Signs of Engorgement: Using Cabbage for Breast Engorgement

Signs of Engorgement Using Cabbage for Breast Engorgement

What is Typical?

It is regular for your breasts to become bigger and feel heavy, warmer and uneasy when your milk increases in quantity (” is available in”) 2-5 days after birth. This seldom lasts more than 24 hours. With normal fullness, the breast and areola (the darker area around the nipple) stay soft and flexible, milk flow is normal and latch-on is not impacted.

Cabbage leaves are used by some women to help reduce breast swelling and alleviate the pain and discomfort that breast engorgement or weaning a baby from breastfeeding can cause. Researchers do unknown if there is a property within the cabbage itself that helps to reduce the pain and swelling, or if the swelling decreases due to the fact that the cabbage leaves are functioning as cold compresses.

How to prevent or reduce engorgement

  • Nurse early and frequently– at least 10 times per 24 Hr. Don’t avoid feedings (even in the evening).
  • Nurse on baby’s hints (” on demand”). If baby is really drowsy: wake baby to nurse every 2-3 hours, enabling one longer stretch of 4-5 hours at night.
  • Permit baby to finish the first breast prior to providing the other side. Switch sides when baby pulls off or goes to sleep. Do not limit baby’s time at the breast.
  • Make sure correct lock and positioning so that baby is nursing well and sufficiently softening the breasts.
  • If baby is not nursing well, reveal your milk regularly and regularly to preserve milk supply and lessen engorgement.

Signs of Engorgement Using Cabbage for Breast Engorgement

Signs & Symptoms of Engorgement

When? Engorgement typically begins on the 3rd to Fifth day after birth, and subsides within 12-48 hours if properly dealt with (7-10 days without appropriate treatment).

How does the breast feel? The breast will generally feel hard, with securely stretched skin that might appear shiny, and you may experience warmth, inflammation, and/or throbbing. Engorgement might extend up into the armpit.

How does the areola feel? The areola will generally feel hard (like the suggestion of your nose or your forehead) rather than soft (like your earlobe), with tight skin that may appear shiny. The nipple might increase in diameter and become flat and taut, making latch-on difficult.

You may also have a low-grade fever.

Moms’ experiences of engorgement vary. Engorgement:

  • May take place in the areola and/or body of the breast;
  • May occur in one or both breasts;
  • May construct to a peak then decrease, remain at the exact same level for an amount of time (anywhere from very little to extreme), or peak a number of times.

Tips for dealing with engorgement

Before nursing

  • Mild breast massage from the chest wall toward the nipple area before nursing.
  • Cool compresses for up to 20 minutes prior to nursing.
  • Damp warmth for a couple of minutes before nursing might assist the milk begin to flow (but will not aid with the edema/swelling of engorgement). Some recommend standing in a warm shower right before nursing (with shower hitting back instead of breasts) and hand revealing some milk, or immersing the breasts in a bowl or sink filled with warm water. Avoid using heat for more than a few minutes as the heat can increase swelling and swelling.
  • If baby is having trouble locking due to engorgement, the following things can soften the areola to aid latching:
  • Reverse pressure softening (instructions in the link).
  • Hand expression.
  • If the above two things are ineffective, attempt pumping for a couple of minutes with a hand, electrical (low setting) or “juice-jar” breast pump.

While nursing

  • Gentle breast compressions and massage during the nursing session can minimize engorgement.
  • After nursing for a few minutes to soften the breast, it may be possible to acquire a much better lock by removing baby from the breast and re-latching.

