Have you heard of the postpartum "5-5-5" rule? While this may not be feasible for everyone, it's something we love to see and support for freshly postpartum mothers. It's easy to say, "she needs to rest" but most people don't put a lot of time or effort into actually planning for that rest. If you're not sure what we mean by "plan", check out this post we did on ways to actively prep for the fourth trimester.
So, what does "5-5-5" mean?
Five Days In Bed
Five Days On the Bed
Five Days Close to the Bed
For the first five days, mom stays in bed, reclined or laying down. She only gets up to use the bathroom, freshen up, etc. The family will bring everything she requires to her in bed. Food, water, baby items or any other postpartum comforts. Mom's only job is to rest, nourish her body with good food, and bond with baby through snuggles and skin-to-skin contact.
For the next five days, mom is able to get up a bit more, but she still spends all day on the bed. Gentle stretches and diaphragmatic breathing will feel good in-between being served by her family and the NON STOP nursing baby is doing. She still should have everything brought to her, but short trips around the house are helpful to avoid getting stiff and sore. Make sure to keep her stocked with protein rich snacks and a full water bottle.
For the final five days, mom will ease into being more active in the house but stick close to bed/be in the bedroom. She is still very much recovering from a major physical endeavor, whether she had a c-section or a vaginal delivery. Sleep deprivation and hormones and all the sudden changes of having a new infant are hitting her. Continue to nourish her, both physically and emotionally. Check-in with her often. Make sure she has what she needs at home, close at hand, so she continues to stay in "rest mode" as much as possible. If there are other kids, focus on meeting some of their needs so mom is able to put energy into the new baby when she's not with them.
Obviously, the postpartum period doesn't end at the 15 day mark. The new mother will be healing, growing, maturing, and changing for many more days. Prioritizing an early period of rest for her is a great way to facilitate that! Another good way?