Thursday, October 23, 2008

Postpartum Belly Binding

The concept behind belly binding is to support the muscles and skin of a woman's midsection after having a baby. I know all too well how loose everything is after giving birth, and it seems to take a very long time for everything to knit back together, and most women will tell you that your belly will never be the same after having a baby.

Here's an interesting snippet about the history of belly binding:

"For centuries, Japanese mothers have used their “Sarashi” to speed up weight loss and toning of the abdominal muscles and skin after childbirth, while Hispanic mommies believe their “faja” helps bring all the muscles used in the birthing process back together again. No matter what she calls it, women in Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Latin America, Mexico, Spain, England, and the Philippines have benefited from using an abdominal compression wrap after childbirth."

My husband who is a massage therapist says that from a muscular standpoint belly binding makes complete sense. The vertical abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy to allow the belly to expand and accommodate the growing baby, leaving a large gap after giving birth. Ideally, we want those muscles to come back together, but in many cases it takes months for that to happen. He says that belly binding would, in theory, hold those muscles in their proper place and facilitate faster healing.

Another interesting note is that we see weight lifters and construction workers wear wide support belts to support their back and core. It makes sense to me that a woman who has just given birth would need that kind of support as well.

I have found a few websites about belly binding. The Belly Bandit is one that sells belly wraps starting at about $40, but they also have some good information about the history and purpose of belly binding. EZY WRAP has post-op abdominal binders available starting at about $13. Another website discusses belly binding and says there is one made by Body Glove that can be purchased at Big 5 stores for about $5-$8, which would most likely be made of neoprene. I haven't found any available for purchase online for that low a price. I think it would be worth a call or trip to your local Big 5 store for a good support belt. I'm definitely going to look into it for my next pregnancy.

*UPDATE Dec. 4, 2008 - This post gets far more hits than the rest of my posts combined. I'm glad that people are interested in this topic, but I admit that I'm not an expert and have no experience personally with belly binding. I would love to get some feedback from my readers about their own experiences with belly binding, which binders have worked for you and what the results were. Please also feel free to make suggestions on how I can improve this post and make it more informative and helpful. Thanks!*

21 comments:

  1. Shortly before I gave birth to my 3rd child I had heard about the concept of binding. After taking a little over a year to get back into shape with child number 2, I was willing to try anything! I did some research and ordered a couple of cheap ones,( one of the ones I tried you recommended) I wound up spending more in the long run because they didn’t work and I threw them away. They rolled, bunched and stuck into my side. I heard about Belly Bandit on Good Morning America and tried that one. I ordered the Bamboo wrap. It was SO much softer (kind of feels like cashmere) and didn’t bunch or roll like the cheap ones did. My feeling was, I was going to be wearing this for 3 months, 24/7 and I wanted to be comfortable so I spent the extra money to get a better fitting/feeling product. I guess it really is true…you do get what you pay for.

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  2. So, did you find that the belly binding helped? I have a friend who did it after her second and loved the results. I'm planning on doing it after #3 is born in a few months.

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  3. i used a belly bandit too. it was a great help! i planned on a natural childbirth but ended up with a c section. the band actually made me feel much more secure and protected. i highly recommend it. ;-)

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  4. It's wonderful to read all of the positive feedback about the Belly Bandit. I handle PR for the company and could not be more proud of representing a truly effective product! There are other tummy wraps available, but if you were to do the "Pepsi Challenge" with the others, you would agree that the Belly Bandit is a far surpior wrap and worth every penny. Pregnancy Magazine have included the Belly Bandit in their "120 Best Products for Mom." Also watch for the Belly Bandit to make its debut on The Rachael Ray Show mid March. Thank you all for your kind words!

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  5. I got something much better than the Belly Bandit: a Malaysian Bengkung.
    It gives much more control over the tying, it goes from below the breasts till over the hips, and is surprisingly comfortable. I bought it from this lady: http://happyconfinement.blogspot.com/2008/04/bengkung-mia-intro.html

    I am only 4 weeks postpartum, but already my belly looks better than it did at this time after my first pregnancy. My midwife also commented on how quickly my diastases recti is healing.

    The way the Bengkung is tied gives more control than a Velcro. After my first pregnancy I used a binder with Velcro, and it didn't help much. But the Bengkung can be tied as tight as I want it, or tighter in some regions than the others, and it stays in place.

    Oh, and it was cheaper too, even though it came all the way from Malaysia.

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  6. I'm not a big fan of the Belly Bandit, or many others, because I like more 'full coverage' support, but I do love the Wink brand items: http://www.winkbellybands.com/

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  7. Esbelt is the best product for binding, I have 2. I had a large one for immediately post pregnancy and another in a much smaller size. Now baby is 5 months old and my tummy is almost flat as a pancake! It has just enough stretch to be comfortable, bra hooks down the front and supports you back really well. At £40 a go they are expensive but so so worth it! :)

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  8. i just bought a "compression girdle " by wink but i'm already 8 weeks postpartum and just started wearing it today.... does anyone know if it is too late for this sort of thing to work in helping weave my muscles back together and for my tummy to shrink some?

