Can a breastfeeding mom use cream to relieve soreness? I have sore, tender nipples from nursing my newborn. I know there are creams available, but I read that nursing mothers shouldn't use anything on their nipples. What can I do?
I am so pleased to hear you have chosen to breastfeed, and that you are continuing in spite of some discomfort. Usually, we recommend only expressed breast milk on sore nipples. Express a few drops and gently cover the nipple and areola and let them air dry. There are anti-infective properties in breast milk that will help to heal any tiny cracks you may have.
Some women feel this measure is not quite enough, so we also allow purified lanolin (Lansinoh® or PureLan™) in addition to expressed breast milk.
Other breast creams on the market often use petroleum distillates as a base and are never recommended, so please read labels if you choose to use a different cream. Many books also suggest Vitamin E, but we haven't found that it provides any obvious benefit.
Fortunately, the tenderness tends to go away after four to six weeks. If you notice any skin breaking, redness or a fever, please call a lactation consultant or your gynecologist immediately.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.