What are some safe sources of heat for treatment of plugged ducts and mastitis?

There are many kinds of heat sources you can use. Many mothers find that moist heat (wet washcloth) is more effective than dry heat (heating pad). It is most important that the heat source to be not too hot or it might cause minor burns to the skin. Heat is required for 10-15 minutes at a time to be effective. Some commonly used safe heat sources are:

  • A washcloth soaked in hot tap water (Wring out excess liquid, re-soak as required.)
  • A (clean) disposable diaper soaked in hot tap water (stays warmer longer than a washcloth)
  • Soaking affected breast in a bowl of hot water
  • Soaking in a hot bath with the affected breast under water
  • Allowing water from a hot shower to flow over your breast. You may be most comfortable with your back to the shower, so that the water is not directly hitting the breast.
  • Magic Bag™ or similar bag which can be heated
  • Hot water bottle (Be sure to place cloth between bottle and skin.)
  • Re-heatable gel packs (There are some made specifically for use by breastfeeding mothers.)
  • Heating pad, set on low

To encourage, promote and provide breastfeeding, chest feeding and human milk feeding support and educational opportunities as an important contribution to the health of children, families and society