Does Using Cabbage Leaves on Engorged Breasts Reduce Milk Production? Find Out!

Cabbage Leaves for Breast Engorgement, Lactation Suppression, and Weaning

Medically Reviewed By
Shruti Kanchan (Lactation Specialist)
View more Lactation Specialist Our Panel of Experts

After giving birth, a woman is usually worried about breastfeeding. As a new mother, you will be concerned about the quality and quantity of milk, feeding techniques, etc. The older women in your family would have given you enough information about breast engorgement if there is excess milk and consuming different vegetables and dry fruits for increasing the milk.

There is a popular belief that cold cabbage leaves work wonders for sore breasts. Well, it is not a myth! Several moms have experienced that cabbage leaves are effective in relieving breast engorgement, as well as supporting lactation suppression and weaning. Compared to the popular remedy of using ice packs, mothers find cabbage leaves much more soothing.

Using Cabbage Leaves for Lactation Suppression and Weaning

In case, there is severe engorgement after the third or fourth day of delivery, you could try a proper latching technique so that your baby drinks well from the beginning. Often, the engorgement diminishes on its own within a day or two. But in case it does not happen, one can try using green refrigerated cabbage leaves by cutting them and placing them on the breast for about twenty minutes twice a day. As soon as the engorgement diminishes, you can discontinue the use of cabbage. When your baby does not latch properly, there will be an excess of milk production in the breasts. This, in turn, will result in pain and engorgement in the breasts. If the pain is intense, it is suggested that you use cabbage leaves without delaying any further. The latching issues often create a lot of frustration for the mother as the baby is not getting enough breast milk. But, there is absolutely no need to panic as the baby can be fed with expressed milk using a nipple or spoon, and you can seek lactation counselling too.

If the mother wants to wean her baby, the milk production can be reduced using green cabbage leaves. According to ‘Beginnings: A Practical Guide Through Your Pregnancy’ (3rd edition (1997), the following tips also help in drying up breast milk:

  1. Put ice packs on each breast.
  2. Do not squeeze out the milk or squeeze the nipple.
  3. Do not let hot water flow onto the breasts, while in the shower.

How to Use Cabbage Leaves on Breasts

According to research studies conducted by the ‘Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group’, cabbage leaves help in remedying breast engorgement. Following are the steps to be followed while using cabbage leaves:

  1. Use green cabbage leaves.
  2. Wash and dry the leaves after removing the thick, lumpy veins.
  3. Refrigerate the leaves.
  4. Place the leaves inside your bra in such a way that it covers the breast but not the nipple.
  5. If the leaves do not fit correctly, it can be flattened using a rolling pin.
  6. Remove the cabbage leaves after 20 minutes.
  7. It is suggested to use these leaves 2-4 times a day.
  8. One must stop using the cabbage leaves as soon as the engorgement or pain reduces as the leaves can also reduce the supply of breastmilk.

By following the steps given above, mothers can use cabbage leaves to reduce breast engorgement or the pain in that area.

How to Use Cabbage Leaves on Breasts

When to Stop Using Cabbage Leaves While Breastfeeding?

If you are continuing to breastfeed your baby, you must stop using the cabbage leaves as soon as the breast engorgement and pain has reduced. This is because the cabbage leaves may also reduce the supply of milk while bringing down the swelling in your breasts. Thus, this remedy must be utilised in the correct manner.

How to Dry Breast Milk With Cabbage Leaves

If you want to stop the supply of breast milk or start weaning your baby, you can continue using cabbage leaves, as cabbage leaves and breastfeeding do not go hand-in-hand. These leaves not only treat the breast engorgements and pain, but also reduce the supply of the milk. Hence, one may use cabbage leaves to stop breastfeeding. Suppressing lactation can be done by following the steps given above.

As a mother, you will have to be extremely patient with your baby. While caring for your baby, do not forget about yourself. Only a healthy mother can bring up a healthy child. Breast engorgements should be treated immediately. If the situation worsens, you must consult your gynaecologist for further advice. If you follow the cold-compress or the cabbage remedy during the initial stage, your breast engorgement problem will be treated easily.

Also Read: How to Deal With Leaky Breasts

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