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The effectiveness of cabbage leaf application (treatment) on breast engorgement in breastfeeding women

Boh Boi Wong, Serena Koh, Desley Gail Hegney

Abstract


Review Questions/Objectives:
This systematic review aims to synthesize the best available evidence on the effectiveness of cabbage leaves on engorged breasts in breastfeeding women.

Inclusion Criteria:
Types of participants:
The review will consider breastfeeding women aged thirteen to fifty years of age of any parity regardless of previous breast engorgement problems and treatments. The women chosen include participants from different geographical locations. The participants are all breastfeeding women in the first two weeks postpartum, as the first two weeks postpartum is the most crucial period for nursing mothers to establish their lactation and when breast engorgement is most likely to occur. We will exclude women with mastitis, plugged ducts, breast abscess and women who have ceased breast feeding.

Types of Intervention:
The review will consider the use of cabbage leaves to relieve breast engorgement. It will only include papers that provide data on cabbage leaf treatment for breast engorgement. It will exclude cabbage leaf extract creams, as it appears that cabbage extract cream is different to cabbage leaves. As there is no consistent method/system of treatment in relation to the use of cold cabbage leaves (including the number of leaves used [which vary from one to three pieces]) and the duration of treatment [which varies from ten minutes to two hours], all these interventions will be considered. Furthermore, as the various studies to not specify if a specific type of leaf,any type of cabbage leaf will be included.

Types of Outcomes:
This review will consider studies that include the following outcome measures:
Primary Outcome:
The primary outcome of interest is the effectiveness of cabbage leaves on breast engorgement, defined as a reduction in engorgement, the severity of the distention and the level of hardness to touch.It should be noted that the pattern of experience of engorgement is different for all mothers8 and can occur in any of three patterns:

  • a single experience of firm, tender breasts followed by a resolution of symptoms;
  • multiple peaks of engorgement followed by resolution;
  • intense and painful engorgement lasting up to fourteen days; and minimal breast changes.

Keywords


Breast engorgement; Lactation disorder; Breast swelling; Engorged; Breast milk retention; Breastfeeding; Relief; Treatment; Therapy; Duration of breastfeeding; Cabbage leaves/leaf; Postpartum women

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11124/jbisrir-2010-691

The JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports, ISSN 2202-4433

The Joanna Briggs Institute
The University of Adelaide