Yesterday, I posted an article on my Facebook page concerning Lanolin, the main ingredient in many popular nipple creams for breastfeeding moms. It discussed where lanolin comes from, and the question of whether or not it is actually safe for moms and babies.
Lanolin comes from secretions (such a great word!) from sheep. It is oil that is harvested as wool is harvested. It does not hurt the sheep at all and has apparently been used for thousands of years by humans as oils and lotions, though more recently for breastfeeding moms. On the surface, that sounds like a nice, natural thing. The hidden issue is what may be on the sheep. As one article that I read at one point said, the sheep are “dipped in pesticides”. (Take a moment and just get a mental picture of that. It will add some humor to your day…sheep being “dipped” in pesticides and the logistics of that…) Because the sheep have pesticides on them, the lanolin probably does as well. So as you are applying it to your body, you are potentially exposing yourself and your baby to, albeit minimal, amounts of pesticides.
I stumbled across this information when I was pregnant with my fourth baby. This idea made me a bit anxious, especially when thinking about what my previous three children may have been exposed to, so I sought out alternatives to lanolin. I did a lot of research and came across two main products that I wanted to try. I bought each and waited until I had a nursing baby in my arms to test them out.
Earth Mama Angel Baby makes a Nipple Butter. This was okay, but I found the texture to be a bit weird, especially when first applied. It also contains cocoa butter, and I always felt awkward with the smell of cocoa emanating from my chest. It was probably not terribly noticeable, but I felt like that was all I could smell, and that anybody craving chocolate that day would be stalking me for reasons unbeknownst to them. There are many ladies who have good things to say about this cream, so it may be your cup of tea. Please don’t shy away from checking it out just because it wasn’t my favorite.
The other wonderment that I discovered was Motherlove Organic Nipple Cream. I love this stuff. It brought me much needed relief, more so than the relief I got from lanolin from my three previous nursing relationships. I loved it so much, I insisted that we buy a new jar of it from Amazon while we were visiting family for a week when I realized that I left it at home – even though I had lanolin packed in the diaper bag! (Actually, after it came in the mail, I found the jar that I thought I had forgotten. Bonus jar for me!)
At first glance it may seem to be a bit pricey for the amount, but after using it after just about every feeding when my baby was tiny, I only needed about 2 jars to get me through everything. A little bit goes a long way. And let’s be real, there is no price tag too high for effective comfort during breastfeeding!
The Motherlove is now my go-to for baby shower gifts. The one caveat is that it is a bit greasy (along with the Nipple Butter), since olive oil is the first ingredient. However, since I wore washable nursing pads in my bra, that was a non-issue. No damage to the bra and nothing the pads couldn’t handle. Bonus for babies – all of the ingredients of both of these products are safe for the baby to ingest, so they do not need to be washed off before the baby nurses.
I hope this information has been helpful. If you don’t mind the minuscule possibility that there may be lingering pesticides in your lanolin, use it. It honestly, probably won’t hurt you, especially if it’s sourced from the US. If you want to pay the extra buck and buy organic lanolin, go for it! If you are looking for a lanolin substitute, I suggest checking these out!
I hope you have a great day!