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Celia Shatzman
Contributing Writer

10 Best Nipple Creams for Nursing Moms

Looking for a way to soothe sore nipples and parched skin? Nipple creams to the rescue! Here are our top picks.

Breastfeeding offers a wonderful way to bond with your baby, not to mention also plenty of health perks for the both of you. But as any new mom knows, nursing isn’t as easy as you might think. It takes time for mom and baby to get the hang of working together, and during the learning process, it’s common to experience some discomfort, particularly sore nipples and cracked, dry, sensitive skin. As baby perfects his latch, that pain will go away, but in the meantime, finding the best nipple cream for your needs can help. Simply dabbing some on will encourage healing—and a more comfortable breastfeeding experience.

What to Look for in a Nipple Cream

Not all nipple creams are created equal. And with so many options out there, it can be tough deciding which is the best for you and your baby. There are a few guidelines to keep in mind to make shopping easier:

Consider the ingredients. Natural and organic options are better in a nipple cream, since baby will ingest it while breastfeeding. Stay away from nipple creams that have hard-to-pronounce ingredients or (major red flag!) labels that require wiping off before feeding—these likely contain artificial ingredients and aren’t safe for baby. Other common harmful ingredients on the ingredients list include: petroleum, parabens, mineral oil, and triethanolamine. Alcohol is another no-no, particularly for Mom: It’s extremely drying and can worsen skin quality over time.

Test out the texture. Some balms and salves can be surprisingly tough to rub on, and you don’t want any extra pressure in an area that’s already super sensitive and sore. And who wants to be left a sticky mess? Soft and smooth is the way to go.

Avoid added fragrances. After all, the scents don’t enhance the nursing process, and baby—who’s sensitive to fragrance—may even refuse to feed because of them. Your best bet: a nipple cream that’s simple and unscented.

Skip the numbing agents. While they may seem ideal if you have sore nipples, they’re not good for baby. Those ingredients could numb baby’s mouth enough to affect her sucking abilities and even stop her from feeding.

The Best Nipple Creams You’ll Ever Try

The choices are vast but we’ve combed through them all. Here are our top nipple cream picks. They’re smooth, soothing and, most importantly, safe for baby.

Photo: Courtesy of Motherlove

Motherlove Nipple Cream

This all-natural ointment gets its magic from bees. The hero ingredient—beeswax—draws moisture into the skin and locks it in. Plus, it contains antibacterial properties as well as skin-enhancing vitamin A. Other superstar ingredients in this nipple cream include extra virgin olive oil, shea butter and calendula (a skin-soothing flower) to ease aches and heal cracks.

Buy it: $11 for 1 oz, Target.com

Photo: Courtesy of Palmers

Palmers Cocoa Butter Nursing Cream

Like all the best nipple creams, this one is chock full of soothing ingredients—in this case, Pro Vitamin B5 (a humectant) and pure cocoa butter—to heal cracked, parched skin. Bonus! It naturally smells like coconuts.

Buy it: $6 for 1.1 oz, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy of Medela

Medela Tender Care Lanolin

Lanolin (which is derived from sheep’s wool) is one of the best-known old-school remedies. Apply this thick cream to your breasts before pumping, and your nipples will feel less raw from the strong suction. This nipple cream is also helpful dabbed along the underside edge of your pump’s flanges to prevent chafing.

Buy it: $7 for 2 oz, Target.com

Photo: Courtesy of Earth Mama Angel Baby

Earth Mama Organics Organic Nipple Butter

Most of the ingredients in this nipple cream are organic and all are non-GMO verified, including the olive oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, mango butter and wound-healing calendula extract. The ultimate multitasker, this soothing blend also softens chapped lips, dry cuticles and rough heels and elbows.

Buy it: $13 for 2 oz, BuyBuyBaby.com

Photo: Courtesy of The Honest Company

The Honest Company Organic Nipple Balm

Take comfort in knowing that you can apply this pick and then breastfeed—all of its food-grade ingredients are safe for baby, including beeswax, shea butter, canola, coconut, aloe vera, tamanu seed (an anti-inflammatory) and sunflower seed oils. The thin—yet effective—balm slides on effortlessly and leaves no residue.

Buy it: $13 for 1.8 oz, Target.com

Photo: Courtesy of Lansinoh

Lansinoh HPA Lanolin

Among the most recommended by lactation consultants across the country, this best nipple cream pick is a hypoallergenic ointment made with 100-percent lanolin—that means no preservatives or filler ingredients. However, it has a very thick texture and can sometimes leave greasy spots behind on clothing, so it’s best to use in the evening when you’re sure to stay in.

Buy it: $9 for 1.4 oz, Target.com

Photo: Courtesy of Shea Moisture

Shea Moisture Mommy Soothing Nursing Balm

Cupuaçu, the plant-based alternative to lanolin, is the key ingredient in this nipple cream. Blended with skin-soothing passiflora (passion fruit) oil, it helps to create a protective layer on the skin's surface and keeps you hydrated. Certified organic raw shea butter moisturizes, heals and relieves irritation.

Buy it: $8 for 2 oz, Target.com

Photo: Courtesy of Bamboobies

Bamboobies Boob-ease Organic Nipple Balm

With just five ingredients—virgin olive oil, beeswax, shea butter, marshmallow root and calendula flower—this is one of the best nipple creams to put your mind at ease. It’s 100-percent USDA certified organic, and it’s even safe for moms and babies with eczema or allergies. The Vaseline-like texture is a bit greasy (so don’t wear your good clothes after applying) but it’s worth it, given the super-protective barrier it provides for your skin.

Buy it: $13 for 1 oz, BuyBamboobies.com

Photo: Courtesy of Milkies

Milkies Nipple Nurture Balm

Olive oil takes center stage in this completely organic nipple cream and provides its comforting scent. It also contains marshmallow root (a natural skin softener), calendula and shea butter. The balm melts as soon as you touch it, making it a cinch to apply for instant relief for cracked, sore nipples. The texture also creates a soothing protective layer between you and your breast pump flanges.

Buy it: $15 for 1.5 oz, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy of Mama Mio

Mama Mio Keep Calm Nipple Balm

One of your best nipple cream bets for medical-grade lanolin, this formulation will heal and soothe dry, cracked nipples. Pampering ingredients—including organic coconut and olive oils as well as organic shea butter and calendula—provide additional relief. Use this balm on cuticles and lips, too.

Buy it: $16 for 1 oz, BuyBuyBaby.com

Published December 2017

PHOTO: Amy Hilbrand