8 Best (and Mom-Tested!) Nipple Creams for Breastfeeding or Pumping
Breastfeeding offers mothers a wonderful way to bond with baby, not to mention plenty of health perks for the both of you. But as any new mom knows, the start of the process can be rough, with side effects like sore nipples, or dry, cracked and sensitive skin. The good news? As baby perfects their latch, that pain will go away. In the meantime, using a nipple cream for breastfeeding can help. Simply dabbing some on after feeding or pumping will encourage healing and can make for an all-around more comfortable breastfeeding experience.
There are a lot of options out there when it comes to choosing a nipple cream, and it can be difficult to sort through them all—or even to know what to look for. Keep reading for our guide to choosing the best nipple cream for breastfeeding. To make your search even easier, we’ve enlisted the help of nursing and pumping moms to thoroughly test and identify the best nipple creams on the market right now, including this year’s Best of The Bump winner.
Not all nipple creams are created equal. To help you find the best breastfeeding creams, we spoke to a trio of lactation experts: Leigh Anne O’Connor, IBCLC, a lactation consultant in New York City and La Leche League leader; Jennie Kishbaugh, a certified breastfeeding counselor and prenatal educator with Corewell Health and Brandi Jordan, IBCLC, a lactation consultant and doula. Their advice helped us put together the following guidelines:
- Consider natural ingredients. Natural and organic options are always good, since baby may ingest traces of the product while breastfeeding. “Look for a product that has ingredients you can pronounce and [make sure] that the list of ingredients is short,” advises O’Connor. And Kishbaugh says to stay away from creams that need to be wiped off before feeding—these likely contain artificial ingredients that aren’t safe for baby.
- Avoid alcohol-based creams. Even if wiped away thoroughly before feeding, alcohol-based creams are another no-no; they’re extremely drying and can worsen skin quality over time. “While alcohol has properties to rid the skin of bacteria, it also removes the good bacteria, which is problematic,” says Jordan. Other harmful ingredients to look out for include petroleum, parabens, mineral oil and triethanolamine.
- Test out the texture. Some balms and salves can be surprisingly tough to rub on, and you don’t want to use 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. The scents don’t enhance the nursing process, and may even make it more difficult. Babies are sensitive to fragrance, especially the smell of their mother’s breast milk—they may even refuse to feed if there’s an interfering scent. 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, numbing creams are not suitable for nursing moms. Ingredients like lidocaine could numb baby’s mouth enough to affect their sucking abilities and even stop them from feeding.
- Be mindful of allergies. “Another safety issue to be mindful of is the possibility for allergic reaction with any nipple cream you choose to use,” Kishbaugh says. If you have a known allergy, double check the ingredients list to make sure it’s safe for you to use. Even if you don’t know of an allergy, keep an eye out for signs of a bad reaction to nipple cream, like redness, soreness and increased pain.
Lanolin, a waxy substance secreted from sheep, is a common ingredient in nipple creams, and it’s understandable to have questions about it if you happen to spot it during your search. “Lanolin is considered safe to apply when babies are nursing,” says Kathleen Mahan, RN, a lactation specialist at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, Illinois. Kishbaugh adds that medical-grade lanolin is what the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends for use. “It can also be reassuring for moms to know it has been the go-to product for many years.”
Just keep in mind that lanolin is a byproduct of wool. So, if you or baby have any allergies or sensitivity to wool, it should be avoided. “Some people have a sensitivity to lanolin that makes their nipples sensitive and itchy, and sometimes a rash can develop,” says Jordan.
To find the best nipple creams out there, we enlisted nursing and pumping moms to thoroughly test the leading options on the market. They used these products in their own homes, while breastfeeding their own babies—and based on their reviews of the creams’ effectiveness, ingredients, ease of use, smell and overall value, as well as our own extensive research, we’ve rounded up the nipple creams that are best suited to your particular needs.
For more than 10 years, The Bump has been recognizing the absolute best baby and pregnancy products on the market through our awards series. Curious to see which nipple cream was named the Best of The Bump award winner this year? Keep scrolling for the overall top pick, plus a list of carefully vetted nipple creams that are particularly good for specific needs, whether you need an organic option, a salve for your cracked nipples or something well-suited to pumping.
