Breastfeeding your baby has so many amazing benefits for both mother and child. Gazing into one another’s eyes, your tiny new baby is learning your smell, your taste, your sound and is instantly comforted and secure in your arms as they nurse. As wonderful and natural as breastfeeding is, there is commonly some discomfort and even pain experienced by mothers particularly in those early weeks of feeding a newborn.
Your baby is learning to latch properly for the very first time and your sensitive nipples do take some time to get used to this new sucking sensation which seems to be happening all day and night! Personally, it took nearly 8 weeks before I could breastfeed my son without wincing in pain and there were certainly moments where I wondered if this was just too much work.
The game-changer for me was when I began to use an organic nipple cream to give my nipples the opportunity to heal. Nipple creams allow your nipples some sweet relief between feeds and limit further bruising and cracks from occurring. In terms of its affordability, convenience and range of other uses, I actually found that organic coconut oil worked best as an organic nipple cream for breastfeeding. But there is a range of beautiful natural products out there to use for this purpose. As your baby is likely to ingest whatever product you choose, it is CRUCIAL that you look for something that is non-toxic.
Badger Organic Nursing Balm - Sunflower & Coconut
- ORGANIC NIPPLE BALM - With just five simple ingredients, our certified...
- BEESWAX & COCONUT OIL - Badger Nursing Balm is certified gluten-free and...
- NATURAL & ORGANIC INGREDIENTS - Just five simple, all natural and certified...
- BOTANICAL INGREDIENTS - Free-of artificial ingredients, fragrances, dyes,...
- CERTIFIED ORGANIC - Badger products are USDA Certified Organic and...
There are so many things to love about this nipple cream. It contains sunflower, beeswax, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and carnauba wax - just 5 natural, gentle and certified organic ingredients that work together to provide soothing relief for sore and damaged nipples.
Badger Organic Nursing Balm importantly does not contain any artificial or toxic ingredients, dyes, lanolin or petroleum. It is hypoallergenic and pediatrician-tested to ensure it is safe for you and your baby to use. You do not need to wipe this cream off before feeding. Plus, the coconut and beeswax fragrance of the cream is gentle and pleasant.
Lastly, Badger Organic Nursing Balm is packaged in reusable pocket-sized tins, making it so convenient and discrete to slip into your purse or nappy bag to use on the go.
Handmade Heroes Free the Nips Nursing Balm
- 100% natural, vegan & cruelty-free
- NO Nasties - Made without beeswax, lanolin, vitamin E, petroleum, mineral...
- Healing and soothing with Calendula extract and all natural plant based...
- For sore, cracked, or growing nipples, for breastfeeding and expecting moms...
- A luxuriously soothing with mango butter, shea butter and cocoa butter....
If you would prefer to use a vegan-friendly natural and organic nipple cream while breastfeeding, Handmade Heroes Free the Nips Nursing Balm is a wonderful plant-based product to try. It is made from cocoa butter, olive oil, shea butter, mango butter, candedilla wax, rice bran oil, sunflower oil and calendula flower extract. This cream contains absolutely no animal products, lanolin, petroleum, fragrances, harmful or synthetic additives. It hydrates and protects tender nipples and is also completely safe for your baby, so again there is no need to wipe away before feeding. Free the Nips Nursing Balm feels beautiful to apply and does not seem to require any additional softening or warming before use, which is excellent.
So, what about if you want to try something straight out of your kitchen cabinet as a nipple cream for breastfeeding?
Coconut oil is a wonderful natural option to use to protect and heal nipples while breastfeeding. It is completely safe (and has a pleasant taste) for your baby to ingest and there is no need to wipe it from your nipples (or hands) before feeds. I would absolutely recommend using only unrefined, extra virgin organic coconut oil to ensure it is pure and chemical-free.
As with any product to be used on your skin, it is wise to patch test a small amount first to check for any allergies or irritations, and discontinue use if you or your baby experience any discomfort or rash. It’s also helpful to note that any oil-based nipple cream will mark your clothing, so you may like to use breast pads to prevent extra work removing oil stains.
Does Coconut Oil Heal Cracked Nipples?
