

Sore nipples are a common occurrence during the breastfeeding months and shouldn’t be too much of a worry for new mothers. Nursing your young one is a process that doesn’t always go smoothly - it takes some time for the baby and mommy to learn how to properly adjust their positions so in time the baby can perfect its latch. And the most common reason for cracked, dry sore nipples usually is precisely this - a baby’s poor latch. The nipple is a very sensitive spot and can get irritated from the constant change of wet and dry conditions around it. So, until mom and baby master the ways of latching, it’s good not to let the nipples get even further irritated with every next pumping or feeding, which is why we’re going to go through criteria on how to find the best nipple cream for you and make the next breastfeeding experience more comfortable. 

With so many products on the market, we know it’s hard to choose the right product for you and your baby. The primary criteria by which you should choose the best nipple cream would be, of course, safety in the first place, the ingredients that go into it, the way the smell affects the baby (some smells can make the baby uneasy). 

Ingredients Matter

Considering the baby will ingest some of the ointment of the nipple cream while breastfeeding, it is best to use organic products that contain as many natural ingredients as possible. The main ingredient in a nipple cream will be some sort of a softening substance. You should be reserved around creams that have long, difficult to pronounce ingredients, and especially creams that have a disclaimer that sounds something like “remove before feeding”, which would usually mean it is not safe for the baby to ingest. Alcohol should also be avoided as much as possible because it dries the skin and can make the soreness even worse with time. Some other ingredients that are harmful and can cause further irritation would be ones such as parabens, petroleum, triethanolamine, and mineral oil. 

Shea butter, cocoa butter, olive oil, as well as beeswax are also common emollients used in nipple creams which are safe to use.


Nipple creams that are hard to apply sound rather counter-intuitive right? But that is the case with some of them out there that can be surprisingly hard to rub on. When looking for a nipple cream it’s important to take notice of the texture as well and best to search for one that is not sticky and which feels softer and smoother on touch. You wouldn’t want to cause additional pain to your nipple with the wrong cream! 


The best option would be to buy an unscented cream because the baby may be bothered by the smell in some creams, sometimes even refusing to breastfeed because of it. Besides, scented creams don’t help the healing process of the irritated nipples any more than the unscented ones – it’s just a simple marketing trick. 


Creams that contain steroids or the like should be avoided. Steroids are usually the ones that are causing the numbing effect in some nipple creams, and while it can seem some sort of relief after enduring the painful hours of irritated nipples, they don’t necessarily ease the pain as much as they mask it. The numbing effects can also hamper the milk let-down reflex, but they should be avoided most importantly because they can cause feelings of numbness on the baby’s mouth which can also interfere with their suckling and their need for breastfeeding. 

Lanolin-Based Nipple Cream

Creams that contain lanolin are a contested spot on the field of nipple creams. Lanolin is a wax substance that comes from sheep’s wool and is usually considered one of the best natural alternatives for nipple creams – it is organic, unscented, can be easily combined with water. Some studies say that it does have a better soothing effect on sore nipples, but overall they haven’t really been conclusive. 

Certain moms aren’t so sure of the naturalness of the lanolin though, considering it comes from the shaved wool of sheep and sheep’s wool is often covered with pesticides because of parasites. Fearing the lanolin that is further extracted might contain certain amounts or traces of pesticides, some mothers opt for another choice. And although brands that use lanolin in their products often say that the cream has passed through further processes of refinement, there still might be some pesticide residue inside of it. 

Mothers that are vegans or just wary of using products derived from animals might also be skeptical about using lanoline-based creams. While killing sheep is not necessary in the process of extracting lanoline, it is sometimes extracted from the wool of dead sheep. 

Another set of issues considering the lanoline might be the wool allergies, which some babies may be prone to or can develop. That is why it is very important if you’re using a lanolin-based cream to check first with your doctor. 

Things to Consider 

Before applying the nipple cream it’s best to wash your hands so you don’t add extra bacteria to the irritated area, as well as to keep the opening of the cream as uncontaminated as possible. 
We know that it can be rather difficult to choose from so many brands out there, but we hope that you’ll find this little guide handy in leading you through the nipple cream isles. And if you want to save a bit more time, you can check out our guide on the best nipple creams that we’ve created just for you!