Postpartum Belly Binding

In the past few months I’ve been researching postpartum belly binding. The more I research the more I am sad I didn’t know about this after I had West. Belly Binding is one of those things that have been around for centuries, primarily used in Japan, Latin American and Europe. Though it seems like in the U.S. it is gaining ground very fast. I first heard about it on The Ellen Show via a product called the Belly Bandit.

At first I thought it seemed rather gimmicky… but the the benefits of this seem pretty solid.

    1. Speeds up weight loss
    2. Toning of the abdominal muscles & skin
    3. Gets organs back in place after the baby
    4. Brings pliable hips back together to post pregnancy width
    5. Closes the birth canal
    6. Speeds up getting rid of waste blood
    7. Promotes great posture
    8. Protects back, core and legs – think of weight lifters on this one    (source)

I plan on doing this after the birth of my daughter in September. But currently I am at a loss for which product to buy. I have scoured the name brand sites and read endless blog and message board posts about what products people used and how effective they found them and have compiled a decent list of what is out there. I am now sharing what I’ve learned.

The Belly Bandit comes in 3 styles: The Original for $45.95, the Couture for $ 55.95 and the Bamboo for $65.95. There are reviews on the website and around the web. The gist of people like it and find it effective (you can google lots of before and after pics)… but people do complain that it rolls/buckles when seated and that it doesn’t size down as people shrink; leaving them feeling like they HAVE to buy a smaller size but irked about the price of buying two.

Tauts Belly by Baboosh ranging in price from $56.00-62.00. This is from actress Brooke Burke’s line of prenatal and postpartum wear. They claim wearing Tauts for at least the first 40 days is the most effective. I didn’t find a lot of reviews or before and after pics. But it seems fairly similar to the Belly Bandit.

Lot’s people use just regular waist shapers/cinchers that you can find in department stores. Prices range from $16.00 to $40. Some complaints about the waist shapers is that the boning can be uncomfortable, that sizing can be hard, and that they either go too high or too low depending on one’s torso. Oh that they are hard to fit the plus size mama. Here are some brands that have specifically mentioned as being effective: Ambrielle by JCPenny, and Bali Never Ending Shapewear. One that I’m am seriously considering buying is the Post Delivery Girdle Belt for $16.99 on Amazon. The name pretty much says it all and the reviews on Amazon are good.

Ezywrap Post-Op Abdominal Binders seem like a good and effective economical choice ranging in price from about $12.00 to $30.00. The reviews tend to be the same as some of the other products… they roll or bunch and some say they seem less effective after a few months. The nice thing about these is that they come in 8 in, 10 in and 12 in sizes, fitting a more diverse group. And for the price you can buy multiple sizes.

The Sweetness Postpartum Sash for $57.00. Looks wise this is my favorite. It can also be used in pregnancy for belly support– which is a bonus!! It seem to work similar to a ring sling design just position differently (I’m not saying you can use a ring sling for this purpose).  The only things I see as a negative about this product is that is may not go up as high on the belly to fully “bind” properly, and all reviews and write-ups are at least two-years old… so it makes me wonder why more people aren’t talking about it (a lot of the links are broken or outdated on their press page too).

And just for fun the HipSlimmer currently on sale for $54.00. You only need to wear this a couple hours a day, or when you sleep and it works in conjunctions with your postpartum hormones to compress those hip back to a pregnancy size. The testimonials on the website are very convincing. I am seriously considering purchasing this one too.

Comments and other post partum belly binding product reccomendations welcome! And look for a part-two of this post after my baby is born.

** Update with new product Flex Support Postpartum Abdominal Binder $35… the before and after pics are good and the reviews are good as well.

Also it has been mentioned on other message boards that it is important to not use the products for too long without also doing abdominal  strengthening exercises. Prolong use of these products can further weaken tummy muscles. And other people have mentioned that if you have a weak pelvic floor or any organ prolaspes it may be better to lie down on your back when putting on postpartum support belts. Please note that I am not a doctor and concerns on whether or not you should belly bind should be taken up with your doctor.

