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Your baby is so small, sweet, and cuddly — so how is it possible that their mouth can cause so much pain to your breasts?!

For some breastfeeding mothers, it comes as a surprise just how physically intense breastfeeding can be. While you may cherish the special bonding time with your little one, breastfeeding can be painful, especially in those first few weeks.

But before you throw in the towel and decide breastfeeding isn’t for you, why not give nipple cream a chance? While not all nursing parents will need or benefit from using nipple creams, they can provide additional relief for others.

Nipple creams can help to soothe and heal the skin around your nipples. Because breastfeeding, for some, can lead to cracks, sores, itchiness, and even some blood in the early weeks as your body adapts to feeding your infant, any comfort can be much appreciated!

Some expecting mamas even use a nipple cream before their baby is born. If you experience dry or itchy skin on your breasts during pregnancy, nipple creams can help your skin stay moisturized and healthy.

Plus, some creams even pull double duty as lip balms, diaper creams, or skin moisturizers. Keeping a bottle in your purse or diaper bag means you’ll always have a remedy for parched skin on hand.

When choosing a nipple cream, you’ll want to consider the following factors:

  • Ingredients. When comparing ingredient lists, plant-based and organic ingredients are generally considered a safe bet for both you and your baby. You’ll also want to avoid products with numbing ingredients since they can impact your baby’s ability to suck.
  • Texture. Some nipple creams are thicker or have a grainy texture that makes them more difficult to apply and may not be as soothing on your breasts. Oiler nipple creams can also leave oil stains on your clothing and bras.
  • Smell and taste. While most babies won’t avoid your breasts just because of a little nipple cream, some are pickier. To avoid potential problems, many moms choose a nipple cream that has minimal added fragrances and tastes.
  • Allergens. Like any other skin care product, what works for some people might not work for you and your baby. Be sure to read ingredient lists (claims that a product is “hypoallergenic” don’t cut it!) before purchasing. A sore chest plus an allergic reaction is a recipe for discomfort.

We picked these nipple creams based on their ingredients, effectiveness, and of course reviews from parents like you. Here are some nipple creams we found to stand out.

Price guide

  • $ = under $10
  • $$ = $10–$15

Best nipple cream for breastfeeding moms

Motherlove Nipple Cream

  • Price: $$
  • Organic: USDA certified organic
  • Key ingredients: Extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, shea butter, marshmallow root, and calendula flower

This option from Motherlove is a rich cream made with 100 percent USDA certified organic and cruelty-free ingredients. It contains marshmallow root and calendula flower, which get rave reviews from breastfeeding moms for soothing pain and quick healing.

Because this formula is plant-based, you can safely apply before feeds for an added layer of protection. If you’re interested in the business side of things, know that Motherlove is a woman-owned, family-run, Certified B Corporation.

Pros

  • The cream is certified USDA organic and cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny.
  • It is safe to apply before feeds for added protection.
  • The company that produces this cream is women-owned and family-run.

Cons

  • This cream does not include lanolin for those who prefer it.
  • This is not the most budget-friendly cream on our list.

Best herbal nipple cream

Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter

  • Price: $$
  • Organic: USDA certified organic
  • Key ingredients: Calendula

No need to worry about your little one ingesting some of this USDA certified organic herbal nipple cream. Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter gets rave reviews for its smooth texture, appealing smell, and natural ingredients.

The formula doesn’t include petroleum, preservatives, or lanolin, which means the herbs in the recipe take center stage.

But it’s more than just a nipple cream. Fans of this product say it can also be used as a lip balm, diaper cream, and skin moisturizer. It does have a light scent, so keep that in mind if you’re fragrance averse.

Pros

  • The cream is certified USDA organic.
  • In addition to working as a nipple balm, it can be used as a lip balm, diaper cream, and skin moisturizer.
  • All the ingredients are safe to consume, so there is no need to wipe it off before nursing.

Cons

  • This cream does not include lanolin, which some may prefer.
  • It has a light scent that may not appeal to everyone.

Best lanolin nipple cream

Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple Cream

  • Price: $
  • Organic: No, though an organic version by the company does exist
  • Key ingredients: Lanolin

Lactation consultants and hospitals love this 100 percent lanolin ointment as it’s free of filler or preservative ingredients. This cream is considered tasteless, so your little one shouldn’t mind having it on your breasts during feeding sessions.

A lot of nipple creams are lanolin-free these days as some parents are wary of their child having a wool allergy. Lanolin allergies are rare, however, and if you’re concerned you can always wipe it off before feeding.

