By Daniel Sherwin for Natural Baby Magazine
Congratulations! You’re going to have a baby, and it’s time to get ready! A bit of trepidation is normal when you realize that you’ll be bringing home a wiggly, squiggly, squalling infant in just a few very short months. Most new parents anticipate parenthood with a blend of excitement and apprehension.
But if you’re joining the ranks of more than 4 million U.S. families with children under age 18 that include at least one parent with a disability, you know that you’ll face additional challenges besides the usual diaper blowouts and toy minefields.
If you’ve lived with your disability for a while, you’ve probably already taken creative steps to accommodate for the challenges it presents. Approach preparing for a new baby as an exciting adventure that requires strategy, a little ingenuity, and a healthy dose of humor.
Here are some tips to help you prepare for parenthood:
Standard baby gear and equipment isn’t necessarily designed to accommodate physical limitations. Fortunately, big-box stores and online retailers now carry equipment to accommodate parents who may have trouble using their hands, use wheelchairs, or who have vision/hearing impairments. This equipment includes:
For a more comprehensive list of baby care equipment that’s recommended for parents with disabilities, visit Through the Looking Glass, a “nationally recognized center that has pioneered research, training, and services for families in which a child, parent, or grandparent has a disability or medical issue.”
Modifying Your Home
Your home may already have certain adaptations, like grab bars in bathtubs and non-slip rugs or mats. But it’s likely that there will be other modifications that you’ll need to make so childcare is easier
If you’re sight-impaired, consider these modifications:
American Foundation for the Blind has more ideas on creating a comfortable, usable environment that’s also infant and kid friendly.
A Strong Support System
Never think that self-care is an indulgence—it’s a necessity! All new parents need a break to relieve the stress brought on from late-night feedings, crying babies, and serious sleep deprivation now and then. Whether you ask a friend or family member to watch your baby while you nap, escape into a book, or enjoy a date night with your partner, take time for yourself.
Musician Taylor Hanson said, “Having a baby is a life-changer. It gives you a whole other perspective on why you wake up every day.” And that’s the magic of parenthood.
Daniel Sherwin is a single father of two and the creator of DadSolo.com
Natural Baby Magazine
Blogging about Natural Childbirth, Natural Baby Bums, Natural Baby Feeding, Natural Baby Health, and Natural Baby Learning all in the first year of life.