Whether you’re new to chest binding or have been doing it for a while, here are some healthy habits that will keep you safe:
- Make sure you have a quality chest binder that is made of a soft breathable fabric that fits you well and doesn’t trap moisture.
- Remove your binder to sleep and try stretching and self-massage if you experience any mild muscle soreness.
- If you are new to binding, start out slow by only binding a few hours a day. If you are able to breathe, your skin looks healthy (no bruising and no redness that lasts more than 15 minutes after taking off your binder), and you are not feeling any significant discomfort in or out of your binder, you can increase the time spent binding. Pro tip: Limiting the time you spend in your binder, even if it feels relatively comfortable, will be kinder to your body in the long run.
- Regularly wash and air dry your binder. The warm, moist environment beneath your binder is the perfect place for bacterial and fungal infections to develop – so don’t let them! To help: If you have an item of clothing that hides the shape of your chest well (think: dysphoria hoodie), keep it around for laundry days.
- Make sure to drink enough water and dress cool on warm days, so you don’t overheat or get dehydrated.
- If possible, take days off from binding to allow your chest muscles and ribcage to chill.
- Each time you remove your binder, take a few deep breaths and cough to clear out any fluid build-up in your lungs. This is also a good time to check in with your body while stretching your arms, chest, and back.
- If you are experiencing any skin, breathing, or other problems, see a supportive healthcare provider about your concerns. You may also want to try a different binding method.
Check out this resource for more binding safety tips and this article about one person’s journey to find the “perfect binder.”
To learn more about binding, check out these resources:
- Binding FAQ on Transgender Teen Survival Guide
- Point of Pride: Binding Safely for Your Body – Tips for All Body Types and Sizes
- Cleveland Clinic: How to Bind Your Chest Safely
Author: Chloe Runs Behind (they/them) is an Indigequeer artist and organizer with Northern Arapaho and Filipino roots, living, loving, and dreaming of better worlds on occupied Séliš and Qlispe land (so-called Missoula, MT).