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  9. I don't know if it's too late, but it's probably worth a try. :)

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  10. I tried numerous cheap to expensive bands, binders and $100 girdles...not of which I was happy with. Either they bunched up, didn't give me the support in the right areas, or rode up on me. This includes an organic bamboo belly bandit I purchased. Yea, it was soft to touch, but when i put it on it wasn't too comfortable. It fell right where my c/s scar was. It also had a small wire in the ribbing that poked out a little. I took it back to the store and opened another new box and same thing.
    I was about to give up. I then purchased one from a medical supply store and love it. It's hospital grade (no wires, all elastic) and has three horizontal panels so it conforms to your shape. It is also not a straight band, it curves a little~ made for a woman's shape. Best of all it was only around $35. Super comfy and I can wear it all day. I also purchased a workout belly band from the sports store for $15...it's great! soft, rubbery inside so it doesn't slide up. Has a few small magnets in the back for circulation? don't know if that works...but it's great for working out it...got it at Big5. It's made for a woman as well.
    I just started wearing these after my second...so I don't know if it will work yet. But I ran into a lady who had 4 kids (one a 10lbr) and diastasis recti... and now she had a super tight stomach and sweared by them. Good luck!

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    1. Do you have item names for either of the bands that you got? I'm 7 1/2 months pregnant and looking for options.

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  11. I used a Tummy Truss, it was awesome. It covers from below your boobs to your hips. Very supportive and it helped me get my figure back.

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  12. My daughter is 3 months old.. Is it too late to start using belly binders?!! Plzzz i so want ro have flat tummy again (-_-')

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  13. I don't know if it's ever too late to start. You can give it a try. :)

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  14. Go read this article! I got a belly bandit last pregnancy, and it was very awkward and uncomfortable to wear, especially while sitting--- what do you do most while breastfeeding? Sit.

    This list is great. She has had 5 kids (twins!) and looks amazing after binding.She rates her top 5 binders, and boy I'm sold on her #1 the Squeem! Her website isn't the easiest to navigate, overall, but she offers a better price that google shopping for the same item. Great read and worth the effort of navigation.

    http://twinpossible.com/top-5-best-belly-binders-on-the-market-plus-belly-binding-you-can-get-your-tummy-back

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  15. I hear its never too late to begin binding, but in order to get the BEST RESULTS do it after childbirth. I just had my 5th child 11 weeks ago. I just started binding. I had a c-section and was told by family members and my doc to wait for my incision to heal. Happy I waited! I feel more comfortable wearing my binder.

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  16. I bought a BellyFit girdle to bind with before delivery because I had read so many good reviews about binding but I had an unplanned c-section and it was difficult to wear the girdle I ordered when I thought I'd have a natural birth. I could not fit my girdle until I was 8 weeks postpartum and even then, it was not always comfortable to sit with. I was kind of reluctant to wear it often, only while sleeping because it restricted my movement although it gave me good support while recovering from my c-section. Now I'm 4 months post-partum and almost back to my pre-pregnancy weight but I have a little tummy where there wasn't anything before. I am wearing my wrap again even though some will say it's "too late". It just feels better than trying to squeeze my way into before.

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  17. Here is an extra tip besides the wrap: I am a 3rd generation wearing wraps and non of us wore a Belly Bandit. We wore all elastic shaped to our body belt support. I don't recall my mom or my grandma complaining about discomfort. I have really short torso and usually I have to deal with wearing big items that scratch me or just don't fit... and I had no discomfort and loved seeing the results rather sooner than what I was expecting. The extra tip besides the wrap is that our tradition uses massaging your belly area with natural oils. So while the wrap/belt are taking care of providing support and bringing the muscles back to their shapes, the oils help the skin to loose wrinkles, tighten skin and reduce the dark spots caused by pregnancy. Here is the website were you can find more about this: http://flatbelly4.me/

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  18. I've only come across this blog post by mamasandbabies - and couldn't agree more. I run Vespa & The Ladybird: www.vespaandtheladybird.com and we make our own line of Recovery Belly Wraps. I talk with mothers from all over the world who are looking for tips and tools to help with their post partum recovery and who swear by belly binding, as I do. My tip to you all is to make sure you take the time to measure your belly and purchase the correct size wrap - this is crucial. Also, be sure to buy a wrap that has the longevity to see you through your recovery. The Velcro strip on our wraps has been specifically designed to be one of the widest on the market, this means maximum shrinkability for your tummy. A Belly Wrap really is a must have essential for every moms recovery :-)

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  19. this may work, but the counter top stuff they make was awful!
    Click my site belly wrap

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