How to Prepare for a Baby as a Disabled Parent
This weeks blog comes to you from a guest blogger, Ashley Taylor. Ashley and her husband have disabilities and they knew there would be greater challenges to preparing and planning to have children. Ashley has written this phenomenal piece to help others on this journey to parenthood.
Any parent can tell you how difficult preparing for a baby is, especially the first time around. But not every parent has a disability, which can make things even more of a challenge. How do you prepare not just your home but your life for a newborn? It may seem overwhelming, but with the following tips, you can get a leg up and reduce your stress.
When bringing a baby into the picture, every home needs to be modified. However, if you have limited movement, you may need to add more modifications than the typical cabinet locks, corner guards, and stair gates. Grab bars should be installed by your tub and toilet in your bathroom, if they aren’t already, not only to benefit yourself, but to help you when you have your baby. Once your baby outgrows a sink or plastic tub, you will find grab bars can help you bathe your baby in your tub. An adjustable changing table will also be beneficial. You will want a table that is the proper height to make it easier for you to reach, but also something that allows for your legs or wheelchair to fit beneath it.
Clear the Clutter
Once they’re crawling, babies can move quickly. If you turn your eye away from them for even a moment, they can scamper about and wreak havoc. Not only are things like fallen toys or rugs that are slightly askew dangerous for your child, but you may have a harder time navigating now that toys and bottles will be everywhere, and believe me, they will be everywhere. One thing you can do is invest in large baskets or plastic containers where you can easily toss toys to clear up floor space. Even better still is removing rugs, or, if you’re worried about hard flooring, add non-slip pads beneath rugs or replace the rug with a non-slip mat.
The Benefit of Labeling
You will find out quickly how beneficial it is to have labels. From baby food expiration dates to breast milk, labeling can be very helpful. You can easily label the milk you set aside for freezing by date, so you can practice first in, first out. This is great especially if you have extra help or even just if your parents come over to babysit once in a while. With things labeled for, say, lunch or a mid-afternoon feeding, communication is much easier and clearer. If you or your loved one are visually impaired, braille tape can also be used for the same purpose.
It’s so easy as a mom or dad to forget that we have other roles and interests and are our own people. You may forget that you have your own needs, and you may need a reminder that you’re important and need care as well. Self-care is different for everyone. If you are stressed, find your temper is short, or you are just exhausted, invest in self-care. This can mean devoting yourself to an hour of religious study a week, spending 20 minutes in the morning sitting in the sun, reading quietly at the end of the night, or beginning a daily meditation practice. Spend time with people you love, just simply enjoying each other’s company, even if it’s only for 15 minutes every two weeks. The multitude of little things you can do each day and each week can add up and help to relieve stress.
One of the most important aspects of parenthood is not just seeing to your baby’s well-being but your own. Connect your spirit to nature or the divine. Find ways to keep your home free and clear. Prep and label things to facilitate communication and to remind yourself what goes where and when. Having a baby is life changing, and it will be hectic and chaotic. However, with the right tools, you can find balance and a semblance of peace.
Image courtesy of Pixabay