Does your baby often vomit milk right after feeding? Does he experience difficulty in breathing? If your baby is wearing bigkis or belly binder, then it may be the cause of these problems.
In Filipino culture, wrapping a bigkis or belly-binder on our babies has been a tradition passed on from our mothers and grandmothers.
According to traditional beliefs, wearing a bigkis can help prevent ‘kabag’ or colic. Aside from this, it can also prevent your baby from having an ‘outie’ navel, also known as umbilical hernia.
But just how true are these claims?
While there’s no harm in following traditions, it is our responsibility as parents to know what’s best for our baby. Experts are not recommending the use of bigkis or belly binders for many reasons.
Effects of using bigkis on baby
1. It may cause infection
The bigkis can be a breeding ground for bacteria if it gets wet with the baby’s pee. This can pose a problem for your newborn, especially when his navel is still not properly healed. Bacteria can be transferred to your baby’s umbilical stump, which may lead to infection.
2. Interferes with breathing
If the belly binder is too tight, it may cause difficulty in breathing. This may lead to irritation and incessant crying of your newborn.
3. May cause vomiting
Sometimes, you might think that the bigkis is not tight-hugging. But after your baby feeds, his tummy will also grow, which means that the belly binder can be too tight for him. This may cause him to vomit after feeding.
4. May interfere with the healing of the navel
According to the doctors, it is better to have no belly binder to dry your baby’s navel immediately.
Can a bigkis prevent my baby’s navel from popping out?
Some people think that a belly binder can help prevent umbilical hernia, but this is not true. Some even put coin in the belly binder, thinking it will press down on the popping navel. This can only lead to infections, as the coin is riddled with bacteria that can cling to your baby’s navel.
Umbilical hernia often goes away on its own between 3-4 months. In some cases, it may take 2-4 years before it shrinks.
Safety tips while using bigkis
If you still want to use bigkis for your baby, follow these tips in order to make sure that your baby is safe.
1. Always change it and don’t let it get too dirty. Remember, it is attached to the baby’s navel so it should always be clean.
2. Make sure it is not tight. Always check after if your baby can breathe properly.
3. Don’t let your baby wear a belly binder all day long. Whenever he’s sleeping, you can take off the belly binder.