REVIEWS BELOW: 2 months Postpartum

My sweet baby girl is now 8 weeks old. I am now at a place where I can provide some feedback regarding my postpartum belly binding products.

I purchased two belly binding products and the Hipslimmer

The first product I tried was the Flex-Support Postpartum Binder 8 inch size. I used it for the first time right after my baby was born. I honestly don’t think I could have made it up the stairs of my house without it. My first complaint at that time was that I didn’t order the right size, 8 inches barely covered my belly. Also because of this when wearing it under clothing my stomach looked really bad, pooching out on top or on bottom. However, I really needed the support and it provided that. As my tummy got smaller the 8 inch size seemed fine, but I did notice it would roll and slide up.  I started wearing it primarily in bed because I started having back pain when I slept, it really helped with that. I was a bit self-conscious wearing it in public because you see it under your clothes, so I wore/wear it a lot when I go on walks with the baby in the Ergo or ring sling.  The website shows a picture of someone’s “actual results”… I honestly find that picture truly hard to believe, though it is what convinced me to get the product. My results were not that. I still look like I’m about 5 months pregnant, however I did birth a 10 lb baby and I understand it may take awhile to get my stomach back to a more reasonable size. Also one more positive for me was that I can easily breast feed while wearing it which was a one of my concerns prior to buying any of the products.

Over all I give this product a B-, I’d recommend to friends but only because I don’t think there is much better on the market. It is way more comfortable than the other product I bought, it accommodates a large array of sizes, and it is priced nicely at $35.

Okay so here is the review most people come looking for. The Belly Bandit. In a word, NO. At least not for me, especially compared to the soft and stretchy feeling of the “Flex Support” discussed above. The Original Belly Bandit was stiff. Maybe it is worth the upgrade to the bamboo one, I just don’t know. Plus I had sizing issues, could have been my error. I measured my waist and bought the bandit size that worked with my waist size.  Well it fit around my belly, but if I wanted to wear it lower around my lower abdomen where my pooch is the biggest right now it barely reaches and because the band is really inflexible I could not get it comfortable. For that reason I only wore it a few times  (even when my belly got smaller and the fit was better) and could only wear it standing up. I cannot comment on the other complaints people have about it (that it rolls and that you have to buy multiple sizes). I could see that there is a very small amount of velcro for adjustment and postpartum belly’s change so much that I could see it barely fitting one week and too big the next week.

My overall review is a C-, because I do take ownership for the fact that the fit issues could have been user error vs. the products fault, however I wasn’t impressed enough with the other downfalls that I didn’t send it back for a bigger size (and after about two weeks I would have needed the smaller size again).

Awww the Hipslimmer. I had so much promise for this one. I can’t tell how badly I wanted the product to be completely awesome. To be honest I can see how this can work. The claims the website makes seem totally legit. The problem it is so uncomfortable to wear. I could not sit down with it on, let alone sleep in it, especially when I am getting up frequently to nurse a baby. I loved cinching it up around my hips, it was so empowering to be able to tie it tighter and tighter each time I used it, but unless I wore it while cooking it couldn’t really wear it. Where it lays on the upper thighs make it hard to bend over and when you sit down with it on it digs into your legs.  And there was no way I would wear it in public, not even to walk the dog. It is much bulkier than the picture makes it look.

My overall review of this is a D. It has so much potential but not in least user friendly. Hipslimmer you break my heart.

