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Sometimes, breastfeeding just hurts.
Yes, it’s an incredible ability that mother nature has bestowed on new moms. But sore and cracked nipples can cause the strongest and most dedicated of mothers to tear up when it’s time for their baby to nurse. Suddenly, even pulling a soft t-shirt over your chest, or – heaven help us – a bra, is enough to cause a wave of dread wash over you.
So, what can you do to alleviate the pain caused by your little shark, I mean, baby, nursing? Luckily, there are many kinds of nipple creams available for you to purchase. These creams are designed to help remoisturize dry and cracked nipples, to minimize discomfort, and allow you to continue breastfeeding your baby.
Best lanolin based nipple creams
Even though some moms prefer not to use lanolin based products, it is worth noting that doctors are still happy to recommend nipple creams that include lanolin as a primary ingredient. Likewise, some mother’s swear by them, saying that the lanolin gives them the much-needed relief they crave. Here are a few lanolin based products we felt stood out.
This nipple cream comes highly recommended by many moms. It’s also the #1 recommended nipple cream and nipple balm of lactation consultants and doctors in the United States. It is 100% natural, hypoallergenic, and preservative free. It is also safe for your infant, so there’s no need to remove it before your baby’s next meal. Designed to soothe and protect cracked skin, some moms even use this product as a lip balm. You can’t say you won’t get your money’s worth with this nipple cream.
If you are concerned about pesticide exposure due to the lanolin, rest assured that the company says they ultra-refine it to make the lanolin as pure as possible.Check Price on Amazon
This product contains all natural ingredients and is 100% safe for you and your baby. It’s hypoallergenic ingredients offer soothing relief and protection for sore nipples. It goes on your breast smoothly, so the application is hassle and mess-free.Check Price on Amazon
Best non-lanolin and organic nipple creams
For nursing mothers who wish to avoid lanolin based products due to safety concerns, a vegan lifestyle, or a wool allergy, you are in luck. There is a growing market for lanolin-free nipple creams and companies are taking notice. Here are some great products that will provide you some much-needed nipple relief.
This Earth Mama Angel Baby product is non-sticky, lanolin-free, and made with non-GMO calendula. Clinically tested and formulated by a nurse and a herbalist, this is a vegan and gluten free nipple cream that is safe for your infant to ingest. Many moms have also found that it works wonderfully as a breast pump lubricant.
I personally love The Earth Mama Natural company, and highly recommend their diaper rash cream too.Check Price on Amazon
Another lanolin free product, this balm is cruelty-free and hypoallergenic. Made in the United States, it is designed to relieve irritation, as well revitalize chapped and sore nipples. It contains nourishing ingredients, such as olive oil, shea butter and aloe which are all USDA organic certified. In fact, the ingredients are food-grade and super-high quality; so much so, you won’t need to wash it off before you breastfeed again. (By the way, we’re not recommending it as baby food!) Although it is a bit more pricey than some other products, the company makes a charitable donation towards education with each purchase.Check Price on Amazon
Made with a unique blend of oils, this organic nipple cream will hydrate while it soothes and relieves any itchy skin associated with breastfeeding. It is lanolin free, petroleum free, and has no parabens. Although it is an organic and herbal product, the manufacturer recommends you wipe your nipples clean if your baby wants to eat right after you have applied the cream.
Choosing the right nipple cream
While buying nipple cream is a relatively straightforward process, here are a few things we advise you to keep in mind as you pick your perfect product.
Lanolin vs Lanolin Free
Many nursing moms are big fans of nipple creams that use lanolin as the primary ingredient. However, it’s worth noting that another name for lanolin is “wool wax” or “wool grease”, and that this ingredient is essentially manufactured from the sweat of sheep. In short, if you or your infant have a wool allergy, stay far away from products that use lanolin.
Another concern that some have about lanolin based products is the risk of pesticide contamination. The long and short of it is, lanolin comes from the wool that has been shaved off of a sheep. This sheared wool is then soaked in pesticides to remove any hidden parasites. If you are leaning towards purchasing a lanolin product, just make sure the company has a safe refining process in place.
That said, lanolin is similar to wool in that it is antifungal and antibacterial which is just what is needed to keep the nasty bugs out of cracked nipples. Plus it is water repellant meaning your nipples will stay dry during feedings which will aid their fast recovery.
Ease of application
You will, of course, want something that is going to go on smoothly and easily. If you find that you have purchased a cream, balm, or spray that doesn’t easily apply to the skin, try a different product. There are all sorts of consistencies and application methods out there, so don’t suffer just because one product was too rough or too messy.
A good smell is great for a lot of things. Freshening up your house, bringing back fond memories, even making your mouth water. When it comes to nipple cream, however, a strong smell will likely turn your baby off your breast so it’s important to stick to non-scented or lightly-scented products. (Source)
Wrapping it up
We are sure that one of these products will bring you relief. Just remember, even though it feels like Wolverine is latching on to your nipples right now, this pain will eventually subside. And we hope that you will come to love the quiet and intimate moments that breastfeeding affords you and your baby.
On a side note, you may find your periods kick in sooner than expected. Be ahead of the game and read our ultimate guide to menstrual cups.