Thursday, January 26, 2012

Soothing Baby Rice Packs

One day a year or so ago, one of my friend posted a picture of these on facebook.

 Admittedly, they're a bit freaky, but I thought that if we had another baby, something like this might come in handy. Well, after struggling with a baby who wouldn't sleep for longer than 45 minutes at a time, I decided it was time to try to make some weighted hands...

Our little guy slept for 3 hours this morning, I'm sure partly thanks to this slightly creepy fuzzy arm! :) He doesn't look happy, but that's because he was just waking up. He doesn't like waking up.
So, want to see how I made these hands that look like Grover lost his arms? ;) Here we go!

I took one of my old sweaters that I wasn't going to wear again. It's nice and soft and probably smells a bit like me, so I thought that would be good.
 Trace a hand onto paper and cut it out. I decided to do an open and closed hand, just to see what each turned out like.
 Trace the hands onto muslin, adding about 1/4 inch all around. Just be approximate with this, no need for perfection.
 Turn the sweater inside out and pin the muslin onto the body. Make sure to go through both layers of the sweater because those are going to be the front and back.
 Cut them all out to a workable size. I didn't cut right along the lines because the hands are such a complex shape, they would be hard to work with.
 Then sew along the lines. I wasn't exact and that's ok, since we're turning these right side out and stuffing them. DO NOT sew the finger lines of the closed hand yet (unless you want to pick out a bunch of stitches like I did). ;)
 Now you can cut the hand shapes out. No need to be exact with this either.
 Turn them right side out and check them. My open hand's fingers were a bit short, so I went back and fixed that.
 Much better.
 Now you can mark where your finger lines end on the closed hand and sew them up from the top of "glove" to where your marker is. This is how I marked mine.
 Now, you could just stuff those hands with rice, stitch them shut, and call it good. But I decided I wanted full arms since our little guy likes a bit more of a nest to sleep in. So I cut the sleeves off of the sweater--what was left of it--and matched them up.
 They were a bit wide, so I stitched all along one side to make them a better fit.
Now this part is a bit confusing. You have your sleeve inside out and your hand right side out. Stuff the hand fingers first into the sleeve and pin the raw edges together. The right sides of the fabric are together and when you turn the whole thing right side out, the stitching will all be hidden. You'll get something like this, which isn't the prettiest, but it's about to be stuffed with rice. You end up with something looking like this.
 Now decide what length you want your rice arms to be. Mine ended up being about 24 inches from finger tip to the end of the arm. I just folded the excess fabric into the arm rather than cutting it off, but do what works for you.
 Time to add the rice! A canning funnel works well for pouring it in.
 Fill each hand part way and then use a chopstick (or some other long thing with a blunt end) to help shove the rice into the fingers. It didn't want to go by itself, but this worked well.
 I filled mine rather full, but they're each only about 2 lbs. Because of the stretchy fabric, they actually tend to look much flatter in "real life." I just ran a stitch across the opening--no pretty ladder stitch to hide the end. I hate hand stitching.
 I keep these bunched up on a heating pad, waiting for the baby to go to sleep. I turn the pad on to the hottest setting whenever I start rocking him to sleep and they get just a bit warm in that time. A minute or so in the microwave (per arm) works well, too. You don't want to make them too hot, though. Be careful!
 Here is our sweet baby waking up another time. See? He really loves them! And so do I!

Standard disclaimer: DON'T BE STUPID with these things. If you're using them with your baby, don't arrange them so that they could shift and suffocate your baby. Don't put too much weight on the baby's tummy or chest. Don't make them very hot or you could burn the baby. Use your common sense.



  1. Replies
    1. Nope. There are testing and material requirements for even homemade items made for children under a certain age. I don't even want to mess with all that. Most people choose to ignore the testing requirements, which I understand because they're a bit ridiculous, but I don't want to run the possibility of encountering a legal problem.

      I also simply don't enjoy sewing things to sell. I love making things for my kids and to give as gifts to friends but beyond that, it gets to be a drudgery for me.