This is another of my fun baby projects! In preparation for labor (and the aches and pains of being a new mommy) I am making rice-filled heating pads. Some are just rice, but some have dried lavender, which gives a soothing scent when warmed.
- Soft cotton flannel (you can use coordinating fabrics or just one)
- Contrasting thread
- White rice (brown rice can smell rancid due to the fat content)
- Dried lavender, or any other herb that you find soothing (mint, lemon balm, rosebuds, etc.)
I didn’t include sizes of material or amounts of rice and herbs because it is completely up to you! It’s a very forgiving project. 🙂
- Decide how large and what shape you want your finished heating pad to be. I want a fairly large rectangle to cover all of my lower back, but you may want something smaller or perfectly square… have at it! Cut out two pieces of flannel and pin them right-sides-together.
- Leaving about 3 inches open, sew all the way around the material about 1/4 inch from the edge. Turn material right-side-out and iron flat.
- Starting at the inner edge of the opening, sew alternating lines about 3 inches apart, leaving about 2 inches open at the end of each line (this keeps the rice from settling at one end of the material).
- To reinforce the sides, sew about 1/4 inch around the edge again (leaving the opening for the rice!!).
- Mix the rice with the herbs and fill the hot pack (it takes awhile to get the rice to the end, especially in the bigger ones).
- Once it’s filled to the firmness you want, sew the opening closed. You’re done!
To use, you can heat them in the oven or microwave. If using the microwave, check them every 15 seconds and flip them to make sure you don’t burn the material. In the oven, stick them in and turn it on the lowest setting or “warm”. I have heard that they can be left in there to keep warm (like during labor), but please use your own discretion. If you are needing an “ice pack” to reduce swelling, these can be put in the freezer, too!
Since I’m on a baby kick (only five weeks until the due date!) I’d like to point out all of the wonderful pre- and post-birth uses for these. Before and during labor, you can use them hot to ease back aches, or any other pregnancy related ache (I like putting my achy feet on them). After the baby is born, they can be used for nursing discomfort. Use them cold to help reduce swelling from engorgement (trust me, it sounds bad now, but it’ll feel wonderful!) and warm them up to assist the “let-down”reflex (hold on one side while nursing on the other). Also, if you have a clogged milk duct, applying the pack warm and with slight pressure while the baby is nursing (or you are pumping) can unclog it. The last thing to keep in mind is that your muscles aren’t used to holding a baby, so after awhile your shoulders and neck might ache. Ask your hubby for a good shoulder rub and then drape a warm rice pack across them. Now, take a nap!
UPDATE: We found during labor that keeping it in a large crockpot on “warm” or “low” worked beautifully!! 🙂
Do you have any other favorite uses for rice packs, baby/birth related or otherwise?