Late 2012 we interviewed Lori Caden about the Belly Bandit, a product she designed with her sisters. I thought this was a brilliant product, I talked it up to my pregnant friends and wondered where it had been when I was pregnant because I would have loved one. I then put it out of my mind thinking I was never going to need one, until it came to pass that perhaps I would. It was one of the first things to go on my post natal wish list.
The instructions say to get into the Belly Bandit as soon after delivery as possible. I was measured for mine at 36 weeks and it worked out that I would need a Medium. When it came time to don my Belly Bandit the first time, mere hours post delivery I was devastated – It was too small. I could get it to close but I couldn’t really breathe. This wasn’t something to be concerned about, sometimes the Belly Bandit is a little bit small immediately. Rather than thinking about an exchange I put it aside to try again the next day. The next day my Belly Bandit was a fabulous fit, still firm and an only-just-closed scenario but it fit and it was comfortable. It was also about to become the foundation of my daily outfit.
I found the Belly Bandit to be comfortable and though it was firmly fitted it wasn’t restricting in a way that hindered me or made me feel suffocated. It didn’t stop me from being able to bend or twist or do anything that a new mother needs to do, if anything it was a help and a support.
I have always been a culprit of very bad posture, it’s not good for you anytime but it’s especially not good for you post delivery because of the Relaxin (a natural hormone softening your pelvis and ligaments for child birth) coursing through your body. The first weeks after giving birth posture is very important and if you are breastfeeding your baby it is very easy to get into bad posture habits, trust me I know. The Belly Bandit was a miracle worker for this, I found that it gave me fabulous support and helped ensure that I was using correct posture. It just wasn’t comfortable sitting slouched so I had my butt at the back of the chair and my back straight with bubs raised to the right level and it made breastfeeding so much easier. Correct positioning led to better attachment and less breastfeeding issues for me, which lead to a much happier mummy who was determined to get feeding right this time round.
Sleeping in the Belly Bandit was something I wasn’t sure I would be able to do, I’m not a fan of anything too constrictive when I’m sleeping but didn’t have any problems with the Belly Bandit.
Now to really sing it’s praises because these are some personal facts that really surprised me.
The physiotherapist I saw before discharge from the hospital diagnosed abdominal separation (which is quite common) of 7.5cms, quite large according to the physio. I went in for a follow up appointment a little over two weeks later. We talked about all the normal things and then she got me up on the bench for the exam. My abdominal separation had reduced to approximately 2.5cms – a reduction of 5cms in 2 weeks. They expect a reduction of about 1cm per week so I can definitely say the Belly Bandit was working for me with such an increase in the rate of reduction.
I have always been quite big and after my first two pregnancies I never quite got back in shape, not that I was in shape to begin with, so I was expecting to be wearing my maternity clothes for quite a while. Imagine my surprise, and absolute elation, to discover that 6 weeks after giving birth to my darling boy I was back in my jeans. Jeans that I had only been in for a short time before falling pregnant due to a sustained effort to lose weight. At first I thought perhaps it was just because I was wearing the Belly Bandit and it was holding everything in, so the next day I thought I would try them without my BB and what do you know – my jeans still fit.
I really wish I had a BB for my first and second pregnancies because I think my body would look a lot different right now if I had. Baby #3 gave me no new stretchmarks so none of the ones I have are fresh, but I still think that 8 weeks in my BB has reduced the severity of the old ones.
That’s a little bit about my personal experience with my much loved Belly Bandit, and a product I will definitely talk up to my pregnant friends after experiencing the benefits first hand.
In Australia 70% of all pregnant women have a condition called Diastases Recti where the stomach muscles do not mend properly after child birth. This can vary from a 5cm gap (or hole) on the stomach muscle to an almost un-noticeable millimetre. The Belly Bandit helps to reduce this by placing 360 degrees of pressure on the stomach in the initial period when the Relaxin is still in the system and encouraging the stomach muscles to reknit and the uterus to return to its former place and size.
The Belly Bandit also helps with water retention and bloating, relieving pressure on the back and legs and by holding the tummy firmly MAY help reduce stretch marks by minimising the sagging tummy (which is why I wish I’d had one for my previous pregnancies).
There are some things that you need to keep in mind though:
- The Belly Bandit will not help you lose weight, only diet and exercise will do that – which means avoid eating the wrong things when you are up breastfeeding in the middle of the night. (Yes, that’s something I am telling myself.)
- The Belly Bandit is strictly a post pregnancy product and must not be worn while pregnant.
- It is important to get into the BB as soon after delivery as comfortable, and wear it 24/7 (except when bathing).
- BB needs to be handwashed and laid out flat to dry. Do not wring, it will damage the fibres.
- Available in 5 sizes and 4 different styles.
- The Bamboo BB is moisture wicking and has been designed specifically for use after Caesarean births, all 4 styles are effective after a natural birth.
- Each band has 13cm of velcro to allow for adjustment as tummy shrinks.
The Belly Bandit has been worn by Hollywood superstars so if you like the celebrity endorsement you can rest assured this product has been tried and tested by Nicole Kidman, Angelina Jolie, Jessica Alba, Halle Berry and Minnie Driver, Kourtney Kardashian has even designed her own Belly Bandit.
You can measure yourself for a Belly Bandit any time from 36 weeks. Measure around the tummy using the belly button as a starting point then subtract 10cms and select the sizing range you fit into.
For more information and to order your own Belly Bandit head over to: www.bellybandit.com.au.