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Best nipple creams for breastfeeding in 2022

Sore, cracked or irritated nipples? Breastfeeding can be hard on your body. That's why we've tracked down the best nipple creams, balms and salves to help make breastfeeding more comfortable.

By Tina Williams | Last updated Feb 7, 2022

woman breastfeeding

In this article you'll find the following information:

  • The benefits of breastfeeding (if you can) and what do when it's uncomfortable
  • Mumsnet users' top nine nipple creams, including our favourite
  • Answers to common questions related to nipple creams

Benefits of breastfeeding

Breastfeeding can be a wonderful, life-giving experience. But, let's be honest – at times it can be excruciatingly painful too.

The first thing to remember is that, while things aren't always easy, there are a wealth of good reasons to give your baby breastmilk. Here are a few to give you a morale boost in those difficult early weeks:

  • Breastmilk is a complete meal, perfectly designed for your baby
  • It can help reduce the risk of infections, diarrhoea and vomiting, and even childhood leukaemia and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • It helps guard against conditions later in life such as obesity and diabetes
  • In mums, it can reduce your risk of osteoporosis, breast and ovarian cancer, heart disease and obesity
  • It's free and available whenever you need it
  • It can help develop the bond between mum and baby

What to do if you're struggling to breastfeed

Not everyone can, or wants to, breastfeed. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you and your baby are happy and healthy, regardless of whether they're fed by breast or bottle.

If you do want to continue breastfeeding but finding it hard, organisations like the La Leche League can provide you with guidance and support. Finding a better position for breastfeeding and helping your baby to latch on more effectively can go a long way in helping to ease the pain.

Cracked and tender nipples can also be a reason that some mums stop breastfeeding. Painful nipples is very common in the early days of breastfeeding, and it can make the whole experience extremely difficult.

There are a wide range of nipple creams available for UK mothers that can soothe pain and make feeding a little bit easier. The most popular nipple creams are made with lanolin – an oily substance found on sheep's wool. Lanolin is commonly used in skin and beauty products because it has a thick moisturising quality. But if you’re looking for a plant-based option, there are plenty of alternatives too.

Top nine nipple creams 2021

We've scoured the Mumsnet forums and read hundreds of conversations about nipple creams on Mumsnet. We also trawled through Amazon bestseller reviews and other top 10 lists to weigh up all the options.

Based on that research, here are the nine very best nipple creams for breastfeeding, including budget nipple creams, lanolin-free, organic and all-natural options.

1. Best nipple cream for breastfeeding: Lansinoh HPA

lansinoh nipple cream

There’s really only one contender for best nipple cream for breastfeeding according to Mumsnet users, and it's Lansinoh. It may be small in size, but hundreds of Mumsnet users swear by its moisturising qualities and long-lasting comfort.

The cream itself is both odourless and flavourless and doesn’t need to be washed off before breastfeeding. The texture is that of a thick lotion, making it easy to apply.

To add to its plethora of excellent reviews, HPA lanolin is filtered to ensure that it's hypoallergenic. It's the only lanolin product to receive the British Allergy Foundation seal of approval.

Remove before breastfeeding: No

What Mumsnet users said about Lansinoh:

“I found Lansinoh to be unbeatable. I made a tube last forever so I can't recommend another.”

“I used Lansinoh cream and couldn't have done without it. I really struggled to breastfeed and found it so hard for the first six weeks, but the cream was a lifesaver.”

“Lansinoh is the best in my opinion.”

“Lansinoh. Lansinoh. Lansinoh. If you buy nothing else, buy Lansinoh. It's magic.”

“Use a small amount just on the nipple itself after every feed. No need to wipe off before baby feeds. It also makes a great lip balm!”

Looking for the best items for your newborn? Check out our baby product reviews, where we put popular items through a series of strict tests to bring you the best of the best.

2. Best Lansinoh alternative: Medela Purelan

medela nipple cream

While Medela are perhaps best known among parents for their breast pumps, their nipple cream is easily one of the most popular on the market.

Purelan is hypoallergenic and doesn't need to be removed before breastfeeding. The salve itself is a little thicker than many other nipple creams, which can make it harder to get out of the tube, but it's absorbed quickly and has excellent soothing qualities.

Remove before breastfeeding: No

What Mumsnet users said about Medela:

“I constantly applied Lansinoh or Medela nipple cream after every feed and it really helped my sore nipples. It's safe for your baby to ingest, so you can apply it generously.”

3. Best lanolin-free nipple cream: Weleda Nipple Balm

weleda nipple balm

Weleda specialise in organic and natural products and their nipple balm is among the most popular lanolin-free creams. Great news if you're one of the estimated 2% of people who are allergic.

Comprised of a mix of organic calendula, plant oils and protective waxes, it works fast and it's a great solution for mothers who want natural alternatives.