The Honest Company is known for the quality of its ingredients, with a mission statement that emphasizes human health and sustainability—and it shows in the Calm Your Nip Balm. This Best of The Bump winner is packed with nourishing ingredients (rated 5 out of 5 by our tester!) like shea butter, aloe, coconut oil and jojoba seed oil. “It rubbed in great and felt very soothing,” our product tester said, noting that it “lasts a long time.”
The cream is free of fragrance and lanolin, making it a good fit for moms and babies with sensitivities. And while some nipple creams can be difficult to get out of the tube, not this one; our tester awarded the product 5 out 5 for ease of use. “This cream was super easy to use and dispense from the squeeze tube,” she raved. “Gets just the right amount of product out.” And it only takes a pea-sized dose to work, giving you plenty of mileage from a tube that’s already reasonably priced for its size.
The quality, convenience and affordability were all flagged by our tester as ways this nipple cream stood out above the pack, and all contributed to our decision to award the Calm Your Nip Balm this year’s Best of The Bump award. (A list of all this year’s winners can be found here.)
Size: 1.75 ounces | Main ingredients: Canola oil, coconut oil, beeswax, shea butter, aloe, jojoba | Organic: Yes
“Honest always has the best ingredients, and I love the quality! I love that it’s fragrance-free and not tested on animals.”
- Easy to use
- USDA-certified organic
- Good for moms with allergies
- May be too lightweight for some
- Natural smell isn’t for everyone
It’s a bit of an understatement to say that Lansinoh’s Lanolin Nipple Cream is free of additives or preservatives—in fact, it features just one ingredient: HPA lanolin. Lansinoh’s ultra-purified lanolin is ethically sourced without harm to animals, and designed to help soothe dry nipples (although it can also be used as a lip balm and dry skin treatment too!).
“You only need a little, so the tube lasts a long time and you get your money’s worth,” our reviewer shared. “I used this nipple cream at the start of my breastfeeding journey and it helped tremendously,” awarding it 5 out of 5 for effectiveness and value for money.
As Mahan told us, purified lanolin has been the gold standard in nipple creams for years, and studies have shown that it can significantly protect mother’s skin. But there’s no substitute for hands-on experience, and if our tester’s scores are any indication, the hype is justified.
Size: 1.41 ounces | Main ingredients: HPA lanolin | Organic: No
“If it wasn’t for this cream I would have given up breastfeeding.”
- No additives
- Dispenses easily
- Fragrance free
- Hypoallergenic, but those with wool sensitivity should be cautious
Mama Mio’s Keep Calm Nipple Balm is free of lanolin, making it a good choice for moms and babies with wool sensitivity. It’s also a great choice for vegan moms, since it avoids animal byproducts like beeswax, concentrating instead on plant-based ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil and olive oil to make nipples feel more comfortable during the breastfeeding journey.
Lanolin is an effective ingredient, so moms might worry about choosing a lanolin-free option. But our tester particularly liked how “soothing and moisturizing” Keep Calm Nipple Balm feels, singling out the way it “effortlessly rubbed into the nipple, leaving no greasy residue.” Where this cream really stood out for her was in ease of use, which she awarded a full 5 out of 5. “The cream didn’t squirt out—rather, it came out smoothly and did not make a mess.” Which is great, since the last thing a nursing mom needs to deal with is a splotchy spill.
Size: 1 fluid ounce | Main ingredients: Shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil | Organic: No
“I would absolutely recommend this product. Its smooth texture, [lack of fragrance] and soothing effects make for a perfect nipple cream. The small, sleek bottle is very convenient to throw into a bag and go too.”
- A good choice for moms with sensitivities or dietary restrictions
- Smooth application
- No ingredient list on the bottle
- Feels too thick to some
Motherlove Organic Nipple Cream is a popular choice for moms looking for a natural option. It features extra-virgin olive oil, beeswax, shea butter, marshmallow root, calendula flower—and that’s it. You know exactly what you’re putting on your skin when you buy this product, without needing to navigate an unpronounceable list of additives. It has a slightly different packaging than many others: It comes in a jar, so you scoop it out instead of squeezing it from a tube. “The cream was easy to apply and easily rubbed on the skin,” our tester shared.
