Preparing for Baby: How to Get Your Home Ready When You Have a DisabilityBy Ashley Taylor -
Having a baby is a joyous and scary time. It can be especially disconcerting when you have a disability. How will it affect how you care for your new little one? Fortunately, several recent innovations have made this a little easier. Here are some tips for preparing your home for baby when you have a disability.
First, you’ll need to think about safety issues when your infant is crawling and walking, since everything will attract your baby’s curiosity. Have someone get down on the floor and crawl around so you can find sharp corners that need bumper guards, cords that need removing or putting up high, cabinets that need child-proof locks or removal of chemicals, baby gates for stairs, etc. Make sure that your fire extinguisher is up to date, and smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries. Latch heavy furniture and televisions to the wall so that they won’t topple. Lock away any medications or potential poisons and put sharp implements out of reach.
Next, think about what you’ll need to assist you in caring for your baby given the restraints of your or your partner’s disability. If you’re in a wheelchair, you’ll want help holding or carrying the baby while you maneuver the chair. If you have stairs, installing ramps can enable you to get around with the baby more easily. You might also want to put the baby bed in your bedroom so it’s easier to reach in the middle of the night. Go to a baby furniture store before the baby comes so you can test the height and accessibility of the crib, stroller, high chair, etc. before buying them. You can find adjustable height baby bouncers and cribs, as well as one-handed collapsible strollers or even ones that attach to your wheelchair.
Breastfeeding slings or two-sided nursing pillows can help you nurse without having to hold up the baby, while accessible baby bathtubs and swivel-base car seats can help you get baby in and out of the bath or car easily. Finally, you can get a Wriggle Wrapper Velcro security harness/belt to hold baby safely in his or her seat when there’s not a high chair available.
Once your child is running around, there are other items that can help you keep up with them. You can install offset or expandable hinges on your door frames to give you extra maneuvering room through doorways. This is much cheaper and easier than expanding door frames and can be easily removed if you move to a new house.
Skid-resistant flooring can be helpful to little ones learning to walk and bigger ones with mobility issues. Small, rolling workstations can make your favorite hang-out space kid friendly by storing toys and necessities in multiple out-of-the-way places so that you don’t have to go find stuff every time your child wants to play. Plus, you can push the carts out of the way when navigating through the room.
Finally, if you’re saving for IVF treatment, there are several options to help you. Some health insurance will cover some of it, so check with your insurer. Check also for clinics that offer discounts or your money back if you don’t become pregnant. Some people go abroad for cheaper treatments or use specialty pharmacies for discounts on infertility drugs. If IVF is your route to having a baby, check into your options for paying for it and don’t give up hope. 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, according to Quonomedical.
So stick with your dream of being a parent, even if you have a disability. It’s more possible than ever, and the rewards are worth the effort. By preparing yourself and your home, you can soon welcome a new family member into your home.