Cabbage Leaf Therapy

How can a cabbage leaf help with breastfeeding?

It can actually decrease excessive and painful engorgement. If you’re not getting enough relief from other milk supply reduction methods, cabbage leaf therapy might give you results. This unusual form of therapy is effective because the cabbage leaves absorb some of the fluid from the glands within the breast area, reducing the fullness in the tissue. Many moms see some reduction in engorgement within 12 hours of starting it.

You will need:

  • One large head of cabbage (white cabbage only)
  • A freezer or the freezer section of your refrigerator
  • A comfortable, loose-fitting bra
  • Washcloths to wash your breasts before nursing


What to do:

  • When it is time to feed your baby or pump, go to the fridge and peel off two or three cabbage leaves for each breast that is engorged. Be careful not to tear the leaves. They need to be whole. Next, place these leaves in the coldest part of the freezer.
  • 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.
  • Place your bra on over the cabbage leaves and wait until the leaves have warmed up or wilted. Then remove the leaves and discard them.
  • It should take about 3 minutes to crunch the leaves and place them around your breasts. The leaves will warm up quickly once they are against your skin, so you need to do this as rapidly as possible.


Some important things to remember:

  • This therapy is used to reduce breast engorgement. You may use this plan on one breast if you are only having a problem with one breast.
  • Leaving the leaves on longer does not make them absorb more fluid.
  • The smell in the breast area is from the cabbage leaf being placed on your skin. Wash your breasts off with warm soapy water after use. Don’t wash your nipples with soap, especially if you have dry cracked skin on the nipples.
  • This plan can also be used when you are planning to wean your baby from the breast completely and when you are ready to stop all nursing and pumping sessions.
  • Cabo Cream can also be used.
  • Contact your health care provider if needed.


Still not getting any relief from the cabbage therapy? Talk to one of our lactation consultants to find another plan that will work for you.

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