7 Best Nipple Creams For Breastfeeding + Pumping in 2021

Finding the best nipple cream for breastfeeding can feel overwhelming. Afterall, you just want relief from painful nursing sessions, and cracked or sore nipples! Then you're stuck deciding between organic nipple creams vs lanolin and figuring out what is safest for your baby! We get it! Below you'll discover the best nipple creams for nursing, tips for how to choose, and a breakdown for understanding the common ingredients on nipple balm labels!

Pink Stork Nipple Cream ★★★★★

Pink Stork is a great brand for pregnancy and postpartum essentials like prenatal probiotics. Pink's nipple cream is effective for soothing breastfeeding mama's sore, cracked nipples or with dry skin who are looking to moisturize and soothe those nursing pains.

It's gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, and GMO free. And made with 100% organic ingredients like shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, jojoba seed oil, and sweet almond oil which hydrates and protects the skin, while providing anti-inflammatory healing properties to prevent chafing.

We gave it five stars as it's our top choice for coconut oil based nipple cream thanks to its simple organic ingredients free of allergens, and it's relief for painful breastfeeding sessions.

Pros
  • 100% organic ingredients
  • Lanolin-free
  • Ideal for cracked nipples
  • Helps to prevent chafing and promotes blood flow
  • Safe for baby 
  • Vegan-friendly
Cons
  • Grittier cream texture

Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter ★★★★

Earth Mama is one of my favorite brands for pregnancy and postpartum skin care! Their belly oil is one of my pregnancy must haves! They also make two different organic nipple butters: one vegan option and one that contains beeswax.

Both versions offer clean, organic ingredients like olive oil, cocoa seed butter, shea butter, mango seed butter, and calendula extract. It's a soothing, non-sticky formula that glides on seamlessly. Just like Motherlove's nipple cream, you can use it on flanges if pumping for a more comfortable sessions or you can use it on your lips, cheeks, cuticles, or anywhere you're experiencing dry skin.

NOTE: While you do not need to remove it before breastfeeding, it's noteworthy that very rarely calendula flower may be irritating for some people, so spot test a little on your foot and your baby's foot before fully applying which is the only reason we gave this 4★ instead of 5★.

Pros
  • Organic and non-GMO Project Verified
  • Dermatologist test for irritation
  • Safe for baby
  • Can be used on entire body
  • Vegan-friendly version is available without beeswax
  • Lanolin free
  • Largest container (best bang for your buck in organic nipple creams!)
Cons
  • Contains calendula which may irritate some people

Motherlove Nipple Cream ★★★★

Motherlove Nipple Cream is one of the most popular USDA Certified Organic nipple creams on the market. It's free or petroleum, lanolin, parabens, phthaltes, and synthetic fillers. It's even won awards from The Bump and BabyCenter.

It's a super rich, moisturizing unscented herbal salve that can soothe sore or cracked nipples. Pumping mother's can also use it around the inner part of the flange as a lubricant. It's ingredients (extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, shea butter, marshmallow root, and calendula flower) are considered so safe that you can even use this nipple cream on chapped lips or dry skin!

While you do not need to remove it before breastfeeding, it's noteworthy that very rarely calendula flower may be irritating for some people, so spot test a little on your foot and your baby's foot before fully applying.

Pros
  • Can be used on entire bodyNon-GMO and cruelty-free
  • Lanolin-free
  • Organic
  • Safe for baby
Cons
  • Balm texture might be a little greasy for some 
  • Contains calendula which may be irritating for some people 
  • Not vegan-friendly

Bamboobies Nipple Cream, Lanolin-Free Organic Nursing Balm ★ ★★★

Bamboobies lanolin free nipple cream is USDA certified organic and a great solution for cracked nipples. We love this option for moms and babies who do not respond well to coconut oil.

Instead Bamboobies uses extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, shea butter, marshmallow root, and calendula flower. While you do not need to wipe this nipple balm off prior to breastfeeding, we do suggest testing a little on the sole of your baby's foot to ensure no reaction to the calendula or other ingredients.

NOTE: This is the same formula as Motherlove – so go with whichever is cheaper!

Pros
  • USDA organic 
  • Safe for baby
  • Can be used on other parts of the body
Cons 
  • Contains calendula
  • Not vegan-friendly

Era Organics Store Soothing Nipple Cream for Breastfeeding ★★★

Eraorganics mommy balm is often a top recommended organic nipple cream for breastfeeding moms. thanks to it's USDA certified organic ingredients, it helps chapped, irritated, dry, sensitive skin heal. You can use this all over your body where skin is irritated or inflammed.

However, we are giving it 3 stars. The reviews compared to others on this list are a bit more mixed and their ingredient list is a bit more complicated…

Their ingredient list is much longer, which poses a risk for more irritation for your little one. For instance, we do not like that they don't disclose how the sunflower oil is extracted. Unfortunately, not all sunflower oils are created equal, and depending on the extraction process (learn more here) it can cause inflammation and increase the likelihood of sunburns actually!

Ingredients: Organic sunflower oil, Organic cocoa butter, Organic beeswax, Organic apricot oil, Organic vegetable glycerin, Organic arrowroot powder, Organic evening primrose oil, Organic chamomile extract, Organic calendula oil, Organic rosemary extract, Non-GMO mixed tocopherols

Pros
  • Can be used on all parts of the body
  • Safe for baby
  • USDA organic
Cons
  • Not vegan-friendly
  • Chunky texture 
  • Contains calendula

Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple Cream for Breastfeeding ★★

Lasinoh lanolin cream is what they gave me in the hospital after my first and is my top pick for lanolin nipple creams.

It's 100% natural, pure lanolin sourced from New Zealand. The rich sticky texture helps protect sore nipples from further chafing while also moisturizing. Many moms love it as they've experienced relief from thrush and or a nipple rash.

It's hypoallergenic, free of petroleum, parabens, preservatives, additives, fragrance and taste.

While they say you do not need to remove it before breastfeeding your baby, we still would. Lanolin can be an allergen to some little ones, so at the very least spot test some on your baby's foot before introducing via the breast.

It can also be used on any part of the skin: dry lips, diaper rash, cuticles, scars, stretch marks or chafed areas.

The reason for 2 stars: You can learn more about the concerns with lanolin below; and since we don't know about the practices and standards in place for process we dropped it some stars. We do like that it's sourced from New Zealand, where wool practices are generally cleaner and greener. In addition, given that this is pure lanolin it's pricey compared to simply purchasing a tub of lanolin like this.

Pros
  • Free from parabens, petroleum, additives, and preservatives
  • Fragrance-free
  • Can also be a body moisturizer
  • Sourced from New Zealand
Cons
  • Contains lanolin
  • Not vegan-friendly

Medela Purelan Lanolin Nipple Cream  ★

Lanolin is typically what you'll get at the hospital and Medela's Purelan lanolin cream is medical grade 100% natural lanolin free of additives, preservatives, and fragrances. It's been dermatologically tested and is considered hypoallergenic and safe for sensitive skin.

Lanolin is certainly fast and effective for relieving nursing moms cracked or sore nipples by creating a protective layer on the skin and rehydrating from within. While they say there is no need to remove it before breastfeeding, the general recommendation is to wipe away any cream with lanolin before nursing.

The texture is sticky and thick, which also makes it a great option for pumping moms as a lubricant between the breast and flange. Other moms have also said it's helped with chapped lips and painful cuticles!

NOTE: Medela has another nipple cream called “tender care” which is not pure lanolin, instead it's ingredients include:  Lanolin, Caprylic Capric Triglycerides, Oat Beta, Glucan. Some moms with gluten allergy report sensitivity to it and we do not recommend it.

The reason for 1 star: You can learn more about the concerns with lanolin below; and since we don't know about the practices and standards in place for process we dropped it some stars. In addition, given that this is pure lanolin it's pricey compared to simply purchasing a tub of lanolin like this.

Pros
  • Single-ingredient 
  • Fragrance-free
  • Can also be used all over body
Cons
  • Contains lanolin
  • Not vegan-friendly
  • Pricey: Paying for brand name/baby marketing

The Honest Company Organic Nipple Cream (SKIP!)

The Honest Company is generally known for clean ingredients and good products… however over the years they've compromised some of those values for competitive pricing in our opinion. One area we can see this is in their organic nipple balm whose first ingredient is canola oil, which is a very inflammatory oil.

