I'm a chocolate-loving nutritionist, pre & postnatal coach, doula and let's face it- total birth nerd 🤓. I'm here to help you cut through mommy-marketing and pinterest perfection to confidently cultivate a pregnancy and postpartum experience you totally love.
The 5-5-5 Rule for Postpartum Recovery is my go to framework for cultivating rest, ease and healing in the early days postpartum. And regardless of how baby makes their big debut, all postpartum people need rest, nourishment, and support.
Rest is vital for postpartum recovery
Pregnancy and birth impact every system in the body. Muscular, skeletal, cardiovascular, endocrine, digestive and reproductive– they are all impacted. Rest is imparative for physical and emotional healing and bonding. Having a plan in place for rest before baby arrives is vital to your well-being as a new parent. Not sure what that plan should look like? Be sure to check out our guide to planning for a better postpartum.
How long does it take to recover?
The healing timeline and process will look different for everyone; depending on your birth experience, access to resources, cultural traditions, values and desires. The most intense healing period is the first six weeks. In fact, many cultures value a 40 day or 6 week lying in period to honor this time.
However, this may not be accessible or even desirable for you. We recommend a lying-in period– meaning a period of time focused on rest, nourishment, bonding and support– for at least two weeks. Ultimately, You have to decide what makes sense for you with the resources you have available. The parental leave system in the US is a hot mess and may impact your ability to take the time you’d like. Or you may have other kiddos running around and staying in bed for two weeks is unrealistic.
Regardless of what your circumstances are: the goal of early postpartum recovery is to focus on rest and minimal work.
The 5-5-5 Rule is your framework for postpartum recovery
The 5-5-5 rule applies to the first 15 days postpartum and gives a framework for resting and intentionally increasing activity, while still honoring your body’s needs.
Five days in bed. These first five days you are resting as much as possible, getting up as little as possible. You can do almost everything from bed. Delegate meals, water refills, diaper and clothes changes. These are things your partner or support person can do (often partners feel like they dont know what to do– start here!). If you have older kiddos, have them on water refill duty.
Five days on bed. You’re still rocking your comfy robe and staying close to your bed. But now you’re getting up for 30 minutes (max at a time) and then resting for another 90 minutes. Take the opportunity to sit on the deck and get some fresh air, or hang out on the couch for a change of scenery.
Five days around bed. About half your day is still spent in bed (or on the couch) resting. You can start to incorporate short (like so short) outings and maybe a walk down the street. Again the focus is still resting and bonding. If you notice your bleeding increase as your activity increases, that is your cue to slow it down.
To help you make the most out of your postpartum journey, we’ve prepared a handy Postpartum Essentials Checklist. It’s packed with all the must-haves and helpful tips to support you during this time.
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