At the end of pregnancy, with our large and in charge pregnant belly, we look forward to getting our body back after birth. The thought of being able to breathe easily again, not having our ribs ache, and seeing our toes again is a welcome change!
While these issues quickly resolve after birth, a postpartum belly can be a shock to a new moms when our bellies don’t instantly go back to how they were pre-pregnancy. Just as it takes time to grow a baby, it’ll take time for our belly and body to heal.
The pressure to get our body back after giving birth is only one reason to consider belly binding in the postpartum weeks. Our bodies go through so much while growing and delivering our sweet babies. Each growth spurt isn’t just felt by our itchy, stretched-out skin, but it is also felt on the inside as our abdominals open and organs move around to accommodate our growing baby. Belly binding can help bring our muscles and connective tissues back together as our organs move back into place, as well as providing several other benefits in the early postpartum phase.
There are many postpartum support garments out there, but my favorite is the Bengkung belly binding wrap, which has been used for centuries around the world after originating in Malaysia. The Bengkung wrap is made from a long strip of cotton muslin and is applied with a simple system of twists and wrapping around from the bust to hips. I’ve tried other products throughout my six postpartum experiences, but the Bengkung is the one I’ve found to be most helpful. I love that it’s a much cheaper option and very customizable to size. I’ve also found it to be the most supportive option I’ve tried, since it can go from under the bust all the way down to your hips.
The benefits of Bengkung belly binding after birth include:
- Healing diastasis recti (aka, the abdominal separation)
- A smaller belly sooner
- Pelvic, hip, and lower back support
- Better posture
- Supports loose ligaments
- Emotional closure to pregnancy
I experienced each of these benefits after my last birth — I only wish I’d tried Bengkung belly binding with my others! My sixth baby was my biggest and my belly was huge on my tiny 4′ 11″ frame. I easily could have passed for carrying twins or triplets! After birth, my core felt extremely loose and stretched-out, and well, like a bowl of flesh colored Jello. I loved how stable this product made my core feel when everything felt so floppy. I chose to wear it around the house over a tank top and under a loose fitting shirt for several hours a day. It was incredible to feel supported yet comfortable — it wasn’t stiff, and it didn’t roll down like other bands I’d tried. I also loved the extra posture support for all those newborn nursing sessions!
While there may be a specialist near you who can provide you with a closing of the bones ceremony, access to the fabric, and teach you how to wrap, you can easily do it all yourself. The wraps are available on places like etsy or if you’re crafty, you can sew it yourself. Mine was made and hand-dyed by my dear friend as a gift, so it’s extra special to me! You can watch videos such as this one to teach yourself how to wrap. I know it looks confusing and complicated based on appearance, but I promise it isn’t! It’s very easy to learn and apply.
You can wear this as much as you want, even overnight. For best results, experts recommend starting around day five after birth and wear the wrap for at least 40 days. C-section mommas should wait until their incision has healed before wrapping, ideally around six weeks postpartum. Moms who wear this regularly as advised report going back to their pre-pregnancy size around six to eight weeks postpartum!
Really, there isn’t much of a reason not to belly bind — binding offers so many benefits that aid healing and boost confidence as you see your body change.