Actress Amanda Peet was on The Ellen DeGeneres Show last week, a mere month after the birth of her third child, Henry. And she had an unusual personal photo to share: A shot taken by her husband of Peet brushing her teeth…with cabbage leaves stuffed in her bra. Wait, what?
"Apparently when you get engorged, after the baby's born the milk comes in and some people get very painful engorgement," Peet explained. "And you can put cold cabbage leaves on your boobs and apparently it stops the milk. So this is my husband being very amused by my porno boobs even though I'm in excruciating pain."
Peet told DeGeneres that she'd used the home remedy with her two previous children too, but "it doesn't really work, really," she laughed.
Cabbage leaves have long been recommended by lactation consultants as a home remedy for engorgement as well as to help decrease milk supply. But there isn't much research about the effectiveness of this treatment. A 2010 Cochrane Library review found that there wasn't statistically significant evidence that cabbage leaves could help engorgement. And a 2008 Indian study comparing cold cabbage leaves to alternating hot and cold compresses didn't find any difference in effectiveness in relieving engorgement, and found that the hot and cold compresses were better at relieving pain.
So while it probably won't hurt to wrap your boobs with cabbage, it might not help much either. And as one La Leche League article notes, "Mothers should know that there may be some smell of cooked cabbage if they choose this treatment method." Yum!