Welcome to the wonderful world of motherhood! You’re about to embark on an exciting new journey in your life. With all the new changes come added responsibilities and early decisions that can impact the well-being of your precious little baby. As new moms, we want to provide the best the world has to offer, and it all starts with your little one's safety. Breastfeeding is a blissful bonding moment for you and baby. But for some mommies, it can be a source of discomfort and pain, especially in the initial stages of breastfeeding when baby is first learning to latch on. And while initial discomfort is expected, nursing your baby should not be a painful and agonizing experience for moms who decide to breastfeed!
Fortunately, there are many nipple creams for breastfeeding that can help soothe and alleviate sore, cracked nipples. So how do you choose the best nipple cream that’s both good for your baby’s health and yours, while providing the most efficient relief for your sensitive nipples?
Here are five recommendations to consider when choosing a good breastfeeding cream.
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1. Use A Natural Nipple Cream
What do natural ingredients really mean? Because what you apply topically goes directly into your newborn’s mouth, we recommend using plant-based creams that are good for baby to ingest. Aim for a natural nipple creams for babies that are free of parabens, mineral oil and petroleum. If the product label suggests to remove or wash off the cream before nursing, it’s probably not a natural nipple cream option.
In addition, some ingredients can cause skin irritations to an already sensitive area of your body. Avoid nipple balms that contain alcohol, which can be over-drying for your nipples, and ensure all ingredients are good for newborns whose delicate skin is more prone to allergies and baby eczema.
When looking for the best options, check out the top-rated breastfeeding creams featured in the Nipple Cream EWG list.
2. Opt for Soothing, Plant-Based Nipple Cream Ingredients
Using a nourishing, natural and plant-based breastfeeding cream is a great choice. Applying a regular, soothing ointment during the first few weeks of nursing will create a protective barrier on your skin and make it more resistant to cracks, tears and chapping. Look for nursing balms that contain a nurturing blend of natural, calming ingredients like Shea Butter, Olive and Argan oil, and Calendula extract to help nourish your skin and prevent it from chapping. These plant-based ingredients are known for their amazing healing and scarring properties and will help reduce nipple soreness and inflammation, rendering your breastfeeding experience more pleasurable.
Shea butter is an excellent emollient that will help keep nipples soft, supple and resilient by creating a protective barrier on your skin. It moisturizes, protects and regenerates your skin and is great for healing minor cuts and cracks caused by baby nipping on the breast when they start to teeth. Calendula extract can also be beneficial. It is a great moisturizer for severely chapped or cracked nipples and helps soothes and reduce the pain of breastfeeding. Coconut oil is very effective at treating cracked nipples. It has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral properties and has a natural ability to heal quickly while keeping you safe from infections.
3. Favor Fragrance-Free Breastfeeding Creams
The best natural nursing balms for babies are free of synthetic fragrances. Babies are accustomed to their mother’s natural scent and may react negatively to “foreign” fragrances. Scented nipple creams can cause a nursing fuss and deter your baby from feeding. In addition, they have no added benefits in healing your sore and cracked nipples.
Scented lotions and perfumes can also cause dry itchy skin and severe discomfort and make nursing painful for moms. Because your body goes through so many hormonal changes during pregnancy and breastfeeding, a scented lotion that hasn’t aggravated your skin in the past could potentially irritate your skin today.
4. Choose a Smooth, Fast-Absorbing Nursing Cream
Opt for a lightweight, fast-absorbing nursing cream with a smooth texture that is easy to apply and glides on smoothly. Rubbing on a sticky or greasy cream with only make the application more painful on your already sensitive nipples.
A greasy or oily consistency makes your skin more “slippery” and more difficult for your baby to latch on properly, which can be frustrating. In addition, some greasy textures and creams can also stain your clothes upon application. Why resort to breast pads when you can buy a fast-absorbing nipple cream?
5. Pick Hypoallergenic Skin Care Ingredients
Choose non-irritating, natural breastfeeding creams that contain hypoallergenic skin care ingredients specifically formulated for sensitive skin. Be on the lookout for possible allergens or ingredients you or your baby may be allergic to. Mild allergic reactions, marked by redness, small red bumps or itchiness are quite common in infants. The rash can be triggered or aggravated by exposure to scented creams and lotions.
Lanolin, a popular ingredient found in mainstream nipple cream brands, is an animal by-product derived from the sheep’s wool that could cause skin irritations, allergic reactions and skin rashes to appear on your child’s delicate skin. Many women experience unknown wool allergies and may find out only after applying lanolin cream on their sore nipples. So if you or your child experience wool allergies, do not use lanolin nipple creams. In addition, if you have reservations about using animal products or are vegan, you may want to consider buying a vegan, plant-based cream.
Because it is difficult to remove all traces of lotion you applied prior to breastfeeding -- and it’s likely the last thing you’ll think of when baby is hungry - his skin will pick up any scented lotion left on your skin, exposing him to the risk of allergies and eczema.
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