Having a new baby is a joyful event, but with that joy comes responsibility and a large amount of stress. If the parent has a disability, it can be even more stressful. Parents with physical disabilities may experience challenges when they need to pick up the baby or go shopping. And parents who may suffer from fatigue may find themselves even more tired when trying to care for a new little one. But with proper planning, you can prepare your home for your new baby and begin your new life as a parent.
It’s important to receive prenatal care when you are expecting a baby. As a person with a disability, you should discuss any medical issues with your physician so your doctor can be prepared for any complications. Your doctor may even be able to point you toward community resources that assist parents with disabilities.
When you have a disability, reach out to family and friends for support. Parents without disabilities rely on family and friends for advice and assistance, so there’s no reason why a person with a disability shouldn’t reach out to others, too. At times, you may even be able to connect with nonprofit organizations that help people with disabilities find support services.
Babyproof Your Home
If you have a disability, it may be difficult for you to hear or see your crawling baby when he or she is in a dangerous situation. Be proactive by babyproofing your home. Keep chemicals and medicines in a locked cabinet. Use outlet covers to protect babies from electrical sockets. Keep the toilet and trash lids down so babies can’t find their way inside them. Be sure the floors in your home are skid-resistant to prevent slips and falls and purchase expandable hinges for your doors to make it easy for you to get through.
Equipment for Parents With Disabilities
Specially made equipment can help parents with disabilities more easily care for their children. For example, The Mobility Resource reports that a crib with an opening on the side is ideal for disabled parents who are in wheelchairs. These types of baby cribs make it simple to get your baby in and out. Baby carriers are ideal for disabled parents, too. The parent straps the baby into the chest harness, allowing the parent to have his or her hands-free while still securely carrying the baby. Velcro baby bibs allow parents who struggle with fine motor skills to put bibs on their babies without worrying about snaps. Of course, you’ll also need a booster car seat for transporting your child.
Wheelchair-bound parents can keep a small refrigerator next to the bed to avoid having to go to the kitchen to make the baby a bottle. Using a portable bottle warmer, the parent can more easily perform this frequent task without making countless trips to the kitchen.
If you’re unable to carry your baby throughout the house, place the baby in a bassinet on wheels or in a baby carriage. You can then push the baby bassinet or carriage where you need to go while in the house.
Working With an Occupational Therapist
DisabledParent.org.uk suggests that working with an occupational therapist helps you find alternative ways of caring for your baby. Holding a lifesize baby doll, the disabled parent can practice taking care of a newborn. This provides you with more confidence and experience when your baby arrives. If you have trouble standing for any length of time, consider changing your baby’s diaper on your bed or on the floor.
Visually Impaired Parents
Parents who are visually impaired can also use alternative methods to care for children. While they can’t see when the baby’s diaper needs to be changed, they can use their hands to feel when the diaper is damp, and they can definitely use their sense of smell as well. If you’re a visually impaired parent, you’ll also be able to detect diaper rash just by feeling the raised bumps on your baby’s skin.
How can a deaf parent know when the baby cries? Fortunately, deaf parents can purchase a baby monitor for deaf parents. The monitor boasts a sound-alert system coupled with a rod that is placed underneath the parent’s mattress. When the sound alert activates, the rod vibrates underneath the bed, causing the parent to wake up. You can also be alerted by flashing lights when the baby cries.
Having a baby is a thrilling experience. It’s a scary but wonderful feeling to know you are responsible for the well-being of this tiny new person. But when you have a disability, you experience unique challenges. You’ll be able to take on these challenges by making extensive preparations to ensure your baby is safe, happy, and healthy.
Photo via Pixabay
Article written by Ashley Taylor.