I also don't love that their packaging, as of February 2021, is now plastic rather than the glass jar they originally offered. While the rest of the ingredients overall aren't bad, for the price, we prefer other options on this list and wanted to point it out as many mom's inherently consider Honest safe due to the brand's reputation.

Pros
  • No need to wipe off before breastfeeding
  • Unscented
Cons
  • Not vegan-friendly
  • Expensive
  • Not fully organic

How To Choose The Best Nipple Cream For Pumping or Breastfeeding: 

It’s inevitable that if you’re breastfeeding or pumping, at some point your poor nipples are going to get sore. And in most cases, you’ll experience some cracking or bleeding too — especially as you work to get the hang of ensuring your baby has a good latch. 

A good nipple cream can help soothe and heal irritated skin, and help with rashes as your nipples harden and adjust.

You want to make sure your nipple cream won’t pose a risk to your baby either. Just like anything else in life, picking the right nipple cream has as much to do with a few critical factors that you need to consider and of course, personal preference. 

Ingredients

You always want to pay attention to the ingredients as you have to remember that what you put on your body can potentially go into your child’s mouth. So consider both the active and inactive ingredients that might be present in a nipple cream. 

Ideally, look for creams or balms that feature simple, natural ingredients as these will usually be safer for both you and your baby — especially if you apply a cream right before nursing. In many cases, you can also find organic nipple creams which can give you peace of mind. 

Popular natural ingredient options include shea butter, coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil. Some organic nipple balms contain healing herbs as well. 

Ease of Use

The last thing you want is a product that you need to wipe off before you can breastfeed your baby. While these types of products tend to be thicker and do provide relief, it adds to your mental load with one more to-do on your list. 

Price

When selecting the best nipple cream for your budget, make sure to check the ounces you'll be getting; not just basing it off the cheapest number!

With that said, a little nipple cream tends to go a longggg way. Though pumping mothers will go through it quicker in our experience as you may want to put some beyond your nipple and anywhere the flange is touching for added comfort while pumping.

What Should You Avoid In Choosing A Nipple Cream For Nursing:

Depending on your preferences, some ingredients might automatically disqualify a brand from consideration. In particular, alcohol, perfumes, numbing agents, and lanolin are ingredients that many breastfeeding moms prefer to avoid. 

Alcohol

Alcohol is a drying agent which might make irritated skin feel worse in some cases. 

Perfumes/ Fragrances

Perfume — also written as parfum or fragrance in an ingredient list — is simply a nice way of saying that the scent was chemically created. Often the full composition breakdown isn’t listed, meaning you have no idea what’s in your nipple cream. 

And more importantly, perfumes can cause allergic reactions for you or your baby. Plus, sometimes the scents are just too cloying, making it a product that’s unenjoyable to use. 

Lanolin

Lanolin is an animal-derived product that comes from sheep’s wool. For vegans, this is an automatic problem. But the other concern comes with how lanolin is processed. Often manufacturers use pesticides to treat the wool. And worse still, sometimes the wool isn’t properly cleaned, meaning that fecal matter can make its way into the final product. 

Numbing Agents

And nursing moms should avoid nipple creams that contain numbing agents. While the initial cooling effect might be great for you, there’s always a risk that you can accidentally numb your baby’s mouth if you apply the cream too soon before nursing. Most nipple numbing creams must be purchased through a doctor for this reason.

FAQS About Nipple Creams For Breastfeeding

Can I use nipple cream during pregnancy for dry/itchy boobs? 

Absolutely! Thankfully, nipple cream is designed to soothe and moisturize dry, itchy, or irritated skin. So, as long as you pick a cream with ingredients that you’re not allergic to, go ahead and use it while you’re pregnant. 

Do I need nipple cream for breastfeeding?

No, you do not need nipple cream for breastfeeding. Many women during pregnancy choose to purchase nipple cream to have on hand when the baby comes.

If you end up not needing it, or using it all, you'll be happy to know that nipple cream works well on most other body parts from chapped lips to cuticles, to anywhere you're experiencing chafing. It's what I used after chafing from postpartum pads actually!

But more than likely, at least once you’re going to experience nipple pain — especially if you and your baby struggle to get the hang of a proper latch or suction in the beginning. 