Most importantly, the tester swears by the results: “The cream helped soothe the nipple from being sore and also prevented it from being chapped,” she shared. “I also used it for my lips and it helped with the dryness.” If you’re worried that an all-natural product won’t be as effective, don’t. With 5 out of 5 scores on effectiveness, ingredients and ease of use, this is a natural nipple cream you can rely on.
Size: 1 fluid ounce | Main ingredients: Olive oil, beeswax, shea butter, marshmallow root, calendula flower | Organic: Yes
“Love the organic, minimal and natural ingredients. I appreciate that the ingredients are true foods and that I feel safe not having to wipe it off when breastfeeding my newborn baby.”
- Natural ingredients
- Large size
- It’s not vegan
- Not everyone loves the scent
Lansinoh also offers an Organic Nipple Balm as a plant-based alternative to the brand’s popular lanolin cream. The balm is 100 percent USDA-certified organic, free of petroleum, parabens and preservatives and made with soothing, natural ingredients like sunflower oil, olive oil and shea butter. “The cream is definitely smooth and moisturizing!” our tester shared. “It’s lightweight so it soaks in pretty fast and doesn’t leave oily residue on the skin.” (A nice perk, per the reviewer: You can rub excess cream into your hands for an impromptu moisturizer.)
Whether you’re using the balm to soothe dry, cracked nipples or as a pumping lubricant (always great to have a multipurpose product!), Lansinoh Organic Nipple Balm gets the same rave reviews as its lanolin counterpart. As our tester says, “I would definitely recommend this cream to breastfeeding mama friends. Especially in those first few weeks when nipples are raw!” Organic ingredients that leave you feeling great? What more could a nursing mama ask for?
Size: 2 ounces | Main ingredients: Sunflower oil, olive oil, beeswax, coconut oil, shea butter, calendula flower extract, argan oil | Organic: Yes
“Love that it’s certified organic, natural and plant-based! I don’t have to worry about baby ingesting harsh chemicals during feedings. And they’re less likely to develop skin irritation on their face.”
- 100% USDA-certified organic
- No petroleum
- While plant-based, this product is not vegan
- Melts quickly
Dry, cracked nipples can be an unfortunate side effect of breastfeeding as you and baby find a routine that works for you. The Mommy Knows Best Organic Nipple Cream can help—ingredients like olive oil, sunflower oil, beeswax, cocoa butter and shea butter are all specifically chosen to moisturize, reduce redness and irritation and help heal cracks. But this cream goes the extra mile with the inclusion of aloe extract—if you’ve ever had a sunburn, you probably already know the miracles aloe vera works on inflamed and damaged skin.
The cream is “super easy to rub in,” according to our tester, who awarded it 5 out of 5 for effectiveness and ease of use—an important feature to watch for if cracks have left you tender. It’s also “very soothing,” she said, adding, “it made my nipples feel much better.” The cream is lanolin-free and can also be used on other dry skin spots like rough elbows and dry heels. So if your breastfeeding experience has been a painful one as your little one learns to latch, don’t worry: Help is on the way.
Size: 2 fluid ounces | Main ingredients: Olive oil, aloe extract, sunflower oil, beeswax, cocoa butter, shea butter, vitamin E, mango oil | Organic: Yes
“Worth the money. It definitely helps with soreness and cracks.”
- No scent
- May leak out of container in heat
Natalist’s Nip & Lip Balm has a unique feature that new moms love: It comes in a stick as opposed to a tube or tub. “I love that it’s in a Chapstick-like container,” raved our tester. “It’s easy to use and melts and glides on really well. No fussing with a jar.” But this cream is more than its packaging. It features gentle ingredients like grapeseed oil, shea butter, cocoa seed butter and coconut oil to moisturize your nipples and even your lips! Our reviewer shared that it “kept my nipples moisturized and well protected from pumping and nursing.”
With this kind of praise, it should be no surprise that our tester rated the product 5 out of 5 for ease of use. But the ingredients also impressed her, as she noted, “I can trust that it isn't mixed with anything harmful to me or baby.” Easy for you and safe for your little one—the Nip & Lip Balm does it all, with a whole extra application to boot.
Size: 0.5 ounces | Main ingredients: Shea butter, cocoa butter, argan oil, coconut oil, beeswax | Organic: No
“It’s easy to use and glides really well for application, especially if you’re in pain from dry or cracked nipples—you won't need to rub so hard.”