If you do end up going with this tried and true cream, know that its greasy texture can also leave spots on your clothing, so it’s advised to use a nipple pad after applying.

Pros

  • This is one of the cheaper nipple creams on our list.
  • It is not tested on animals.
  • The ointment does not include any preservatives or fillers.
  • For those who like lanolin-based options, it’s a good choice.

Cons

  • This cream is on the greasier side and can leave stains on clothing.
  • If you’re worried about wool allergies, you’ll want to avoid this cream.

Best nipple cream for sensitive skin

The Honest Company Calm Your Nip Balm

  • Price: $$
  • Organic: Made with organic ingredients
  • Key ingredients: Canola oil, shea butter, aloe, coconut oil, and jojoba seed oil

A smooth and thinner cream, this one gets points for being non-sticky and easy to apply. It’s also made with ingredients like organic shea butter and coconut oil, which are safe for babies to consume.

This cream is hypoallergenic and dermatologist tested. It is also made without petrolatum, lanolin, silicones, PEGs, phthalates, or synthetic fragrances that may irritate sensitive skin.

One problem you might run into is that this cream is not sold in as many different stores as some other nipple cream brands we included. Some parents also say that they didn’t like that this formula includes canola oil.

Pros

  • The cream is hypoallergenic and dermatologist tested.
  • It is smooth and non-sticky feeling.
  • There’s no need to wipe it off — it can be left on during breastfeeding.

Cons

  • This cream is not widely available and could be harder to locate than other creams on the list.
  • It includes canola oil, which some parents may not like.

Best nipple cream for pumping moms

Bamboobies Boob-Ease Organic Pumping Lubricant

  • Price: $
  • Organic: USDA certified organic
  • Key ingredients: Coconut oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, and beeswax

If your breastfeeding journey includes lots of pumping, you may be interested in something that can make the process a little bit more comfortable. This coconut oil-based cream works as a lubricant to ease some of the friction your breasts may experience with pumping.

In addition to pumping, moms say this USDA Certified Organic cream also works well as a moisturizing nipple aid. Just note that since it’s made with coconut oil, it’s best to use a nipple pad to prevent clothing stains.

Pros

  • The lubricant is certified USDA organic and not tested on animals.
  • It does not include lanolin, parabens, petroleum, phthalates, or synthetic fragrances. Though lanolin is soothing, its exclusion makes this product a great option for those with wool allergies.
  • It can be used as a moisturizer for nipples in addition to pump lubricant.

Cons

  • You’ll need to be aware of staining, as coconut oil can leave greasy marks on clothes.
  • This product is designed as a lubricant, which means it’s runnier and greasier than some other options.

Best nipple cream for cracked nipples

Handmade Heroes Free the Nips Nursing Balm

  • Price: $$
  • Organic: No
  • Key ingredients: Calendula extract, mango butter, shea butter, and cocoa butter

Looking for some hydrating relief for cracked nipples? According to moms, this eight-ingredient balm from Handmade Heroes delivers.

On the plus side, this non-sticky blend of natural ingredients like mango butter, shea butter, and cocoa butter help to moisturize painful, cracked nipples. It is also unscented.

However, none of the ingredients are organic. The container size is also rather small, weighing in at just 2 ounces, so it might not last as long as some of the other products that come in larger containers.

Pros

  • The cream is unscented.
  • It is made without beeswax, lanolin, vitamin E, petroleum, mineral oil, gluten, artificial fragrances, synthetic chemicals, parabens, or preservatives.
  • The cream is vegan.

Cons

  • This cream is not made with organic ingredients.
  • The container is small, so you’ll need to buy it more frequently and the cost may add up.

Best organic nipple cream

Bamboobies Boob-Ease Organic Nipple Balm

  • Price: $$
  • Organic: USDA certified organic
  • Key ingredients: Shea butter, extra virgin olive oil, marshmallow root, calendula flower, beeswax

A non-greasy and non-sticky cream, this one is easy to apply and doesn’t have much scent. Like the Motherlove Nipple Cream, this nipple balm uses marshmallow root and calendula to soothe pain and heal your breasts. It’s USDA certified organic and safe for your little one to consume, so you won’t have to worry about wiping it off before nursing.

Most folks are fans of this product, with a handful mentioning that they also use it for rashes, chapped lips, and even hangnails. On the negative side, one reviewer warns that if you have a calendula allergy, this product isn’t for you.

