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Category Archives: Child Birth

The Benefits of Post Partum Belly Wrapping and How To Do It

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My Ayurvedic doctor recommended to me that I wrap my belly for six weeks after birth. I had heard of the benefits of belly wrapping (or belly binding) with my second baby, but when I was told about it, I was already 7 weeks post partum and sort of past this ‘golden window‘ of opportunity for belly wrapping. Luckily, each time you have a baby, you get a chance to reap the full benefits of belly wrapping. So, when I found out we were having a third, I was happy to know that I could give post partum belly wrapping a try.

I guess there’s two schools of thought when it comes to post partum belly binding and they sort of overlap.

One is more scientific and the other is more spiritual.

The western view of belly wrapping is that it brings your abdominal muscles back together. I had a three finger split (diastasis recti), in my abdominal muscles. That sort of split is typical during a third pregnancy. I remember having to cough an hour after my son was born and MAN did that huuuurt! However, when I went to see my midwife at our six week post partum check up, she was happy to say that my split was less than one finger wide (that’s about as good as it gets after three babies). So, my post partum belly wrapping helped in bringing those muscles back, according to the western ideology.

The ayurvedic or eastern approach to belly wrapping is slightly different. By the way, the practice of belly wrapping is present in many cultures around the world, but I’ll just talk about the ayurvedic background.

To understand the ayurvedic approach to belly wrapping, you need to understand what vata is. There are three different sort of energies that govern the body (I’ll make this simple). One of these energies is a called ‘vata‘. Vata is movement and air and cold and dry. It’s the energy that makes the baby come out in the first place. My ayurvedic doctor was saying it’s hard to translate the meaning in English, but when the baby comes out, there is a void (a space) where the baby was. This vulnerable space is vata. If you can heal the space (by wrapping), a woman can feel the benefit from it for the rest of her life. If the space is not healed correctly, after six weeks, it seals anyway and can sort of trap a whole array of ailments. Because, when vata is unbalanced, it causes all sorts of mental and physical problems. Following me??

Apparently, the mummy pouch that so many mothers find nearly impossible to get rid of, is excess vata! That’s why sometimes no matter how much weight  a woman loses, the belly still seems to be there.

Belly wrapping helps to bring all the organs back into their places and it also helps to balance the hormones. When I wrapped my belly, it felt so comfortable. It took away that jiggly feeling. A woman’s digestive system is very delicate after having a baby, so it is really important for her to eat easy to digest food. Warm, soupy, slightly oily food that is easy to digest, is the best for post partum.

How to Wrap

There are many ways to wrap your belly. The idea is that you lift the belly in and up. I chose the quickest way to wrap. Even though I made the decision to stay at home and not leave the house for the first six weeks post partum (you can read about my experience here), I still wanted to make this easy on myself.

Compression Shorts

A friend of mine gifted me some SRC compression recovery shorts. I called these my uniform, as I wore them the most. Everyday, after a warm oil massage and a shower, I would put these on and wear them all day. You can start wearing compression shorts from about 4 or 5 days post partum. These shorts are really great as they offer good support while being very flexible and super easy to put on. However, they are expensive and can be hot in summer! A few weeks ago, I was walking by the undies section in Target and I saw these body firming shorts that look almost identical to the compression shorts and they are only $20, so worth a shot if you don’t want to dish out $190 for the recovery shorts. There are some off brands out there too. You can find them online. I haven’t tried them and they are about $40. You can also find compression shorts second hand on Gumtree or Craigslist for about half the price and usually in good condition.

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These are the SRC compression shorts.

 

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I saw these body firming shorts in Target and I think they would be a good substitute for the compression shorts. Make sure it says ‘firm’ support. Not bad for $20!

 

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These were shorter body firming shorts that I bought after the six week post partum period and they donn’t go up as high. The shorter pair was a good transition short to go from wrapping everyday to not wrapping. At 10 weeks post part, I’m still wearing them sometimes for light support.

 

Post Partum Belly Wraps

Another wrap I wore quite often, mostly at night, was this bamboo belly wrap. I got it second hand off gumtree. There are lots of similar ones you can find on line. I liked this one because I could make it really tight. (In ayurveda, they recommend that you wrap fairly firm). However, it was pretty stiff and hard to sit in, so I used it mostly at night, while lying down.

