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Best nipple creams for breastfeeding mums

One of the biggest barriers to successful breastfeeding is the problem of painful and cracked nipples. That's why we've tracked down the best nipple cream, balms and salves to help make breastfeeding that little bit more comfortable.

By Kim Gregory | Last updated Apr 4, 2023

Woman breastfeeding baby

If you decide to breastfeed your baby, you may well find that the journey isn’t as smooth as you’d hoped. One of the main reasons for this can be nipple pain.

The best nipple creams are designed to ease pain and itchiness and prevent any dryness or cracked skin brought about through breastfeeding. The most popular nipple creams are usually made with lanolin due to its thick, moisturising quality.

But while lanolin nipple creams don't need to be wiped off before breastfeeding, this ingredient does come from sheep's wool so isn't suitable for vegans. However, there are plant-based or organic alternatives available, which we've recommended below.

While, generally, you don't need any extra equipment in order to breastfeed, we know that the right products can be a real lifesaver when you're caring for a baby. That's why Mumsnet writers obsessively research everything from the best breast pumps and best baby bottles to the best changing bags. Whatever parenthood throws at you, we've got your back. 

In fact, there are simply loads of nipple creams available for UK mothers that can make feeding a little bit easier. With so much choice, it can be tough to find the right solution for you. Luckily, we've done the hard work for you, researching and taking advice from real breastfeeding mums who’ve been there - our Mumsnetters.

How we choose our recommendations

  • We took to the Mumsnet forums to find the nipple creams that real mums recommended (and the ones they didn't), shortlisting products with overwhelmingly positive reviews across the board.
  • We consulted experts and healthcare professionals to ensure our recommended products are safe to use and approved by those in the know.
  • We also looked out for any creams and balms recommended on other best buy lists and trusted industry review sites to ensure we were bringing you a list of the very best nipple creams on the UK market right now.
  • Finally, we collated all of this research to bring you our list of the 10 best nipple creams for a variety of needs and budgets.

Best nipple cream at a glance

Here are the best nipple creams to soothe sore, cracked nipples.

1. Best overall nipple cream: Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Nipple Cream

Lansinoh cream

RRP: £11.49 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Remove before breastfeeding? No | Type: Cream | Size: 40ml

What we love

  • Natural ingredients
  • Renowned for its soothing and moisturising properties
  • Highly rated across the board

What to know 

  • A thicker lotion means you may have to rub it in a little more which may further aggravate sore nipples
  • Contains lanolin, so not suitable for vegans
  • 10ml tubes available if you want to trial before buying a 40ml

What Mumsnet users say 

“Lansinoh sorted me out in two days. Fabulous!” - recommended by Mumsnet user AmIThough

“Another vote for Lansinoh. Miracle cream!” - vetted by Mumsnet user RiggedUpSquare

Our verdict 

Boasting over 20,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, Lansinoh is a clear all-round favourite for soothing sore nipples. It comes highly rated on the Mumsnet forums too, and it's a brand that's recommended time and time again by our users.

The ointment is hypoallergenic (approved by the British Allergy Foundation) and completely free from additives and preservatives, so suitable for those with sensitive skin. The texture is that of a thick lotion, so a little goes a long way, making the generous price tag even better.

Due to its thicker consistency, some mums did recommend warming the lotion in your hands before applying which will make it easier to rub in. A clear winner for our best overall pick, this is an ideal choice for an everyday cream. 

2. Best budget nipple cream: Bennetts Nipple Cream

Bennets nipple cream

RRP: £4.94  | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Remove before breastfeeding? No | Type: Cream | Size: 30ml

What we love

  • Easily absorbed into the skin
  • Cheaper than many other creams

What to know 

  • Long list of ingredients
  • Contains petrolatum 

Our verdict 

If your nipples are particularly cracked and sore then the last thing you want to be doing is rubbing them. The non-sticky formula of the Bennetts cream means it absorbs easily into the skin without too much massaging and it's guaranteed not to stain clothes. It says it’s good for pregnant women too, to prepare skin for stretching and help with any itching. 

