Cracked, sore, and chaffed are never words you want to use to describe a feeling on your body. And when those feelings are on delicate and sensitive nipples? The agony is much worse.
Unfortunately, those sensations are common while breastfeeding, especially right after giving birth, as moisture sits on the surface of skin and babies slowly learn to latch correctly. Some women never have nipple discomfort. Others experience it only with their first child or for the first couple months each time they start nursing. For others, cracked skin and painful inflammation are synonymous with breastfeeding or pumping and seem like unavoidable side effects of motherhood. Even t-shirts and sheets can be cause for heart-stopping misery. In any of these cases, a good nipple cream can make a world of difference.
How Does Nipple Cream Work?
A good nipple cream works the same way as a good diaper cream. Nobody forgets diaper cream when they have a baby! The poor little one’s buns would be so sad. So why forget a nipple cream that’s just as necessary? First, nipple cream heals any existing problems. This requires anti-inflammatory ingredients and a balm that provides a good barrier without stopping airflow. Wounds need oxygen to heal. Secondly, a good balm prevents further problems. This is accomplished again by that smooth barrier, which keeps moisture and anything abrasive from resting against the skin.
This can be particularly helpful when pumping as well. In order for the breasts to release milk, the nipple needs to be stretched and compressed a certain way. Dry things don’t stretch. And when they do, you yelp. A nipple cream, especially used for prevention or for regular maintenance, keeps your nipples well hydrated and moisturized so that the tissue can stretch properly and painlessly. This is indispensable when you have a piece of plastic or rubber tugging unrelentingly on them.
If you look through your average drugstore in the ‘Baby’ aisle, you’ll see a thousand different nipple creams, almost all of which are lanolin-based. Lanolin is great if you can get a pure version of it, but the problem with most lanolin is that it can be loaded with traces of pesticide! Obviously that is not what you want your baby ingesting. Lanolin is the oil that sheep naturally produce to coat their wool, and that same wool is doused in pesticides and a ton of chemicals in order to clean it before the lanolin is extracted. An organic lanolin cream that hasn’t been soaked in pesticides would be a great product, but so far it doesn’t seem to exist. Please invent it! In the meantime, the best choice is to switch to an all-natural nipple cream. There are plenty of options available thanks to the many dedicated women and men who are diligent about protecting their babies from damaging chemicals. There are so many good options to choose from! Here are three:
Era Organics has a simple, effective solution to comfort aching skin. Their product is loaded with anti-inflammatory ingredients that reduce pain and irritation, while the cream protects and soothes cracked skin.
Era Organics soothing nipple cream is USDA certified organic and made with sunflower oil, cocoa butter, beeswax, apricot oil, vegetable glycerin, arrowroot powder, evening primrose oil, chamomile extract, calendula oil, rosemary extract, and non-GMO Vitamin E. Each of these ingredients is certified food grade, meaning nothing needs to be wiped off in between nursings- the formula is completely safe for your baby. This cream is lanolin, paraben, alcohol, mineral oil, petroleum, and perfume-free.
The cream is a little thicker than some other brands, but this helps it to stay in place. This is a good feature when you want relief for your nipples and not for your whole body. It can be used elsewhere on the skin as well, not just for nipples, but anywhere you have dry or cracked skin- from lips to bellies to heels. It also won’t stain your clothes, which is a big plus.
The Honest Company
The Honest Company is a powerhouse when it comes to natural products, and this nipple balm is no exception. Made with sunflower, coconut, and olive oil, combined with beeswax, shea butter, tamanu oil, calendula oil, and aloe, there is nothing in this jar that is not to like. Everything is certified organic and cruelty-free and there is nothing dangerous or inedible in any part of it.
The Honest Company’s Nipple Balm has a medium texture- it’s not so runny that it makes a mess and it’s not so thick that applying it is painful. The smooth balance is a lifesaver when nipples are really hurting. The various ingredients are great for healing prior sores and wonderful at preventing new ones. The balm is edible and doesn’t need to be wiped off for a baby to nurse. It also doesn’t stain clothes and is never tested on animals.
This brand is also popular among pumping mothers. It will maintain the seal of the pump, without causing your nipples to be stretched into rubber bands.
Boobease is a pretty fun name, but it’s more than just a name. It’s a great product. The 100% USDA certified organic formula is made with extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, shea butter, marshmallow root, and calendula flower.
Boobease organic nipple balm is safe to ingest, and goes on smoothly, making it non-irritating. It isn’t as stain resistant as some other options (although it’s better than lanolin in that regard), but it is meant to be used with Bamboobies Bamboo Nursing Pads for stain-free coverage.
Although it is expensive, this brand has a very high customer satisfaction rating. A little goes a long way and a lot of people truly think that it’s worth it! Use any leftovers when you’re done nursing for scrapes and cuts and watch them heal like a dream!
All three of these options are USDA certified organic, fully edible for your little baby so you don’t have to wipe it off, and easily absorbable for your body. They are easily available for your instant comforting!
Our recommendation is to buy two, either of the same brand or different ones for comparison. Keep one in the diaper bag and one near your favorite breastfeeding chair. That way, there is always a good, natural nipple cream on hand. So don’t worry: relief is on the way. You can put your shirt back on now.