Ashley and I are pleased to introduce you guys to Stephanie Miles, owner of Purple Laurel. Stephanie lives in Northern California and is the mom two young sons (Jamison & Teagan). She spent the early years with her babies like most of us, attached to a pump or nursing and has a lot of strong opinions about what makes the best nursing apparel. She decided to start Purple Laurel for selfish reasons- she wanted a place to buy cute, comfortable, really high-quality nursing bras that could be thrown in the washer and dryer without worrying about the fabric shrinking or seams unraveling. I can tell Stephanie has put a lot of research, time and effort into the products she caries as well as her online store. Because of this, I truly adore her and love what she’s doing to help Moms feel comfortable, confident and beautiful in the products Purple Laurel carries. Their shapewear is medical-grade, which means it can be worn for birth recovery, and their nursing bras are not only cute and comfy, but they are durable.
Stephanie has put together a few guest posts for us this week. Today she’ll talk about postpartum wraps, tomorrow nursing bras. Stay tuned earlier in the week for an amazing giveaway, you won’t want to miss it!
Myth vs. Fact: The Truth About Postpartum Wrapping
Get a group of moms together to talk about childbirth, and you’re almost always going to hear a few horror stories — epic contractions, unexpected bodily fluids, and babies who arrived before their moms could make it the hospital. But what I’ve noticed in my experience of talking to moms about childbirth is just how many women are surprised by the recovery process. Most of us expect to start feeling normal again within a matter of hours or days after giving birth, and when that doesn’t happen we’re left wondering what went wrong.
The truth is that in most cases, nothing went wrong. Childbirth is a major event for the body, and even in a best-case scenario with an uncomplicated vaginal birth, full recovery can take at least six weeks. Women who’ve undergone c-section surgery can expect recovery to take even longer. Internal organs that moved during pregnancy slowly start shifting back into place and the uterus shrinks back down to its pre-pregnancy size. Water weight is slowly shed, and the swelling that happened during those final few weeks of pregnancy finally begins to subside.
If you’re like most new moms—myself included—you’re probably wondering what you can do to speed up the process. Although I’m not typically a fan of “quick fixes”—and particularly not during the postpartum period, when your body needs the chance to rest and recover—I’ve found that there really are things that women can do to start feeling better, sooner, after childbirth.
Postpartum wrapping isn’t a new concept. Women have been doing it for centuries. But once the practice started catching on with celebrities, like Jessica Alba, it began to trickle down into the mainstream.
Although I’m a major advocate for postpartum belly wrapping, and I believe strongly in the physical benefits, I also think it’s important for women to have realistic expectations about what they can achieve. Here’s what I’ve learned.
Myth: If you bind your belly tight enough, you’ll lose weight immediately.
Fact: Lots of women credit their post-pregnancy weight loss to regularly wearing a belly band or postpartum wrap. I’m not here to say they’re wrong. What I will say is that the majority of women naturally lose weight during the postpartum period, and correlation does not imply causation. In this case, many women who wore belly wraps religiously in the days following childbirth probably would have lost weight regardless.
But… that doesn’t mean I’m against belly wrapping. In fact, I’m totally a fan! My store, Purple Laurel, sells all kinds of belly wraps, postpartum support belts, and girdles for new moms from a variety of high-quality brands. What I tell women is that weight loss may be a benefit to postpartum belly wrapping, but it’s secondary to the abdominal and hip support that quality wraps can provide.
It’s also true that continual compression may reduce postpartum bleeding, decrease back pain (usually caused by slouching during breastfeeding), and help to eliminate the tummy “pooch” that many women notice post-baby, although that is more directly related to the reduction in swelling and water retention. Although a slimming of the ribcage and hips can happen as a result of postpartum wrapping, that depends largely on how frequently and tightly the compression garment is worn in the days and weeks following birth.
Myth: DIY wraps are a cost-effective option for belly binding.
Fact: Pinterest is great and I love a good craft project, but pretty much nothing having to do with the body or postpartum recovery should be DIY’d. Using plastic wrap to bind the belly after birth is incredibly
dangerous. It’s way too easy to bind the belly too tightly and cut off circulation, and any weight that you do lose while having plastic wrapped around your midsection is just water weight anyways. (Which means it’ll come right back as soon as you re-hydrate.) Many women don’t realize they’re allergic to the Polyvinyl chloride contained in cling wrap until they remove the wrap and notice an itchy rash covering their skin. I don’t know about you, but that’s not something I’d want to deal with right after having a baby.
From my perspective, the biggest problem with DIY belly wraps is that they usually don’t offer any of the hip or back support that women need to help their bodies recover. Instead, new moms would be better off choosing something like a Postpartum Support Cincher or a Support Belt, since these wraps will compress the abdomen and decrease swelling while also providing support.
Myth: Belly wraps are one-size-fits all.
Fact: Many doctors encourage patients to wear abdominal binders following c-section surgery, and some even give them away for free at the hospital. But the reality is that all wraps and binders are not created equal. Belly binders that have been supplied by hospitals should be retired right alongside other freebies like gowns and non-skid socks. Most women do better when they use a higher-quality belly wrap based on their unique fits and builds.
At Purple Laurel we’ve noticed that taller women tend to favor our Body Bandage because of its extended length in the torso, while women who are 5’5” and under usually prefer something with a little less coverage, like the Postpartum Support Wrap – Hip Shaper. All of our products come in a variety of sizes, and they’re made with a higher quality material than the binders given out by hospitals. And believe me, when you’re wearing a compression garment against your skin 18+ hours a day, the quality of the material really does matter!
I love talking to women about their experiences with postpartum wraps, and I enjoy answering questions about the different style options that are available these days, as well. I encourage anyone who’s pregnant or newly postpartum to check out our selection of postpartum support garments at PurpleLaurel.com or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for more personalized advice. We’ve also tried to foster a support community at Facebook.com/PurpleLaurel, where women can share their own experiences and get advice from other new moms in the thick of the post-baby recovery process.
Don’t forget to check in for another excellent guest post from Stephanie on nursing bras later in the week. And look out for a giveaway provided by Purple Laurel! Also, don’t forget to check Purple Laurel out on the web-