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Traditional Wrapping 

I tried using a woven baby carrier wrap a few times… never really felt as good as the purpose made ones and it took too long to put on. But, it is an option. You can google ‘post partum belly wrapping with a woven wrap’ and Youtube tutorials should pop up. You can also use long bandages. Some cultures use a super long and narrow strip of cloth or muslin and wrap it around and around the abdomen. Do a bit of google searching if any of these approaches appeal to you. I looked, and while it looked beautiful, it all was a bit too complicated compared to the propose made wraps.

Heat and Oil

At night, I would sometimes give my wrapping a break and instead go to bed with a hot water pack resting on my belly. The warmth helps with your delicate digestive system. Massaging your belly with warm oil, in a circular motion (clockwise to follow the intestinal tract) also helps. Wrapping afterwards and the combination of warmth with oil helps reduce the vata. Daily warm oil self massage is also recommended in ayurveda to help reduce the vata. You can google any tutorial on how to do warm oil massage.

How Often Do You Wrap

In ayurveda, you’re meant to keep the belly wrapped most of the time. I gave myself a few breaks of an hour or so here and there, but if I left my wrap off for too long, I would feel all gassy and bloated (that’s the vata, the air creeping in). I would put my wrap back on, do a few big burps and farts (haha, yup, that’s the vata coming out) and feel back to normal. The western view says to not wrap all the time because you need your muscles to get strong but I don’t agree with that one. If you had to wear a cast or a brace to heal a wound, you wouldn’t take it off, right? I felt the same with the wrapping. Anyway, I noticed that my muscles were ready to get strong again quickly after six weeks.

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I’m not one to bounce back quickly after pregnant, but this was my belly at 2 weeks post partum and I was pretty happy it. Much flatter at that stage than I had been in subsequent pregnancies without wrapping. Anyway, the point of wrapping is to reduce the vata, the flat tummy in incidental.

What If You Missed The Six Week Post Partum Window?

If you plan on having more babies, you can do it again after their birth. If you’re finished with babies, you can still bind your belly and do oil massage and be mindful of your data (if you feel yourself getting jiggly and bloated). Getting enough sleep, meditation, eating warm soupy easy to digest foods, especially during cold winter months will help.

Have You Had That Baby Yet? Seriously, Shut up!

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There have been a plethora of overdue babies around me lately, so I had to write this post.

I worked until four days before my due date with Margo. Each and every day that I made it to work, everyone would say the same thing as I waddled in the door, “Oh, you’re here, we weren’t sure if you would make it today! You must be so over it.”  Read the rest of this entry

Five Funny Reasons Why Every New Mother Should Wear Her Baby

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Babywearing is a serious life saver, most baby wearers know that.  There are too many emotional and physiological benefits to mention here, and I’ve already written a long winded post on ‘The Top Ten Reasons to Wear Your Baby or Child‘. Here are a few of the funny reasons to wear your baby that not too many people mention. Read the rest of this entry

Very Extended and Tandem Breastfeeding: A Few Raised Eyebrows for Sure

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Big kid, loves boobs

Big kid, loves boobs

The other day, I was watching this clip of Maggie Gyllenhall, talking about breastfeeding her baby while she was shooting for the movie, White House Down.  The actress was saying how her daughter was only 2 1/2 months old when she started the filming, which seems crazy to me… Two months post partum and if I had as much money as her and I think I would be hunkered down with my baby wrapped on my chest and my pajamas on… forget having make up on and being on a movie set… but anyway…  It got me to thinking though… why is breastfeeding such a big deal?  I’m not talking even about breastfeeding in public, or breastfeeding a three year old, but I mean, just breastfeeding in general?  The talk show host certainly seemed a bit conservative about the whole thing, and also was a little confused when Maggie said she was ‘like, really breastfeeding‘… which is right, which is what you do when you have a tiny baby.  Anyway… Read the rest of this entry

Mfest 2013, Springbrook, QLD Australia

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The fairy princess

The fairy princess

Yesterday, we drove up into the mountains to go to a festival called MFest.  The ‘M’ as in ‘mother’…  MFest is: ‘A Celebration of Motherhood and the Creativity of Woman‘.   It was the day before Mother’s Day, and I believe the festival happens every year, in Springbrook, QLD, at the Springbrook State School grounds, way at the top of the Gold Coast’s hinterland.  It just so happened to be raining a little that day, I’m sure the rain scared a few people away… but… if you’re going to Springbrook, you can expect a bit of rain!  Doesn’t hurt to pack your gumboots and something warm to wear!  After all, you are practically in the clouds on top of that mountain!

