In the whirlwind of new motherhood, finding balance can feel like an elusive dream. The early weeks involve you moving through many changes, both physically and emotionally. You will need to take care of yourself to allow your body to heal and rebuild your strength. You are learning to navigate the challenges that come with becoming a mother. While you and your partner are learning to care for your newborn and adjusting to parenthood.  

Across the world, many cultures have special postpartum traditions, including special diets, isolation, rest, and support for the mother. However, many of these traditions that were once considered common are no longer present in our society. 

In Mexico, new mothers spend a 30-day rest period with family known as Cuarentena. China has a similar practice Zuo Yue Zi where a mother stays at home for a month with her own mother to cook her meals and care for her as she recovers. Japanese mothers move back home for satogaeri bunben. 

Many European countries also have a similar approach. In Germany for example, they have a cultural tradition of resting after birth called Wochenbett, which literally means “weeks in bed.” The new mother is supposed to stay in bed to recover and focus on skin-on-skin and feeding the new baby.

The common theme of all these traditions is rest. There is wisdom in these practices that all new mothers can benefit from: Slow down. 

Everything that a new baby needs a new mother also needs. We know a new baby needs warmth, nourishment, and comfort. That’s everything a new mother needs. We live such busy lives that it can often be hard to tell new mothers that they need to slow down. Even if they know they should slow down, they don’t know how to slow down.

The 5-5-5 method in postpartum care is a guideline aimed at helping new mothers navigate the early weeks and months following the birth of a baby. This method provides structure and support for women as they adjust to the physical, emotional and lifestyle changes that come with having a newborn.

There are three parts to the 5-5-5 method: rest, recovery, and rhythm. Let’s explore each deeper to understand how following this method can benefit new mothers.

Allowing your body adequate rest after giving birth is important for your wellbeing. Most new parents underestimate their body’s need for recovery. By embracing the 5-5-5 method you aim for at least 15 days of focused and dedicated time to bond and get to know your baby as well as recover. 

This method suggests new mothers aim for at least 5 hours of sleep during the night. This can be challenging with a newborn who wakes frequently so prioritising rest whenever possible is essential. Short naps during the day can help replenish your energy levels.

Secondly, recovery encompasses a variety of aspects of postpartum including physical healing but also emotional and hormonal recovery. The 5-5-5 method encourages new mothers to focus on 5 minutes a day of self-care. This could involve gentle stretching, deep breathing, or mindfulness practises or maybe for you it’s 5 mins reading a book. This 5 mins is designed to promote relaxation and reduce stress. As a new mother, it is also important that you listen to your body and seek review from your Obstetrician, Midwife or GP if you are experiencing any concerning symptoms or complications during your postpartum recovery.

Lastly, the 5-5-5 method involves creating a daily rhythm that you can use as a guide to manage your early days at home. We are not talking about following a strict routine but a gentle approach to the day that is broken up into smaller, more manageable tasks and prioritising essential activities. 

In addition to these components, the 5-5-5 method emphasises the importance of seeking support from friends, loved ones and health care professionals. Building a support network can make the postpartum journey more peaceful and less isolating.

 By paying homage to the essence of those other cultural approaches to postpartum, we can support new mothers to prioritise their well being and nurture them during their postpartum. By focusing on rest, recovery and rhythm, new mothers can navigate this transformative period with greater confidence, resilience, and grace. 

Claire Eiser

MCHN & Postpartum Doula

After the Bump

If you’d like further information on the 5-5-5 method you can download our FREE guide here 5-5-5 Method from After the Bump or  discover more information available at