The bigkis has been around for centuries, not only in our country, but around the world as well. It is known as the belly binder in the US, and a designer label which specializes in baby binders (jujuband.com) has in fact already come out with its version.
The purpose of the bigkis, according to our elders, is varied. It is said that baby’s tummy will be flat and sexy as she grows up if the bigkis is wrapped around the abdomen tightly. It could also be in the same concept as the traditional Kayan neck rings to make the neck appear elongated, or the tiny shoes of the Chinese, to maintain small feet. However, in our case, we do know that the size of a person’s midsection is determined by diet and exercise (or the lack of it).
It has also been said that wrapping a bigkis around baby’s belly will help baby achieve a perfect “innie” pusod, as opposed to the “outie” appearance, where the navel is protruding. In some cases, a coin is also placed on the navel before the bigkis is wrapped around the waist in the belief that it will “hold the abdominal contents in”. There is, actually, a medical explanation for this. It is common for a newborn to have weak abdominal muscles, as well as abdominal muscles that are not fused in the center (the umbilical region), hence the abdominal or umbilical hernia. These muscles normally grow in strength and size in 3 to 4 years, allowing the muscle to fuse, and the hernia or the hole to close. If you are concerned about your baby having an umbilical hernia, consult your pediatrician. As for the “innie” or “outie” pusod, you only need to look at your own. Most likely, your baby’s pusod will look the same, too.
Elders have also said that the bigkis will help prevent kabag, also known as colic. Still, others will say that the abdominal binder will keep baby’s tummy warm. While it is common practice to rub something warm like aceite de manzanilla on baby’s abdomen, or placing warm water bags, supposedly to prevent kabag, keep in mind that some of these things might cause allergies, or even burns. It is also not necessary to keep baby’s tummy warm to prevent kabag. The simplest and most sure-fire way is to burp baby between and after feedings.