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Cabbage Leaves – To Relief Engorgement

2009 August 1
by MieVee @ MummysReviews.com

At about 9p.m. two nights ago, my right breast started to feel engorged. During Baby V’s first night-feed a short while later, he could not get the milk out. I suspected a blocked duct and tried pumping, but saw no improvement. Trying to feed Baby V several times through the night did not help either.

By 4a.m., I felt very uncomfortable and painful. A few hours later, I developed a 37.8 degree Celcius fever and felt chills all over even though I was wearing long sleeves and pants. It seemed like flu has set in, and I recognised these as symptoms of potential mastitis.

On my nurse’s advice, I placed cold cabbage leaves on the swollen area and rested in bed, feeding Baby V as frequently as possible. The cabbage leaves reduced the engorgement within half a day and I felt much better.

I also used a sterilised needed to burst a nipple bleb, which contains blocked milk.

Within a day, I recovered and continued to use cabbage leaves treatment for one more night. Fortunately, this problem was solved quickly. Otherwise, infection could have set in and I would have needed to seek medical help.

Pros (of cabbage leaves):

  • Simple and effective method of relieving engorgement
  • Low cost

Cons:

  • Leaves a vegetable smell behind for a while
7 Responses leave one →
  1. Virginia permalink
    April 3, 2010

    I also experienced similar episodes a couple of times. It seemed to happen whenever I went out and missed one or two feeds. It is really a painful experience. The cabbage leaves help and the lactation taught me how to massage the breast properly. I also suspect some of my ducts are blocked but I found no bleb. It took about a week to resolve the lump.

    • April 7, 2010

      Hi Virginia, thank you for sharing. I just had another bleb yesterday and piercing it with a clean pin helped. Luckily, no serious engorgement. Phew!

  2. April 4, 2010

    La Leche League has a prescription for cabbage leaves usage to relieve engorgement. I read about it in their book “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding”. I think it was something like no longer than 8 hours a day… I’ve never had to use cabbage leaves so I can’t really remember…

    • April 5, 2010

      Cabbage leaves need not be used once engorgement has subsided. Just came across this article here, which mentions “Repeat application of cabbage leaves 4-6 times, for a total application time of 8 hours. Use the cabbage leaves only until the engorgement subsides. Prolonged use of cabbage leaves on the breast can reduce milk supply.”

  3. Angie permalink
    May 18, 2012

    Thanks for sharing.
    I have a question though. I’m on confinement, had mastitis and fever 2 times within 3 weeks. Problem is my bb girl never able to empty the breasts, not even 1 side. She only drinks abt 50ml while I can pump 150ml one side. So I still hv to pump after she latched and I hate it, so depressing and tired to pump like 6, 7 times a day and the moment I want to skip or reduce pumping then I got fever again. What should I do?

    • May 18, 2012

      Hi Angie, this sounds like oversupply. Please refer to http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mother/engorgement/ for more info. Kellymom.com is a great source for breastfeeding mummies.

      For expressing to reduce engorgement, you may try hand expression. I like hand expression now because it helps me to focus on the areas that have most milk.

      Express until breasts are soft enough to be comfortable. If you drain the breasts completely by hand expression or with pump, your body may think you need the supply and keep producing the amount. I think the supply will usually match baby’s demand and stabilize at week 6-8.

      Are you from Singapore, Malaysia or elsewhere? A lactation consultant may be able to help you too. There’s a Facebook group set up by Malaysian mums at https://www.facebook.com/groups/128537811172/members/. You may post your question to Ginas there.

      Enjoy Mummyhood! 🙂

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