Stick with me through this quick article and you'll be a pro on Bengkung in no time!
So we all know the drill, meet a cool person, fall in love, stay up late "cuddling", now your 9 months pregnant and making a birth plan... that's how it happens right?
Ok, maybe it happened a little different for you, but either way here we are! Maybe a friend mentioned it to you, you saw it on Facebook or Instagram, or maybe you googled "Best Postpartum Traditions", somehow or another you stumbled upon Bengkung Belly Binding and all of it's glory!
So let's jump into the "What" portion of Bengkung. This time honored tradition began in Indonesia, but people from all over the world have always practiced some version of wrapping or binding the postpartum belly. You may have seen those "girdle" wraps that you can buy on Amazon, but Bengkung is better for so many reasons, first of all they are made from gorgeous, usually hand dyed fabric. You can choose to wear them under your clothes but most women wear them over their shirt to show off how pretty it really is. It is also a better choice because as your body changes (oh, it will change) you can adjust the wrap to fit your new figure each time, it is totally adjustable to your personal needs. Lastly it provides an amount of support that the basic belly binders can't even compare to. While commercial wraps cover your abdomen, Bengkung wraps cover everything from your hips to your ribs which is important, because your hips can often be misaligned after birth which can contribute to back pain, weak pelvic floor muscles (think peeing when you sneeze)
Now you may be wondering how does this thing work? It is a very complicated process that can take hours to complete... Just kidding! It is very simple and easy to learn. I know it looks very intricate but it is so simple once you learn how! A long thin piece of fabric is wrapped around you and then twisted in the center and the wrapped and twisted, over and over, until you reach the end of the fabric.
The best time to wrap can vary. If you deliver vaginally then you can start your binding right away. If you deliver via cesarean though, you'll need to wait about 6 weeks or until your incision has healed before binding. The tradition calls for the mother to bind for 40 days postpartum, but you can stop whenever you are ready, any time spend with your belly bound is beneficial, so you can't go wrong!
Lastly lets go over the "why". There are many reasons you can choose to do a Bengkung Belly Bind. In my humble opinion the most important factor is healing. After you have a baby you may be suffering from abdominal separation, AKA Diastasis Recti. Basically if you draw a line straight up and down through your belly button that is your mid line, and where your abdominal muscles meet. Pregnancy can separate these muscles and pull them apart, leaving your organs a little out of whack, your pelvic floor weak, and that tell tale "mom pooch", my favorite!
Check out this handy image about Diastasis:
Benefits of Belly Binding
Stabilizes loose ligaments
Supports the abdominal wall and helps heal Diastasis Recti
Water, fat and air can accumulate in the tissue, applying pressure to the torso can speed up the healing process
Helps to encourage good posture, which is important for your organs to migrate back to their original position before pregnancy prevent lower back pain
Prevents slouching while feeding or holding your child
So. what are your thoughts? Would you try it, or have you done it before? Please comment below and let us know how it worked.