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If you are looking for the best way to soothe cracked and sore nipples, we've got you covered with our extensive testing of the 8 best nipple creams available today. After researching and selecting the top contenders, our team worked with a newly breastfeeding mom to hands-on test each product to evaluate its soothing ability and ease of application while also paying attention to the ingredients in each cream. While each balm has its pros and cons, the ones that came out on top are extra hydrating, long-lasting, and contain organic ingredients when possible. Read on to discover which options are the best for your needs and budget.
Nursing can be a tough job and require a few supplies to make it easier. Many moms find they also need nursing bras, and nursing pads to limit leakage on clothes. You may also be interested in a useful nursing pillow to get a better angle on successful latching and less pain in your nipples.
Editor's Note: We updated this nipple cream review on May 10, 2022. This update included a review of pricing and availability.
Weleda Nipple Balm uses a combination of lanolin and other plant-based ingredients such as sunflower seed oil, olive oil, calendula, and beeswax. This mixture provides a perfectly balanced cream that is not too sticky or thin. The formula glides onto the skin smoothly, and thanks to the lanolin, it has enough staying power to create a barrier between skin and clothing. This combination reduces friction while soothing and moisturizing cracked skin. The Weleda cream has no added fragrances, but the oils' natural scent is fresh and slightly floral. We like the addition of calendula for its potential antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Weleda comes in an itty bitty tube that has a high price tag. You don't need very much of this product for each use, so it will likely last a long time, but it is not the most economical choice. The tube is metal, which has pros and cons. We like that it provides the ability to get every last drop out of the container. However, if the tube gest squished by accident while the cap is on, you will have a surprise mini-explosion of cream the next time you open it. Also, calendula and lanolin are possible allergens for some, so this is something to check beforehand. Weleda Nipple Balm is one of our top choices for soothing sore nipples, and we think it is perfect for almost every nursing mother.
The Honest Calm Your Nip Balm from the Honest Company is a lanolin-free nipple cream that combines organic oils, including canola and coconuts shea butter, and others. The unusual addition of corn starch helps to give this product a thicker, creamier texture than most oil-based balms. We feel that it stays put better, and you can lather on a thicker layer of the product without worries of drips or excessive greasiness. In our experience, lanolin is king when it comes to forming a barrier to hold in moisture and protect against chaffing, but this Honest balm comes in a very close second. We love how easy it is to apply and appreciate that it is not as sticky.
It is worth noting that this cream has no added fragrances, but like many products we tested, it has a somewhat oily scent that some parents find unpleasant. It has a more creamy consistency than other plant-based options, but it is still not as intense as products that include lanolin. We find that to get a similar protective barrier, we have to use a lot more of Calm Your Nip and need to reapply it more frequently. So, if you are looking for the ultimate in hydration, this may not be your first pick. However, it is still the most intense formula that doesn't include animal products, so if you are looking for extra hydration, but prefer to avoid lanolin, Honest Calm Your Nip Balm is a great choice.
Lansinoh Lanolin is the only product in this review that is 100% pure lanolin. Lanolin has a well-earned reputation for being effective at soothing tender nipples. The consistency is thick, sticky, and ultra-hydrating. The gooey texture stays put and creates a long-lasting barrier that prevents additional friction against the skin. We like that Lansinoh comes in a squeeze tube, making it easy to open and apply. It is also one of the most affordable products in our lineup, and we appreciate that this cream is accessible for most budgets.
For some moms, the texture is a con. It is so thick and sticky that it pulls the skin a lot while applying, making it uncomfortable for tender nipples. The level of protection may be overkill, depending on your needs. Many users also say that the lanolin will stain any clothing it touches, so be sure to either have a nursing pad handy or be prepared for potential stains on your bras and shirts. But if you are at your wit's end trying to alleviate pain from a breastfeeding newborn, then Lansinoh Lanolin may be just the thing you need.
