17 answers

Stopping to Breastfeed and Cabbage Leaves

It has come time to stop breastfeeding. I have heard that putting cabbage leaves against the breast will make this process go more smoothly and quickly. I read something about leaving the leaf in my bra for 20-30mins. If this is correct would this be every hour or several times a day or should I just leave a leaf in my bra at all times for several day? Does anyone know on average how many days I would do this?

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I you are going to use the cabbage leaves, out them in the freeze and apply for the whole day. Do not take them off and change them. I made the mistake with my first daughter by changing them every 45 minutes and I became so ingorged that I almost got an infection. Leave them on for 24-48 hrs without removing them. I will tell you another thing that works... take an ace bandage and wrap as tight as possible. Put a smaller sports bra on over top and leave like that for 48hrs. After 48hrs you will be fine. Good luck!

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I you are going to use the cabbage leaves, out them in the freeze and apply for the whole day. Do not take them off and change them. I made the mistake with my first daughter by changing them every 45 minutes and I became so ingorged that I almost got an infection. Leave them on for 24-48 hrs without removing them. I will tell you another thing that works... take an ace bandage and wrap as tight as possible. Put a smaller sports bra on over top and leave like that for 48hrs. After 48hrs you will be fine. Good luck!

when i stopped breast feeding i used the cabbage leaves, but only for a day or two at most. I found the leaves to get hot and uncomfortable really quick. I stored the leaves in the fridge; they would last maybe 30 min once i put them on and then i would throw the leaves away. My breasts also werent too tender after the first day or two anyway. hope this helps you some. good luck

G.,

I had to use cabbage leaves after I found out I could not breastfeed anymore. This is the process I took and it worked.
Wash head of cabbage, peel off the leaves (keeping whole as possible) they should cup over the breast. Bruise the inside of the leaves with a dull knife in order to get the inside of the leave open. (This will pull out the milk from your breast) Keep the leaves cold in the refrigerator. Place enough leaves to cover the breast. I used saran wrap as a barrier to put on top of the leaves to keep them from ruining my bra. Change them every 1-2 hours (during the night try at least to change after 4-5 hours) and keep that up for at least 36 - 48 hours. It took mine three days before I was completely dried up. I had to send my husband to the store several times because one head of cabbage doesn't last. I think we went thru at least 5 or 6 heads.
It did work though and I wasn't uncomfortable. Smelled like slaw for a few days (HA!) but it was worth it.

Good luck!

Actually you want to get to one feeding a day, then when you are ready, nurse one last time, empty both breasts, and PUT A TIGHT SPORTS BRA ON FOR 2 WEEKS. NO BREAST STIMULATION for 2 weeks and all should be fine. The cabbage leaves are for if you get engorged.

If you wean gradually (cut out one feeding at a time, waiting several days to a week to cut out another feeding), you shouldn't have much problem with engorgement.

You don't mention why "it is time" to stop breastfeeding, so I'm not going to get into your business, but just say that there is nothing wrong with continuing to nurse your baby as long as he wants. I stopped nursing my younger son at 22 months, and know several women who have nursed longer than that. Many women are made to feel "weird" for nursing longer than a few months or a year at most. If you need more support in continuing to breastfeed, your local La Leche League can provide that.

For anyone now seeing this thread, do NOT bind breasts with bandages or a very tight bra. This can cause blocked ducts, mastitis, and abscess. A supportive bra will help with comfort (those guys can get heavy and sore) and if you use cabbage leaves, apply them cold and leave them on until they wilt, then replace every two hours or so.

When I was done breastfeeding my 4-year-old, I just put the cabbage leaves in my bra and walked around the house that way for a few days. The darker green leaves are the best, according to my OB doctor. It only took about 3-4 days before I didn't have anymore milk, and I nursed her until she was 18 months old. It was easy, I just didn't like the feeling of the leaves against my skin. Looking back, it was not bad at all, just felt wierd to me. Hope this helps, and good luck!

