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How to Choose Breast Pads and Nipple Creams for Breastfeeding

How to Choose Breast Pads and Nipple Creams for Breastfeeding

How do you choose breast pads and nipple creams for breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding might be natural, but boy ... it can be very hard going on your breasts! Here's our guide on how to choose soothing nipple creams and breast pads for those hardworking breastfeeding breasts.

How to Choose Breast Pads and Nipple Creams for Breastfeeding

How to Choose Nipple Creams

Weleda Nipple Care Cream

Ingredients: INCI: Water (Aqua), Sweet Almond Oil, Sesame Oil, Olive Oil, Ethanol, Yellow Beeswax, (Unbleached), Marigold (Calendula Officinalis), Flower, Lemon Juice, Marshmallow (Athaea Officinalis) Root, Jojoba Oil, Glyceryl, Monostearate (Vegetable), Horsetail (Equisetum Arvense) Herb, Lesser Nettle (Urtica Urens) Herb, Echinacea purpurea whole plant, Sodium Alginate (from seaweed), Silica, Angelica archangelica Root, German Chamomile (Chamomilla Recutita) Flower, Lavendula angustifolia Flower, St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) Flower, Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis) Concentrate, Lecithin, Rose Maroc (Rosa Centifolia) Absolute Oil, Lavender Oil, Fragrance, Styrax Benzoin Gum. Weleda Nipple Care Cream is available to buy at Hello Charlie

Nature’s Child Nipple Balm Certified Organic

Ingredients: Certified Organic Sunflower Oil, Certified Organic Olive Oil, Certified Organic Evening Primrose Oil, Certified Organic Beeswax, Certified Organic Shea Butter, Certified Organic Calendula infused in Sunflower Oil, Natural Vitamin E. Nature's Child Nipple Balm is available to buy at Hello Charlie

Lanolin Nipple Creams

There are a number of nipple creams on the market that are 100% medical grade, hypoallergenic lanolin. The instructions on these products say that the creams don’t have to be removed prior to breastfeeding. Products include:

  • Lansinoh Nipple Cream
  • Marcalan Nipple Cream
  • Nuk Nipple Cream
  • Medela PureLan

Lanolin based creams are a natural option, however, be aware that a small percentage of the population can have an allergic reaction to lanolin. All of these products have rate as 1 (low toxicity) on the EWG Skin Deep Database.


The most natural nipple cream of all is breastmilk. According to lactation consultants, just smear a little around your nipples after each feed, and this should be all you need. I have to say though, that this definitely didn't work for me. Maybe it's just because I have very dry skin, but I found that I needed a nipple cream when I was breastfeeding. However, you may find that you only need the nipple cream when your breasts are really sore, and the rest of the time you can get away with breastmilk. It's definitely worth a go!

PawPaw Ointments

I’ve also heard of pawpaw ointment being used, but personally I’d be a bit wary of this as not all pawpaw ointment manufacturers disclose all their ingredients (Lucas is one of them that withholds all ingredients as it’s apparently too ‘commercially sensitive’ for them to share). Unless you're sure that they're safe for baby to be ingesting, you either need to remove it before each breastfeed, or avoid it.

Ingredients to avoid

Whichever nipple cream you choose, it's a really good idea to avoid any that contain phenoxyethanol, as I know that there was a cream recalled in the US because it contained phenoxyethanol. It can cause nausea and vomiting, among other things, so it's really not good to put on your nipples when you're breastfeeding as your baby will then ingest it.

How to Choose Breast Pads

Reusable/Washable Breast Pads

As for breast pads, I'd always go with organic and I preferred reusables rather than disposables, but this is kind of a personal choice. It's good to have at least 3 pairs if you're going with reusables, as it means you don't need to wash everyday!

Breast pads made from bamboo rayon are more absorbent than organic cotton, but this depends on how you feel about bamboo. Hello Charlie stocks a number of different kinds of reusable breast pads:

Disposable Breast Pads

I've had customers tell me that having some disposable breast pads is really useful for the first few weeks, while you're getting used to breastfeeding and the whole new baby things, and I think this is probably good advice. Once again, I'd recommend organic cotton breastpads, as some disposables can be chlorine bleached. 

Comments: One of our lovely customers, Leah, made some great comments that I just had to share: I used nipple creams when establishing feeding for each baby and had sore cracked nipples. I was happy with Lansinoh because it helped and it stayed on. I used breastmilk as well. Another great product was one that was handed to me by my Mum's friend (it was almost as old as I was). It was a Medela Breast shell. The news ones look more flattering and comfortable than mine but either way it worked. It is a plastic shield that sits over the nipple with lots of holes in it to allow air flow. It also keeps clothes from rubbing on a sore nipple making it worse. I have used both reusable breast pads and disposable pads and the reusable ones were so much better. I would have used them for my first baby if I'd have known that they wouldn't be smelly or awkward and would be reliable. I used them for babies 2, 3 and 4. The only downside is that you don't want to loose them under the cushions of couches or leave them on your friends coffee table when you go home!

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