UPDATE 3/06/2011

Baby Girl is now 17 months old. Since I originally posted I have learned a lot more about the benefits of belly binding AND I have a new product to recommend. I recently had surgery that among many other things corrected my separated stomach muscles. For some of us lucky women, when we are pregnant our muscles in our stomach separate so far that only surgery will fix it. I actually had the surgery for another reason, but my doctor corrected my ab muscles while she was in there. Belly binding IMO is essential in those early day/weeks/months after child birth. ESPECIALLY when wearing your baby (or older child),  lifting the car seat or doing more active exercises. The importance of strengthening your pelvic floor is crucial, but while you are working on that, supporting yourself is a must. Belly binding, doesn’t need to be an every day all day thing, and it doesn’t need to ONLY happen right after child birth.
New product recommended by my physical therapist (who specializes in pelvic floor strengthening), that I have been using for the past two months. It is called the Better Binder. The beauty of this for postpartum is that can be used in pregnancy as well (technically it is a pregnancy support system).
First of all I am still nursing my baby and something that can be used while nursing (and be comfortable was high on my list).  Also something easy and hide under clothing well is also a must. This product meets all those needs. It isn’t cheap, but they have excellent customer service and out of everything I have tried it is by far the best.
Price: 49.95  or  $44.95 on Amazon

I actually bought one from both Amazon and the Core Products site, both are good (I had a sizing issue again– it’s hard being in between sizes)

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14 comments on “Postpartum Belly Binding

  1. Deborah on said:

    You're right. Waist training (I suppose another term for belly binding) is not new.

    I didn't follow the links of the products you listed to see prices, but… wouldn't a good corset or waist cincher do the same job, be adjustable as you change size, etc.?

    I have done Victorian and ren-faire costuming, and I can tell you that a well-fitted corset doesn't lead to the "boning pokes me" complaints or roll around. It can be comfortable enough for all day and give your curves a very nice shape.

    That said, Fredericks of Hollywood is not good enough – I've tried a couple of their corsets, and they did roll, have boning issues…

    A spring-steel boned corset from a quality maker like Dark Garden in San Francisco (http://www.darkgarden.com/) fits comfortably for all day. Or, since you say you're crafty, you might want to try the patterns from Laughing Moon. (http://www.lafnmoon.com/victunder.htm) I know several women who've made them and had good luck.

  2. westmama on said:

    The only thing I wonder about with corsets or things with stiff boning is how it would feel when I'm sitting and breastfeeding. I have thought about making one… using an old Moby wrap that I don't use anymore… but I will check out the links.

  3. MINDY on said:

    I looked into most all of these products while I was pregnant trying to find the best way to lose my left over belly. I read blogs, asked every mom I knew, and finally decided on the belly bandit (most of my friends used this one, and it got the best reviews) It has a sturdy yet comfortable fit to it. It does fold over when you do certain things, but it’s on a moving body, one with curves at that, so you have to expect it a little. The reason I liked it the best was because it because it was comfortable! I started with the couture when I was in the size large and treated myself to the bamboo when I made it to the medium. (the couture felt like a bathing suit and the bamboo felt like cashmere, it was better because I was wearing mine all day!)

    I think the Belly Bandit worked best for me personally

  4. westmama on said:

    Updating here: I decided to purchase the Flex Support Belly Binder and the Bali Never Ending Shapewear. Once this baby is born I will update with reviews.

    I am also going to buy the hipslimmer for pure vanity reasons ;-) Though I will provide a review on it too.

  5. My wife used the postpartum girdle on this site. Cost under $20 and her waist is the same size now as it was before she was pregnant

    http://www.squidoo.com/MaternityGirdles

  6. Reviews–Finally– Postpartum Belly Binding « Westmama’s Weblog on said:

    [...] baby girl is now 8 weeks old. I am now at a place where I can provide some feedback regarding my postpartum belly binding [...]

  7. Jalkeessy on said:

    Wow enjoyed reading your blogpost. I submitted your rss to my blogreader!!

  8. Erin L. Delaney on said:

    Does this work if you are 6 months or more post partum? I never even realized this was out there. HELP!

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  10. atenea mtz on said:

    Hi there, I was just wondering about the better binder? I went to the website but I’m a little confused about the sizing? is it based on pre pregnancy size or how big is my belly now? or once I have the baby?? thanks!

    • I’d say go with your 5-6 month pregnant belly size because that’s generally where you will be right after the baby is born. I thought the better binder ran big. According to their measurements I was a large, but when it came I had to go with a small.

    • I was told to go by your belly size around 5 months. You might have to resolve that you may need two sizes… a bigger and smaller one. I do think they run big though.

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