I’m currently breastfeeding my infant son and a few days ago I was battling a blocked duct. For those of you who are familiar with how this feels, you know it can be a bit of a pain (pardon the pun) because if it doesn’t resolve quickly it can lead to more pain and perhaps, for some women, mastitis. And believe me… mastitis is no picnic!
So… here I was, at home and trying to work on this common breastfeeding issue and I remembered that applying moist heat to the affected area can help. The first thing that came to mind was a face cloth, soaked with hot water, and wrung out. I tried this but soon remembered that a) the heat from the compress felt nice but didn’t last long, and b) a wet cloth is, well… wet. From there, the next idea jumped into my trail of thoughts… Rice-In-The-Sock!
The Rice-In-The-Sock idea is really not my own unique creation. I came across the idea a couple years ago when I was breastfeeding my first son and was researching things to do for the same concern. And… this concept is not unlike the bean-bag like compresses that are filled with flax seed and found at most health food stores. This is a nice DIY idea that is simple and easy to make at home.
These types of compresses can be heated in the microwave and also transfer moist heat. The advantage to using these compresses is that the heat from them lasts MUCH longer than the cloth compress and they don’t make anything wet.
A compress like this doesn’t only lend itself well to a nursing mom in need of a strategy for a blocked duct. It’s also great when needing heat for small areas that are sore or achey… like wrists, elbows, ankles, neck, forehead (for headaches), etc.
That being said… for all those women out there who are breastfeeding their kids or plan to breastfeed someday, this is an amazing little home strategy that works so well. You can apply it to the area before a feeding. It can be tucked into a bra so it’s held against the affected area. It can be held over the area while you are nursing. And you can heat it and sleep with it over the area.
Here’s how to make your own Rice-In-The-Sock:
1) Use a clean cotton sock.
2) Fill it with enough rice so that it’s malleable. You want to be able to have the compress be soft and able to be flattened or wrapped.
3) Tie off the top with an elastic band or sturdy piece of string. Make sure its tied off tightly and securely so the rice doesn’t escape.
To use a Rice-In-The-Sock:
1) Heat in the microwave.
2) Every microwave is different in its strength. I recommend first heating it in 10 second increments. Take the bag out after 10 seconds, squish it in your hands, feel how hot it is. Put it in again if you want it to be more heated.
3) Once heated to your preference, make sure that when you are holding it against your skin it doesn’t burn you. The inside of the compress can get really hot. This is also why its good to not completely stuff the sock with rice because if you can flatten it and move the rice around on the inside, it allows the heat to escape a bit and even out through the compress.