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Category Archives: Natural Remedies

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. This is a great 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.

Questions I Need to Stop Asking My Kids

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Before my children could verbally communicate well, I got really good at reading their cues… Hungry? Tired? Hot/Cold? Upset? Have to pee? Yup, with a little practice, I seemed to be able to figure it all out. Now, they’re older and extremely verbal, but I keep doing something extremely stupid: I keep asking them questions which I (and they) already know the answers to. Asking these types of questions makes me sound like a broken record and is an obvious display of my lack of awareness.

1. Are you hungry?

I can generally calculate this answer, myself, if I think about the last time we ate. If they’re hungry, they’ll either lunge for food or they’ll have a melt down. Simple. Next.

2. Do you have to pee?

I ask the little one at least 29 times a day. If she has to pee, she holds her crotch and can’t sit still. I KNOW when she has to pee… SHE KNOWS WHEN SHE HAS TO PEE. I can just take her, but instead, I ask her. She says “No“. I ask her again 5 times until I take her… I’m an idiot. I could have saved my breath and just taken her at my first chance. Read the rest of this entry

The Funny Things About Getting Sick

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Have you ever gazed at the scratches on your mug in dumbfounded wonder and taken the time to imagine how they would have gotten there over the years? Have you ever acknowledged the brand name of the ceiling fan in your bathroom for the first time in four years and wondered why you never noticed it before? Have you ever stared at a wall for at least five minutes, without even once thinking it’s about time to move? I mean, when do we ever stop and notice that stuff? Well, that was me and my family for the past few days. Sick with a flu, and not just any flu. Like, worst flu ever flu. All at the same time. Like, even our doctor gave us a sympathetic, “You poor things.” When he saw the state we were in. Read the rest of this entry

Tired and Touched Out With Your Kids? Twelve Ways to Bring Back the Love

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Energy reserves start to plummet into oblivion and the room starts to spin.  The demands from my kids get louder and more persistent… I look at the time… “SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP ME!!!”, I scream in my head!  I know all of the things I ‘should’ be doing, to be a caring, attentive and loving parent… but it’s just not happening.  My body is there, but in my mind, I want to be crashed out in bed with the covers pulled over my head…  Do you know the feeling?! Read the rest of this entry

Oil Pulling: Powerful Ayurvedic Remedy and My First Cavities

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Diet, Tooth Decay and Cavities

I went for a routine teeth cleaning a few months ago and my dentist found my first adult cavity! Aghhhh!!!! I was seriously upset! Read the rest of this entry

Wind that Makes for Crazy Days (and How to Stop the Room From Spinning)

When the room starts spinning... get unspun!

When the room starts spinning… get unspun!  They both wanted ‘up’ so I put them in a wrap and spun them ’round and ’round

In October 2007, my husband and I spent a couple weeks in southern California for a surf contest, the USA Surfing Championships.  (I’ll just casually mention that I won my division… ahem, 2007 Woman’s Longboard title…) But, what really set this trip apart from the others was the damn wind!  Our first day there, I noticed everything looked bone dry. I said to Art, “Man, it looks like a tinder box here.”  Two days later, a hot, dry and extremely strong wind called the Santa Ana winds started blowing and southern California was experiencing some of it’s worst wildfires ever.  Lots of homes burned, lots of smoke that we breathed in… and some of the most epic, uncrowded waves I’ve ever surfed in southern California… like ever, dude… 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!

Breastmilk: The Superhuman Power

Breastmilk

A few days ago, I noticed some greenish-yellow gooey boogers in one of Goldie’s eyes. The eye was a little pink and watery and getting more and more eye boogies.   Read the rest of this entry

Slingy Slingy Ding Dong: Make Your Own Baby Ring Sling

Ring Sling Baby

My first attempt: now it’s like a piece of clothing I put on every day!

Goldie was around 8 weeks old and I went to an attachment parent/babywearing mummy meet. I had her in a Hug-a-Bub, which is an Australian big wrappy thing, similar to the one they sell in America, the Moby.

Read the rest of this entry

Three Sick Girls and a Sitting Duck: Attachment Parenting when You’re Sick

Baby Wearing with a fever

Kangaroo Care, ‘Cooling off’ while she’s got a fever.

If I ever tell you that ‘I don’t get sick‘, you can call me a BIG FAT LIAR!  As of the past ten days, I have been sick for nearly all of them.   Read the rest of this entry