We know that breastfeeding has lots of benefits and is a great way to bond with your baby. However, one of the most challenging parts of breastfeeding is the nipple pain that goes with it.
According to the NHS, nipple pain is one of the main reasons women switch to bottle feeding. And it's no surprise to anyone who's tried breastfeeding - those red raw, cracked, bleeding nipples make you wince harder than you thought you'd ever wince (apart from during the actual birth, obviously).
The best way to soothe both sore nipples is a dedicated cream made especially for breastfeeding boobs. Not any old cream or lotion will do. Nipple cream can help to stop the pain and prevent any dryness, itchiness, cracked nipples, and bleeding caused by breastfeeding.
Most of these creams are composed of lanolin, an oily substance that's secreted from sheep's skin, but there are also plant-based creams if you want to avoid animal products.
Here are the best nipple creams currently on the market, so you’ll know exactly which one you can count on for some nipple relief.
Is nipple cream safe when breastfeeding?
Yes, nipple cream is designed for use during breastfeeding and is therefore safe to use all through the breastfeeding period. Having said that, it's always best to double-check that your cream is made from all-natural ingredients that are safe for you and your little one.
When should I apply nipple cream?
This is completely up to you, but it is generally recommended to apply nipple cream right after feeding. This is so that the formula can be absorbed into your skin and work its magic before your next feed.
The best nipple creams 2021
Lansinoh Breastfeeding Salve is just 100 per cent pure lanolin with no other ingredients and doesn’t have to be removed before breastfeeding. It has the texture of a very thick, oily balm, and is instantly soothing. It's no wonder so many mums swear by this purple tube when breastfeeding.
It's won LOADS of awards at the Mother&Baby Awards.
Tested by mum Saira Aslam for the Mother&Baby Awards 2018: "This is a no-nonsense, simple and safe cream for those first few weeks of breastfeeding, when cracks and sores are a problem and a hindrance to a pleasant breastfeeding experience. The small tube is great for having in different places around the house where I nurse and it’s great that it’s safe for baby, so it can be used as much as you wish to help healing."
Tested by Sophie Knight, mum to Eli: "This purple tube of lotion was an absolute life-saver during those first few painful days of breastfeeding; I don't think I'd have been able to continue without it."
Read our full review of Lansinoh Breastfeeding Salve here
Best oil-based nipple cream
Weleda is a much-loved brand because of its use of natural ingredients. The Nipple Balm is made with organic calendula, nourishing plant oils, and protective waxes. As one of the best nipple creams, it is very easy to apply and doesn’t need to be removed before feeding.
You can also find a Nursing Oil from Weleda, which can be used for regular breast massage.
Tested by mum Louise for the 2019 Mother&Baby Awards; she said: "It felt like more of a treat to use this product because of the lovely, premium packaging and the texture. It isn't embarrassing to leave it out for others to see or keep handy in your handbag as it is such nice packaging."
It was Shortlisted in the 2019 Mother&Baby Awards in the Best Product for Breastfeeding (excluding breast pumps) category.
Read our full review of Weleda Nipple balm here
Best hypoallergenic nipple cream
Like Lansinoh Breastfeeding Salve, this is thick enough to soothe and protect even the most cracked and sore nipples. It doesn’t need to be removed before breastfeeding.
Tested by mum Jade for the 2020 Mother&Baby Awards: "Breastfeeding has caused my nipples to become quite sensitive and within a few days of using this balm, it relieved a lot of the discomfort. Due to the balm also being fairly small then it has allowed me to carry it in my bag, meaning I can also use it when on the go."
It won Silver in the 2020 Mother&Baby Awards Best New Mum/Maternity Skincare Product category.
Read our full review of Medela PureLan 100 here
Best easy to apply nipple cream
No Harm Nipple Balm from My Expert Midwife comes with two significant advantages: an airless pump ensuring excellent hygiene and using less of the product, as you only need to pump twice to get all the quantity you need.
Tested by mum Amy for the 2019 Mother&Baby Awards: "It gives instant relief when applied and also prevented cracked nipples occurring again. It is easy to apply and does not impact on feeding. The design is a dispenser which allows you to pump a small amount out to reduce wastage. Although it is more expensive, you get more applications out of it and there is less waste."
