July 9, 2018

Parenting with a Disability - Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Welcoming a child into your life is certainly something to celebrate. However, it is also a time full of nerves and anxiety, especially if you live with a disability. Here’s some advice to help prepare your home and yourself for the lifestyle changes that come with being a new parent.

Becoming a parent means that life is about to get somewhat chaotic, so take some time before the baby arrives to prepare as much as you can. Decide where the baby is going to sleep and make the proper accommodations by selecting an easy to use crib. Also think about whether you plan to feed them formula or will need a breast pump. You should stock up on changing supplies and frozen meals so you don’t have to make as many trips out. Clean the house, make sure you have a baby monitor, and get a stroller or baby carrier to help make your life easier.

You’ll want to childproof your home as well. Put non slip mats in the tub, lock the toilet seat, get a cover for the spout, and a bathtub ring to help support their body in the water. Secure doors to appliances, cabinets and drawers with child safety locks and use swimming noodles to soften the edges of doors to rooms so they don’t scrape themselves. Additionally, be sure to cover outlets, hide any cords, and gate off stairs, fireplaces or railings.

In order to transport your child, you’ll need to pick out a booster or car seat that fits you and your baby’s needs. The many styles available can be overwhelming, but chances are if it is being sold in the U.S. it meets federal regulations and will provide adequate protection no matter the cost. To ensure that you buy the right one for your family, do plenty of research so you feel confident about your decision and can have peace of mind while driving. It should be rear facing and in the middle back seat of your vehicle. As you use it, be careful to check the expiration date so you know when it is no longer suitable for your child’s age.

Raising children points out that while, “The type of support you need obviously depends on your disability, there are many technologies and assistive devices that can help with daily family life.” Consult with your doctor and other healthcare professionals in order to come up with practical solutions to the inevitable and various challenges that will come your way as a parent. Consider joining a support group so you can express your fears and any questions you may have before the baby comes. Find a local class where you can practice how to swaddle and soothe your child. Think carefully about if and who you want to stay in your home to provide additional support during the first few weeks. Even though the thought of having house guests may seem daunting, you will be thankful for the extra help and ability to get some sleep. Feel free to employ their aid with feedings, baths and getting the baby dressed among other things.

Stow away a few luxury items for yourself like a candle, bath bomb or chocolates. These will come in handy when you’re feeling extra stressed and need a moment to yourself to rejuvenate. Lastly, remember to enjoy this time period and use it as an opportunity to bond with your newborn.

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