This is the most common question I'm asked by women when they first learn about belly binding. They range from 3 weeks, 3 months, or even years postpartum. The benefits of postpartum belly binding are many (read about the benefits here!), so it's understandable that these women want to take advantage.
The first question I ask is: what is your motivation?
Is it weight loss? Belly binding doesn't exactly do that, and if that's your main motivation, then belly binding isn't for you.
Or is it support? Belly binding DOES do that!
If your goal is supporting your body to facilitate healing, then belly binding might be for you, but there are a few more things to consider.
Here's what I tell those women who ask me, "Is it too late to belly bind?"
No. It's not too late. You can receive benefits from belly binding now, and theoretically up to two years postpartum. I myself have used belly binding during my periods when they return after having baby, and it feels wonderful. The biggest benefit you can receive from belly binding is support. Especially if you have a significant abdominal separation, you will feel the difference in your posture, especially.
It could reduce lower back pain, since it corrects your posture, and it could increase your sense of strength in your body.
It also serves to increase your self-confidence and improve your body image. Every time you take it off you'll likely FEEL thinner and fitter, even though the belly bind does not directly help you lose weight.
That said, there are some specific things you'll want to be aware of when binding AFTER the 6 week postpartum window.
Postpartum pilates or yoga (wait at least six weeks, and up to three months before beginning. Listen to your body.)
Postpartum Massage - break up scar tissue, reduce inflammation, treat your postpartum body to exactly the relaxation it needs!
Consider following one of these postpartum fitness experts to guide you through the first year of strengthening your core and pelvic floor:
Many times this question stems from the desire to "get the postpartum body back." This reveals an error in thinking that is prominent in the American culture. Your body isn't meant to "go back". You will always have a postpartum body - but that doesn't mean it can't be lean, fit, attractive, and energized! There are ways to help bring core stability, remove excess skin or fat, and raise your stamina in health and awareness. Listen to what your body needs, and BE PATIENT.
For at least a month postpartum, don't worry about what you look like. Instead, focus on giving your body healthy nutrition-dense foods to eat, bond with your sweet baby, and put your attention on healing. Your body will "bounce back" much faster and easier if you do, I promise! As I tell my doula clients,
"NINE MONTHS IN, NINE MONTHS OUT."
So relax, and be patient. Your time will come, and if you've treated your body gently and allowed healing to happen, it will thank you by responding when you start to strengthen it once more.
Tell us in the comments below if you've belly bound after the initial 6 weeks, and what results and benefits you found!