When it comes to any health concern, most of us prefer to deal with it the natural way. This is because most vegetables, fruits, roots, or herbs, boast of a plethora of medicinal properties that you can benefit from. One such vegetable is cabbage. We do know that cabbage is a delicious, healthy vegetable. But did you also know that it can help treat several problems related to breastfeeding, such as mastitis, engorgement, and weaning?
Although breastfeeding is an essential part of parenting and contributes mainly to your child’s development, there is no denying that it can be challenging. It is a common misconception that breastfeeding comes easily and naturally, with absolutely no problems to worry about. The truth is: several women face many difficulties while breastfeeding (1).
If you’ve been struggling with a few of these problems, it may help to try using cabbage for some respite. It’s not the most conventional remedy, and most people haven’t heard about it, but we’re here to clear the air and give you all the information you need, so read on:
Cabbage Leaves To Treat Breast Engorgement
When you see the picture of a woman feeding her baby, you often come across a happy woman smiling and a cute baby blissfully enjoying their mother’s milk — that’s probably how you envisioned your breastfeeding experience too. But here’s the thing — breast engorgement is a reality that several mothers face.
Soon after you have delivered your child, there is a sudden increase in the production of milk. Also, your hormones are working overtime to produce milk supply and blood flow, both of which are directed to your breasts. This can cause your breasts to hurt, feel sore, and become engorged. Sometimes, it can also happen if your baby isn’t drinking enough milk or if you have a blocked milk duct. When this happens, your breast may feel heavy, the skin becomes tight and stretched, and it may feel lumpy. While it is normal, it can be pretty uncomfortable (2).
Anecdotal evidence and a few studies show that green cabbage leaves can reduce the hardness and pain associated with engorged breasts. It is also believed that this vegetable can soothe and reduce inflammation significantly (3).
Cabbage Leaves To Treat Mastitis
A lot of breastfeeding mothers complain of a painful breast infection known as mastitis. This medical condition happens when your breast tissues get infected by harmful bacteria. It usually results in breast pain and sore, red, and inflamed breasts. In some cases, it can also cause flu-like symptoms and pus discharge. It is common for the nipples to get cracked, and bleeding may also occur (4).
Mastitis is treated with a course of antibiotics, and cabbage leaves are not the answer to treating the condition, but they can help manage the pain. Women who have used cabbage leaves (alongside their antibiotic course) have reported that it had a soothing effect, provided relief from pain, and worked as well as a hot compress (5).
Cabbage Leaves While Weaning
You may have decided to wean your child from breastmilk. So, you may experience breast pain or engorgement during this time. Whether you have decided to stop breastfeeding or never started in the first place, the fact is that your body is trying to produce milk, and if the milk supply isn’t being used, it can cause a lot of discomfort. Anecdotal evidence and a few studies suggest that using green cabbage leaves can help you during the weaning process (6).
How To Use Cabbage Leaves For All Your Breastfeeding Woes
Many breastfeeding mothers who used cabbage leaves for their breasts have said that it provided significant relief. Here’s how you can use cabbage leaves to help with the problems associated with breastfeeding (7):
- Pull out a few cabbage leaves from the main stem. Ensure that you wash the leaves thoroughly before using them to avoid contact with dirt and germs.
- Using a ziplock pouch, store the leaves neatly and seal them. You will then have to keep it in the refrigerator for an hour. They can be used at room temperature too, but it’s more effective when chilled.
- Once chilled, take the leaves and place them on your breasts. You can use the support of your bra to secure the leaves against your breasts.
- Repeat this thrice a day, and each time, do so for about twenty minutes.
- Do not use this method if you notice that your breasts or nipples are cracked and bleeding.
While green cabbage leaves seem to be effective when it comes to breast engorgement, mastitis, and pain when weaning, it is by no means a cure for all of these conditions. Make sure you consult a certified lactation specialist if you face problems with breastfeeding. Never self-medicate. Have you tried using cabbage leaves for your breasts while breastfeeding? If yes, share your experience with us in the comments below!