Organic coconut oil is known for its healing and moisturizing benefits for all over the body, including for use on cracked nipples. Coconut oil works to heal cracked nipples by preventing dryness and allowing the sensitive skin a break to heal and strengthen between feeds. It has natural antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties which can help to reduce the likelihood of developing nipple thrush while breastfeeding.
How Do You Heal Cracked Nipples from Breastfeeding?
If you notice your nipples are cracked (you will literally see tiny cracks in the skin and the nipples may appear bruised, tender and even bleeding), there are a number of things you can do to help them heal, while continuing your breastfeeding journey.
- Use a nipple cream – if you noticed an infection that may have developed in or around your nipples, please consult your doctor or pharmacist, it might be that you need a specific product prescribed.
- Use breastmilk - Gently express a few drops of fresh breastmilk onto a clean finger or cotton pad and dab on affected nipples between feeds. Leave to airdry for a few minutes and you should notice an instant soothing feeling. Breastmilk has incredible antibacterial and antifungal properties and is of course totally safe for your baby! (FYI, other great uses for breastmilk while you’re lactating include – squirt a few drops in eyes affected by conjunctivitis/pink eye, dab a few drops of breastmilk on pimples and leave to dry for a great overnight treatment, pour some pumped milk into bathwater for your baby or yourself for a gentle and moisturizing soak!)
- Go topless - Let your nipples catch some fresh air between feeds and remove your top and nursing bra to speed up the healing process. This is also great to do when your milk comes in and your breasts are feeling swollen and engorged.
- Cabbage leaves –cold, clean cabbage leaves are an effective, natural way to soothe and treat cracked nipples. If you can, buy an organic cabbage for this purpose. Strip the leaves, wash and leave to dry on paper towel before storing in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Between breastfeeds, place a cold leaf down your bra over each breast and enjoy the cooling sensation.
- Correct latch – In addition to any or all of these steps, do check to make sure you baby is latching well to the breast at each feed. Apart from the initial 10-15 seconds of a feed, if the latch is correct and you are holding your baby comfortably, breastfeeding should not be painful. If you are feeling continued pain and discomfort, unlatch your baby by sliding your clean pinky finger into the corner of their mouth to release the seal, reposition and try again. You can contact your doctor or midwife/lactation consultant to get further assistance and rule out any other issues if required.
Can I Use Shea Butter as Nipple Cream?
Pure shea butter is another effective, safe and natural nipple cream to use while breastfeeding for you and your baby. It has deeply moisturizing properties and is beneficial for skin repair and strengthening and you may already have some in your cupboards for other uses. As shea butter is derived from the nut of the shea tree, those prone to allergies may prefer to avoid this product. You should try to source organic, pure and sustainable produced shea butter if possible.
Is Coconut Oil Better Than Lanolin?
Lanolin, which is an oil derived from sheep’s wool, is commonly recommended as an effective treatment for painful and cracked nipples when breastfeeding. There are a few reasons why it is worth using coconut oil over lanolin on your nipples. While it is largely regarded as safe for your baby to ingest, there is a risk that lanolin may contain harmful pesticides that you and your baby do not want to be exposed to, whereas organic coconut oil is chemical and pesticide free. Also, lanolin would not be suitable for use for vegans as it is an animal product. In terms of ease of use, coconut oil solidifies in cooler temperatures which means you may need to warm it slightly – even just with the heat from your hands – before applying to your nipples. Once softened, coconut oil is much gentler and smoother to apply than lanolin, which tends to be thick and sticky and create a bit of a mess. Lastly, as already touched upon, coconut oil has natural antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties which can help to reduce the likelihood of developing nipple thrush while breastfeeding.
Cracked nipples are a painful and frustrating obstacle to your breastfeeding journey but rest assured that they can be on the road to recovery in just a few days with the help of an organic nipple cream. Once your nipples have had the opportunity to heal, feeding your baby should quickly become easy, enjoyable and pain-free (until you baby starts to grow some teeth that is…and then you may need to use some nipple cream again!). You will be amazed at some of the acrobatics your growing baby will perform while breastfeeding, all without harm to your incredible nipples!