Bamboobies Boobease is a buttery smooth moisturizer using a blend of olive oil, beeswax, shea butter, marshmallow root, and calendula. All of the ingredients are organic, and there are no added fragrances. Our favorite aspect about this product is the consistency. It melts quickly in your fingers for a smooth application that will not irritate sensitive nipples, but it is thick enough to stay put and form a substantial barrier between skin and clothing. Ingredients such as shea butter and calendula help soothe irritated skin, and for those who wish to avoid animal products, Boobease is lanolin-free.
This nipple balm is almost twice the price of comparable options. And, coming in a 1 oz container, it may not last as long as you would like. This specific blend of ingredients has an unusual smell that some may dislike; luckily, it is not very strong, and it fades quickly after applying. Our tester felt that Boobease was a bit oily for her, but this is inevitable with a plant-based cream like this one. There are a few comparable products, but Bamboobies is one of our favorite lanolin-free nipple balms. We love the silky texture, and if you can get past the scent, this may be perfect for you.
Why You Should Trust Us
Abriah Wofford is a Senior Review Editor at BabyGearLab and has been testing mom and baby-related products for over six years. She laid the foundation of this review with many research hours on each nipple cream, its ingredients, and alternative uses. Justice Wofford, a newly breastfeeding mother, used each product over a multi-week period and commented on her personal experience with each cream's soothing ability. Many manufacturers advertise their balms as multipurpose, and we tested that by using the products on our elbows, cuticles, lips, and hands. With all this information, we form a well-rounded opinion of which creams are the most hydrating, which are best for chafing prevention, and the ones to use when you need a little extra moisture.
Getting a Good Latch
While nipple cream is excellent to have on hand, nipple pain may signify other underlying issues. Aside from minor soreness, breastfeeding should not be a difficult or painful experience after the first week. According to La Leche League International, if you are experiencing cracked or chapped nipples, it may be due to a problem with the baby's latch, position, or suck, or even possible infection.
In addition to using a good nipple cream, these tricks may help alleviate some pain:
Avoid wearing tight bras that put extra pressure on your nipples.
Apply a bit of your breastmilk to the nipple area.
Vary your baby's nursing positions.
However, if you are experiencing any unusual or prolonged nipple soreness, contact your doctor or a lactation consultant. Achieving a secure latch is the number one way to relieve nipple pain.
Analysis and Test Results
While paying particular attention to the soothing ability, ease of application, and scents/ingredients, we tested each nipple cream to see which we prefer and which we think you should pass by.
Nipple cream is a relatively inexpensive purchase, but that doesn't mean you can't save a little money or make your money count. Lansinoh Lanolin is one of the most affordable products in our review, and you get double the deal because you only need a tiny dab to reach high levels of hydration. Dr. Bronner's Organic Magic Balm has the lowest price per ounce out of all the products we tested. It is not our first choice for sore nipples, but its multifunctional abilities are helpful beyond breastfeeding.
Toss a tube of nipple cream in your baby gift bag when you head to a baby shower. The new mom in your life will thank you!
Your preferred nipple cream may vary depending on your needs. All of the tested products have ingredients known for their natural soothing potential, but some are more heavy-duty than others.
One of the most critical factors in soothing sore nipples is adding some hydration to dry, cracked skin. Lanolin is the way to go for intense hydration and long-lasting chaff prevention. Lansinoh Lanolin has the thickest texture of all the tested products and earned an 8 out of 10 in this metric. Many moms swear by its ability to aid in the healing process of even the most distressed skin. Not only does it hydrate, but it creates a slippery barrier that reduces painful friction from your clothing. The texture is so thick that it lasts a long time before being rubbed away or absorbed. However, Lansinoh is overkill in many scenarios; it is goopy and sticky to apply and may stain clothes.
For a lighter-weight formula that still has lots of staying power, Weleda Nipple Balm is our first choice. It earned a high score of 9 for soothing, thanks to its many oils and herbs with natural calming properties. The addition of lanolin gives it a bit of a thicker texture and extends its wear. Unless necessary, we prefer balms that are not sticky during application and absorb quickly into the skin. The least soothing product we encountered was the Motherlove Nipple Cream. When using this oil-based product, we felt that it was too runny to stay put and did not soak into the skin quickly enough to lock in moisture, and it earned a 4 for soothing ability.
