Natural Postnatal Healing and Recovery!
Postpartum belly binding is the practice of wrapping a long strip of cloth around a postnatal mother's hips, abdomen and rib cage to just below the bust. This is said to promote healing of the uterus and other organs during the recovery period following birth, along with many other benefits! I learned how to perform postnatal belly binding last year and have been offering my services to mothers in Southwest Ireland ever since. I never tried belly binding myself after my training because I was pregnant at the time. This made me even more thrilled to try it following the birth of my fourth baby.
My son was born at home following a gentle labour process in water. I did experience a bit more postpartum bleeding than I had expected, which made my recovery the first 48 hours more challenging. What was particularly uncomfortable were the after pains and the lower back pain I experienced when I would stand for any length of time. I have a previous lower back injury which probably aggravated things! I know all the benefits of postnatal belly binding so I was ready to discover how the practice might help me!
ADVENTURES IN SELF BINDING
My first attempt at self belly binding was when my son was three days old. It is comical to think back on that experience now. Binding another person is completely different than putting the belly bind on yourself. For starters, the view is completely different! I attempted binding myself without the use of a mirror first. My bind ended up being way too tight, spaced out and "pinchy." I quickly learned that having a mirror was essential and all of my binds since have been beautiful. If you’re putting your belly bind on yourself, remember a mirror is super helpful!
I'm happy to report that belly binding has definitely helped me with my postnatal recovery! My back pain is always reduced when I wear the bind during the day or night. This reduction in pain is felt even when I'm no longer wearing the bind. I put this down to the fact that belly binding helps create more stability for my core, thus putting less pressure on my lower back. I've also had a quicker flattening of my tummy, reduced postnatal bleeding and I feel more overall strength in my abdominal muscles. The first day I did the self binding, I only wore the bind for two hours. I didn't feel much difference that first time. I chose to wear the bind for five hours the following day, eight hours the next day and the hours have since varied. It really depends on what I have going on each day. Belly binds are great to wear during the early postnatal period when new mums are spending more time at home with their babies. A belly bind will shift a bit during activity so you won't have success wearing a bind if you're running lots of errands, enjoying a workout or cleaning your home, for example. You don't have to be completely immobile but the bind is more effective if you are lying down, reclined, or doing things that are more gentle on the body. Some women prefer to wear them in the evening time when they are either relaxing or sleeping.
I have been wearing my bind for six weeks on and off now and I'm feeling great. I'm fortunate to have learned this wonderful postnatal healing technique and that I can share its benefits with expectant families in Limerick and all over Ireland.