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5 5 5 Rule Postpartum

Updated: Jan 20

Everything you need to know about the 5 5 5 rule after having a baby!


5 5 5 rule postpartum

The postpartum period is a crucial time for new moms as they navigate the physical and emotional changes that come with going through childbirth. It's essential for moms to rest, recover, and bond with their newborns after birth.


To support this important phase, the 5-5-5 rule has gained recognition as a valuable guideline. This rule suggests spending five days in bed with the baby, followed by five days on the bed with the baby, and finally, five days around the bed with the baby. This phase is exahusting, yet so special. It's helpful to visualize your postpartum experience and decide how you might feel about others visiting your family during this time. To read more about this, visit our post Visitor After Birth.


In this article, we will delve into the significance of the 5-5-5 rule, highlighting its benefits for maternal healing, parental bonding, and more.


What is the 5 5 5 Rule Postpartum:

After giving birth, you need to give yourself plenty of time to rest, recover, and bond with your baby. Your postpartum recovery should be taken very seriously.


  • 5 Days IN BED with Baby Resting and Recovering: The first five days spent in bed with the baby allow mothers to prioritize their own rest and recovery. This period is crucial for physical healing after childbirth. By limiting physical exertion and focusing on rest, mothers can replenish their energy levels, promote tissue repair, and reduce the risk of postpartum complications. Making sure you get plenty of rest during this time also aids in regulating hormones and promoting emotional well-being during the postpartum period (also known as the "fourth trimester").

  • 5 Days ON THE BED Bonding with the Baby: Then, the next five days are spent on the bed with the baby provide an opportunity for both parents to establish a strong bond with their newborn. Skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding, and gentle interactions during this period can foster a sense of security and attachment between parents and the baby. This uninterrupted bonding time allows parents to learn their baby's cues, build trust, and develop a nurturing relationship.

  • 5 Days AROUND THE BED While Transitioning to the Outside World: The final five days should be spent around the bed with the baby and this marks a gradual transition from the intimate setting of the bed to the wider environment. During this phase, parents can gradually introduce the baby to the surrounding space, such as the nursery or living area. This step-by-step approach helps the baby adjust to new surroundings while still maintaining a sense of closeness to the parents. It also allows parents to gain confidence in caring for their baby outside the bed.


How Long Should You Rest After Giving Birth:

It can be so tempting to try to get back to "normal" life quickly after returning from the hospital or giving birth. However, it's essential to take the necessary time to allow your pelvic floor to recover, your body to heal, and your mind to rest after having a baby. Your body will go through an extremely strenuous endeavor, and you'll be able to resume to "normal" life more easily if you take the time to properly heal. Rest and allowing your body to heal after having a baby is crucial for several reasons:


  • The process of childbirth is physically demanding and can result in various physical changes and injuries to the body. Resting allows your body to recover from these changes and heal properly.

  • The postpartum period is a time of significant hormonal and emotional adjustments. Resting helps to regulate these hormonal changes and promotes emotional well-being, allowing you to better cope with the challenges of early motherhood.

  • Adequate rest is essential for breastfeeding mothers. It helps to establish and maintain a healthy milk supply, as fatigue and stress can negatively impact lactation. Resting also plays a vital role in preventing postpartum complications such as infections, excessive bleeding, and postpartum depression. By giving your body the time it needs to heal, you reduce the risk of these complications and promote a faster recovery.

  • Prioritizing rest and allowing your body to heal after having a baby is essential for your physical and emotional well-being, as well as for the overall health and development of your baby.

  • It's imperative that mom and baby spend this phase bonding as much as possible. If dad or other siblings are able to join in and bond with the new baby, that is amazing as well.


Benefits of the 5-5-5 Rule for Postpartum:

  • Physical Recovery: The 5-5-5 rule emphasizes rest and self-care, allowing the body to heal from the physical demands of childbirth. Adequate rest and proper nutrition can aid in the recovery process.

  • Emotional Well-being: The rule recognizes the importance of emotional healing. By prioritizing self-care and family bonding, new mothers can adjust to the emotional challenges that often accompany the postpartum period.