I remember joking about making lots of coleslaw. ;-)

This is from the LLL site:
http://www.llli.org/FAQ/engorgement.html

* Cabbage Compresses

A popular home remedy for relieving the discomfort of engorgement is cabbage leaf compresses. Rinse the inner leaves of a head of cabbage, remove the hard vein, and crush with a rolling pin (or similar). They can be used refrigerated or at room temperature. Drape leaves directly over breasts, inside the bra. Change when the leaves become wilted, or every two hours. Discontinue use if rash or other signs of allergy occur. There have been anecdotal reports that overuse of cabbage compresses can reduce milk production, therefore some experts suggest mothers discontinue the compresses when the swelling goes down.
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If you follow that logic, continuing to use the cabbage leaves after the swelling goes down should lead to the drying up of milk.

I think it varies from person to person. It took me a long time to wean, with or without cabbage, but I had trouble with engorgement.

Best of luck.

I had to stop about 3 weeks into breastfeeding and had trouble finding out how to dry up milk. Cabbage leaves do work to relieve the pressure, I left them in for about 30 mins-1 hour and did that as needed throughout the day. One thing that really worked was a home remedy I found online- you mix sage (the spice you cook with) hot water and the sage helps dry up the milk. I added Tang for flavor and it was OK. Good Luck

Hi, I also heard about the cabbage leaves with my first daughter when I was ready to stop breast feeding. I had tried several things and nothing was drying up my milk. Granted my breasts got really big and I seriously could of fed a nursery which the amount of breast milk I produced. I did use the cabbage leaves and it worked!! I kept them in my bra all day, but would change out the cabbage once or twice daily. I would put one pretty good size piece in each bra because I wanted to make sure my nipples were against the cabbage at all times. I think I did this for about a week and it finally completely dried up my milk. That was the only thing that worked for me. Good luck!!

I didn'y need any methods like this. I nursed for a year both times. I cut out 1 feeding every couple of weeks. It was gradual enough I didn't feel engorged or tender. I did have some leaking in the shower that helped relieve the pressure but that was enough to make it comfortable.

I didn't ever Breastfeed but my milk definately came in and I used cabbage leaves. They were wonderful. I only wore them at night while I slept and just left them in there all night. They dried it all up within a few days! Also make sure you don't let the hot shower run on them a lot as that will cause milk to come out and then your breasts will think you still want the milk!

I used the cabbage in my bra after both of my kids...and it STINKS...but it works.I put the cabbage in the freezer for a little while then in the fridge to keep it cold.It may hurt a little when you first put it in, but then the coolness helps b/c your breast will be pretty hot.Hope it helps you as much as it helped me.By the way if you lay a wash cloth over your breast while you shower it helps to keep them from getting stimulated and you will stop producing as often... I even got some bulbs(little round plastic things that keep your nipples covered )b/c it was kinda painfull for me to "dry up".

I kept the cabbage in the fridge. Then I'd peel off a leaf for each cup. Make sure to roll it with a rolling pin first to release the enzymes (break the veins in the leaf). Then I would change it every few hours. It was so soothing. I did that for about a week.

Hi G.,

When I had to wean, I called my nurses at the hospital who had taught me how to breastfeed. They are the ones who told me to use the cabbage leaves. The cold leaves from the frig definitely help with the pain - but the cabbage leaves work by getting warm and soggy with your body temp and the "leaking" of your breasts (chemical reaction.) So keep the leaves in your bra until they become soggy and wet, and then replace them. I did it all through the day until my breasts didn't hurt anymore. (I can't remember how many days I did it - sorry.) If your breasts are rock hard, get in the shower and let hot water wash over them, and gently massage them to let down your milk some so that your pain is relieved some. It won't be enough to make your breasts think they need to make more milk - it'll just give you some relief.

Good luck, and hope it doesn't last too long!
D.

If you put the cabbage in the fridge so it is cool it will help with the pain a little.
Do it as often as you can stand it...there is no right or wrong way to do it. I had to do it for 2-3 days with one son and none with the other...depends on how much milk you have.
Good Luck to you! Also try advil...it helps too :)

I put them in the freezer for a few minutes and kept them on ALL DAY LONG!!!!! OUCH!!!!

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