Many reviewers with particularly sore nipples preferred the lighter consistency of this cream to the more expensive and thicker ones. Like other budget creams, it does have a long list of ingredients and, whilst manufacturers claim it does not need to be washed off before a feed, it does contain some petrolatum so you may prefer to remove it before your baby latches on. 

Read next: The best nipple shields for breastfeeding mums

3. Best luxury nipple cream: Naydaya Breast Saviour Soothing Balm (formerly Nessa Organics)

Tub of Naydaya Breast Saviour Nipple Cream

RRP: £19 | Buy now from Selfridges 

Key specs

Remove before breastfeeding? No | Type: Cream | Size: 30ml 

What we love

  • Luxury packaging 
  • Vegan 

What to know 

  • Pricey 

What Mumsnet users say 

‘I have some Nessa Organics nipple balm which is wonderful. My baby isn’t born yet but I have been using it for cracked lips, burns etc and it has really helped things heal' - brand, under its former name, recommended by User4152790

Our verdict 

Sometimes, through those late nights and nappy changes, you might just want to treat yourself and enjoy a little luxury. Well, this balm from Naydaya - formerly Nessa Organics - can help as it's a lovely pampering product for breastfeeding. Just look at that chic packaging. 

We love that the balm is vegan, soothing and infused with cocoa and mango butter, we think you'll enjoy the feel. You decide if it’s worth the price tag. 

4. Best nipple cream for sensitive skin: Medela Purelan Lanolin Cream

Medela nipple cream

RRP: £10.49 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Remove before breastfeeding? No | Type: Cream | Size: 37g

What we love

  • Excellent for sensitive skin
  • Highly moisturising 
  • Quick absorbing and soothing qualities

What to know 

  • Some reviewers said the lotion was tricky to get out of the tube due to its thicker consistency

What Mumsnet users say 

'My son is 18 days old and just in the last couple of days it's become much less painful so hang in there! But also lots of lanisoh (or similar 100% lanolin cream - I'm using Medela purelan 100 which I find easier to apply), and have breast pads in to absorb the excess - really whack it on and especially into any cracks' - recommended by Mumsnet user ForestDragon

Our verdict 

This Purelan nipple cream is made up of 100% medical-grade lanolin and is free from additives, preservatives and fragrances. It is also hypoallergenic and dermatologically tested which is why we made it our top pick for those with sensitive skin. 

The cream 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 and rapid soothing qualities. Reviewers noted that the product did last a while due to its thicker consistency and intensive moisturising properties, so your money goes a long way. A big tick! 

5. Best lanolin-free nipple cream: Motherlove Herbal Nipple Cream

Motherlove nipple cream

RRP: £15.99 | Buy now on Amazon

Key Specs 

Remove before breastfeeding? No | Type: Cream | Size: 30ml 

What we love

  • Lanolin free and organic 
  • Contains ingredients like marshmallow root 
  • Can be great during pregnancy too 

What to know 

  • A little pricey 

What Mumsnet users say 

'You can get organic nipple balms for breastfeeding but I used them for dry nipples whilst pregnant with my second! Normal moisturiser did nothing. Weleda do one stocked in Boots and Motherlove is good on Amazon' - recommended by Mumsnet user tumtitum

Our verdict 

Motherlove Herbal Nipple Cream is organic and free of lanolin. It's unscented too with interesting organic ingredients like marshmallow root, calendula flower and even a bit if extra virgin oil (amongst other things). 

It soothes sore nipples but can also be used as a moisturiser for lips and hands. Like our Mumsnetter, some choose to use it in pregnancy too. 

Read next: The best nursing chairs for day and nighttime feeds

6. Best organic nipple cream: Weleda Nipple Balm

Weleda cream

RRP: £8.25 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Remove before breastfeeding? No | Type: Balm | Size: 25g

What we love

  • All natural ingredients
  • Highly moisturising
  • Excellent value for money

What to know 

  • 50g tube available (price on writing: £11)
  • Some reviewers noted that the cream did stain bras and breast pads
  • Still contains lanolin 

What Mumsnet users say 

“I always found coconut oil helpful or Weleda.” - brand recommended by Mumsnet user MildDrPepperAddiction

Our verdict 

Weleda specialise in organic products and their popular nipple balm, which was developed by midwives and pharmacists, is 100% Certified & Natural Organic (certified by Natrue). This balm does still contain lanolin though so if you’re allergic, this isn’t the option for you.