- Unique application
- Doubles as lip balm
- Free from sulfates, petroleum and dyes
- Small size
Whether you’re exclusively pumping or you regularly express milk when you’re away from baby, pumps can put unique demands on your nipples. The Bamboobies Boob-Ease Organic Pumping Lubricant is specially designed to help give nipples a break after facing regular friction from a pump.
This lanolin-free cream uses coconut oil, shea butter and beeswax to help build up and restore your nipple’s natural barrier, without being sticky or messy, according to our tester. But where it really shined for her is in how it improved the experience of pumping: “[It] made the friction and discomfort of pumping so much better,” she shared. “I didn't feel like I was dreading the pain that sometimes pumping can cause by the pull of the nipple” after using the cream. An effective product that makes feeding your child all the easier? Yes, please.
Size: 0.5 fluid ounces, pack of two | Main ingredients: Coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, olive oil, beeswax, shea butter, matricaria flower extract, cocoa seed butter | Organic: Yes
“I didn't know a product like this existed or that there was a way to help with any discomfort with pumping. I was actually pleasantly surprised when using it. I would definitely recommend it to someone, especially if they’re a full-time pump user—it's a must.”
- Natural ingredients
- Specially designed for pumping
- Not vegan
- Small container
To help you find the best nipple creams, The Bump editors scoured the market to find the most popular and highest-rated options available. We combed through user reviews to see what real moms thought of these products, leveraging our familiarity with leading pregnancy brands and relying on our own experiences as new and expectant parents. From there, we enlisted the help of nursing and pumping moms who tested the creams for several days and carefully evaluated each for ease of use, effectiveness, smell, ingredients and value for the money.
We stacked this rigorous testing against our own expertise, as well as the expertise of multiple lactation consultants, to bestow the prestigious Best of The Bump award to the overall best nipple cream. And then we went one step further, using the testing results to identify other standout options that are particularly good for your specific needs, whether you have a lanolin sensitivity, are pumping or are struggling with cracked nipples. All this to ensure that you find a quality product with plenty of bang for your buck that’ll prove a good fit for you and your lifestyle.
Interested in learning more about our editorial process? Read about how our team develops and reviews all articles here.
Dealing with sore, cracked nipples is a pain (to say the least!). Luckily, nipple creams are safe to use and can provide some relief. Simply air-dry or gently pat your breasts dry after nursing, then apply a topical treatment to the affected areas. If you’re using a nipple cream for pumping, you can apply it before you start your session, to help reduce any uncomfortable friction. Pure lanolin and other natural blends aren’t harmful, so there’s no need to wash these products off before breastfeeding. “If pain persists or you experience cracking or bleeding, we would recommend having further evaluation with a lactation counselor,” Kishbaugh says. “There could be an issue with baby’s latch or other underlying cause which needs to be evaluated.”
About the writer:
Korin Miller is a freelance writer who’s written dozens of health features for The Bump. She specializes in commerce, wellness and lifestyle trends, with work appearing in Women’s Health, Forbes, SELF and more. Korin is mom to four kids, ranging in age from 1 to 10 years old. She has a master’s degree from American University and lives by the beach.
Interested in becoming a product tester for The Bump? Head here to apply.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.
Brandi Jordan, MSW, IBCLC, is a certified lactation consultant, postpartum doula, pediatric sleep specialist and founder of The Cradle Company. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in child development and a Master’s of social work from USC, where she is also an adjunct faculty member. In 2018, Brandi founded the National Association of Birth Workers of Color.
Jennie Kishbaugh is a certified breastfeeding counselor and prenatal educator with Corewell Health.
Kathleen Mahan, RN, IBCLC, is a registered nurse and lactation consultant at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Illinois.
Leigh Anne O’Connor, IBCLC, is a certified lactation consultant based in New York City. She has over 20 years of experience and has previously served as the president on the Board of the New York Lactation Consultant Association. She earned her bachelor of arts in communication from UNC-Greensboro, was accredited as a La Leche League Leader in 1997 and was board certified as an IBCLC in 2002.
American Academy of Pediatrics, HPA Lanolin and Its Ability to Protect the Nipple When Breastfeeding, March 2021
American Academy of Pediatrics, Treating Breast Pain, July 2020
Science Direct, Lanolin: An Overview
Stanford Medicine, Newborn Senses