Ease of Application
The products in this review come in a variety of containers. Some have plastic squeeze tubes, others are in metal tins, and some come in plastic or glass jars. Each container has its benefits and can be helpful in different scenarios. To gauge the ease of application, we also assess the texture of products to see how smoothly they apply to the skin and if they cause any unnecessary irritation from a grainy or sticky consistency.
We feel the squeeze tubes are the best at dispensing; they are easy to open and easy to get exactly the right amount of product on your finger. There is also less risk of debris, dust, or hair getting into the cream or other contamination created from fingers in tubs. Nipple balms in a tin are handy to take along in a diaper bag or purse, but the product's firmer texture usually takes a bit of warming up before it is spreadable. Honest Calm Your Nip Balm earned an 8 out of 10 for ease of application because it comes in a plastic squeeze tube and has a super smooth consistency that is easy on the skin.
When it comes to texture, the easiest and smoothest creams to apply are Weleda and Boobease; both creams earned an 8 out of 10. They glide onto the skin like butter and do not pull the skin or have a grainy texture. Our least favorite product to apply is Earth Mama Natural Nipple Butter. Our tub had many small chunks in the product that are very uncomfortable on the skin and do not melt at body temperature, so you have to pick them off one by one.
Perks of a Proper Latch
Nipple cream may hydrate dry and chapped skin, but there's no substitute for a good latch. If pain continues or worsens, be sure to talk to a doctor or lactation consultant about what can help.
Scents and Ingredients
None of the nipple creams we tested have any added fragrances; however, some ingredients have a natural scent that permeates the mixture. This lack of added elements is good news for those with sensitive skin and would like to keep additives bare minimum, but it can also mean less than pleasant smells will be wafting around your baby's food source.
In our opinion, the two best smelling products are from Dr. Bronner's and Weleda, and both earned 8 of 10. Weleda has a slightly floral aroma, thanks to the sunflower oil found in the mixture. Dr. Bronner's Organic Magic Balm has one of the most subtle scents of all the creams. It is barely noticeable with your nose up to the tin and disappears entirely when applied to the skin, making it a good choice for those sensitive sniffers. Earth Mama, Boobease, and Motherlove all list olive oil as their first ingredient, so olive oil is what you smell. While not exactly unpleasant, it is a scent that some people would choose to wear if there are other options. Medela Tender Care Lanolin earned a 3, the lowest score in this metric. It has a scent somewhat akin to diaper cream, and we prefer not to mix the two.
All of the products included in this review are either plant-based or lanolin-based. Lanolin is a tried and true moisturizer extracted from sheep's wool after shearing. Many cosmetic products such as lip balm, lotion, and diaper cream use lanolin in some form. Plant-based options usually have a base made from fruit or nut oil such as olive oil, avocado oil, or sunflower seed oil combined with beeswax to create a more stable texture. Often other oils are added for additional soothing properties. Weleda Nipple Cream is the only product we tested that uses both lanolin and plant-based oils. We love the combination and feel that it works very well for most skin types.
As a new mom, learning to breastfeed your infant can be challenging, and coping with nipple pain can be frustrating. Chapped nipples are reasonably common in the early stages of breastfeeding. You can know that it won't last forever, and you are not going through it alone. Nipple creams can be a lifesaver when tending to your sore skin, and adding one to your nursing routine can save you a lot of irritation later down the road. We hope our extensive hands-on testing process can help you find the best product to fit your needs as a new mom.
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Honest, objective reviews. Led by a Pediatrician.
BabyGearLab was founded by a Pediatrician Mom with a mission to provide a reliable, independent, source of information to new parents. Our experts have tested thousands of baby and kids products to share key performance, health, and safety findings. We spend tens of thousands of dollars crash testing car seats to inform our ratings. And, we combine our review work with gobs of expert parenting advice. To assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing by people who care.