Ashley Taylor from disabled parents.org recently reached out to us to assist in getting out some info surrounding parenting for those in challenging situations. Being NDIS accredited has allowed us to be involved with and exposed to many different individuals and agencies which we can support to promote an increase in quality of life, or just the maintenance of already established healthy lifestyles.
Planning ahead for Success
Finding out you are pregnant is a joyous moment. If you have a disability, you will want to plan ahead to make sure that you and your baby are comfortable and safe at home. A little advance planning will make life with your newborn that much easier.
Line up your village
Everyone needs a support system to raise a baby. For the disabled parent, it is essential that you have people who can help you, preferably on short notice. Parents, who are now becoming grandparents, often can help. Try to include them in raising your child as early as possible.
Ask your siblings how much you can count on them, and ask them to be completely honest. Talk to your neighbors, especially those with children, about your plans. Agree to help them while they help you.
Consider all the groups you belong to. Are you a church member? Do you volunteer at the Red Cross? Ask all these people to support you while you undertake the important mission of raising another human being. Lean on your friends as well.
Make home modifications
If you have mobility limitations, it will be very important to make sure that every part of your home is safe and accessible. When making home modifications, replace steps with a ramp, both inside and outside the home. Purchasing expandable hinges for doorways will allow a wheelchair through most doors without expensive structural modifications needed to widen the opening.
Installing skid-resistant flooring, like vinyl tiles and adhesive runners, will prevent slips and falls. If you insist on keeping throw rugs, tape them down with double-sided mounting tape.
Useful baby care items
According to the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, bathing, putting your baby to bed, and carrying a baby are the biggest challenges for a disabled parent.
When it comes to putting your baby to bed at night, the best solution might be a co-sleeper. This is a small bed with raised bumpers that goes right on top of your bed. The baby rests in the co-sleeper where you can hear her and take appropriate action the minute she cries.
There are also a variety of side-sleeping appliances that allow your baby to sleep right next to the bed. These are usually crib-like small beds with raised sides to prevent your baby from rolling out.
Many disabled parents will defer to their partners or other helpers when it comes to bathing their babies. But you won’t know what you’re capable of until you have tried. Bouncers and baby seats made for use in the bathtub have been useful to some new mothers and fathers. Simply run some water in the bathtub, place the bouncer in the tub, and place the baby in the bouncer. This allows the two of you to bathe together.
Dressing and transporting your baby
When it comes to putting clothes on a baby, flailing legs and arms can present a challenge. Make your life easier by getting baby clothes that use velcro fasteners or acrylic zippers.
You will want to buy baby clothes without footies because footies are very difficult to get on the baby. Instead, buy separate warm socks that pull on easily. Likewise, disposable diapers with tape will be much easier to manage than cloth diapers.
Think about how you will move around the house with your baby. There are a number of state-of-the-art baby harnesses that harness your baby to your chest or your back. Some of these can be used in conjunction with a wheelchair.
With a little preparation, you can make sure you and your baby are safe in your home. Identify what the greatest challenges will be. Then make purchases and modifications that will help you meet those challenges.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay