Disabled And a New Parent? Some Tips on Making It Work

I was recently contacted by someone to  publish their writing on my website. I decided to go ahead an help out this stranger as I am passionate about equality, people with disabilities and mental health.

So here it is, an article by Ashley Taylor. I hope you will find it helpful!

Ashley Taylor is a freelance writer, photographer, and advocate for people with disabilities. She created DisabledParents.org to provide information and resources to other parents with disabilities. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.

Planning for a new baby is exciting, but also a little scary. And, if you have a disability, it may be even scarier. With careful planning, however, you will make a wonderful parent. Read on for some resources as well as tips on how to modify your home for your safety and that of your baby.

Resources

There are many resources that offer information, support, and the experiences of others. Here’s a quick list of some of the most useful websites:

  • com is an inspirational site that explains how parents with serious disabilities manage seemingly difficult tasks. One video, for instance, shows a paraplegic mother taking her baby to the car and strapping him into the car seat.
  • The good people at com have put together the top financial resources available to people with disabilities.
  • The Americans with Disabilities organization has put together a thorough document on the rights of disabled parents and what constitutes discrimination.

Home modifications

 There are home modifications you can make that will make it safer for you and for your baby. You will need to feed, bathe, and move your baby from one room to another, so it is vital that you’re able to move around the house unimpeded. Be sure to move furniture and clutter out of your home’s passageways. If you are in danger of falling, make sure your floors are skid-proof. This might involve laying textured vinyl tile or non-skid carpets.

Throw rugs or area rugs that are a tripping hazard should be thrown out or refurbished by applying lines of acrylic calk the length of the rug. When it’s dry, this is an effective way to turn a rug into a non-slip one. You can do the same thing with a bathmat.

Alternatively, you can paint the underside of the rug with a substance called “Fiber-Lok Non-Skid Rug Backing,” which is somewhat like rubber cement. If you can’t find it in local stores, you will be able to find it online. Also make sure you don’t have any stray staples or nails popping out of your floor.

Many parents have found that the easiest way to bathe a baby is to take him into the bathtub or shower with them. Put a bouncer in the bathtub for your baby or another device that keeps the baby’s head elevated. Depending on your disability, you may also benefit from installing grab bars in the shower and bathtub area.

The good people at BabyCenter.com say you can take a baby in the shower as soon as she’s shed her umbilical cord. They recommend introducing your baby to the shower experience slowly and carefully. Make sure your baby’s eyes don’t get the full blast of the water.

Feeding your baby

 Make sure you have a station for feeding your baby that is the right height and does not put undue stress on your back or arms. Some parents have found that cutting a table to fit around the mother or father and to fit around the baby chair makes the feeding process much easier.

If you have difficulty seeing, you will want to have someone label baby food containers with textured tape or braille labels so that you can tell the apples from the pears.

In conclusion, raising a baby is a challenge for anyone, and a disabled mother or father is no exception. But if you know what resources are available, the job will be a lot easier. Think about your needs and those of your new baby, and make accommodations accordingly.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.