We arrived a little early, people were still setting up their stalls, and it was raining, so rather than sit in the car and wait, I decided to take the girls about ten minutes up the road to a really cool nature walk called, ‘The Best of All Lookout‘.  This walk is really awesome, it’s short, it’s  paved and meanders through some absolutely pristine rainforest.  You can see these ‘ancient arctic beech trees’ that are reportedly over 2000 years old.  If you look close enough, you might even see little fairies living under rocks covered in moss 😉  We didn’t make it far on the walk.  I had one girl on my back, and one girl on my front, and an umbrella, and it was cold and windy, so we turned around.  I’ve been there before, and while the lookout might not be best of all, it is pretty cool.  Margo was pretty excited though, that we were actually ‘in’ a cloud.

Back to the festival and (yay) the sun was shining again.  We hopped out of the car and had a look around.  It was sort of small and intimate, and had one large tent with live music, food stalls, craft and information, etc. and other smaller tents and stalls scattered around.  I have to say, it was a very mixed bag of people attending this event!  It was not just mother’s toting around babes and kids!  There were all sorts of people from all walks of life!

Margo got her face painted by a ‘Funksta’ Facepainting, of course, she wanted something pink…

Funksta Facepainting

Funksta Facepainting

And, the gem of the day (well for me anyway) were two woman giving talks about the placenta.. yes.. the placenta… We all sat around in this cozy tent with pillows and rugs.  They even had a stuff placenta as a prop.  One woman was a doula and the other was a midwife student.  One of the woman, Lauren Manners, based in south Brisbane, gave me her card, her business is called www.accomplishedbirth.com.  She specializes in placenta encapsulation.  I was stoked to hear that you can encapsulate a placenta, even if it’s been in the freezer for some time… like a couple years even… I might have to ring her up and have mine done one day.  They talked about the importance of the placenta, it’s role in sustaining life, the benefits of delayed cord clamping and the rituals of different cultures and even animals when dealing with the placenta.  Very cool stuff!

The stuffed placenta

The stuffed placenta

Anyway, the day was a success.  We only stayed about an hour and a half or so, it started raining again, so we high tailed it back to the car.  Margo loved being in the clouds.  I liked being on top of the mountains, and Goldie slept both ways in the car.  I even won a raffle ticket!!!  Woohoo!  Some family voucher to go camping!  Looks like we’ll be heading back to the mountains again soon. My only advice if you’re going to Springbrook is to not forget your gumboots!

Do Children Remember Their Birth? My Three Year Old’s Birth, According to Her

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Growing up fast, but still remembers her first day :)

Growing up fast, but still remembers her first day 🙂

I was going to write a boring recipe post tonight on apple crumble, but as I was putting Margo to bed, she started giving me accurate details of her birth! I thought birth story by account of a three year old was more interesting than apple crumble…. fruity crumble recipe tomorrow. Read the rest of this entry

The Test of Endurance: Margo’s Birth Story, Three Years Later

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This is fun.. I swear!

This is fun.. I swear!

March 18, 2010

Today Margo is two days old.  One of the midwives told me to write down everything about the birth while I’m still in the hospital and all the memories are fresh in my mind 🙂  To start, Margo is THE cutest, most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, and I’m not just saying that because I’m her mother, all the midwives and doctors think she’s a good looking baby too! Read the rest of this entry

Drawing the Line: What Do You Consider Natural Childbirth

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Natural? About ten hours before Margo was born.

Since Margo is about to turn three, I’ve recently been thinking a lot about her birth.  Margo was born in a hospital setting and her birth was considered a ‘natural childbirth’.  Spontaneous labour, (meaning that I had not been induced), no drugs, and we had a beautiful water birth.  I labored for 36 hours total and 18 of those hours were fully established.  It was, as I say, a marathon labor. Read the rest of this entry