If you're a breastfeeding mom, you're probably sick of your sore, cracked, and downright painful nipples. Without a moisturizing component, every nursing sessions is sure to hurt. If your nipples are too dry and irritated they might even crack open and bleed which, you know, sounds like some medieval torture technique. There are plenty of nipple creams on the market, thankfully, but a lot of women prefer something that's not only soothing, but natural. So, is coconut oil safe when breastfeeding? Or should you refrain and go with something else?
There's no doubting the health benefits associated with using coconut oil, according to Parenting Healthy Babies. It's worth mentioning, of course, that the site advocates coconut oil use through dietary means (as opposed to a moisturizer) so your baby can reap the benefits internally. Due to the "richness" of lauric and capric acids found in coconut oil, as well as being a good source of fatty acid, consuming coconut oil could aid your fetus while they're growing in utero.
In fact, and according to Dr. Claudia Pillow, COO, and Chief Nutrition Officer of Equilibrium Weight Loss and Longevity Clinics, "Lauric and capric acid have potent antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-parasitic (meaning it kills parasites) properties that support the immune system." This still begs the question, though: can you use coconut oil on your cracked nipples?
According to Natural Fertility, the answer to the aforementioned question is a resounding yes. In fact, not only is coconut oil safe, but it's recommended by experts. So if you're a mother who wants a product to comfort your ailing body parts, but without all the chemicals some other nipple creams may contain, Natural Fertility says coconut oil is the way to go. Because coconut oil has been deemed safe and has the added benefits for baby (and you usually have it on hand in the cupboard), it makes an ideal nipple cream.
Natural Fertility also adds that using coconut oil may help ward off infection and can triple as an under eye cream (for those sleepless nights). Belly Belly says it can also be used as an anti-fungal to help prevent a more severe infection such as thrush — which can be caused by the dryness, itching, and cracking of a breastfeeding woman's nipples. Anything that helps alleviate those painful symptoms, is a great overall moisturizer, can be used in cooking, and is also safe for your nursing baby sounds like a no-brainer.
While other creams are perfectly suitable for chapped nipples during breastfeeding, according to the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of health, nursing mothers should stay away from lanolin-based creams. These specific products may contain pesticides, can negatively impact a nursing mother's breast milk, and they might not being as effective in protecting nipples as previously thought.
A dab of coconut oil on your nipples seems to be a safe way to soothe and protect your body while you're busy keeping your baby fed. Though, as with anything parenting related, it's always a good idea to ask a doctor is you're unsure.