Topical Treatments Used by Breastfeeding Women to Treat Sore and Damaged Nipples Academic Article uri icon


  • Background: Nipple pain and trauma are frequent complaints of new mothers, and a variety of treatments have been proposed and investigated for efficacy. Numerous studies have examined the efficacy of nipple creams, but there is no published data describing patterns of use in breastfeeding women.Aim: To describe the use of topical nipple treatments by a cohort of first-time mothers in AustraliaMethods: A cohort of 360 nulliparous women were recruited in Melbourne, Australia, and the question, “In the last week, have you used any creams or ointments on your nipples?” was included in a questionnaire on breastfeeding practices administered at 6 time points.Results: In the first week after giving birth, 91% (307/336) of women used a topical treatment on their nipples. The most popular treatment was purified lanolin, with nearly three quarters of women (250/336) reporting its use. At 8 weeks postpartum, 37% (129/345) continued to use topical treatments, and 94% (320/340) of women continued to breastfeed.Conclusion: Widespread use of topical nipple creams is concerning not only because it may indicate a high rate of nipple pain but also because this is a disruption to the natural environment where the newborn is establishing breastfeeding.

publication date

  • 2015