Best Nipple Lubricant for Breastfeeding

The Best Nipple Lubricant

Soothing Sore Nipples

written by Sarah Davis

There are some common sayings many of us are told by well-meaning friends, family, and even strangers. And for those planning on breastfeeding it can be confusing. 

“Your nipples are going to be so sore! Be sure to use Lanolin weeks before the baby arrives.” 
“Ouch, your nipples are looking pink. Slather some nipple butter on them.” 
“After every feed use *this* for your nipples, it prevents the soreness.”

Should I use Lansinoh HPA Lanolin, Earth Mama Nipple Butter, Medela Tender Care Lanolin? As you search you find more and more options from lanolin, lanolin-free, organic to non-GMO. Some people are even told to utilize non-evidence based method like wet tea bags or creams. So where can you find the best lubricant for your nipples?

The answer is with you all along, your own nipples!

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On the areaola, the area surrounding the nipple, is the Montgomery Glands. These little glands sometimes appear as tiny bumps around the areola. The Montgomery Glands' job is to secrete an oily natural lubricant that not only prevents soreness, but the scent the glands releases is what draws your baby to you when they are first born. 

It smells exactly like your amniotic fluid.

A newborn baby, when undisturbed, will crawl all the way to their mother’s breast on their own, following the amniotic scent from their hands as a marker. Talk about an amazing connection!

WHY USE YOUR OWN BODy'S LUBRICANT?

The other amazing healing lubricant is your own breast milk. It’s anti-bacterial and the healing properties in the breast milk aid in healing the soreness of your nipples. You can express a few drops to rub around the nipple and allow to air-dry or simply utilize the time when nursing as a “wet method” of healing.

Using a store bought nipple lubricant may prevent you from seeing what is causing the soreness. In most cases the soreness you are experiencing is because of an incorrect latch. When nipples are cracked, damaged, or misshapen, this is a sign that something is not normal with your nursing latch. Though the store-bought lubricants may bring relief, they won’t fix the problem.

Using a store-bought lubricant, raises your risk of infecting your nipples. Rubbing your fingers, which often contain bacteria, onto the cracks on your nipples introduces bacteria to the nipple. (If you decide to use a store bought lubricant always wash your hands before applying to minimize the risk of infection)

Your nipples may already be infected, which means all the lanolin in the world won’t help. Ask your care provider for support if you are noticing signs of infection. You will most likely be given an antibiotic, systemic or topical, that will be much more affective than any over the counter cream.

Tasty appetizer?

Lanolin is made from the oil of sheep wool. In some cases a mother or infant may be allergic. Take a taste of the nipple lubricant. I did this and I have to tell you, it taste awful.

Would you want that to be slathered on your meal?

I know what my answer would be. 

Does that mean you should never use a Nipple Lubricant?

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Absolutely not, it is your body and your personal nursing relationship. I encourage you to find what works for you and the unique needs you may have. If you are experiencing discomfort, soreness, and cracked nipples, please look beyond treating the symptoms and get to the heart of the issue with help from non-judgmental and supportive Lactation Specialists.

Nipple Treatments to Avoid

If you decide using a store bought lubricant is right for you, don’t forget there are still methods that are outdated, and in some cases harmful to your babies health. 100% Lanolin is still considered the best out of all the store bought options.

  • Vitamin E capsules were once a common form of nipple lubricant. However, studies now show that Vitamin E levels will rise in the infant and may cause concern.
  • Cortizone cream will raise the blood pressure and cause other issues in an infant.

In-Home Breastfeeding Support

Tulsa Family Doulas is proud to support each family with their unique feeding goals and assist you with personal, evidence-based, and non-judgmental care. We have Lactation Specialists as well as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant available to come to your home in Tulsa and surrounding areas to give you specialized service based on you and your family's needs. 

We strive to bring you our absolute best every moment we are with you. Contact us for your in-home private consult with our highly-trained and compassionate Lactation Specialists today.