Let’s be honest… breastfeeding can be painful. Especially the first week and when your baby starts teething!
When I was pregnant with #1, I had romancing visions of happily cuddling & nursing my sweet little baby… oh man, all that went out the window at the first latch.
After the first few nursings… my nipples were painfully sore and cracked.
After almost 3 days of nursing… I was grinding my teeth & curling my toes every time my baby latched on. I was not prepared for the pain! I wished someone had said something about that important little big detail while I was pregnant!
But I made it through… with some lanolin and lots of prayer.
Concerns about Lanolin
I don’t know about you, but I really hated using that common lanolin stuff on my nipples! I felt that it didn’t help much. I hated the oily feel and the stains it left on my bras & shirts. I did not feel much relief and found it uncomfortable on my sore nipples.
What exactly is Lanolin? I didn’t know until I did some research and found out that Lanolin is the greasy discharge from a sheep’s sebaceous glands. It is used in all kinds of cosmetics, from lip balms, shaving creams, hair products to breastfeeding creams. Although it has been touted as highly effective in soothing & healing chapped skin (but not for me!), lanolin usually contains a heavy load of pesticides from the wool being soaked in chemicals to remove parasites before the lanolin is scoured out of it.
Since your baby will basically be ingesting small amounts of whatever you smear on your nipples, it is critical for the ingredients to be safe (in my humble opinion). Many mamas swear by lanolin, but I rather use more natural ingredients that are 100% edible and safe! At the moment, there are no organic options for lanolin out there.
Unfortunately and completely clueless at the time, I used lanolin with both my first and second babies… after that, I promised myself to find a different alternative.
Finding an Alternative Relief
Thankfully, it was my mom who found it. A herbal nipple cream called Motherlove that she picked up at Whole Foods. I used it after Tobias was born and…
- LOVED. IT.
It smelled good, did not feel oily, felt really soothing, absorbed quickly into my skin and did not stain my bras & shirts. I clearly remember my nipples healing very quickly… like 4 or 5 days! I used it again with Poema, my 4th baby, and got the same results.
Y’all, that’s a big deal!
Why? Because both my midwives (from my 1st & 2nd births) have told me to bear the pain of nursing for 10 days, use lots of lanolin and then I will be fine. True enough, by the 11th day… the pain was significantly less and breastfeeding became a much more pleasant experience.
But now I think that 10 days of pain can be cut in half… using the DIY Natural Nipple Cream!Of course, every mama has different experiences with breastfeeding and some take longer to heal and get the hang of breastfeeding. I truly hope this cream will help lessen the pain, speed healing and shorten the time it takes for your nipples to get used to be sucked on by a hungry little mouth! Ouch!
Buy it or Make it?
The Motherlove nipple cream is a little pricey for such a small bottle and I only used about half of it during the first couple weeks of nursing Tobi, but to me… it was worth it!
Of course, I wanted to try making my own… simply because I enjoy DIY projects and wanted to save a little money. I looked high and low around the internet for a recipe, but didn’t find much. Most simply said to use 100% coconut oil or a combination of coconut oil, beeswax, cocoa butter and shea butter… but was I looking for something more similar to the Motherlove nipple cream.
Later, after learning how to make a few different kinds of salves/creams… I took the basic salve recipe, the ingredients from Motherlove and set out to make my own natural nipple cream.
I’m glad to say that it was a success! I have been able to use it as my 4th baby is still nursing pretty strong at 18 months old. The small amount I made was enough for me to share with another mama who recently had a new baby. She loved it and noticed quick relief from using it.
The Ingredients & Its Benefits
Below you will learn how each ingredient is very healing for those sore nipples! For those who might be concern… this natural nipple cream is completely safe for the baby. I have used this for my 3rd and 4th babies with no concerns or side effects.
In fact, with Poema still nursing at 18 months and has teeth now… I still use the nipple cream whenever I start to feel little sore. If you are not convinced, then you can simply wipe off the cream just before you nurse, but it will most likely already absorbed into your skin.
- Marshmallow Root: The genus name comes from a Greek work meaning “to heal”.This herb contains some germ-fighting and inflammation-relieving phyto-chemicals. It also contains compounds that help stimulate the immune system slightly. Marshmallow Root is known to help with bruises, chafing, sores and wounds… which is beneficial for the nursing mama!
- Calendula Flower: A herb long used through Europe and the Americas for wound healing and ulcer treatments, Calendula is known for its amazing healing properties. The phyto-chemicals in these flowers opposes fungi, bacteria, viruses and inflammation. Calendula also excite the white blood ells in the immune system to fight microbial invaders with a little more vigor. It is good for treating skin problems of all kinds, especially cuts, scrapes, bruises and minor wounds.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil and/or Coconut Oil: Both oils help promote healthy skin regeneration, fight off infection & thrush and moisturizes the skin.
- Beeswax: Helps to keep needed moisture in the skin, promotes new cell growth and protects the skin.
- Shea Butter: Moisturizes, protects, strengthens and regenerates the skin. It is great for minor cuts and cracks in the skin.
Making the Natural Nipple Cream
Thankfully, making nipple cream is super easy. I ordered my herbs & beeswax from Bulk Herb Store and the shea butter from Mountain Rose Herbs, but you can purchase all the ingredients at Mountain Rose Herbs. I love both companies and love their quality & prices! You can also purchase most, if not all, of the ingredients on Amazon.com too.
I am sure most of you already know this, but I feel it is important for me to say that It’s highly recommended to use organic oils. When making my batch of nipple cream, I used 100% organic olive oil and loved the results. If you prefer, you can use a combination of coconut oil and olive oil or 100% coconut oil… whatever you like or have in hand!
Once you’ve made the natural nipple cream, you can start using it even before your baby is born! Rubbing the cream into the nipples throughout the latter part of your pregnancy and the beginning weeks of nursing will create healthy, flexible tissues that will be more resistant to cracks, tears and chapping.
Scoop herbs into a glass canning jar and pour oil on top. Make sure there is at least one inch gap between the mixture and top of the jar. Screw lid on tightly.
Set out a medium size slow cooker and line the bottom with a thick hand towel. Place the jar inside and fill the slow cooker with water up to the level of the oil in the jar, but keep the water level below the lid.
After 3 to 5 days, remove the oil infusion from the cooker and let it cool a little. Strain the oil through a fine sieve and/or cheesecloth into a small stainless steel sauce pan. Squeeze with your hands or use the back of a spoon to release the finished oil. Throw the used herbs away.
Add beeswax and shea butter into the sauce pan and turn heat on low. Stir until wax and butter has melted. Pour the mixture into 4oz glass jars or 4oz tin cans. Allow them to cool completely before putting the lids on. Date and label the nipple cream. Keep them in a cool, dry and dark spot. Will keep for several months.
With the recipe above, you should be able to fill three or four 4oz tin cans or jars pretty easily. You will most likely only need one for yourself and the extras will make fantastic gifts for your mama friends! I would love to make a gift basket with all my natural remedies to give to a mama friend… one day I will do it!
Think you can tackle this easy DIY project? For those who have made this cream and used it… Did it help your sore nipples? Did you noticed anything different?
Note: The links above are my affiliate links and I will earn a small commission if you decide to order the herbs through those links (no charge to you!). Thank you for reading this and supporting my family through your purchases!