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Cabbage: the weaning mom's best friend

So here's one of those weird stream-of-consciousness things. When Heather and I picked up our CSA goodies at the Farmer's Market on Sunday, one of our items was a big head of cabbage. I happen to love cabbage: in salads, coleslaw (especially with an Asian-rice vinegar flair), you name it. The cabbage also reminded me of breastfeeding, specifically weaning.

I was a serious breastfeeding mom. I vowed that my kids would drink no formula. I vowed to nurse my kids for not one year, but two. And I did. With my first, my supply dwindled after a certain point. Not sure when exactly, but I had long suspected that milk was no longer being produced in great quantity, and that I was merely the human pacifier. When I weaned her at two years, I had no engorgement. So, I had been right about that.

With my second, things were a little different. I was still feeling "let-downs" two years into it. But I was so ready to be done. Two years, people. Four total, if you count cumulatively with both my kids. That's a long time to limit yourself to one drink a night. A long time to be caffeine free. I was READY. So the day came to cut her off, and lo-and-behold, after missing that first feeding, I was engorged like nobody's business. Just like when the milk first comes in right after they release you from the hospital and you're on your own with no nurses to help you through the pain and horror of seeing your breasts turn into these rock-hard milk-filled footballs. With the added pressure of going camping the following weekend, and there was no way in h-e-double-toothpicks that I was going to bring a breastpump out into the wilderness. Wondering where I'm going with this? I'm coming back to that cabbage.

I had read about cabbage leaves being a comfort and aid in engorgement and weaning. I had grave doubts, certain this was some crazy old wives' tale. It felt like I was setting myself up for some kind of weird practical joke, only I was doing it to myself! Well, I rushed to the produce section in search of cabbage. And let me tell you, having my "girls" wrapped in cool, crisp cabbage leaves helped immensely. I felt so much better over the next few days, which mitigated the slight embarrassment of smelling like wilted cabbage for a week.

My youngest is now three, and it seems a lifetime ago that I breastfed then weaned them both. But seeing that wonderful cabbage this weekend gave me a flashback to those weaning days. Give that a mental bookmark if you will be weaning sometime in the future. Cabbage will be your best friend in case of engorgement, I promise.


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