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Cabbage Boobs – Oh what a relief!

September 9, 2009

One of my school friends (and now facebook friends 🙂 ) has just had a baby, everyone say aaaahhhhh, and while she is delighted to welcome this new bundle of love into the world mother nature has brought her back down to earth courtesy of two very large and painful air bags! I have two kids and have to say that my delight in my Pamela boobs brought on by birth number 1 (either didn’t happen with No 2 or I was too busy to notice) was also short lived.  My post partum boobs were party poopers.


Anyway,  my friend like many other new mums turned to the wonder that is Facebook for an answer to her boobie drama and I told her about my experience with cabbage. Checking out “google”  as part of my research for this piece shows that I am not the only one to opt for the veggie counter for swollen bits.  And here’s why.

The common cabbage has been used to treat swelling for many hundreds of years. Yes, before panadol came into being those housewife’s walked around with a cold cabbage compress to reduce the thudding of a stress induced headache!  The reason that cabbage (Brassica  Oleracea) is so good is due to its high percentage of the anti-inflamatory active glutamine (an amino acid).  The cabbage releases glutamine when it is warmed up and so can be turned into a soup and used to treat internal inflamation or applied as a compress to improve lymphatic drainage.

The reason that boobs get engorged just after birth is hormonal. Your milk factory goes into overdrive the minute that the placenta is delivered.  Unfortunately the degree of engorgement doesn’t always mean that you will have an abundant milk supply either. Plenty of women go through the pain without the “free drink” at the end.  Again, blame the hormones (and your particular breast biology). The engorging only happens for a couple of weeks until your body gets into sync with the baby but that couple of weeks can feel like for ever, especially when bub wants to feel for over twenty minutes of each hour. Ouch!

So, back to cabbage.  When I had my boob drama I was advised to take two large cabbage leaves straight from the fridge and pop them into my bra. They were then to be left in place until the next feed.  I found it to be extremely helpful in relieving some of the pain and swelling and that can be attributed to two things.

Firstly, the cooled cabbage leaves act as a cold compress which takes away some of the heat (which in turn makes the boobs hurt) and secondly once the cabbage has warmed up the anti-inflamatory ingredients can start to be released over time.  There really is nothing like it!

Now, a quick check through the internet raises the following points:

1) Use organic cabbage.

A great idea as your baby will ultimately be having lunch from there. I would also make sure that ANY cabbage leaves are washed before using them, just to be sure.

2) Boil up the cabbage first and then wait until its cooled before applying.

Well, I am sure that the boiled cabbage would still contain some anti inflamatory actives but boiling may reduce the amount. I haven’t tried one boiled boob and one non –  Has anyone?  I am sure that both work OK but who needs the extra chore of boiling cabbage after baby?

3) Freeze the cabbage then apply.

Not a big fan of this one unless you are in a very hot climate and your boobs are on fire (so to speak). Adding frozen anything to the skin can damage it and you don’t want to add frostbite to your list of post baby woes. Best try a more standard ice pack.

OK, so cabbage does work for post baby boobs but what else is cabbage good for? Well,  the anti-inflamatory benefits could work a treat on your under eye area or for any other part of the body that becomes bruised or swollen. Not the most glamorous of face packs but who cares, as long as you get the right result.

Have fun with your cabbage and for anyone about to have a baby, take a trip to the grocer store on your way to deliver.

Take Care


PS: Picture from Wikipedia where there are lots more cabbage facts.

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