Belly Binding: Heal Your Postpartum Body With This Ancient Art

Learn how belly binding facilitates physical recovery and fosters a deeper sense of self-love. 

A pregnant woman smiling
Photo by Dulho Prado

Princess McKinney-Kirk has witnessed firsthand the physical and emotional challenges that many mothers face after childbirth. This ultimately inspired the postpartum doula to launch Bellibind, a wellness brand that specializes in postpartum belly wraps to help new moms heal their bodies after giving birth. 

As maternal wellness continues to drive deep conversations, McKinney-Kirk hopes to bring more awareness to belly binding— a postpartum treatment that’s helping women from different walks of life holistically heal their entire bodies.

According to One Love Doula, belly binding is an ancient art implemented in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. The traditional practice of wrapping the belly post-childbirth is a technique used after childbirth to help strengthen the abdominal muscles and support the spine while the body begins to heal. The practice involves wearing a belly wrap or binder, which is typically made of cotton, silk, or muslin fabric.

Princess McKinney Kirk, the owner of BelliBind
Photo by Bellibind

As a dedicated postpartum doula, McKinney-Kirk is also committed to providing a nurturing space for women to thrive postpartum, which has garnered recognition from influential platforms such as Beyoncé‘s foundation, BeyGOOD.

“Combining my expertise as a postpartum doula with the concept of self-love and healing was born out of a deep desire to provide holistic support to mothers during their postpartum journey,” the CEO of Bellibind tells BrownStyle Magazine exclusively.

Through belly binding, McKinney-Kirk strives to empower mothers to embrace their postpartum bodies with love and gratitude. “I hope to support mothers in their journey toward physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being, allowing them to thrive as they navigate the beautiful challenges of motherhood,” she expresses.

Below, read as she shares more about the art of belly binding and how it facilitates physical recovery and fosters a deep sense of self-love. 

Self-Tending For Postpartum Recovery

Practicing self-tending is essential for replenishing our physical, emotional, and spiritual reserves after giving birth, McKinney-Kirk shares. 

“In the whirlwind of postpartum recovery and adjusting to life with a newborn, it’s easy for mothers to overlook their well-being,” McKinney-Kirk explains. “Self-tending goes beyond the notion of self-care. It’s about nurturing ourselves on a deep level, recognizing our needs, and honoring our journey through motherhood.” 

According to McKinney-Kirk, self-tending involves intentional acts of self-love and compassion, which enhances postpartum recovery and cultivates a sense of empowerment and resilience. This includes carving out time for restorative practices like meditation or journaling, nourishing your body with nutritious foods, or seeking support from loved ones.

A pregnant woman smiling
Photo by Dulho Prado

When To Belly Bind

According to McKinney-Kirk, the traditional practice of belly binding is observed within the first 40 days or six weeks following childbirth. She often recommends her clients begin belly binding within 3-7 days after giving birth and continue for the initial 2-3 months postpartum. 

“It’s essential to note that the benefits of belly binding extend beyond this initial healing period,” the doula shares, before encouraging moms to incorporate belly binding into their routines during various stages of postpartum recovery and beyond. 

“For instance, wrapping during monthly periods, ovulation cycles, or even before workouts can serve as an ongoing method to utilize belly binding throughout the first year after childbirth,” she further explains. “By embracing belly binding as a versatile tool, you can continue to experience its supportive benefits as you navigate the various phases of postpartum and beyond.”

Common Challenges of Postpartum Wellness
Understanding Normal Signs of Recovery vs. Red Flag Symptoms Many new mothers struggle to differentiate between normal postpartum experiences and concerning symptoms. “It is important to receive a thorough education on typical postpartum recovery signs, such as bleeding patterns, pain levels, and emotional fluctuations,” McKinney-Kirk explains. “It is also important that moms recognize red flags, such as excessive bleeding, intense pain, or persistent feelings of sadness. This is when you should seek prompt medical attention.” 

Navigating Grief in Partner Relationships– The shift and change in partner relationships after childbirth can often lead to feelings of grief and adjustment. “I offer compassionate support to couples, acknowledging the challenges while validating their emotions,” says McKinney-Kirk. “I encourage moms to journal their thoughts and sit with their feelings for 24 hours before bringing up intrusive thoughts to their partners.”

Finding Opportunities for Self-Tending– Many new mothers prioritize the needs of their newborns above their own, neglecting renewal activities in the process. “I emphasize the importance of self-tending and provide practical strategies for incorporating ‘just for mom’ activities into daily routines. Whether it’s carving out moments for belly binding and rest, engaging in enjoyable activities, or seeking support from loved ones, I encourage moms to prioritize their well-being alongside their caregiving responsibilities,” McKinney-Kirk adds.

Allow Yourself To Grow In Grace

Embracing motherhood is a beautiful journey filled with ups and downs. That is why it is important to give yourself grace.

“Embrace your imperfection and love yourself with all your flaws and quirks. Remember that seeking support, knowledge, and guidance from professionals is not a sign of weakness—it shows strength. It’s perfectly okay not to have all the answers or to not do everything perfectly as a new mom,” McKinney-Kirk reminds us.

Instead, McKinney-Kirk suggests aiming to be a parent who is open to learning. “By doing so, you invite more peace into your life. It reduces stress, and anxiety while also creating a nurturing environment for you and your little one.”

To learn more about belly binding and the Bellibind technique, get your hands on the book, Belly Binding: A Simple Postpartum Ritual to Reclaim Your Body and Heal Your Spirit

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Editor’s Note: This story has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Heather Elitou is the Senior Managing Editor at BrownStyle Magazine, where her expertise has led to the publication's success. A devoted mother of three brilliant young women and a loving wife, she finds joy in nurturing her family. Beyond her professional and family life, Heather enjoys savoring the delights of a well-crafted cheese board. She is also known for her love of soulful conversations about living a soft life.