It was Shortlisted in the Mother&Baby Awards 2019 in the Best Product for Breastfeeding (excluding breast pumps) category.
Read our full review of No Harm Nipple Balm here
Best thick consistency nipple cream
This product is multi-award winning and famous for its long-lasting moisture and glossy effect. Made with 100 per cent pure medical grade Lanolin, you can use it not only during breastfeeding, but also for almost anything you want to keep moisturized.
Review: "Have been using this product for years and absolutely adore it. If you're looking for something thick, non-sticky and long lasting then Dr Lipp is the balm for you. The price may seem steep for such a small tube but the product lasts for months."
Best organic nipple cream
Rich in organic ingredients, the Honest nipple cream harnesses the power of coconut oil and shea butter for some long-lasting relief from nipple soreness. It'll ease pain, remedy cracks and make you feel more comfortable. The ingredients are natural and completely safe for your little one too - so no need to worry about wiping off your boobs before breastfeeding.
Review: "Hands down the best nipple balm I have ever used. This formula is so nice because it heals and soothes but doesn't have the Vaseline type feel that I have experienced in the past with other brands. This is a must have for breastfeeding mamas! Best of all, the baby didn't care about it at all. I fed him about an hour after applying and no weird faces or problems feeding at all!"
Best scented nipple cream
Motherlove Nipple Cream only uses certified organic ingredients: extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, shea butter, marshmallow root, and calendula flower. Because of this, it's safe for your baby to ingest, so you don't need to clean your nipples before breastfeeding or after application. You can also use it as a nappy rash cream.
Review: "Saved my nipples! I just started breastfeeding, unfortunately, my nipples were cracked and even growed a blister. Everytime I put on breastmilk and the cream then cover it with plastic, it really soothed the pain sped up the healing. Baby is ok with the smell as well."
Best non-greasy nipple cream
This cream is lanolin-free and contains all-natural ingredients like calendula flower extract and olive oil. This nipple butter is impressively versatile as you can use it not only for soothing boobs but also for dry heels, cradle cap, and chapped lips.
Review: "Natural simple ingredients. This butter kept my skin soft and soothed when I started breastfeeding and my skin was adapting to baby. It's also great to put on baby's/your lips to avoid chapping. Its smells like dark chocolate and doesn't leave you feeling greasy, must be pretty easy for skin to absorb. You also don't need a lot so it lasts ages."
Best value nipple cream
My Little Star New Mum Nipple Cream is perfect if you are on a limited budget. This product has lots of good reviews, it’s dermatologically tested, and paediatrician approved.
It was Shortlisted in the 2015 and 2016 M&B Awards.
Tested by mum Nikki Essex for the M&B Awards 2016: "I have been using this nipple cream after each feed and I found it to be quite a relief as it was very soothing. It's fragrance-free so I'm happy that it's safe for baby. I don't think my baby has noticed any difference when I have used it. One top tip is that I put it in the fridge for a bit before each use, and that made it an even bigger relief. Such a great price too."
Read our full review of My Little Star New Mum Nipple Cream here
Best scent-free nipple cream
Green People Organic is well known due to using organic ingredients. In this rescue balm, you can find organic calendula and vitamin E to soothe sore, cracked nipples before and after breastfeeding. Other ingredients are organic shea butter, organic sunflower, sweet almond, and hemp seed oil.
Tested by mum Kasia Mallett for the M&B Awards 2017: "I really love this product. It smells lovely, is very easy to apply, makes my children's skin soft and has already, after only three days, helped with my youngest daughter's eczema and my son's dry skin. My eldest daughter, who is five, likes it so much that she has been inventing 'dry bits' to rub it into!"
It won Silver in the 2017 M&B Awards in the Best Baby Skincare Range/Product category.
Read our full review of Green People Organic Babies Mum & Baby Rescue Balm here
Best hand-made nipple cream
Expertly blended with nourishing organic coconut oil, this beautifully soft, plant-based alternative nipple balm is designed to hydrate and soothe your nipples throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Review: "I've only been using this since it came out and after first use, it soothed and healed my cracked/chapped nipples. I found it easier to apply than others and will be buying it again."