While you can use natural oils that you might have around the house such as olive oil and coconut oil, the added benefit of a dedicated nipple cream is that they can also aid in soothing skin irritation, not just creating a barrier for dry skin. This is especially true if your nipples are cracked or bleeding. 

When should I start using nipple cream when breastfeeding?

You should start using nipple cream as soon as you begin to experience irritation or dryness. It can be applied before or after breastfeeding. However, depending on the product you select, you’ll want to check whether or not it’s safe for your baby to ingest. For creams that need to be wiped off before nursing, you’ll want to wait until after feeding your baby before you apply it to your nipples. 

What does nipple cream help with? 

Nipple cream can help soothe dry, sore, cracked or bleeding nipples. Some nipple creams can help with a rash or thrush.

Ultimately, it can be a lifesaver for those early breastfeeding days when your nipples are getting used to your baby’s latch. Along with being incredibly moisturizing, many nipple creams include soothing ingredients that can aid in healing cracked or irritated skin. 

What else can I do other than nipple cream to help with pain?

Speak with a lactation consultant is ultimately the best solution for painful breastfeeding.

While some irritation during the early days of breastfeeding is normal, usually the underlying cause of nipple pain is a poor latch. Sometimes a poor latch could be caused by incorrect positioning between your breast and how you’re holding your baby. 

And sometimes it could be that your baby has an underlying concern like a tongue tie. If you’ve tried to correct latch issues on your own with no success, consider speaking with a lactation consultant to give you more guidance. 

Additionally, after feedings, let your nipples air dry. Be sure to change out breast pads regularly so that your nipples aren’t constantly covered in moisture — which can increase the chances of irritation. We like this nursing bra for nighttime; it's soothing for cracked nipples. Also, invest in gel cooling pads to use after you finish nursing to help reduce soreness. 

Is nipple cream safe when breastfeeding? 

Yes, most nipple creams are safe for breastfeeding. However, you should always check the ingredient label, what the manufacturer recommends (wipe off before nursing or not), and spot test on both yourself and baby before using regularly. This is especially important with organic nipple creams, which many assume are automatically safe, but may cause irritation from plant based herbs.

Remember to avoid nipple creams with numbing agents as the last thing you want to do is numb your baby’s mouth. It's wise to connect with your health care provider or a lactation consultant if you're unsure.

What can I use instead of nipple cream? 

Whether you’re trying to save money or just want a product where you know every ingredient, you can use natural oils such as olive oil and coconut oil. Both are safe for babies as well and can work by themselves — making them quick options for time-crunched moms. 

Additionally, you can opt for cocoa, mango, or shea butter. And if you want to make a DIY nipple cream, any of the aforementioned or beeswax are a great base. 

Can Vaseline be a nipple cream?

Depending on your feelings about petroleum jelly, yes it can be. Vaseline is a skin protectant and can create a barrier. Plus, it’s incredibly cheap — which makes it a smart choice if you’re working with a tight budget. 

While the medical community still advocates for it as a way to soothe sore nipples, holistic and natural-leaning communities tend to shun Vaseline in favor of organic or all-natural nipple cream alternatives. If you choose to use Vaseline as a nipple cream, just remember you need to wipe it off before feeding your baby.  

Can coconut oil be a nipple cream?

Yes, coconut oil can also work as a nipple cream. And it’s a safe nipple cream for your baby to ingest. Along with being relatively inexpensive, it’s also a solution that works well by itself. 

Simply emulsify the oil between your hands if it’s not already in liquid form (coconut oil solidifies at room temperature) and rub it on your nipples. Do note though, that coconut oil can leave stains so you’ll want to wait a bit before putting on a nursing bra or top. 

Final Thoughts:

A lot of women don’t talk about difficulties with breastfeeding, but it happens! Being prepared with a good nipple cream that’s not only effective but safe for your baby is going to be a lifesaver as you two get into the swing of breastfeeding. 

Pink Stork Nipple Cream is an excellent organic nipple cream and we consider it one of the safest due to it's simple ingredients and lack of potentially irritating herbs and flower extracts. If you prefer a vegan nipple cream, then Earth Mama's is our go-to pick! And if you're comfortable with lanolin, Lasinoh's is our top choice due to New Zealand's ethical practices. All are budget friendly, can be used all over your body, and generally considered safe for most babies.

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