  • Hormonal Balance: The 5-5-5 rule acknowledges the fluctuating hormone levels experienced by new mothers. By practicing self-care, bonding, and relaxation, hormonal balance can be achieved more effectively.

  • Skin-to-Skin Contact: The 5-5-5 rule encourages frequent skin-to-skin contact between the mother and baby during this phase. If dad is able to join in on the relaxation during this time, it's great bonding for him and baby, too. This practice has been shown to regulate the baby's body temperature, stabilize their heart rate, and promote breastfeeding.

  • Breastfeeding Support: Establishing a successful breastfeeding routine is crucial for bonding. The 5-5-5 rule provides time to get the hang of breastfeeding and work on finding a proper latch, increasing milk supply, and overall breastfeeding success.

  • Quality Time: The rule emphasizes spending quality time with the newest member of the family. Engaging in activities such as baby massage, reading, singing, and talking to the baby can strengthen the bond between mother and child.


When Can I Start Exercising After Giving Birth?

The timing for resuming physical activities, including walking, after giving birth can vary depending on individual circumstances and the type of delivery. It is important to consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice. However, as a general guideline, most healthcare professionals recommend waiting until after your postpartum check-up, which typically occurs around 6 weeks after vaginal delivery or 8 weeks after a cesarean section.


Here are some reputable sources that provide information on postpartum exercise and walking after giving birth:



I personally felt like I could take short walks in the neighborhood within 2-weeks postpartum, but did not engage in any other exercise other than gentle walking until after 6-weeks postpartum. It's essential to consult your own healthcare provider for personalized advice.


Should I Hire a Postpartum Doula?

If you need additional support while following the 5-5-5 rule for postpartum, you can consider hiring a postpartum doula. A postpartum doula is a trained professional who provides physical, emotional, and informational support to families during the postpartum period, typically in the first few weeks or months after childbirth. Their role is to assist and empower new parents as they transition into parenthood and adjust to life with a newborn.


The specific tasks and services provided by a postpartum doula can vary based on your personal needs and preferences. Some common responsibilities may include:

  • Emotional support: Offering a listening ear, reassurance, and guidance as parents navigate the emotional ups and downs that can come with the postpartum period.

  • Practical assistance: Assisting with newborn care, such as feeding, diapering, bathing, and soothing techniques. They may also help with light household chores, meal preparation, and running errands.

  • Breastfeeding support: Providing guidance and education on breastfeeding techniques, helping with latching, positioning, and addressing common breastfeeding challenges.

  • Education and resources: Sharing evidence-based information on newborn care, postpartum recovery, and parenting techniques. They may also provide referrals to other professionals or community resources as needed.

  • Emotional well-being: Promoting self-care practices for parents, encouraging rest, proper nutrition, and offering strategies for managing stress and fatigue.


It's important to note that a postpartum doula does not provide medical or clinical care. Instead, they focus on non-medical support and nurturing the overall well-being of the family during the postpartum period, which can be especially helpful if you are resting, recovering, and following the 5-5-5 rule postpartum.


Create a Postpartum Recovery Registry:

Creating a postpartum recovery registry can be a helpful way to ensure that you have the necessary items and support during your postpartum period. It allows friends and family to contribute to your recovery by providing specific items that can aid in your healing and comfort. This can either be created as a separate registry, or you can include postpartum supplies on your baby registry. I found that the Amazon Baby Registry was really easy to use, and you get a 15% completion discount if all of the items on your registry didn't end up getting purchased.


Consider including items such as nursing supplies, postpartum care products, comfortable clothing, breastfeeding accessories, meal delivery services, or even services like house cleaning or childcare assistance. These items can help ease the transition into motherhood and support your physical and emotional well-being.


The 5-5-5 rule postpartum offers a valuable framework for new mothers to prioritize their healing and bonding with their baby during the postpartum period. By focusing on self-care, rest, and establishing a strong connection with their newborn, you can navigate this transformative phase with confidence and nurture a healthy and loving relationship with your child. Remember, every mom deserves support and care during this precious time.


For more information on the postpartum period, including all of the essential items you'll need, visit our post on The Third Trimester: Preparing Your Body for Birth.

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