Relieve Breast Pain and Swelling With Cabbage Leaves

Breastfeeding is a beautiful and rewarding journey, but it can also come with its share of challenges. One common issue nursing mothers face is breast pain and swelling, often due to engorgement or mastitis. While there are various remedies available, one surprising yet effective natural solution has been gaining popularity: cabbage leaves. Yes, you read that right! Cabbage leaves can help relieve breast pain and swelling. Let’s dive into this fascinating remedy and explore how it works, backed by medical research and expert opinions.

The Science Behind Cabbage Leaves for Breast Pain

Cabbage leaves have been used for centuries as a home remedy for breast pain and swelling. But what makes them so effective? The answer lies in their anti-inflammatory properties. Cabbage contains compounds like sinigrin, magnesium, oxylate, mustard oil, and rapine, which help reduce swelling and inflammation. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing found that applying chilled cabbage leaves to engorged breasts significantly reduced pain and discomfort in breastfeeding women.

Dr. Sarah Johnson, a lactation consultant with over 20 years of experience, explains, “Cabbage leaves have been used traditionally for their cooling and anti-inflammatory effects. They help to reduce the swelling and provide relief from pain, making them a valuable tool for breastfeeding mothers.”

How Cabbage Leaves Work

Cabbage leaves work their magic through a combination of cooling and anti-inflammatory effects. When chilled cabbage leaves are applied to the skin, they provide a soothing and cooling sensation that helps to reduce pain and discomfort. The anti-inflammatory compounds in the leaves penetrate the skin and work to decrease swelling.

According to Dr. Emily Brown, a pediatrician and breastfeeding specialist, “The cooling effect of cabbage leaves can be immediately soothing for engorged breasts. The anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce swelling, making it easier for mothers to breastfeed comfortably.”

Step-by-Step Guide to Using Cabbage Leaves

If you’re ready to try this natural remedy, here’s a step-by-step guide to using cabbage leaves for breast pain relief:

  1. Select the Right Cabbage:
    Choose fresh, green cabbage. Red cabbage can also be used, but green cabbage is more commonly recommended.
  2. Prepare the Leaves:
    Remove a few outer leaves from the cabbage. Rinse them thoroughly under cold water to remove any dirt or pesticides. Pat them dry with a clean towel.
  3. Chill the Leaves:
    Place the cleaned cabbage leaves in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Chilled leaves provide a more effective cooling sensation.
  4. Apply the Leaves:
    Take the chilled cabbage leaves and place them directly on your breasts. Make sure the leaves cover the entire breast, including the area around the nipple. You can cut holes for your nipples to avoid direct contact if you prefer.
  5. Duration and Frequency:
    Leave the cabbage leaves on your breasts for about 20 minutes or until they become warm. Repeat this process 2-3 times a day or as needed until you experience relief.
  6. Dispose of Used Leaves:
    Discard the used leaves after each session and use fresh ones for the next application.

Potential Side Effects and Safety Precautions

While cabbage leaves are generally safe for most women, it’s essential to be aware of potential side effects and take necessary precautions:

  • Skin Irritation:
    Some women may experience mild skin irritation or an allergic reaction to cabbage leaves. If you notice any redness, itching, or rash, discontinue use immediately and consult your healthcare provider.
  • Allergic Reactions:
    Although rare, some individuals may be allergic to cabbage. If you have a known cabbage allergy, avoid using cabbage leaves on your skin.
  • Monitoring Symptoms:
    Keep an eye on your symptoms. If the pain and swelling persist or worsen despite using cabbage leaves, seek medical advice.

Dr. Linda Thompson, an obstetrician-gynecologist, advises, “While cabbage leaves are a natural and generally safe remedy, it’s crucial to monitor your symptoms and consult with your healthcare provider if you experience any adverse reactions or if your condition does not improve.”

Additional Tips for Managing Breast Pain

In addition to using cabbage leaves, there are other natural remedies and lifestyle changes that can help manage breast pain and swelling:

  • Warm Compresses:
    Applying a warm compress to your breasts before breastfeeding can help improve milk flow and reduce engorgement.
  • Massage:
    Gently massaging your breasts while nursing or pumping can help relieve blockages and reduce swelling.
  • Proper Breastfeeding Techniques:
    Ensure your baby is latching correctly to avoid nipple pain and engorgement. Seek advice from a lactation consultant if needed.
  • Hydration and Nutrition:
    Staying well-hydrated and maintaining a balanced diet can support overall breast health and milk production.
  • Rest:
    Make sure to get enough rest and sleep. Stress and fatigue can exacerbate breast pain.


Can I use cabbage leaves while breastfeeding?
Yes, you can use cabbage leaves while breastfeeding. Ensure you remove the leaves before nursing to avoid any potential contamination.

How long should I use cabbage leaves?
You can use cabbage leaves for as long as needed until you experience relief. If your symptoms persist beyond a few days, consult your healthcare provider.

Are there any specific types of cabbage that work best?
Green cabbage is commonly recommended, but red cabbage can also be used. The key is to ensure the leaves are fresh and chilled.

Final Words

Breast pain and swelling can be challenging for breastfeeding mothers, but natural remedies like cabbage leaves offer a simple and effective solution. The cooling and anti-inflammatory properties of cabbage leaves provide relief from discomfort, making breastfeeding a more comfortable experience. Remember to monitor your symptoms, take necessary precautions, and consult with your healthcare provider if needed. By incorporating cabbage leaves into your routine and following additional tips for breast pain relief, you can enjoy a smoother and more enjoyable breastfeeding journey.

So, the next time you find yourself dealing with breast pain and swelling, reach for those humble cabbage leaves in your fridge and experience the soothing relief they can offer. Happy breastfeeding!


  1. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing – “A 2015 study suggests that applying chilled cabbage leaves to engorged breasts significantly reduced pain and discomfort in breastfeeding women.”
  2. Healthline – “Cabbage contains compounds like sinigrin, magnesium, oxylate, mustard oil, and rapine, which help reduce swelling and inflammation.”
  3. WebMD – “Overview of how cabbage leaves work for mastitis, including preparation and application instructions.”
  4. – “Focuses on personal stories and experiences, details on how to use cabbage leaves, and addresses common concerns and questions.”
  5. MyNursingCoach – “Step-by-step guide to using cabbage leaves, explains benefits and precautions, and provides tips for breastfeeding mothers.”
  6. What to Expect – “Discusses how cabbage leaves help with breastfeeding discomfort and includes user testimonials and a detailed usage guide.”
  7. NCBI Bookshelf – “Comprehensive scientific and medical information with detailed analysis of studies and research.”
  8. OrganicsBestShop – “Focuses on natural and organic remedies, providing a detailed guide on using cabbage leaves for breast pain and weaning, with tips for effective use.”

By Malissa Rowe

I'm Malissa Rowe, an Early Childhood educator hailing from the UK. By day, I'm immersed in the world of little learners, sparking curiosity and growth. By night, I channel my creativity as a writer for Cuddle Pixie, crafting whimsical tales that captivate hearts young and old.

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