The Weleda balm contains some organic calendula extract and works fast to soothe and moisturise the skin. We love that it's lightweight, is absorbed easily and doesn't need to be washed off before a feed. It’s also excellent value for money, although be aware that the size is slightly smaller than some other options. Overall, we think it’s a great solution for mothers who want natural alternatives.

7. Best nipple cream for cracked nipples: Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm

Dr Lipp cream

RRP: £12 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Remove before breastfeeding? Not stated | Type: Balm | Size: 15ml

What we love

  • Intensively moisturising
  • Versatile

What to know 

  • A little on the pricier side given the amount you get in a tube

What Mumsnet users say 

‘I really like the Nuxe one, but got a sample of Dr Lipp’s Nipple Balm with a recent Space NK order and it was something else - next time I do an order I’ll be putting that in my basket too’ -  product recommended as lip balm by Judydreamsofhorses 

Our verdict 

The Dr. Lipp Nipple Balm certainly wins the award for most versatile product, boasting a number of uses in addition to soothing sore nipples, ranging from eyebrow shaping to shoe shining (yes really!)

With its thick consistency, this balm is ultra-hydrating (the manufacturers say it helps reduce skin dryness by 40% in the first hour) and it claims to help heal sore and cracked skin. That’s why we gave it the title of best nipple cream for cracked nipples.

It's made from ultra-pure, medical-grade lanolin and we like that it's tasteless and fragrance-free. The tube is just 15ml though, so it's not the most cost-effective option, despite its versatility.

Read next: The best baby bottle sterilisers

8. Best nipple cream for easy application: My Expert Midwife No Harm Nipple Balm

No Harm cream

RRP: £16.50 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Remove before breastfeeding? No | Type: Balm | Size: 30ml

What we love

  • Easy to dispense and apply
  • Great at soothing sore skin
  • Natural ingredients

What to know 

  • A little on the pricier side but glowing reviews

What Mumsnet users say 

'I used Lanisoh for nightime (its quite thick) and My Expert Midwife No Harm Nipple Balm for daytime, as it's much lighter' - recommended by Mumsnet user, Tina8800 

Our verdict 

This is the only one on our list to come with a dispenser. We love that the airless pump makes it more hygienic and much easier to dispense with one hand while holding baby with the other arm.

Whilst the formula includes medical-grade lanolin, the No Harm Nipple Balm also boasts almond and coconut oil, making it less thick in its consistency to ease application – ideal if you are already suffering from sore or cracked skin. We also like that all the ingredients are natural so it doesn't need to be removed before you start feeding, a handy feature for busy mums. Glowing reviews prove this balm is worth the extra expense.

9. Best natural nipple cream: Tommee Tippee Made for Me Nipple Cream

Tommee Tippee nipple cream

RRP: £9.49 | Buy now from Boots

Key specs

Remove before breastfeeding? No | Type: Cream | Size: 40ml

What we love

  • Highly moisturising
  • Natural ingredients - and just 3!
  • Great value for money

What to know 

  • Some reviewers noted it was a little watery in its consistency

Our verdict 

If there’s a brand parents trust when it comes to newborn essentials, it’s Tommee Tippee. Branching out into nipple cream, the much-loved company has delivered for mums once again, with many delighted reviewers praising this cream's benefits.

With no parabens, petroleum, lanolin or preservatives, the Made for Me Nipple Cream is a straightforward solution for keeping nipples moisturised for breastfeeding mums. It is also hypoallergenic and 100% natural, containing just three ingredients - avocado oil, beeswax and shea butter. And they claim the formula is non-sticky and won’t stain clothing. A serious contender to Lansinoh, it’s also excellent value for money, with one reviewer lauding it as ‘the best nipple cream there is’. 

