Heat packs are wonderfully soothing and can help reduce the pain of cramping, muscle aches, gas, and even more serious concerns like clogged milk ducts and Mastitis.
For breastfeeding mother’s it’s not uncommon to experience discomfort, particularly in the early days of nursing as everyone gets used to it. A clogged duct can quickly morph into mastitis and before she knows it, the nursing mother’s symptoms worsen. With mastitis, the plugged area of the breast becomes hot and red. The mother usually feels very sick and flu-like with symptoms that can include a fever with body aches, chills and a headache. If mastitis is suspected and the symptoms persist beyond 24 hours despite applying heat, massage, and increased feeding, be sure to call your health care provider. The soothing benefits of applying heat pads may, however, prove a useful remedy to explore in relieving minor discomfort.
To easily make your own heat pack at home you will need the following items:
- Tube sock
- Needle and thread or rubber band.
- Flax seeds, dried beans or uncooked rice
- Your favourite powdered herb such as cinnamon or herbal tea – we like the scent of our Blooming Baby Belly herbal tea (optional)
Fill the tube sock with the flax seeds, dried beans or uncooked rice. Take a moment to experiment with how full you want the sock. Remember that the fuller it is the firmer the pack will be. If you want it to conform to your body you will need to leave an inch or so of room at the top of the sock before closing it.
If you are using a powdered herb or tea, sprinkle some of the herbs into the sock as you add the seeds, rice or beans. Make sure you get a pinch of herbs in every inch or so throughout the sock.
Once the sock contains your desired amount of beans, rice or seeds, stitch the sock closed. For a faster, temporary solution you can also tightly secure a rubber band around the top of the sock.
Now you can heat the whole thing in your microwave! As microwaves come in different models and different strengths, start on a low setting for a short amount of time, perhaps 30 seconds, and experiment with the temperature to find the one that’s most comfortable for you – being mindful of hot spots – as you apply soothing heat and pressure to relieve pain. If you prefer to heat yours up in the oven, a heat setting of 250 degrees for 20 minutes should suffice.
Bonus: Heat pads will also be useful to soothe Baby’s belly if he or she gets gassy.