Between feedings

  • If your breast is uncomfortably complete at the end of a feeding or in between feedings, then express milk to comfort so that the breasts do not become overfull.
  • Hand expression may be most handy (though certainly 2nd to breastfeeding) as this drains pipes the milk ducts better.
  • Mama may also use a hand pump or a quality electric pump on a low setting for no greater than 10 minutes (engorged breast tissue is more vulnerable to damage). A “juice-jar” pump may likewise be used.
  • Massaging the breast (from the chest wall toward the nipple area) is handy prior to and during milk expression.
  • It’s bad to let the breasts get too complete, however you likewise don’t wish to overdo the pumping, as too much pumping will encourage overproduction. If you do need to express milk for convenience, your have to express will likely decrease slowly gradually; if it does not, then try slowly reducing the amount you express.
  • Use cold compresses (ice packs over a layer of fabric) between feedings; 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off; repeat as required.
  • Cabbage leaf compresses can likewise be helpful.
  • Lots of moms are most comfortable wearing a well fitting, encouraging bra. Prevent tight/ill-fitting bras, as they can cause plugged ducts and mastitis.
  • Speak with your healthcare provider about utilizing a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen (authorized by the American Academy of Pediatrics for use in breastfeeding moms) to relieve pain and swelling.


  • Excess stimulation (for example, don’t direct a shower spray directly on the breasts).
  • Application of heat to the breasts in between feedings. This can increase swelling and inflammation. If you need to use heat to assist with milk flow, limit to a couple of minutes just.
  • Restricting fluids. This does not decrease engorgement. Drink to thirst.

Contact your lactation expert or health care provider if:

  • Engorgement is not eliminated by these steps.
  • Baby is unable to lock or is not having enough wet/dirty diapers.
  • You have mastitis symptoms: red/painful breast, temperature level greater.
    than 100.6 degrees F, chills, body aches, flu-like symptoms.
  • You have any questions.

Other treatments for engorgement


Applying cabbage leaf compresses to the breast can be useful for moderate to severe engorgement. There is little research on this treatment thus far, but there is some evidence that cabbage might work faster than ice bag or other treatments, and moms tend to prefer cabbage to ice packs.

What are cabbage compresses used for?

  • Engorgement.
  • Extreme cases of oversupply, when the usual steps for decreasing supply (adjusting nursing pattern, nursing “uphill,” etc.) are not working.
  • During weaning, to minimize mother’s discomfort and decrease milk supply.
  • Sprains or damaged bones, to reduce swelling.

To use cabbage leaves:

  • Green cabbage leaves might be used chilled or at space temperature.
  • Wash cabbage leaves and apply to breasts between feedings.
  • For engorgement or oversupply: Limitation use as cabbage can reduce milk supply. Leave on for 20 minutes, no greater than 3 times daily; stop use as quickly as engorgement/oversupply starts to decrease.
  • During the weaning process: Leave the leaves on the breast till they wilt, then use brand-new leaves as often as needed for convenience.

For additional information on how to use cabbage leaves:

  • Cabbage? Why Use It and How Does It Work? Guidelines for Use by Paula Yount.
  • Cabbage Leaves for Engorgement by Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC.
  • Cabbage Leaves for Prevention and Treatment of Breast Engorgement by Sandra Smith, Miles Per Hour CHES.

” Juice Jar” breast pump

This easy pump can be beneficial to assist with engorgement, and to draw the nipple out when baby is having a challenging time locking on.

  • Discover an empty glass jar or bottle a minimum of 1 liter in size with a 5 cm or larger opening. The kind of bottle that cranberry juice comes in is often a good size.
  • Fill the container nearly full with really hot water. The glass will get very hot and you will have to hold it with a towel.
  • Pour all the water from the container.
  • Use a cool washcloth to cool down the rim and upper part of the container so you can touch it without burning yourself (test it with your inner arm).
  • Place your breast carefully into the mouth of the jar so that it makes an airtight seal. Some mothers lean over a table to do this, others put the jar in their lap on a pillow and lean forward. Anticipate this to take a couple of minutes, so make yourself comfortable.
  • As the air gradually cools inside the jar, it develops a vacuum inside the container and this mild suction expresses milk from the breast. Break the suction right away if you feel discomfort– if the container cools too quickly it might produce excessive suction which can harm breast tissue.
  • Repeat for the other breast.
  • Some mothers need to repeat this, others discover it works adequately with just one shot.

Fenugreek seed plaster

This is a conventional treatment for engorgement or mastitis. Steep numerous ounces of fenugreek seeds in a cup or two of water. Let seeds cool, then mash them. Place on a clean fabric, warm, and use as a plaster or plaster on engorged or mastitic breasts to assist with let-down and sore spots.


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