Embracing Self-Care with the 5-5-5 Postpartum Rule

Embracing Self-Care with the 5-5-5 Postpartum Rule

Hey all you new mamas! The period following childbirth is crucial for both your recovery and bonding with your newborn. With numerous new responsibilities on the horizon, this transitional phase can be physically and emotionally demanding. During this period, it's important to prioritize self-care alongside caring for your baby. The 5-5-5 Postpartum rule offers a structured approach to ensure proper self-care, healing, and the development of a strong bond with your baby.

Let's explore the fundamentals of the 5-5-5 rule, its advantages, and how to implement it. 

The Essence of the 5-5-5 Postpartum Rule

The 5-5-5 Postpartum rule is a perfect way to bond with your new baby and achieve self-care goals. It helps you recover safely, avoid postpartum injuries, and reduce risks of postpartum issues such as anxiety, depression, mastitis, and clogged milk ducts. The basics comprise 5 days in bed, 5 days on the bed, and 5 days around the bed. The goals of the 5-5-5 Postpartum rule revolve around three aspects:

  • Rest: Adequate rest is crucial for postpartum recovery. The 5-5-5 rule encourages new mothers to take short naps during the day whenever possible. Prioritizing rest helps to replenish energy levels, support physical healing, and promote overall well-being during this demanding period.
  • Nutrition: Proper nutrition is essential for both the mother and the newborn. It ensures a steady supply of vital nutrients in the mother's recovery and breastfeeding and maintains stable energy levels. 
  • Support from loved ones: Having emotional support, practical assistance with household chores, and help with childcare allows mothers to focus on their recovery and bonding with their newborn. It reduces feelings of overwhelm and isolation, promoting a more positive postpartum experience.

The First Phase - 5 Days In Bed

Your first 5 days at home with your baby should be spent in bed, under the covers. Childbirth is undoubtedly one of the most physically traumatizing experiences for your body. Spending your first 5 days in bed gives your body ample time to fully recover while providing precious time to rest, sleep, and bond with your new bundle of joy in a safe environment. During this period, it is often recommended to limit those around you to just family and close support members. Here are a few tips to create a comfortable and serene environment that promotes healing and connection with your newborn:

  • Use soft, dimmable lighting in the nursery to create a calming atmosphere
  • Keep the room at a comfortable temperature, ideally between 68-72°F
  • Choose soft, breathable bedding for your baby's crib and your bed.
  • Incorporate white noise machines or apps to help drown out background noise and create a soothing environment for you and the baby.
  • Invest in a comfortable rocking chair for feeding and cuddling sessions with your baby.

The Second Phase - 5 Days On the Bed

In the next phase in the 5-5-5 postpartum rule, you'll spend 5 days on the bed. Unlike the first phase, phase two allows you more activity throughout the day while prioritizing rest and recovery. Spend your days on top of the covers, so you can make low-effort movements like getting dressed and making the bed. If you have other children, this could be a perfect period to integrate the newborn with their sibling and other family members. Engage the older children in playtime activities such as playing with toys, watching a show, reading books, and coloring to keep them involved with the newborn. Limit visitors apart from a few close friends and extended family members so you can focus on recovery. 

The Third Phase - 5 Days Around the Bed

Once you complete the second phase, you can explore other sections of the house, but only for a brief period. Ensure you remain close to the bed when your body requires rest and recovery. Keep in mind that venturing outside of your bed doesn't mean you are resuming all the responsibilities you had pre-birth. It is only ten days after birth, and your body still requires a lot of relaxation. Listen to your body's signals and have as many naps as possible, each about 30 minutes. If you are still fatigued and household chores are tiresome, invite family and friends to help. Such interactions help turn household tasks into opportunities for connection and support.

Navigating Postpartum with the 5-5-5 Rule

Although the 5-5-5 rule is a helpful guideline for managing the postpartum period, it is crucial to adapt it to your unique needs and circumstances. For instance, if you feel overwhelmed after the first five days, it's okay to continue prioritizing rest beyond that period. Similarly, if you have a strong support network, you may be comfortable accepting help beyond the first five weeks. The key is to listen to your body and emotions and make decisions that support your well-being. You should also be patient with yourself as you navigate this new chapter in your life. Here are some other tips to navigate the postpartum with the 5-5-5 rule:

  • Communicate your needs openly: Communicate openly with your support network, including your partner, family, and friends, about your needs and feelings. Let them know how they can best support you so you have ample time to rest and recover. 
  • Take care of yourself: Remember to prioritize self-care during this time. Apart from getting enough rest, eat nutritious meals, stay hydrated, and find time for hobbies that bring you joy and relaxation. 

The 5-5-5 Postpartum rule provides a practical framework for a balanced and gentle postpartum recovery. Remember, taking care of yourself is not selfish. It's necessary for your well-being so you can become the best mama you can be!

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Disclaimer: This is general medical information and not specific medical advice.  It does not and should not replace diagnosis or treatment by your healthcare provider. If you are seeking personal recommendations, advice, and/or treatment, please consult your physician. If you have an emergency, you should contact 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.