Sometimes nursing can really suck! With sore nipples, clogged ducts and engorgement, it’s a wonder that breastfeeding moms can keep it going. But we do, because we love our little ones, and at the end of the day, we know that it is what is best for them
After successfully nursing my little one for over 10 months now, I have learned a couple tricks and have come up with this DIY heat pack that can really be a life saver. I first came up with this design after dealing with a clogged duct at work. You can read my tips about that here.
These heat packs are great for several reasons. First, they are round and slim so they can fit inside a bra top. Second, they have the quadrants that contour to rounded shape. Third, they hold heat pretty well. Finally, this DIY version is eco friendly. I used 100% cotton to avoid micro plastics in the cloth and utilized rice as the filling.
Heat Pack Tutorial
Creating these heat packs should take about 10 minutes, start to finish. See the Beginners Guide to Sewing Terminology for further explanations of the terms and techniques.
- 100% cotton fabric (flannel is preferred as it will retain the heat better)
- White rice
- Funnel (or similar device)
- Something to use to cut a circle (bowl, small plate, etc.) For example, I use my breast pads because I am already comfortable with the size)
Start by choosing fabric and cutting four identical circles. In my opinion, the best fabric to use for this project is a 100% cotton flannel. The flannel is very soft and will retain the heat better than other materials. This is a perfect project to use up some scrap fabric. For example, the fabric I used was left over from a quilt that I made little one.
Next, place right sides together leaving a one inch opening and pin around the edges of the circle. Stitch around the edge of the circle, back stitching at the opening at each end, leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Before flipping inside out, clip V shapes into the seam allowance every one inch or so. This will allow some give and make flipping the circles much easier. When cutting the V be careful not to cut the seam.
Next, flip the circle inside out and press it flat with an iron. The following step can be a bit tricky… on the right side of the fabric stitch a straight line starting from the middle of the opening left, ensuring to leave space to turn the raw edge in. Stitch a vertical line, back stitching at the end and beginning point.
This line should create two separate sections of the heat pack with each side being able to be accessed by the opening left in the top. Then using a funnel, fill in each section a little less than half way with white rice.
Using pins, push the rice down to the bottom and pin a straight line horizontal to the first line you stitched. Stitch a line across the heat pack – this will form the four quadrants. Back stitch at the beginning and end of the line.
Finally, fill the remaining heat pack with rice on each side. Then pin the opening closed and hand stitch.
Congratulations, you are done! Now repeat with as many heat packs as you’d like.
Using Heat Packs
These heat packs are great and really don’t take much time to assemble. If you are able to use fabric scraps and rice from your pantry, they can be very inexpensive and fall in line with zero waste goals.
To use the heat pack, pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds. However, don’t microwave for over 30 seconds, otherwise you can run the risk of burning the rice. Then check the level of heat before placing in your top. Reheat as needed.
An extra bonus of these heat packs is they can be used as cold packs, as well! To do this, just place them in a freezer until you are ready to use them.
Have you tired making these or similar heat packs? I would love to see the results! Please comment or post pics below.