- #1. Motherlove Organic Salve
- #2. Earth Mama Vegan Nipple Butter
- #3. Tiny Human Supply Co Nipple Crack Organic Nipple Balm
- #4. Made of Soothing Organic Nipple Cream
- #5. Bamboobies Boob Ease Organic Nipple Balm
- #6. Camille Beckman Balm
- How to use nipple balm
- What to avoid when choosing nipple cream (and what to look for)
There are many joyous things about pregnancy and nursing an infant, but cracked nipples are not one of them. During those first few days or weeks while your baby is learning to latch and your body is getting used to something totally new, it’s likely you’ll experience dry, cracked, painful nipples that could benefit from a high-quality nipple balm.
Nipple balm is big business. After all, there were more than 3.7 million babies born in the US in 2019 alone, and a lot of tired and sore folks trying to feed them. At the end of this post, you’ll find some quick tips on what to avoid when choosing nipple balm or cream (such as, you know, toxic ingredients that can harm your baby if ingested). First though, here are my top picks for the best organic nipple balm for 2021.
Motherlove is a women-owned, family-run, Certified B Corp and has been in the business for more than 30 years. It operates a 98% zero-waste facility, has a robust carbon offset program, and encourages active commuting by employees. The company also has a large number of solar panels that help generate the electricity used to power operations.
In addition to being generally awesome, Motherlove makes arguably the best organic nipple cream around. This simple cream has a smooth texture for easy application, does not need to be washed off before feeding your baby as it is lanolin-free and free of toxic ingredients. It is mostly plant-based, with a dash of beeswax for consistency.
Motherlove nipple cream can also be used as a diaper rash ointment, as well as a lip balm, general moisturizer, and to lubricate breast pump flanges to prevent irritation and blistering. It is certified organic and Cruelty-Free but, due to the beeswax is not vegan, unfortunately.
This organic salve is packaged in reusable/recyclable glass bottles with recyclable metal lids.
Ingredients: Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Certified Organic Ingredient), Beeswax (Certified Organic Ingredient), Shea Butter (Certified Organic Ingredient), Marshmallow Carrot (Certified Organic Ingredient), Calendula Flower (Certified Organic Ingredient).
The best vegan-friendly nipple cream around, Earth Mama’s Vegan Nipple Butter is soothing, buttery, moisturizing, and packed with healing herbs. Earth Mama makes a point of using organic ingredients, and the butter is Non-GMO Project Verified. That means you don’t need to wash off the butter before nursing your baby.
Earth Mama Vegan Nipple Butter can be applied after each feeding or as needed and can also be used for pump flanges, lips, cheeks (both kinds!), heels, cuticles, elbows, and more. It contains no lanolin, parabens, or petroleum products, and no fragrance, SLS, or any other troublesome ingredients. The butter has been clinically tested to ensure no irritation and is Cruelty-Free and certified organic by Oregon Tilth.
This product is packaged in BPA-free PET (plastic) jars which are tinted to protect against light damage. This PET is readily recyclable and is a good alternative to glass as it is much lighter to transport and is safer in that it doesn’t shatter. While locally sourced nipple butter in glass containers would be ideal, this kind of plastic packaging is arguably more sustainable and safe when shipped long distances and for storing in diaper bags and when used in slippery situations.
Ingredients: Organic Olive (Olea Europaea) Fruit Oil, Organic Cocoa (Theobroma Cacao) Seed Butter, Organic Shea (Butyrospermum Parkii) Butter, Candelilla (Euphorbia Cerifera) Wax, Organic Mango (Mangifera Indica) Seed Butter, Organic Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) Flower Extract
Tiny Human Supply Co. make a fantastic certified organic nipple balm called Nipple Crack which is free from sulfates, parabens, phthalates, dyes and other troublesome chemicals. I love that the company provides safety data sheets (SDS) for their products, including for Nipple Crack.
The co-founder of the company, John, confirmed via email that the balm is packaged in a BPA/BPS-free recyclable plastic PET jar (#1) and has a lid made of polypropylene (#5) which is recyclable in some places. Both personally and professionally, the parents behind Tiny Human Supply Co. are making an effort to be more eco-friendly, including through the use of solar energy and insulation to cut energy use.
Nipple Crack won’t stain your clothes and is free from lanolin and other potentially problematic ingredients, so it doesn’t need to be washed off prior to feedings. It’s also cruelty-free and acts fast for quick relief with no sticky residue.
Ingredients: Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Cera Alba (Beeswax)*, Oleas Europeae (Olive) Fruit Oil*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe Vera) Powder*, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Oil*
*USDA Certified Organic Ingredient (Certified by Oregon Tilth)
Made of Soothing Organic Nipple Cream is made with 95% organic and 5% natural ingredients and, as per usual with this company, has a transparent ingredients list you can trust. It is free of GMOs, soy, lanolin, nuts, and gluten, and doesn’t need to be washed off before feeding your baby.
The product is packaged in a plastic tube (BPA and BPS free), which makes for easy application and is lightweight for carrying with you. The plastic is recyclable in many places, so check with your local facilities.
