If you follow any Kardashian on Instagram, which, you know you do, you know what a waist trainer is. It's a super tight, stretchy corset that's adjustable, and designed to nip in your middle and keep it that way. Right now, corsets are experiencing a moment wherein they're a cultural zeitgeist. There's a sort of cache around them that's led to a new, invigorated level of popularity. No matter public opinion, you may be considering their use postpartum. But, can you wear a waist trainer while breastfeeding?
Waist training, or corset wearing, has been around for four centuries. Since the Elizabethan Era, women have been manipulating their figure with fabric and cinching devices to change the aesthetic of their body into an hourglass shape, regardless of her natural state. While there are no specific studies completed on waist training and breastfeeding, it still may be a concern. The compression of the waist also compresses the organs, and many women find it uncomfortable to eat or drink above a bare minimum of food while wearing the waist trainer. According to breastfeeding site Kelly Mom, the inability to eat or drink may adversely affect your milk supply, causing a shift in production downward.
What exactly is a waist trainer? According to one waist-training advocate and blogger, The Hourglass Angel, waist training is the daily use of a cinching device, worn hours at a time, that when combined with a proper diet and exercise, can reshape your waist into a more hourglass like shape. Scientists warn against their use, however. According to an article in USA Today, experts found that these devices strangle your organs and can lead to a loss of bone density in the ribs.
That warning has not dimmed their popularity in the slightest, though. Users on YouTube and in blogs are constantly touting their benefits, swearing by their use. They are especially popular on mom blogs, particularly mom fitness blogs, where they're seen as a panacea for the baby belly. I understand the desire to feel more like yourself, or even a better version of your previous self, so I get the allure.
Hollywood celebrities and models make bouncing back after having a baby look like the easiest thing since the iPhone, but that's not reality. Hell, our Queen and countess, Lady Beyoncé, looks like she never incubated two humans at the same time. It's like it didn't even happen to her body, even though we all saw the pictures. Trying to achieve this level of success is unattainable for most women. I know I can't afford a personal chef, home gym, trainers six days per week, and possibly a spell performed by a gifted wizard who specializes in muggle transformation, and you probably can't either. A waist trainer seems like a reasonable substitute, and you don't have to go to Diagon Alley to get one.
But are they safe? Can you wear a waist trainer while breastfeeding? I spoke with certified lactation consultant and registered nurse, Elle Kipling, and she tells Romper, "There's no danger to your milk or to your child done by your waist training, unless you're compressing your breasts or not eating as a result of wearing one." She says that it's an external mechanism that, while uncomfortable and not ideal for your organs, is mostly a piece of clothing.
"If it's causing you additional pain," Kipling says, "especially if your womb is still healing, it might make nursing more difficult." She says that it's important to be able to get comfortable while breastfeeding, which is almost impossible to do while you are strapping your organs together with lycra and boning.
If you want to try it, it's safe for breastfeeding, but might not be safe for you in the long run. Your body just did something unimaginably beautiful in creating an entirely new person. While you might not find the results to your body as beautiful, and I certainly empathize with that, is it bad enough to risk hurting yourself?
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