Remove before breastfeeding: No

What Mumsnet users said about Weleda:

“I found Weleda a million times better than Lansinoh. It's not as thick so it goes on so much easier. I had the 'lipstick' shape issue for a couple of months – my little boy has quite a high palate and the Weleda stuff really helped.”

4. Best budget nipple cream: Bennetts' Nipple Cream

bennetts nipple cream

Bennetts is an affordable colour-free and fragrance-free cream for sore nipples. At around £3, It’s also is one of the cheapest, so if money is tight it could be an option.

Remove before breastfeeding: Yes

What Mumsnet users said about Bennetts:

“Used Lansinoh initially but I preferred Bennetts nipple cream. I found it less sticky.”

5. Best organic nipple cream for breastfeeding: Earth Mama Angel Baby Organic Nipple Butter

Earth Mama

Like the Weleda nipple balm, Earth Mama Angel Baby Organic Nipple Butter is lanolin-free. Instead it's made of a range of natural ingredients such as calendula flower extract and olive oil.

It has been clinically tested and doesn't contain parabens or petroleum, which some mums avoid because it needs washing off before you breastfeed. At £20 a tub it’s not the cheapest option, but if you're looking for lanolin-free alternative this might be worth a try.

Remove before breastfeeding: No

What Mumsnet users said about Earth Mama Angel Baby nipple butter:

“Wouldn't be without Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter. I've always worried about using anything else because of chemicals. Very rich and does the trick.”

6. My Expert Midwife No Harm Nipple Balm

Expert Midwife

Made with medical-grade lanolin, No Harm Nipple Balm also boasts almond and coconut oil to ease application, which is ideal if you are already suffering from sore or cracked skin. The rest of the ingredients are also all-natural so it doesn't need to be removed before you start feeding.

The dispenser is worth an honourable mention – it's an airless pump which makes it more hygienic and much easier to dispense with one hand!

Remove before breastfeeding: No

7. Green People Soothing Nipple Balm

Green People’s Soothing Nipple Balm is a great eco-alternative to other creams. Made without lanolin, its main ingredients are shea butter, hemp, beeswax and calendula. The beeswax helps the cream stay on longer, particularly in hot weather when you may sweat more.

90% of the ingredients are organic and it's been certified by both the Soil Association and Vegetarian Society.

Remove before breastfeeding: No

8. Multi-Mam Balm

Made of a blend of natural plant oils, Multi-Mam Balm offers a safe balm for sore nipples with no added chemicals that could aggravate sore skin. Odourless and flavourless, it doesn't need to be removed before breastfeeding.

Remove before breastfeeding: No

9. Philips AVENT Moisturising Nipple Cream

avent nipple cream

Easy to apply thanks to its smooth texture, Philips AVENT nipple cream is a popular choice for parents. Made from aloe vera and lanolin it is safe for babies to consume. However, despite being advertised as fragrance-free, some users have been put off by the chemical scent.

Remove before breastfeeding: No

Nipple cream – your questions answered

We've rounded up the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about nipple creams.

Is nipple cream safe for babies?

How safe a nipple cream is depends largely on the ingredients. Those made of organic oils or medical-grade lanolin will almost certainly be fine for both you and your baby, while those with petroleum or parabens will need washing off before letting your newborn latch.

Petroleum and parabens are safe for skin application, but are not meant to be swallowed. Check the ingredients carefully and if you are unsure consult your local pharmacist.

What is lanolin?

Lanolin is a naturally occurring soft and waxy substance that comes from wool-bearing animals, usually sheep. Medical-grade lanolin is used in a wide range of skin and beauty products due to its excellent moisturising qualities.

Is lanolin bad for you or your baby?

Lanolin is the most common ingredient in popular nipple creams. It’s considered safe to use during breastfeeding and you don’t need to wash it off before you start a feed. However, around 2% of people are allergic, so if you or your baby experience irritation when using lanolin-based products stop using them immediately and look for alternatives.

Can you use Vaseline as nipple cream when breastfeeding?

Short answer, yes. If you don't want to invest in a dedicated nipple cream then a dab of Vaseline can help. Some women prefer it, while others feel better with a lanolin, or other oil-based product. Just make sure you wipe it off your nipple before you start a feed.

Can you use olive oil as nipple cream?

Yes, applying a small amount of olive oil after breastfeeding can help prevent soreness and you don’t need to wash it off before breastfeeding. Like Vaseline, it provides a cheaper alternative, which some mothers prefer.

More from Mumsnet: For reviews of Mumsnetters’ favourite products check out Swears By, where we sift through thousands of products every month to find the best ones for you and your family.

Why you should trust us

In order to provide honest and independent advice you can trust, we spend hours scouring the Mumsnet forums and online bestseller lists to find products that real parents rate.

We write about products that we feel offer the best value to most parents – the ones that our users would recommend to their own friends and family.