Okay, so by now you have your precious bundle of joy in your arms. You look down at your sweet baby blissfully and you are in awe of motherhood and your baby. But, there are a few things that you were not expecting. One of them is how flabby and out of shape your belly would be after delivery. There is hardly any way to escape this unless you are blessed with incredible genes and even then your belly may require a little work on your part to get back to flat. There are some things that you can do to help flatten your midsection and return to pre-pregnancy shape quickly, and this is where binding or wrapping your postpartum belly comes in along with some other good ab flattening tips. I have birthed four children. For the first two births, I never really considered belly binding. My aunt kept encouraging me to do so, assuring me that binding would flatten my belly and get me back into shape fast. I was young and laughed off her suggestion as mere myth. For the last two births, at which time I considered myself older and wiser, I decided to indulge my aunt and give belly binding a try. It has been the best thing I have done to get my new mommy tummy under control. Think about this for a moment – your belly has carried around another human being for nine months. Your abdominal muscles get stretched out and weakened as your baby grows. Once you deliver your baby, your muscles are very weak and are going to need some extra support. Here are some tips to follow to shrink down your postpartum belly quickly.
Wrap your belly as soon as you can after delivery. There are several good abdominal binders and compression garments on the market for this today. You can use a strong girdle, belly binders that are sold in stores and online or if you are short on cash you can even use a plain bed sheet by cutting it down to about 12 inches thick and leaving the length. Place the center of your strip on your belly and wrap around your torso and tie it back in the middle near your navel. Don’t tie too tightly, you don’t want to constrict, but rather support your belly as things go back into place. How do you think women in the eighteenth century got their waists to be so tiny? It was all of those corsets under their dresses which over time left them with tiny waists even if the rest of their bodies were larger. This is the same principle behind belly binding.
Another thing to consider when trying to regain your pre-pregnancy shape is this: How you get up from a lying position? You hear baby crying at night and you jump out of bed by flexing your abs and jumping up unsupported by your arms or hands. Not good at all. Instead of that maneuver, try using your arms and hands to support your body weight while getting up from a lying down position. When you just spring up you are causing further stress and strain to your already weakened abdominal muscles and if you have diastasis (a separation of the lower abdominal muscles that most mothers have) then you are really hurting those abs. So, try to retrain yourself to get up slowly while supporting your abs.
Walk, walk, and walk. I cannot say enough about the power of walking. Put your belly binder on and take your new baby for a walk around your area to get some fresh air. If the weather is bad, you may consider walking at your local mall or some other spacious indoor area. Walking will make you feel good and you will get the exercise you need to begin toning your body. Just be sure not to overexert yourself and of course, always follow your doctor’s recommendations for postpartum exercise.
Finally, really consider your posture. When you are slouching you are not giving your body total support and your neck, shoulders, back and abdominal muscles all suffer and may feel fatigued. From now on, you should try to stand straight with your body in alignment. Make sure both of your legs are in a straight line and that not just one of your legs is supporting most of your body’s weight. Breathe deeply and draw your belly button into your spine and imagine them touching. This is how you should stand in order to be supportive of your belly and its healing process.
While my aunt has been the advocate in my life for belly binding, I can’t say enough about some of the postpartum exercise programs I have encountered. There is one in particular that really stands out to me which I have enjoyed very much and learned a lot from. You may want to look at the book, “Lose Your Mummy Tummy,” by Julie Tupler. It is excellent and Ms. Tupler provides some great techniques for supporting your postpartum belly. As always remember to take your diet into account and make sure that you are eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of liquids. Remember, Rome was not built in a day. It took you nine (plus!) months to get here and it may take you a full nine months or more to get your tummy perfectly flattened. Just hang in there and be sure to spread the word to other new moms and encourage each other!