Everything You Need to Know About Bengkung Belly Binding (Abdominal Binding)
You’ve probably heard of Belly Binding or Abdominal Binding.
But what is it exactly? Who is it for? Why do you need to do it? Is it safe? Is it beneficial? Why is it so popular? Where can I get one? How do I use one?
The practice of belly binding for postpartum originates from the Malay postpartum tradition. Bengkung belly binding, as the name suggests, uses bengkung to bind the belly. Bengkung is a clothing article that is used to wrap around the women’s body tightly after birth. Belly binding has many benefits from recovery and most importantly, slimming. Let us share with you everything you need to know about bengkung belly binding, from its origins, how to use its safety precautions, and its myths and misconception.
Throughout history, women have used different forms of garments to modify their bodies to the desired shape and size. From corsets, tight lacing, and girdles to modern-day waist trainers and body shapers. It’s been popular from the time of Ancient Egypt to the Victorian era to today.
Hello there! My name is Salwa Salim and welcome to my blog! I am the creator of Malay Midwifery Method where belly binding /abdominal binding is my area of expertise. If you’re here to learn about bengkung belly binding you are in the right place!
Bengkung belly binding is more than just reshaping your body, flattening your tummy, and slimming down after birth. There are so much more health benefits for your postpartum recovery. For over a decade, my team and I have been helping tens and thousands of women from all over the world during their postpartum period. They heal better and slim down faster.
Despite how much the body shapers have evolved, there is one style that has remained unchanged and stood the test of time.. It is used today exactly as it was hundreds of years ago.. It’s the bengkung belly bind!
Bengkung belly binding originates from the traditional postpartum care of the Malay people. Malay people, orang Melayu, is an Austronesian ethnic group native to the tip of Southeast Asia. Back in the days, the Malay Archipelago stretches from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines through Borneo, East Timor, and Papua New Guinea. In today’s map, the region with native Malays can be found in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Southern Thailand, the Philippines, Cocos Island, and Brunei. You can also find ethnic Malays all the way from East Timor to Sri Lanka to Madagascar. (Read the History of Malay)
However, when discussing the subject of my Malay Midwifery Method particularly on bengkung belly binding in my work, I am referring to the Malays of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, and Southern Thailand. This is because we all considered serumpun, come from the same roots, with the same heritage, lineage, customs, and traditions. With political changes, country borders are drawn separating us into different national identities. Despite how part of our cultures, language and traditions may naturally take their own course, our roots remain the same and unchanged.
There are so many benefits of using the bengkung belly binding that I am able to write a book about it. Here I have highlighted the main benefits and its summary. In the time to come, I will write a dedicated blog post for each of the benefits below.
Traditionally there are different types of bengkung belly bind. The different types of bengkung belly bind have variations in the type of fabric, lengths, and even the tying techniques. Many people may only know of bengkung as just a particular style/ technique when in reality there are different variations.
Below are the 2 main categories of bengkung belly bind.
In my observance, the most popular type of bengkung in the U.S. is the Traditional ‘Long’ Bengkung. This bengkung style consists of a long piece of fabric between 6 yards to 15 yards in length with an 8 to 10 inch width. This type of abdominal binding is the easiest to make yourself and can fit any body size and shape. It can be put on very very tight, but it’s not easy to put on or handle especially if you don’t have someone to help you.
Unknown to many, there are actually many ways to put on the Traditional ‘Long’ Bengkung. It seems the most popular way of using the bengkung belly bind outside of the Malay world is the bengkung ikat. However, there are many different techniques, each with its own pros and cons. It depends on the type of fabric, the length of the fabric, whether you have someone to help. The other techniques can be tighter, simpler, and even more comfortable. You can read more details about them in this blog post.
There is another type of bengkung belly bind in the Malay tradition that is just as effective but is not as known outside of the Malay world. Maybe because it is not as easy to make one yourself and not easily bought.
This classic type of bengkung barut is best for women who have little help, little time, or simply little patience. While the traditional long bengkung is tighter, it is not as easy to put on. This bengkung barut is easy to handle and very fast to put on. For women who prefer the convenience and hassle-free, or worry they may not be able to keep up with belly binding every day, I would recommend this particular type of postpartum abdominal binding instead.
|TRADITIONAL LONG BENGKUNG||CLASSIC BENGKUNG BARUT|
+ Very convenient to use
– Less convenient to use
– Not easy to make yourself
|SUITABLE FOR YOU IF..
+ Very committed to have the best slimming effect
|SUITABLE FOR YOU IF..
+ You have no one to help
How and why is bengkung belly binding better than any modern-day body shaper? The basis of any body shapers in the market out there is simply “binding the body”. Regardless of any new fancy material used in the body shaper or additional clothing fasteners such as cincher, velcros or hooks, the foundation of the belly binding does not change.
What is appealing about bengkung belly binding is the simplicity and effectiveness that it has been around for thousands of years unchanged. And our very own signature batik bengkung belly bind is unique. While traditional bengkung uses a plain weaved fabric, our bengkung belly bind fuses the Malay’s traditional batik to create beautiful bengkung pieces.
Here are more reasons why you’d love it more than any body shaper.
There are many viral videos of people teaching others how to put on the bengkung belly bind, however, I spotted many errors, misconceptions, inaccuracies, missing steps and appropriation. In fact, many of them are not even pronouncing the word “bengkung“ correctly. But I am grateful for their effort and desire to teach/share about it. Click here to learn How to Pronounce Bengkung – The Right Way.
Unfortunately, we have reached the end of the blog. If you would like to learn how to correctly put on the bengkung belly bind, you can click on the links below to find out more.
I hope you have learned something new about bengkung belly binding. If you have a comment or have any questions, I will be happy to personally answer any questions.
With Love & Light,