The In's and Out's of Belly Binding
It's not just a gimmick to sell overpriced pieces of elastic--belly binding really works! The concept of binding the abdominal region has been around for centuries as women all over the world have wrapped their tummies tightly after giving birth to help speed the healing process of their stretched-out midsections. However the wrapping is done, it aids in the prevention of herniation, repositions the womb, increases and speeds up weight loss, and eventually tightens waistlines. Belly binding is one small trick that can make a HUGE difference in your post-baby appearance.
Binding Your Belly
Abdominal wraps help the uterus return to its original size faster. They support the stomach muscles by providing gentle compression, and as an added bonus, they make you look slimmer while you're trying to shed the extra baby weight in the months after your pregnancy. For best results, women usually wear the wrap for about four to six weeks after delivery.
Jump on the Band Wagon
American mommies have been jumping on the belly binding band wagon for years now, but they are by no means the originators of this tradition. Japanese mothers have used a "sarashi" and Hispanic moms wrap their bellies with a "faja", all in the name of picking up the pieces of a once-flat tummy and trying to regain the tightness of their pre-pregnancy bodies. Mothers in Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Latin America, Spain, England, and the Philippines have commonly used and still employ some form of abdominal compression wraps in order to salvage their former physiques.
Ancient Indian rituals dictated that belly binding would warm and close the "open" stomach and birth canal. Subscribers to this alternative practice also believed that it would accelerate the body's process of getting rid of waste blood after the baby is born. It's still common today for Indian women, as well as women around the globe, to practice the Eastern tradition of belly binding in order to promote healthy posture during breast feeding, gently push the stomach muscles back together, reposition the womb, and reduce stretch marks.
Still unconvinced? Consider what one author had to say: "Eastern practices and medicine that were once thought of as unconventional have proven time and time again to be exceptional remedies. Remember when your thought yoga was weird? Come on, these people invented tea."
Additionally, Authors Nancy Fuller and Brigitte Jordan suggest that belly binding is "analogous to the American 6 week medical checkup and is the last duty of the midwife and symbolizes the mother’s return to normal life."
Belly binding works. Surgeons, physicians, midwives, and mothers worldwide agree that an evenly applied firm pressure on the tummy region delivers beneficial results to the area of the body most affected by pregnancy. Wrapping the belly gets you back to your pre-baby body quicker, reduces swelling, compresses loose skin, and forces you to engage your core muscles. Think of it as the non-surgical version of the tummy tuck. Safer, cheaper, and although perhaps not quite as fast, still pretty darn effective!
British women in the 1940s didn't have the luxury of a comfortable belly wrap. Instead, they suffered through the "belt"--a six-buckle corset that squeezed the belly into its original proportions. Nowadays we have modern conveniences that make belly binding comfortable and stylish.