Many perinatal nurses, lactation specialists and midwives recommend cabbage leaves applied to the breast to relieve pain of engorgement. A review of literature indicates this is a long standing treatment. Although relatively little formal research has been reported, the evidence base is convincing.
Once your milk supply is established, weaning abruptly causes certain physical changes. Your breasts will continue to produce milk for a while, and if some isn’t removed, you may become engorged, and possibly develop mastitis. You will also experience a sudden drop in prolaction levels, which may add to your feelings of depression.
Every breastfeeding mother comes to a point where she is faced with having to wean her baby. It’s often a bittersweet moment. One filled with joy of being able to eat, drink whatever, and go wherever you want…but also one of sadness as you may be mourning the loss of those quiet special moments between you and your baby, and that special time of closeness and bonding you shared.
How To Use Cabbage Leaves For Breast Relaxation
Before you use the cabbage leaves to treat your breast engorgement, they need to be cold. So, place a head of cabbage in the refrigerator. You can use green or red cabbage, but red cabbage is more likely to leaves stains or discoloration on your nursing bra and breastfeeding clothing.Complete the feeding with your baby, or if you are pumping, make sure you do a complete pumping session.
After the session is finished, go to the freezer and remove one leaf at a time, crunch the leaf in your hand to break the veins, and then place the leaf over your breast. Continue to do this with each leaf until all of the leaves are covering the breast area.
A study investigated cabbage leaves at different temperatures in the treatment of breast engorgement in hospitalized postpartum women (n = 28). Each mother received chilled leaves to one breast and room temperature leaves to the other in a randomized order. Both treatments reduced perceived breast pain, but no difference was found between the chilled and room temperature cabbage leaves in reducing the pain of engorgement.