Breastfeeding: Are nipple creams necessary?

I am currently 35 weeks pregnant and would like to use pure lanolin while nursing. Should I be careful using this product with a family history of allergies?

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Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

Usually, when breastfeeding is going well (there's no pain),  creams and lotions aren't necessary.

If sore or cracked nipples do become a problem, the first thing to do is to determine the cause. Often, sore nipples are the result of poor positioning and attachment (unresolved nipple pain often can lead to early weaning).

If you do end up with sore nipples, and are certain that your baby is properly positioned and attached, express breas tmilk directly onto your nipple and areola following a feed and allow to air dry. Breast milk is very effective in helping sore nipples to heal quickly, and can also help to prevent a bacterial infection.

When considering nipple creams, ointments and oils, keep in mind that some can delay healing, can clog nipple pores and milk ducts, and may cause allergic reactions. Some moms with sore, cracked nipples are helped by the application of hypoallergenic medical grade anhydrous lanolin. You could try Lansinoh, which is sold over the counter.

Apply a pea-sized amount as needed, following a feed. This can provide a moisture barrier that may aid in healing and may help to reduce pain. If you have a negative reaction to any product, discontinue use. Be sure to see a lactation consultant if you have persistent nipple pain.

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