So you’ve decided you want to breastfeed. Yay! Breastfeeding can be such an amazing bonding time for mother and baby.
You get special alone time where it is just you and baby. You get to create food that is perfectly tailored to your little baby. If they are sick with a cold or flu, your breastmilk will change to help support your baby’s immune system to fight the illness. You can also use breastmilk to help heal skin irritations faster, to help with ear infections, for eczema and so many other things. It is really amazing what this stuff can do!
But, with all that ‘amazingness’ comes a lot of not so fun aspects as well. Like sore and cracked nipples, yup I said it. Not only sore but cracked… cracked and possibly bleeding nipples. Ouch!
With that being said, you are going to want to set yourself up for the most painless breastfeeding experience possible. Getting products like nipple creams is the first step to do that. There are so many nipple creams on the market and here is my list of the best nipple creams for breastfeeding.
BUT, before we get into specific products, there are some considerations before choosing the best cream for you and baby.
First And Foremost, Safety
Get a cream that the baby can ingest safely.
I cannot overstate the importance of this point, so I am going to say it again; you always want to get a cream that the baby can ingest safely.
You’re essentially covering a cup with a substance before you drink out of it. It is a safe assumption that the baby will ingest some of the residues like you would ingest some of the substance on the cup.
But, not to worry, there are hundreds of safe-for-baby nipple creams on the market. The trick is finding the perfect fit for you.
As with anything baby related, there are so many options to choose from! Finding the perfect fit is going to be a combination of your personal taste, financial means, and lifestyle.
You also want to pay attention to what the cream is made out of. If it is made from a lot of synthetic ingredients that is not a good sign. You want to try and get an organic cream when you can and one made with easy to read ingredients (water, lanolin, etc.).
Texture And Scent
You will be covering baby’s food source with this stuff so you don’t want something that is going to make them not want to eat.
Your baby is new to this whole thing called ‘life.’ Doing anything that may jeopardize their ability to eat is not recommended.
The perfect nipple cream will be thick enough to stay on for a while but silky enough to feel natural. You also don’t want something scented with perfumes or dyed with color. Your baby knows your scent and can differentiate the taste between mom’s breastmilk and anything else (even other breastmilk) so you don’t want to mask mom’s scent or taste.
Some nipple creams can feel grainy or sandy if not given enough time to warm up with your body heat. Most creams have a very smooth texture but some are a bit sandy. The texture is very important to consider when choosing a cream.
Why Use Nipple Cream?
Obviously, babies are already extremely expensive, right? So, why add an additional cost when you could just live through the pain?
Well, once you leave the hospital the anesthesiologist doesn’t make house calls. When you have a newborn baby, you are going to want to do whatever you can to make the journey easier and dare I say, a little less painful.
Having a newborn will change your life in ways you didn’t even know were possible. The nipple cream won’t be a ‘forever commitment’, I promise.
The nipple cream will only be needed for the first few weeks until your nipples “toughen up” and get used to being abused by a little monster…I mean a wonderful bundle of joy that will pull, bite, and treat your nipples like they owe baby money.
Breastfeeding Is Hard Work
I’m sure you heard this little rumor that has been going around that breastfeeding is the most natural, easy thing in the world.
Let me clear that up right now. Breastfeeding is hard work and a lot of moms struggle with it.
It’s exhausting, you’ll feel like you could eat your body weight in snacks and still be hungry.
Sometimes you struggle to get the baby to latch and don’t understand why it seems like you’re the only one not getting it. THAT’S NORMAL.
I’ll say it again because at 3 am when you are delirious from sleep deprivation and are frustrated because you just want your baby to eat…IT’S NORMAL.
So don’t feel bad when you don’t just instantly love breastfeeding because tons of moms feel the same way.
You and baby will learn to do it together and form an amazing bond because of it. That doesn’t mean that you should just put your nose to the grindstone and power through the pain.
Make things easier on yourself and some self-care can go a long way. Start with nipple cream.
The Best Nipple Creams
I’ve scoured the internet in search of the best nipple creams for breastfeeding and here is my list of the top five options.
Pros- The Medela Lanolin cream comes from sheep’s wools and has an amazingly smooth texture that feels like a coat of silk when it is on. The price is very reasonable as well. You can also see if your hospital’s lactation consultants have any samples you can try. That is what I did and ended up loving it! Don’t leave the hospital without samples.
Cons- It leaves an oily residue so you always want to wear a nursing bra with a pad while using it to protect your clothes against any unwanted transfer. It has a slight scent from the lanolin and can be a turn off for some moms and babies.
Pros- Thick and lasts for a while with each application. There is a slight cocoa butter scent that is more pleasing than other creams. A healing ingredient in this cream is vitamin B5 and it helps heal cracked nipples (Imagine the winter and your hands get dry and cracked, but on your nipples).
Cons- Thick and not as silky as other creams. The consistency required a decent amount of pressure to squeeze it out of the tube. This was the first nipple cream I tried and while I loved the effects of the cream, the thickness was a turn off for me.
Pros- Certified organic with an ingredient list that reads like something I would definitely eat myself (like marshmallow root and calendula flower). It has a light consistency so it isn’t too sticky making it more comfortable in clothing. It also received a ‘Best of Baby Award’ in 2018.
Cons- It is a little pricier than the other creams but that is the only con I have found. Side note: this cream is not vegan-friendly because it is made with beeswax.
Pros- Certified organic, hypoallergenic and vegetarian. This cream is made without lanolin (for those that may have allergies to sheep’s wool, this is a great option).
Cons- Texture is a little bit grainy and slightly runny so make sure the jar is secure and stored upright to avoid any spilling.
Pros- Made with all non-GMO ingredients, gluten-free, all natural and is a completely vegan option! This nipple butter is also lanolin-free for those breastfeeding mothers that are allergic to wool. This butter is hospital grade and has an extremely long shelf life of 36 months.
Cons- There are chunky/grainy pieces in the cream that can be uncomfortable until your body heat melts them. The reviews state that it doesn’t need to be washed off before a feeding, but works best when applied after a feeding.
Breastfeeding Is A Marathon
Breastfeeding can be a long and painful journey. But, it can also be a beautiful bonding experience.
My first six weeks breastfeeding were full of ups and downs. If I’m being honest it was mostly downs.
My son had an undiagnosed tongue tie which led to extremely painful latching problems and then caused extremely painful breastfeeding attempts. My exclusive breastfeeding journey ended up turning into an exclusive pumping journey. That part of my journey lasted for several months which was a lot of work.
I went to countless appointments with lactation consultants during my time in the hospital, while my son was in the NICU and for the weeks following. I would highly recommend visiting with a lactation consultant if you have the opportunity. They can help you pick the perfect nipple cream for you and your little one. My breastfeeding journey would have ended much earlier if I didn’t use nipple cream.
Always remember that breastfeeding is a marathon, not a sprint. If you try to power through everything as fast as you can, the journey will be over quickly before you want it to be.
If you take every feeding as a training opportunity for the rest of the marathon you can work towards a breastfeeding journey that you have more control over.
Step one in your successful journey can start with a great nipple cream and self-care. You got this momma!