How To Boss Parenting as a Parent With a Disability
Ashley Taylor is a disabled parent and wants to help other parents with disabilities get through parenting without any problems.
Parenting is a challenge, even more so if one or both parents is disabled. The good news is that technology and basic home modifications can make the job a lot easier. Read on for ideas on how to modify your home and shop for gear that will make you more effective at the day-to-day tasks of raising a baby.
One of the great joys of parenting is seeing a child happily gobble up her pureed apples in wide-eyed delight or hearing her soft chortles of happiness. With fairly easy modifications, almost any parent can feed a baby and enjoy this experience.
If you are blind, for instance, you may want to put tape with braille labels on your baby food. These labels can be reused. When you are done with the apples, someone can remove the label and put it on the next jar. If braille labels are unfeasible, you can use different textures of tape to indicate different food items.
New mothers with a disability may want to consider breastfeeding. It’s much less complicated than bottle feeding, and it will create a bond between mother and baby. Experts also think that breastfed babies have better immunity to infections.
Bathing a baby can be tricky for any parent. Newborns can be frightened by water rushing at them even if it is the perfect temperature. Traditional baby baths, such as those that go in a kitchen sink, might not be manageable for someone in a wheelchair.
The solution for some people is to bathe with the baby. Run a few inches of warm water in the bottom of the bathtub and lower yourself and your baby into it. Child care expert Dr. Sears says you can do this for several months after bringing your baby home from the hospital. He and other experts also recommend combining nursing and bathing to reduce stress for babies, especially those who are resistant to bathing.
Experts say you can also take a newborn baby in the shower with you. Shield the baby’s head so that his eyes don’t get pummeled with water or soap. Make sure the temperature is around ninety degrees.
One way to make this safer is to install one or more grab bars in the bathtub or shower so that you can safely lower yourself in and pull yourself out. It’s also a good idea to put a non-skid bath mat or stickers in the bottom of the bath. Make sure your towel bars and towels are within easy reach of the bath.
Transporting your baby
You will need to think about how you will transport your baby around the house and on errands like grocery shopping. For many mothers and fathers, a chest harness will provide a good solution. Putting your baby in one of these harnesses keeps him entirely secure, and you have the comfort of knowing he is close.
To avoid back pain when carrying your baby, make sure you have a harness that holds him high with straps that distribute the baby’s weight throughout your shoulders, back, and chest. It’s a good idea to get a harness that allows you to switch your baby to your back, either to relieve muscle pain or to allow you to carry an older, bigger baby.
Parents in wheelchairs will want to investigate the new LapBaby. Positively reviewed by the good people at Disabledparenting.com, the LapBaby secures a baby to her seated parent, while freeing up the parent’s hands to move the wheelchair or take on other tasks.
While you are preparing to travel your home with a newborn, identify and move tripping hazards, like piles of magazines, vases, and small appliances that are in the pathways of your house or apartment. Replace throw rugs with non-slip rugs and mats.
In conclusion, buying just a few pieces of specialized gear may make your parenting job much easier. Also be sure to evaluate your home for obstacles that might trip you up when you are transporting your baby. If you do these simple things, your joy on bringing home a new baby will be untempered.
For more information about being a parent with disabilities and how to cope with certain aspects of life, you can read more articles on Disabled Parents website.