Growing a baby and giving birth is no small feat. Your body stretched and rearranged itself to make way for a new life — it's a big deal, and it's no surprise that your postpartum body needs time to heal.
If you're experiencing pain and discomfort going about your day, you might be wondering how to nurture your postpartum body through recovery.
We're here to tell you that you don't have to work it out alone.
Between the chaos and bliss of getting to know your little one and tending to their every need, it's crucial to have non-fuss tools in your kit to carry you through, which is why women have been belly binding for centuries.
There's an overwhelming amount of information to take in during these early days, so let's unpack it together.
What are postpartum belly bands?
Postpartum belly wraps have been used by cultures from around the globe for a good reason — and we're not here to reinvent the wheel. During pregnancy, abdominal muscles work hard to create space for your bub by stretching and, in some cases overstretching.
The separation of abdominal muscles is known as diastasis recti and occurs in 60 per cent of people postpartum. Not to worry, though, because it will usually resolve within eight weeks of delivery — but If you notice worsening pain and discomfort, make sure you take a trip to see your GP to get the appropriate support you need.
Those wonderful pregnancy hormones also cause your pelvic floor muscles to relax, which can lead to some uncomfortable leaks.
In a nutshell, your core muscles are pretty important. They provide support for your back and good posture; now that you have a bub on your hip, you need that extra TLC more than ever.
Our bodies do an amazing job of recovering from childbirth, but it's essential we don't do it alone. Many women also experience chronic back pain if the healing process isn't supported to run its course.
This is precisely why you deserve plenty of rest, gentle movement and support from your loved ones — it takes a village, right? When you feel it's time to tackle some cleaning and errands, abdominal wraps are there to give you one less thing to think about.
Simply put, belly bands wrap around your abdomen and hips to lend a hand to your abdominal muscles, especially during those early days and the first few weeks postpartum when they'll be particularly tender, and they fit snug under or over the top of your clothes.
Kin's Belly Band allows you to customise the compression to suit your body, thanks to the two-layer wrap design which is made from elastic velcro bands, and has a discreet design. The fit helps new mums feel supported as your core muscles tend to shift a lot during pregnancy, while also helping to shrink the uterus back down to size.
For those who have had a C-section, The Belly Band also helps reduce post-surgery pain and promotes incision healing.
Do postpartum belly bands work?
The short answer is yes — belly binding works by giving your core a great big hug.
Postpartum belly bands gently hold your weakened tummy and pelvic floor muscles in place. The extra compression provides you with the stability and comfort needed to maintain posture while you settle into life with your baby.
Peer-reviewed studies show that postpartum abdominal binders are just what you need while your post-pregnancy body heals.
To get the most out of your belly wrap, adjustable compression is essential — let's be clear this is no waist trainer, and you shouldn't experience additional pain due to wearing one.
Benefits of belly binding
Okay, so now you want to know everything belly wraps can do to aid your postpartum recovery.
We hear you, and we come bearing gifts — whether you've had a vaginal delivery or caesarean delivery.
Here's what an abdominal binder can do:
- Improve blood flow which helps to promote healing
- Shrink your uterus down to size, which reduces pain and discomfort
- Alleviate swelling
- Help your muscles heal
- Aid with back support
- Support diastasis recti recovery
- Strengthen pelvic floor muscles when worn correctly
- Make exercise easier
Kin's Belly Essentials includes both The Belly Band, to achieve the above benefits, as well as The Nourishing Cream, which is designed to firm postpartum skin and reduce the appearance of stretch marks, making it the perfect postpartum duo. '
Belly band for C-section recovery
If you've had a C-section, you'll know all too well that postpartum pain can make life extra tough as your body heals.
As always, you know your body best and running postpartum care past your GP is a must. If you're given the go-ahead, a postpartum belly band can be a god-sent in getting you up and moving around.
A randomised controlled trial showed that wearing a belly band post-C-section can:
- Provide extra support to help you walk for more extended periods of time
- Reduce pain and discomfort (especially during the first 48 hours)
- Aid healing caesarean incision wounds
- Reduce bleeding
We need to stress again just how important it is for your belly band to provide light compression.
Wrapping yourself up too tight put a bit too much pressure on your pelvic floor muscles (they've been through enough) which is something you want to avoid at all costs as it can create more problems than it solves.
How soon after birth can you wear a belly band?
Chatting with your doctor about any post-pregnancy treatments is a wise thing. Every pregnancy, body and delivery is unique. You and your doctor are in the best position to make these decisions. If you're given the green light, try out your belly wrap one to two days after vaginal delivery is recommended.
If you've had a C-section, you must wait three to four weeks, or until your health provider approves.
Can you wear a postpartum belt while sleeping?
Wearing a belly band is most useful during the day when you're on your feet to ensure your comfort in your postpartum months. Allowing your body the time and space to rest and recover naturally is essential.
Sleep is precious right now, and you need every ounce of it, so the last thing you need is a belly band waking you up as you move around during the night. So take it from us, slip into your best pyjamas, stay comfy and enjoy your slumber.
How long should I wear a postpartum belt?
Postpartum belly wraps are your sidekick, especially during those first few weeks.
It's recommended that belly bands are worn between two to 12 weeks postpartum for the best possible results. Check in with your body and take its cues to guide how long you wear your belly band in those first few months.
Can you wear a postpartum belt two months after birth?
If you've just arrived at the belly band party and are two months post-delivery, it's not too late to enjoy its benefits.
Yes, wearing your band is most effective during the first six weeks after vaginal delivery, but your body is still recovering two months after birth, so some gentle compression can still do you good.
You also might find yourself returning to a regular routine after two months, and a belly band can be there for you during the most active parts of your day.
Can I wear a postpartum belt after two years post-birth?
Many women use belly bands up to four months postpartum. At this stage, there isn't enough research available to comment on how belly bands can assist after the two-year mark.
A postpartum belly wrap doesn't take the place of natural repair, so allowing your body to do its thing is worth mentioning once more.
At this stage in your journey, it could be helpful to consider a postpartum exercise routine to build up your core strength. Setting aside some time at home for yourself or finding a supportive trainer could be a nice way to squeeze in some "me time".
If you're experiencing discomfort at this stage in your postpartum journey, we suggest having a chat with your GP to explore it further.
How many hours a day should you wear a belly band?
Your comfort during the postpartum period is precious and should be protected at all costs. Deciding what times of the day you'll need the support of a belly band most is worth reflecting on.
Two to three hours a day is recommended, so it might be helpful to wrap up when you're most active during the day. Whether it's while you're pottering around the house or venturing out, a belly wrap can slot into your day nicely.
Remember that your body is working hard to repair itself, which is exactly what you want. Overwearing a belly band can cause your muscles and ligaments to become overdependent.
When should you stop wearing your postpartum binder?
Once you're heading towards the four-month mark post-delivery, it's a good time to start thinking of how you can support your recovery. There are many ways to approach this next stage, and consulting with a trusted health professional is an excellent place to start if it feels a little daunting.
Don't forget the incredible job you've done bringing your baby into the world. Trusting your natural recovery process can be overwhelming for some, especially if you've come to bond with your postpartum belly band.
Pencilling in some time to discuss your recovery with a GP can provide you with the tools to continue healing.