It's not just cabbage for your boobs! Midwives share natural remedies

Cabbage leaves in your bra DO work! As Paloma Faith reveals she’s trying the DIY treatment to ease engorgement, experts reveal the best natural hacks for new mothers

  • Singer Paloma Faith reveals she is using cabbage to treat engorged breasts
  • Doctors and midwives spoke to Femail about other natural remedies that work 
  • Explained a lavender bath can reduce pain and redness of a torn perineum
  • Said to drink chamomile to ease constipation and eat oatmeal for milk supply

Singer Paloma Faith struck a chord with new mothers when she revealed she is using cabbage leaves to soothe her painful engorged breasts in a recent Instagram post.

The mother-of-two, who gave birth three days ago, said she is experiencing ‘next level pain’ after being diagnosed with acute engorgement, a condition that makes breastfeeding extremely difficult, and shared a photo of cabbage leaves in her bra. 

The leaves are recommended as a DIY treatment because they possess anti-inflammatory properties and draw out excess liquid, according to experts.  

Speaking to FEMAIL, midwives and doctors from across the UK explained cabbage is just one of many natural remedies that can be used to treat post-partum health issues.  

Natural remedies: Paloma Faith has revealed she has been diagnosed with acute engorgement, a condition that makes breastfeeding extremely difficult. She said she is treating the condition with cabbage leaves, used for their anti-inflammatory properties

Jane Mason, founder of Natural Birthing Compant, explained how breastfeeding mothers can eat oatmeal to boost their milk supply, while Dr Ellie Rayner, an obstetrician, gynaecologist, hypnobirthing expert and founder of The Maternity Collective, said warm water will help soothe the sting while peeing. 

Meanwhile midwives Lesley Gilchrist, co-founder of My Expert Midwife, and Marley Hall, an ambassador for breastfeeding brand Lansinoh, shared tips on how to make breastfeeding more comfortable.   

Eat oatmeal to boost your milk supply 

Source of iron: Jane Mason said oatmeal provides iron that is so important for breastfeeding mothers. This helps keep energy levels up and promotes milk supply

Jane Mason said: ‘Iron is incredibly important for breastfeeding mothers, and women who are breastfeeding need as much iron as they did when they were pregnant.

Why does cabbage help engorged breasts? 

Jane said: ‘Breast engorgement is when breasts are painfully overfull of milk and usually occurs when a mother makes more milk than her baby uses. It’s also very common for women during their first few days and weeks of breastfeeding. 

‘Using cabbage leaves as a remedy for this can help as cabbage leaves work by drawing out excess fluid.’

She added peppermint oil can also be used as a natural treatment 

‘This is to support your body so that you don’t feel exhausted. Oatmeal is a great source of iron and helps promote milk supply.

‘As well as this, oats have soothing effects that can help lower stress levels which every new mum needs!’

Pour warm water to take the sting out of peeing  

Dr Rayner said: ‘Passing urine after childbirth can be painful – Keep a clean squirty water bottle or jug by the toilet, fill with warm water and pour on your perineum as you pee – this will not only wash any bacteria away and reduce your risk of infection, but will really take the sting out.

‘Make sure to pat the area dry with a clean towel afterwards and wash your hands before and after changing your sanitary towel every time.’

Drink chamomile to ease post-partum constipation

‘Post-partum constipation can occur due to damage to the pelvic floor after giving birth, dehydration or lack of fluids, and hormonal changes,’ Jane said. 

‘Having a chamomile tea before bed can relax the digestive tract that helps bowel movements for those struggling with constipation. Chamomile can also be used to help new mums who can’t switch off have a better night’s sleep.’ 

Easing discomfort: Chamomile tea can help with post-partum constipation while a frozen sanitary towel is a quick fix way to soothe a torn perineum. Stock images

Use a ‘padsicle’ to soothe a torn perineum 

Dr Rayner said: ‘A “Padsicle” – a pad and popsicle – is a sanitary towel that you chill in the freezer and place in your underwear to relieve pain, soothe your perineum and reduce swelling and bruising after vaginal birth. 

Try rosehip oil for perineal tears 

Jane said: ‘Perineal tears are common for women who have a vaginal childbirth, as this strains the perineum. You can massage the perineal area pre-birth, as well as soothing any tears post birth with Rosehip Oil as it is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and it helps with the elasticity and regeneration of the skin. 

‘We add Rosehip Oil Down Below Perineal Massage Oil and encourage women to do perineal massages from 34 weeks and to help ease any soreness post- birth.’ 

‘Run a clean sanitary towel under fresh water and place inside a sandwich bag in the freezer. 

‘Once frozen, remove from the sandwich bag and place in your underwear to sooth your perineum – make sure not to allow the ice to directly touch the skin to prevent cold burn so wrap in a clean flannel or with a non-frozen pad between.’

Ease breastfeeding pain with a shower or change of scene 

Marley explained: ‘Vasoconstriction is a possible cause of discomfort to the nipples when breastfeeding. This is where the blood vessels in your breast and nipple become restricted, which often happens in the cold. 

‘So if you’re feeding your baby on a park bench and your baby pulls off, leaving your nipple exposed to the cold, that can cause some nipple pain. Therefore, you should try to feed in a warm environment wherever you can to avoid this.’

Lesley added: ‘Soaking in the bath or having a warm shower prior to feeding can help with milk flow and allow the breast to empty more easily.’ 

Have a lavender bath to reduce redness

Dr Rayner said: ‘Lavender oil has been scientifically proven to reduce pain, improve healing and reduce redness of the perineum after birth. 

‘Lavender, or if you prefer Chamomile essential oils, both have antiseptic and soothing qualities which can not only bring physical relief but may give you a perfect opportunity to have some undisturbed time to relax.’

Naturally calm: A bath with lavender oil helps reduce pain and redness of the perineum

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