One of my biggest struggles postpartum has been my belly. No, I’m not just talking about that stubborn belly fat that sticks around much longer than we would like. Just feeling like I have to hold myself together even to walk after I have a baby is difficult.
During my third pregnancy, I discovered belly binding, and I will tell you it has been an incredible addition to my mommy arsenal.
Belly-binding is applying compression around your abdomen after birth to help speed up the healing process. For centuries women in many different countries have practiced compression shortly after giving birth, and the benefits abound:
- Helps Heal Diastasis Recti
- Pelvic Support
- Uterus Contraction
- Lower Back Support
During pregnancy, abdominal muscles stretch and can move apart. Binding after birth can help the connective tissue become strong again to pull those bands of muscles back together.
During labor, our bodies produce relaxin to help loosen muscles and ligaments for delivery. Taking advantage of the relaxin in your body after birth, by binding, puts pressure on your hips and pelvis to aid in putting things back to normal faster. My swelling and extra skin went away noticeably faster when I bound as opposed to not.
Binding aids with contraction of the uteraus. This in turn helps cleanse the body of blood clots.
Abdominal muscles and back muscles work together. After pregnancy, our abdominal muscles are a lot weaker than usual, and this can put a lot of stress on our lower backs. Binding adds support for both back and stomach muscles. After I had my second baby I didn’t bind and just picking up my little newborn I threw my back out which had me on the couch for almost a week. Postpartum is hard enough; any extra support we can give our bodies is a must. I noticed a huge difference wearing a binder with my third baby and on.
I usually feel pretty good after having babies, but binding has increased the feeling of being put together and supported in the areas of my body that have worked hard during labor.
It has helped me get up and move a little bit easier. Although I would recommend any mama take her time before getting up and moving, I have learned the hard way let your body heal by relaxing. You will spend much less time recovering if you just chill out and give yourself permission to be still. Inevitably you will still need to get up to tend to the baby in which case binding will give some extra stability.
Finally, it gets you just a little bit closer to that pre-pregnancy belly faster.
If you haven’t heard of binding before just Google it, and you’ll find a plethora of different solutions. I have used a few different kinds from the 10 dollar back brace from any department store to the 100 plus dollar binder. Any extra support will yield results, but I do believe there are some leaders in the pack.
- Mama Strut
- The Bellefit Binder
- The Generic Back Brace
- Bengkung (3 yards of Muslin or Batik)
- Belly Bandit
I used this during my last postpartum, and I loved it. It is adjustable and comfortable to wear shortly after birth. This binder has built in boy shorts that have a few added benefits. The binder doesn’t ride up, came with ice packs and built-in pouches to put the ice packs. It also comes with built-in straps for pads. Having the bottoms give you added security for your pads to stay in place. One drawback to this binder is it doesn’t fit seamlessly under clothes.
I liked this one for when I was up and ready to start going out in public. The best part is that it’s seamless under clothes no one else knows you are wearing it. It has metal side stability supports that help aid in good posture. In the hours after labor, it is not very comfortable at all. The metal supports can dig into your skin. It’s also hard to go to the bathroom due to the bottom part of the binder, especially in the heavy bleeding stage. It is also very difficult to put on.
I grew out of my original belly binder and unfortunately didn’t realize until after the baby was born, so I defaulted to the back brace. It gave me support and helped my back, but I didn’t see the results that I have seen with the other binders. It also isn’t seamless under clothes and not made for the comfort that the others are.
I have not used this method but from the research that I have done, it looks promising. Muslin is inexpensive, and you can learn the technique on youtube. A lot of foreign cultures use this method with great results.
This one is also a front runner. I haven’t used this one, but I have read some great reviews on it.
I usually bind for a month to two months postpartum. Consistency is key. I tend to wear mine all day every day except for showers.
Hopefully, momma, this helps you on you birthing journey, as it has me on mine.