Monday, 9 April 2012

Review: Nipple Creams

Do I really need nipple cream or is breast milk alone sufficient?

Relief is definitely needed on sore, cracked or blistered nipples, be it via breast milk or commercially available creams. Trust me!...when the baby latches on incorrectly (which, by the way, happens very frequently to first time breastfeeding mums), nipples can end up cracked and blistered. If relief is not available, this might result in some mummies feeling depressed and giving up on breastfeeding eventually when the pain or soreness does not go away.

Breast milk has healing properties and natural antibodies that will help with pain and can be used by a mother to help relieve soreness. And the major advantage is that it is free! All you have to do is just to express a little bit of milk , apply it onto your nipples and areola and let them air dry.

Some mummies swear by this method and they are a lucky lot as they would not need to purchase any lanolin creams. However, breast milk might not provide enough relief for other mummies who would then need to turn to products available in the market to help relieve the soreness.
For me, the use of breast milk did not really work and I had to 'seek help' from one of the nipple cream during breastfeeding.   

When do I start using nipple cream?
Nipple creams work just like lip gloss except that they are for your boobs, lol. So anytime you experience dry or cracked nipples, you can start using them. For me, I started using my Lansinoh nipple cream before breastfeeding started as I experienced dry, cracked and on top of that, itchy nipples during pregnancy. I didn’t have any breast milk then to make it heal naturally. :)
I had originally planned to get them only after delivery so it was kinda of a last minute purchase. I chose to purchase Lansinoh after almost 90% of my USA colleagues who are mummies 'promoted' it and true enough, it did provide almost instant relief the first night and the nipples felt much smoother the following day.

Brands of nipple cream  

There are generally 2 more popular brands of nipple cream with mummies in Singapore: Lansinoh and Medela.
Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Nipple Cream

- Only nipple cream endorsed in the US by La Leche League International *
- 100% natural – world’s purest lanolin
*La Leche League International is a non-profit mother-to-mother breastfeeding support organisation.  

Medela Tender Care TM Lanolin

- Contains all natural ingredients: lanolin, caprylic/capric triglyceride and PEG-3 sorbitan stearate
- Glides on smoothly

What do I look out for in nipple creams?

Chemicals / ingredients used

The most important factor to me is the ingredients used since the cream will be applied on your nipples that go into direct contact with your baby during breastfeeding. I took steps to ensure that the cream is 100% pure lanolin as this means any impurities are reduced to the lowest and is safe for the baby.

Nipple creams made of pure lanolin do not require washing off prior to breastfeeding. Having said that, I only applied the cream after breastfeeding as it takes time for the skin to absorb and they are meant for my nipples, not to feed my baby!


Another factor that I used to differentiate between nipple creams is the texture of the cream. I personally prefer Lansinoh to other brands in the market as the cream is thick enough to allow it to stay on the nipples and be absorbed. No doubt it feels sticky at first touch but the nipples do turn smooth once the cream has been absorbed. To me, the texture feels similar to Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1, another product that I swear by. 
The texture of Medela’s cream, on the other hand, seemed a little too thin to me and doesn’t stay on too well. Of course, the other side of the coin is that it really does glide on easily but it makes me wonder if the cream is indeed absorbed by the skin or actually gets stained off the nursing bra.

I suspect that the thin texture could be due to the caprylic/capric triglyceride ingredient (Read: caprylic/capric triglyceride is a mixed triester, a specific fraction of fatty acids drawn from coconut oil and glycerin and comes in the form of an oily liquid) and some mummies reportedly are put off by the smell.

Of course, I have also known mummies who took issues with the thick Lansinoh cream which feels like putting some peanut butter or honey syrup on the nipples! So the texture factor is really up to your preference.  

Regardless of the method that is suitable for you, always remember to keep your nipples clean (do not wash it with alcohol or soap – clean water will do) and let your nipples be open to air as much as possible. Also, if the nipples show no signs of healing, it could signal infection so please approach your doctor and seek professional advice!  


  1. How much is the lansinoh cream? Only one standard size? I am currently 16 weeks but had horrid experience being 'bitten' by my son...I don't suffer from cracked dry nipples at this moment but thought of prepping them for my new baby due in oct. will the cream make any diff to me?

  2. Hi mum2oneds,

    I'm helping to ship in the Lansinoh nipple cream (40g) at $13.00. You can check out the prices under the "Great Deals" page. If you are keen, you can participate in the pre order 4 which will start around mid May.

    You mean to apply them now? Personally, I feel that unless you are experiencing dry, cracked or itchy nipples (which I did prior to the arrival of my baby). If they are fine at the moment, then probably you can save your money till October. :)

    Hope this helps!

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