How Soon After Birth Can Routines Go Back to Normal?

Cynthia Flynn's picture
Experts: 

QUESTION

Dear Midwife,
After my baby is born, when can I start with my routine work such as cleaning, cooking, etc?

ANSWER

If you stay in bed and breastfeed the first week, and take it very easy the second week, you should be nearly finished with your bleeding and feel pretty good. You can try your normal activities the third week, and if the bleeding does not increase, it is safe to do what you like.

How long you bleed depends on whether you rest the first two weeks and breastfeed (in which case you're done or nearly so) or run around, do laundry and bottle feed, in which case it takes 6-8 weeks. If you had an episiotomy, the stitches are usually gone by your 6 week checkup.

My rules for having sex again are:

  1. No bleeding
  2. No pain
  3. Good birth control
  4. Good lubricant

To get to #1 fast, stay in bed (literally) for two weeks and breastfeed. No cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry -- nada.

-- Cynthia, CNM. PhD.