10. Best vegan nipple cream: Mama Mio Keep Calm Nipple Balm

Tube of Mama Mio nipple balm

RRP: £12 | Buy now on Amazon

Key specs

Remove before breastfeeding? No | Type: balm | Size: 30ml

What we love

  • Vegan 
  • Dermatologically tested 
  • Recyclable packaging 

What to know 

  • Quite pricey

What Mumsnet users say 

'My preferred products for stretch marks were Burts Bees Mama Bee, Mamma Mio tummy butter plus Palmers cocoa butter' - brand recommended by Mumsnet user bananaramama

'I’m currently using the Mama Mio oil not the cream and it’s just amazing and definitely worth the money. Smells really fresh too and doesn’t make me nauseous' - recommended by Mumsnet user PurpleIsTheColour

Our verdict 

This instant-comfort nipple balm from a Mumsnetter-recommended brand is vegan, containing vegetable substitute for medical grade lanolin. It's got lots of other fab credentials: it's cruelty-free, dermatologically tested, fragrance free and the packaging is recyclable. Tick, tick, tick!

Ingredients include nourishing coconut oil, shea butter and vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that's great for skin protection. 

Read next: The best maternity and nursing bras as recommended by mums

When should I start using nipple cream?

If this is your first time breastfeeding, you'll likely experience some soreness, which is why most mums start using nipple cream as soon as they begin breastfeeding.

Stock up on nipple cream before you give birth so that you have some to hand as soon as you need it.

How often can I use nipple cream?

There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to the application of nipple cream but many of the mums on our forum said they chose to apply it after a feed to help relieve pain or discomfort after baby has latched.

Many of our recommended creams do not need to be washed off before feeding, but bear in mind that if you use too much just before a feed your nipple may become too slippery and prevent your baby from latching on properly. 

Is it safe to use nipple cream?

As always, when it comes to little ones, consult your pharmacist, midwife or GP if there’s anything you’re concerned or unsure about and always read the label to check which ingredients are in the cream you intend to use.

Creams made of organic oils or medical-grade lanolin will almost certainly be fine for both you and your baby. Creams containing petroleum or parabens are safe for skin application, but are not meant to be swallowed so will need washing off before letting your baby latch. 

Can you use Vaseline as nipple cream?

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.

What to look for when choosing a nipple cream

  • Price: You don’t need to spend loads to get good quality - our list is testament to that. But bear in mind that some of the cheaper products may be less concentrated, so you may need to use more.
  • Breastfeeding-safe: Most of the products we’ve recommended in this article are safe to leave on before a feed. If you’re using a product with petroleum in it then you will need to wipe it off before your baby latches on. Always read the label and check in with a healthcare professional if there’s anything you’re unsure about.
  • Fragrance: Some of our recommended creams are heavily scented whilst others are completely fragrance-free. Most fragrances are created through the inclusion of natural ingredients such as coconut and mango and, whilst they won’t do your baby any harm, some mums prefer to use something unscented so as not to interfere with baby’s feeding, particularly in the early days.
  • Consistency: Nipple creams vary in consistency from a thicker balm to a more watery lotion. Whilst a thicker cream may act as a more intensive moisturiser, you may need to rub it in a little more which may aggravate sore and chapped nipples. 
  • Your needs: Such as if you need a cream that’s vegan, lanolin-free, organic, for sensitive skin etc. 

What to do if you’re struggling with breastfeeding

As mums, we’re often told that breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world and whilst this may be true, natural is not necessarily synonymous with easy. If you feel like you’re struggling with breastfeeding then rest assured you’re not alone. 

Whilst it’s certainly a wonderful thing, it can be hard at times and we’re all in agreement that the best thing you can do is talk to someone. If you’re fortunate enough to have a support network of other mums, speak to them and we can guarantee others will have gone through the same thing. Our Mumsnet forums also have some insightful reflections and advice when it comes to feeding.

There are also numerous support networks and professional bodies who can help. Your midwife will be on hand to support you through those first few weeks and the NHS have an excellent comprehensive list of places where you can find support with breastfeeding.

On the trickier days remind yourself that it will get easier and that you are giving your baby a wonderful start in life. If things don’t go as smoothly as you’d hope they would, remember you’re doing a great job and as long as you and baby are happy and healthy, the rest will fall into place.

What’s the best nipple cream to buy?

It depends what you want from your nipple cream. We chose Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Nipple Cream as our best overall nipple cream because it’s really raved about, has natural ingredients, soothes and moisturises, and is hypoallergenic. 

In case you're wondering, 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. It's also 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.

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