Ingredients: Organic aloe barbadensis (aloe vera), Organic argania spinosa (argan) oil, Organic butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, Organic calendula officinalis (calendula), Organic cera alba (beeswax), Organic cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, Organic helianthus annuus (sunflower) oil, Organic olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, Organic persea grattisima (avocado).
Bamboobies Boob ease Organic Nipple Balm is 100% organic, mostly plant-based (it includes beeswax) and offers soothing relief for nipples. You don’t need to wipe it off before feeding your baby, but as it contains olive oil you probably want to use washable nursing pads to protect clothing.
Boob Ease includes marshmallow root and calendula flower to soothe irritated skin and is free from lanolin, parabens, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances. It has not been tested on animals and is made in the USA. It also won the Gold Mom’s Choice Award.
The product is packaged in a plastic pot, making it lightweight and convenient for carrying. The plastic is recyclable in many places, so check with your local facilities.
Ingredients: Olea Europaea (extra virgin olive) Oil*, Cera Alba (beeswax)*, Butyrospermum Parkii (shea butter) Butter*, Althea Officinalis (marshmallow root)*, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula flower)*
Camille Beckman Balm for Mom and Baby is a TSA-approved stick-type balm that is easy to apply and can be used on nipples, lips, cheeks, and pretty much anywhere else it is needed. It is made using just six natural ingredients including a cocoa butter base and jojoba oil and does not need washing off before feeding.
This product is packaged in recyclable plastic, which makes it a great lightweight choice for when you’re out and about. Just be sure to recycle the package once you’re done!
Camille Beckman is a green company with its very own ‘Green Building’ in Idaho which uses a range of water- and energy-saving protocols to keep energy consumption low.
Ingredients: Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil, Theobrona Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Bees Wax, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape Seed) Oil.
How to use nipple balm
Some people only need to use nipple balm for a couple of weeks as their body gets used to the suction of a newborn. For others, nipple cream may be an ongoing need to keep nipples healthy and happy.
Cracked nipples are vulnerable to infection, which could lead to mastitis and associated pain and trouble with breastfeeding. (This is why it’s also important to change breast pads often as these can harbor bacteria in the moist environment.) If you experience a fever, or any swelling or pus, seek medical attention as these can indicate infection.
Before using nipple cream, make sure your nipples are clean and clean (and clean your hands too). Apply nipple cream generously and give it time to be absorbed before getting dressed again. Apply the cream whenever relief is needed, such as after feeding and after showering or bathing.
Other ways to help reduce nipple irritation include using a warm washcloth prior to feeding and a cool washcloth immediately after, and before air drying and applying cream. Taking care of your nipples right from the get-go can help prevent problems down the line. Don’t ‘tough it out’ – you’re already doing one of the toughest things in the world. I’d strongly recommend having at least one jar of nipple cream on hand just in case.
On the off chance that you buy nipple cream and don’t use it, for help when feeding, you can use almost all of the balms and creams above for your lips, elbows, heels, other areas of dry or irritated skin and even for diaper rash. Or donate unopened products to a local women’s shelter, food bank, or other organization.
What to avoid when choosing nipple cream (and what to look for)
You’d think that a product intended to be applied to a sensitive area of the body and that may be ingested by a tiny human would be totally safe but the reality is that there are nipple creams out there that contain some nasty ingredients. These vary in terms of their potential to harm an infant (and the person feeding them), but with plenty of safe, non-toxic, 100% natural and organic nipple creams available there’s no need to compromise anyone’s safety or wellbeing.
So, what should you avoid when choosing nipple cream? The easiest approach is to look for creams that contain ingredients you don’t recognize and/or can’t pronounce. The ingredients list of the best nipple balms and creams typically contains fewer than 10 items, all of which are natural and recognizable as plant-based ingredients (plus beeswax in many cases).
Be sure to check both ‘active’ and ‘inactive’ ingredients as some companies will be a bit mischievous and loudly proclaim the handful of natural components but fail to show you the full ingredients list unless you really dig around.
Avoid creams that contain any of the following:
- Parfum/fragrance (this can hide all manner of nasty ingredients)
- Petroleum-based ingredients (such as Vaseline, which can clog glands in the breast and don’t allow air flow to the skin)
- Alcohol-based ingredients (these dry skin out, which is a big no-no for cracked skin)
- Lanolin (a potential allergen derived from sheepskin/wool)
- Numbing ingredients (these can dull nipple pain but you really don’t want to numb your baby’s mouth! They can also numb the let-down reflex.)
- Chlorphenesin (a respiratory depressant and muscle relaxant which can cause nerve dysfunction and slow or shallow breathing in infants and dermatitis in the person nursing their baby)
- Phenoxyethanol (a preservative common in cosmetics, this can depress the central nervous system and cause vomiting, diarrhea, and serious dehydration in infants).
The latter two ingredients were found in a nipple cream that was flagged in 2008 by the US Food and Drug Administration. Thankfully, the product is no longer for sale, but other creams may still contain these potentially very harmful chemicals and help highlight the importance of using a specific nipple cream rather than a regular lotion or moisturizer.