i hate to say i had a flat stomach before i had a baby, but i did, i really did. and i didn’t even do sit-ups. i had a strong core from doing yoga, eating healthy, running, and trying on lots of useless, uncomfortable shoes, but then i had a very large baby, and my stomach muscles separated from being so far stretched. i didn’t even know this could happen.
diastasis recti is what it’s called, and it freaked me right out when the doctor showed me that i could feel with my hand that there is an actual gap between my abs… and explained that my post baby pooch wasn’t just fat, it was my guts hanging out.
i thought my abs would just grow back together as my post baby belly shrank, and though the gap and my belly has gotten much smaller since i gave birth, it’s still there, and my abs are never going to be completely fused, though my stomach is almost back to flat.
flattish, depending on the time of day and how much i’ve eaten. i’ll take it. i grew a very large and incredibly amazing baby girl in there, and i am proud of my miracle belly. i would not trade her for anything.
i had no idea what happens to your belly after a baby, or that you can actually tear your abs, or that your belly doesn’t just go poof once the baby is out. it takes a lot of sucking in, and corrective ab work, and engaging your core.
i wore a Diastasis Rehab Splint for a while, which is a tummy binding device specifically designed for postpartum moms with diastasis recti. that definitively helped me learn how to engage my core so as not to aggravate the issue, but there was no way i was going to wear the splint 24/7. you could see it under clothes, the velcro drove me nuts, and i had to keep adjusting it every 10 minutes.
exercises and binding for diastastis recti will be the subject of a future post, but for most of you postpartum mamas, all you need is some self-love, and SHAPEWEAR, if you want to wear anything on top that’s not billowy postpartum, or you want to smooth out your delicious muffin top, help your core heal, and stomach shrink back to… well back towards your back.
so here are some of the shape wear i’ve tried:
this is a torture device. no joke. this is what it must’ve felt like to wear a corset back in the day. this was the first postpartum shape wear i tried on, and it was pretty demoralizing. i mean i could barely get the metal hooks on the front to close, thats how tight it’s supposed to be. bending over, sitting down. painful.
and yes, it gives you a fantastic waist, as it has the boning in the corset, but it is extremely UNCOMFORTABLE. as in you cannot perform normal human mom tasks in this without being in severe discomfort because it digs into your guts below your ribs when you’re not standing straight.
that’s why it gives you a waist, it digs in. so if you want this for some photos, fine, but to wear around the house or doing errands – forget it. i suffered through it for a while thinking i was just being a wuss, and it certainly works in terms of slimming your midsection optically, but at a high cost (and at $55 there it literally is too high a cost to feel so lousy).
plus it’s made of rubber and has a strong chemical fragrance to it, which took several washes just so i could tolerate wearing it. you sweat like crazy in this, which is gross, and its so tight that its impossible to wear a camisole underneath it.
i wore this in hot weather and yeah i probably lost a few pounds just sweating in it. i think the longest i lasted was 3 hours before i ripped the sweaty thing off me and cursed it out. and did anyone notice i wasn’t wearing it anymore? nope.
so yeah, i stopped using it fairly quickly.
the most cost effective of the shapers i’ve tried, this is also by far my favorite. it’s the only one i can actually wear all day without being uncomfortable!
like the Spanx, it has more of a smoothing rather than cinching effect, but because it’s a thong (it also comes in a normal panty), it doesn’t roll up, and keeps muffin tops seriously under control.
i wish i had had this from the beginning of my postpartum… but i only discovered Leonisa recently, when they contacted me to send me product for review. turns out they have a plethora of shapewear and lingerie choices.
and i like that Leonisa practices corporate social responsibility in providing fantastic benefits such as free meals, financial assistance, and forgivable student loans to their employees, so i decided to try it out.
the shaper is really well designed. it comes with bra straps so if you need a lift, you can attach them and wear them over your shoulders, or you can take them off. i have a long torso, and i prefer to wear mine without the straps.
the fabric is snug but soft, and doesn’t dig in. you can also adjust the thong gusset, which is useful. the rearview is, um, well, enhanced. all i can say is that its my husband’s favorite of the three. i’m not posting any pics but you can see the model’s behind if you click through. mine looks almost exactly like that. almost.
i actually bought this before i had a baby, because it seemed like every woman in NY needs to stuff the sausage with Spanx. i can’t believe i thought i had anything to smooth out then…
and it is well designed, however, it is only usable in the wintertime with tops that are completely covered in the back, because the back goes up so high, and the straps go in towards your neck.
really unattractive to see shape wear peeking through, it’s not like a bit of lacey lingerie.
this is much more comfortable than Squeem, and it does smooth out lumps, bumps, and muffin tops, but it is tight, and does ride up, so it’s not something i’ve ever wanted to wear all day. for an evening to smooth things out, sure. but at the high price you’re paying for the name brand, i can’t say it’s worth it.
of course it doesn’t offer the compression that Squeem offers, so its more of a smoothing rather than a cinching effect.
Bottom Line: I should’ve saved the money on Squeem and Spanx, and gotten the Leonisa instead. You live and learn!
Disclosure: I received the Leonisa shaper for free, but I was not paid to review the product. I only review and recommend products sent from brands if I truly like them for myself.