Wednesday, October 17, 2012
See what I did there? I have an email!
I want a hot butt and bod, just like the rest of everyone. However, in my experience, pregnancy does not make ones body in better shape than it was pre-pregnancy (information - I haz it). I was willing to do just about anything I could do by doing close to nothing to keep my body put together in the early days after pregnancy. Since the hot butt part would be hard to manage until I truly had time to work it out (and am still working on it 4 months pp), I considered the part of the body changed most by pregnancy - the abdomen.
I had heard about belly binding peripherally through the years. Natty and I talked early on about our plans to possibly try it, something we were both interested in but knew not a lot about. In theory, it sounds like a good deal - no working out + doing very minimal work in order to help your body back to it's former shape. I was game. So, I embarked on some research.
I scoured the Internet, first looking for stories of women with experience and success in binding. There was a ton of anecdotal evidence on archived pregnancy and fitness community forums indicating success. Even media personalities know for their hot butts have used in belly binding with great results (in addition to a personal chef, trainer, etc, I'm sure). It didn't take much to sell me on it, especially because besides wanting any helpI could get, I also wanted to secure my floating organs in my post partum baby-vacated belly.
After deciding that belly binding was for me, I started considering what type of wrap I wanted to buy. Yes, I truly lost my mind and gave into my hormone fueled compulsion - I bought or tried each of these different wraps. Please, learn from my mistake! It's worth mentioning here that I did end up having a c-section (that story is for another day), so that does possibly change what I ended up liking. Here is what I found:
The 12" binder
I'm a tall gal, so I thought the 12" aspect of it would be good. I figured that something soft like this would possibly look decent under clothing and even help a bit with the hips, which I learned can also be helped by binding postpartum (due to the relaxin softening the joints). I bought a medium (usual shirt size). It was too big and too soft to really provide any real support even in the first days after birth, though the width was the right one or me (5'8"). It also rolled up on the top and bottom. I did not use this wrap at all.
The Bengkung Mia
I got very interested in the Malaysian art of belly binding. Belly binding is largely a cultural practice and many women still routinely do so in many other countries. I actually bought two of these bad boys, imported from Malaysia. They were very reasonably priced and as I already mention, I lost my marbles. I got one thick, one thin so I could switch them off while one was in the wash. Because I was totally going to wear them ALL THE TIME.
Sadly, that is not what happened. This wrap is very well made and is probably a good option if you are not a fair weather fan of belly binding. The Bengkung is very long, even though I bought the shorter version, so once you tie it up (which is simple), sitting is difficult. Also, it was tough for me to wear this wrap and breastfeed. I was doing a lot of sitting in the early days so I had to undo the whole contraption if I wanted to sit or nurse. I did wear this wrap at times, but if I were going to only buy or wear one, I would personally choose something else. A good option if you're very serious about this, though.
The No Frills Hospital Wrap
I actually got two of these wraps in the hospital for free and it's the one I ended up using the most. It was one size fits most, very tight if I wanted it to be, did not roll or shift too much. It did show under clothes, but really, it wasn't that bad. I wore this wrap from day 1 and for nearly 2 months post partum, all day, every day, including while I was asleep, unless I was going somewhere nice, in which case I put on my spanx. I put them through the washer/dryer over and over and they held up nicely. Not bad for free.
Spanx were fabulous for me from about month 2-3. I wore them almost all the time because I liked the feeling of being sucked in. Now, I don't know that they really helped size me down at all, but if you are anything like me and do not like feeling "loose" around the middle, you can wear these as often as you see fit. As far as sizing goes, I squeezed myself into the same size spanx that I wore pre-pregnancy right away, although I would not have been able to put on the same size pants.
Now the burning question - did it help? Yes, yes it did. My stomach isn't back to where it was (it will take working out for that), but I'm confident that it went down much faster than it would have otherwise. Can it really hurt?