Pros

  • The cream is certified USDA organic and cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny.
  • It is safe to apply before feeds for added protection.
  • It can also be used for rashes, chapped lips, and hangnails.

Cons

  • This cream does not include lanolin for those who prefer it.
  • This has been known to cause some women allergic reactions due to the calendula.

ProductCostOrganicLanolinOther considerations
Motherlove Nipple Cream$$yesno– certified cruelty-free
– doesn’t need to be wiped off for nursing
– made in the USA
Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter$$yesno– can be used as a lip balm, diaper cream, or skin moisturizer
– doesn’t need to be wiped off for nursing
Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple Cream$noyes– no animal testing
– no preservatives or fillers
– you’ll want to avoid if you or your baby are allergic to a wool
The Honest Company Calm Your Nip Balm$$yesno– hypoallergenic and dermatologist tested
– no animal testing
– not sold in as many stores as some other options, so it can be harder to get
Bamboobies Boob-Ease Organic Pumping Lubricant$yesno– no animal testing
– made in the USA
Handmade Heroes Free the Nips Nursing Balm$$no no – no animal testing
– natural ingredients, like sunflower seed oil
Bamboobies Boob-Ease Organic Nipple Balm$$yesno– no animal testing
– uses natural ingredients, like beeswax

Feeling a little overwhelmed? Here are some tips to make using a nipple cream as easy and safe as possible:

  • If you feel burning or stinging or see redness after applying a nipple cream, you should stop using the product that’s causing the irritation. It’s possible you’re having an allergic reaction.
  • Most creams can be applied before or after breastfeeding. They can also be applied continuously throughout the day. When in doubt, check the manufacturer’s directions and talk with your child’s pediatrician.
  • It’s typically recommended to apply nipple cream after breastfeeding sessions so the nutrients will have longer to absorb into your skin before your baby latches. But when pumping, you may want the extra lubrication applied before milk is expressed.
  • Using a nursing pad can keep clothing from getting stained by the nipple cream. You’ll want to make sure that you’re changing the pad frequently, so your nipple isn’t in contact with a wet pad for prolonged periods, as it won’t help your nipple heal.
  • Take full advantage of your nipple cream! Keep a tube in your purse or diaper bag for on-the-go use. Plus, many creams can be used as a skin moisturizer, lip balm, and diaper cream in addition to offering relief for sore and cracked nipples.

What are the benefits of nipple creams?

Nipple creams can help soothe and heal the skin around your nipples. Some nipple creams can also serve as a lip balm, skin moisturizer, or diaper cream. During pregnancy, nipple creams can be used to help moisturize your breasts if the skin is itchy or dry.

Is it safe to use a lanolin nipple cream?

Lanolin nipple creams are considered safe to use when breastfeeding. Lanolin is nontoxic and does not need to be wiped off before breastfeeding.

The most common side effect from using a lanolin nipple cream is an allergic reaction or skin irritation. If this occurs, you should clean off your skin and refrain from using any nipple creams with lanolin. If nipple pain persists, talk with a lactation consultant or your doctor.

Are nipple creams safe to use directly before breastfeeding?

Most nipple creams are safe to use before breastfeeding. However, it is generally encouraged to apply nipple cream after feeds so that the nutrients have a longer time to absorb into the skin before the next time your baby latches.

However, there are exceptions. For example, applying a cream or lube just before pumping can offer lubrication to make the process more comfortable.

When in doubt, make sure to check the directions from the manufacturer and talk with your doctor or a lactation consultant.

What does organic mean for nipple creams?

Nipple creams range from those made without any organic ingredients to those labeled organic. Some nipple creams will advertise that they are made with organic ingredients, but won’t have be labeled as organic. This usually means that some ingredients included in the cream are organic, but the cream as a whole is not entirely organic.

Organic nipple creams do not usually need to be wiped off the breast before breastfeeding either. For those moms and babies with allergies and skin sensitivities, an organic nipple cream with a simple ingredient list may offer some peace of mind.

When it comes to nipple creams, simple may just be best! You may not need any sort of creams for your nipples, to begin with. If you do decide to try nipple creams, make sure that the one you use has ingredients you’re comfortable with and a scent or flavor your baby approves of.

In addition to store-bought nipple cream options, many women choose to use their own expressed breast milk as a nipple cream. Since breast milk is antimicrobial and healing to the skin, if you’d prefer to save some money and a trip to the store, your own breasts have a soothing option of their own!

If sore or cracked nipples persist, you may want to also check in with a lactation consultant who can make sure that your baby is latching well and no other problems exist.