I had just had my six-month postpartum checkup after giving birth to my first child, and I went out for a drink with a friend. We sat at the bar with our wines and I told her that my midwife had diagnosed me with a mild diastasis recti. “What’s that?” she asked. I hadn’t known either before that afternoon, so I proceeded to describe it to her with the zeal of someone who’s recently made an exciting discovery. She immediately ran to the bathroom and puked.
While not everyone who gives birth has a diastasis, the majority of us do; it’s both extremely common and utterly body-horror disgusting. Basically, what happens is that your abdominal muscles split down the middle, making two vertical three-packs of your former six-pack. But the good news is that most diastases heal on their own, and physical therapy helps take care of the rest. They are, however, what’s responsible for the lingering stomach pooch that makes formfitting clothing anathema to most people who’ve recently, or even not that recently, had a baby. And even if you don’t have one, anyone whose body has recently housed a fetus could use some sartorial support.
Enter shapewear! I hate feeling squished or like I’m wearing a corset — “waist trainers” are my nightmare. But as my body healed from having my second baby, I looked around for something that could help me regain conscious control of the core muscles I use to sit, stand, and do basically everything, and also make me look a little bit less still-pregnant. Instagram served me an ad for the Blanqi Pull-Down Postpartum and Nursing Support tank top, and you know what? Just this once, the algorithm nailed it. (All the bras I have ever bought from Instagram ads have been wack, though, so I’m trying not to take this one success too seriously.)
Rather than the full-on suction of a Spanx, the Blanqi garment provides a gentle embrace akin to being adjusted by an invisible, nonjudgmental yoga teacher. It doesn’t totally flatten my stomach, but it does guide me toward feeling like I am capable of engaging my postural muscles. And it does make me look maybe 25 percent less paunchy, which is nice for the old ego. The top part pulls down easily for nursing.
This tank top is not totally perfect. For one thing, it’s extremely expensive ($72), not ideal in a garment that you’ll want multiples of in case one gets barfed on before the next time you can manage to do laundry. And it would be better as a base layer if it was a little bit more breathable; though in the sweat bath that is postpartum life, it’s hard to to evaluate any garment fairly on that score. Still, I would rate this as a must-have — maybe a registry ask? — for anyone who is planning to gestate a human.
This one comes courtesy of Dominique Weiss, a registered nurse, board-certified lactation consultant, and owner of Baby Zone NYC, a pre- and postnatal educational center that offers classes and lactation support for new parents. She told us that her favorite nursing tank, the Glamourmom, provides tummy coverage and support without being restrictive, it lasted her a year-and-a-half, and she was able to pass it on to a friend when she was through using it. Read more about it (and other expert-approved nursing bras) here.
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