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Safety and Efficiency: Tools and Resources for Disabled Parents

Safety and Efficiency: Tools and Resources for Disabled Parents

I was contacted by Ashley Taylor of Disabledparents.org and she asked if she could write an article for my Blog. It didn’t take me more than a moment to be both honored and humbled by her request and interest in Basket Express.

Her story is one of strength and courage. This is the request that she sent to me.

My husband and I both have disabilities. We’ve always wanted children, and knew that because of our disabilities becoming parents and parenthood, in general, would require extra planning and prep. From the get-go we started saving for IVF treatments and making modifications to our home that would make us and our future children safer. Along the way, we’ve picked up a lot of great resources on planning and preparing for parenthood as parents with disabilities and we’ve learned some valuable lessons, too.
Can I write an article for your website with advice for people with disabilities on how they can prepare their lives and their homes for parenthood? Today, my husband and I have two amazing kids, and I thought this might be a good way to show my gratitude to the universe for all the ways we’ve been blessed.
Imagine how I felt when I read this story, and the shivers that went up my spine when she sent me this information, which I gladly share with you today.
Disabilities

The days when disabled people were considered unfit to be parents are behind us thanks to the efforts of organizations like Through the Looking Glass, a resource that provides training and services for the disabled. Their advocacy, and that of others, has made it easier for the disabled to find products that help them care for their children effectively and efficiently. Many have been forced to use their creativity and ingenuity, devising new, more convenient ways to breastfeed, change diapers, and bathe their children. Performing these tasks is a lot easier with tools that can help save time and allow parents to multitask, an important capability for any parent. Fortunately, there are many products with designs and features that can make it easier to care for your child, both independently and safely. (Also remember that any modifications you make to your home, such as an entrance wheelchair ramp or widened doorways, may be a great help to subsequent owners.)

Wheelchair ramps can be works of art! Check out these pictures of home that have used their ramps to accent their flowers!

  

Accessible sleep space

This has long been a major hurdle for disabled parents. The traditional baby crib configuration is incompatible for most disabled parents, especially those who are in a wheelchair and can’t reach into the sleeping space. The Cocoonababy is a soft, cushioned platform with no sides or attachments. Your baby is safely secured with an adjustable strap that can be removed quickly for diaper changes. The Cocoonababy is light and easy to carry as you move around the house. For parents who prefer the conventional design, a side-opening crib allows parents to reach directly inside.

(I don’t know about you, but I had no idea this existed, let alone how important it would be for parents with disabilities.  The baby looks so comfy, and I can understand how easy it would be to use this great bed! )

Breastfeed with ease

Finding a comfortable breastfeeding position is a subjective thing for moms. Some prefer to breastfeed while lying in bed without having to move their child around. An adaptive cot with one open side can be wheeled up to the side of your bed, allowing you to lie on your side while feeding and keep your baby safely next to you while you sleep. It’s an ideal multitasking product – you can breastfeed, burp and put your baby to sleep all without having to change location. If you prefer a more mobile solution, the Breastfeeding Sling lets you feed your child anywhere. Its padded shoulder strap allows you to feed for as long as you need without getting tired.

(Don’t forget the privacy involved with breastfeeding, not only for the baby but for the mom as well.  As an able-bodied mom, I remember the issues I had breastfeeding Lauren. I imagine these are magnified 10-fold for a disabled mom.)
Convenient potty training

Potty training time can be a real challenge for disabled parents. If your mobility is limited, it’s difficult to be as encouraging and physically supportive as you’d like. Many training aids are heavy and difficult to move or lift with ease. The Disney Baby Winnie the Pooh Training Seat is lightweight and clips easily and securely to the top of your toilet seat. It’s also an excellent option if you need to move it between bathrooms.

(Oh, my, the joys of potty training! Just when you think it’s mastered, the “fun” can start all over again!  I guess the best part is this takes a short period of time and then it’s forever!)

Bath time

This is one of the most challenging tasks that disabled parents face. The inflatable Bambino Duck Bath is a light and convenient alternative for parents with limited reach. It can be placed on a low table to take the strain off your back when lifting or stretching. The soft sides can be pushed down easily for improved access.

(It was difficult enough for me, at 5’2″, to bathe Lauren in the sink or tub.  Somehow we manage. Imagine having to “manage” on a daily basis when you are disabled. It’s a good thing these kids are so resilient!)

IVF

In-vitro fertilization is a proven successful alternative for couples having trouble conceiving, but it can be a pricey proposition, with couples paying an average of $19,000. You can defray some of the cost by using your Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Plan. Shared risk or IVF refund programs can also help you prepare for the financial burden. As expensive as it can be, IVF has been changing lives for the better for decades. According to Qunomedical, “The success and availability of in-vitro fertilization have given hope to many infertile couples who have not been able to conceive. Since 1978, 5.4 million babies have been born worldwide with the help of IVF.”

Ergonomic efficiency

Thinking in terms of your physical challenges can help you identify tools that will make it easier to provide care. There are products and resources that make bathing, feeding and dressing your little one much easier. Remember that the best products are those that provide ergonomic efficiency.

  

Self-care

As important as your daily activities and amenities are to your parenting abilities, the way you care for yourself also plays a part. A warm bath each evening, a chapter of a good book while your baby naps, or a moment of quiet with a warm cup of coffee in the mornings can all enhance your mental health. And there are plenty of ways your friends and family can encourage you to focus on self-care. A gift basket with your favorite things, a bouquet of fragrant flowers to brighten up the room, or even just a friendly phone conversation and well wishes are all great gift ideas for new moms. With Mother’s Day around the corner, it’s never too early to drop a few hints…

Daisies and butterflies  Top 'em Off with Fruit and Flowers  

Thinking in terms of your physical challenges can help you identify tools that will make it easier to provide care. There are products and resources that make bathing, feeding, and dressing your little one much easier. Remember that the best products are those that provide ergonomic efficiency and make life a little more comfortable for your entire family.

No matter the road you took to become a parent, it was and will continue to be an exciting journey. As a disabled parent you will face obstacles and have to make some modifications to your home and life, but at the end of the day you are a parent just like everyone else. Welcome to the ride!

Courtesy of Pixabay.com.

 

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2007 W. Bethany Home Rd., Suite B
Phoenix, AZ 85015 USA
tina@giftbasketsbytina.com
602-246-0672

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