Preparing for a Baby: Tips for Parents with Disabilities

DISABILITY PERSPECTIVE-Preparing for a new baby takes a lot of work and planning, and it often comes with lots of stress and a little anxiety, as well.

Knowing that you’ll need to prepare for this little life that is so dependent upon you can be overwhelming, and when you’re living with a disability, you have the added responsibility of making sure your home is safe and comfortable. Making everything a little more accessible will help immensely on this journey, but where do you get started? 

For many parents, it’s all about the details of daily life. Consider how best to ensure that your lifestyle and the baby’s schedule will be incorporated smoothly. For instance, if you have limited mobility, having an easily accessible crib, stroller, and car seat will be very important. These items should have features that will allow you to comfortably maneuver them in any situation and remain independent during your parenting. 

Keep reading for tips on how to prepare for a new baby when you’re living with a disability. 

Plan Ahead 

Your home and lifestyle aren’t the only things you’ll need to consider when you become a parent; you’ll also need to look ahead a bit and plan for the future by creating a will, obtaining a life insurance policy, and considering a burial insurance plan. It can be difficult to think about these things now, but in doing so, you’ll be making sure your family is well taken care of in the event of your death, and it can give you peace of mind as well. 

Look for Items to Make Life Easier 

When you have the right tools, parenting is made much easier. Sometimes, it’s a matter of learning how to reduce stress and enjoy the little moments, but often it’s also about finding the right physical items to help you in the process. This includes an infant seat, stroller, crib, changing table, and any other items you’ll use on a daily basis. These days, you can find infant seat/stroller combos that make travel much simpler and cribs with rails that can be lowered and raised for easier access. You might also use a co-sleeper cot that attaches to the side of your bed, so you don’t have to keep bending over to lift your baby. Also, find a sling you can wear that keeps your baby close and your hands free. These are great for parents who use wheelchairs. 

Make It Safe 

Making your home safe is imperative as a new parent, but it doesn’t just benefit your baby; it will help to keep you healthy as well. Consider the rooms in your home and what can be done to make them as safe as possible when you’re carrying, bathing, or feeding your baby. The bathroom, for instance, may need rubber-backed mats on the floor, a grab-bar in the bathtub, or soft edging for countertops. Throw rugs on hardwood or tile can become trip hazards, especially if you have limited mobility, while a hot water heater with the temperature turned up too high can lead to burns in the bath. If your home needs modifications, do some research online to find out more about grants to help pay for them. 

Preparing for a new baby comes with a lot to think about, so it’s important to find ways to reduce stress and anxiety during this time. This will help you relax and enjoy your time with your child once he arrives. Think about the best ways to make your home and lifestyle work for you and consider your schedule as well; things will change a great deal once the baby comes home, so learning how to maximize your time and get enough rest will benefit you quite a bit. 

(Patrick Young writes from personal experience. He is disabled, lives in Los Angeles and is a CityWatch contributor.) Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash. Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.