Is nipple cream safe for breastfeeding

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Discomfort around the nipple and areola is common, especially for the first time breastfeeders. There are many causes of it with the biggest one being the latch, as well as aggressive cluster feeding and tandem feeding. Many mums turn to specially made nipple creams o soothe the skin and help it repair quicker.

Setting aside the causes, which is a topic best left for another article, we’re going to look at nipple creams today and how safe they are for breastfeeding and to help you recover from very long and frequent sessions.

Types of nipple creams and breastfeeding safety

Breastmilk

Your own breastmilk is the best possible nipple cream and one many don’t think to use. Breastmilk is bursting with nutrients and easily absorbed by the skin. If you have sore nipples, try and express a little and apply on yourself and you’ll see surprising results. The same goes to applying it to your child’s skin if they are a little sore somewhere.

You can make it a little nicer to apply by chilling it a little bit so it cools your skin as well as hydrates it. It can be kept for a little while at room temperature to be used.

Clearly, this option is breastfeeding friendly, with no cost and can be applied pretty much anytime.

Are lanolin creams safe for breastfeeding?

There are two types of lanolin based nipple creams – purifier and unpurified. Unpurified can cause skin allergies for you and your baby and shouldn’t be used for breastfeeding purposes for this reason.

Lanolin has some alcohol in it as it is a naturally derived ingredient, purified versions have taken this away whereas the raw stuff still has some left over.

Is it safe?

Purified lanolin is safe to use as a nipple cream as it’s hypoallergenic and breathable, this means that the risk of skin issues is low and that the solution won’t clog up the Montgomery glands (montgomery glands are important for breastfeeding).

If possible, try to get an unscented cream because the scent can block the smell from your glands which the babies use.

Oil & Wax

Olive oil based creams with beeswax are breastfeeding friendly so long as its extra virgin oil and breathable. Generally, oils can sometimes clog up the Montgomery glands so be mindful to regularly bathe your areola/nipples frequently to unclog them.

Is it safe?

Yes, there was even a study to prove it.

Is it safe?

Oil and wax based nipple creams are generally very skin friendly as they are hypoallergenic and only include natural and organic ingredients.

Numbing creams

Creams such as Xylocaine should be avoided at all costs for breastfeeding mums for two reasons – they will numb the breasts which can affect let-down and supply and it can also numb the babies mouth which affects how well they can feed. It can be used if you know you’re not feeding for a long time to give it a chance to wear off but it should not be used when actively feeding.

Is it safe?

No.

Petroleum creams

Petroleum based nipple creams such as Vaseline are often used on dry and cracked skin, nipples and areola being some of them. However, the creams aren’t shown to do an awful lot and in fact the thickness can clog the glands which can often make things worse.

It can be made to work by limiting use and wiping clean between feeds but the fact remains it can clog you up.

Vaseline takes a while to dry off and it’s not something you’d ever want your baby to consume, either.

Is it safe?

It’s not the worst thing to use vaseline but there are certainly better and safer nipple creams for breastfeeding out there.

Which nipple creams are safest while breastfeeding?

Looking at the above, the safest creams to use during breastfeeding is your own breastmilk and purified lanolin cream.

Do nipple creams interrupt the montgomery gland?

Your Montgomery glands do two things and appear during pregnancy – they product a small amount of milk which gives off a scent for your newborn to increase their appetite and guide them to the nipple. The second, is to release an oily substance which hydrates and lubricates the nipple as a natural nipple cream. Creams on the area can disrupt the work of these glands and negating their positive effect.

Therefore, we recommend using nipple creams which are scent free and breathable so they don’t clog up these super important pores.