A Home Preparation Guide for New Parents with Disabilities

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Becoming a parent is one of the most joyous and exciting things a person can experience.  New parents will quickly learn that it is a continuous process and will be a lifelong adventure.  Keeping that in mind, preparing your home for your new addition is, but so is going easy on yourself when you realize just how underprepared you are once your child arrives.  That said, here are a few ideas for preparing your home that you may not have considered.

Protecting You and Your Baby

An abundance of resources exist that tell parents how to prepare their home in order to protect their baby.  They typically discuss everything from baby gates to outlet covers, as well as nursery-specific dos and don’ts.  What these resources don’t cover is how to protect the parents, or at least make their lives easier, which subsequently also protects the child.  Parents with disabilities know this is especially important and may already have made some home modifications to meet their own needs.  

Avoiding or eliminating obstacles that prevent you from providing the best care for your child is the ultimate goal in preparing your home. It is a good idea to evaluate the existing home thoroughly and consider if any previous modifications pose a potential hazard or if new modifications are needed.  Consider what you’ll be doing for or with your baby that you may not have had to do in the past.  This will help you conduct a more thorough needs assessment so you end up with a better analysis of what additional changes may be needed.  Remember, this won’t be perfect.  What might work when you first bring your newborn home may not work once he or she is a toddler, and how you’re able to handle child care may change once you get some experience.  

Room by Room

Start by working through your home room by room to identify potential areas for improvement.  For example, if you have visual limitations, consider marking products in your pantry using braille labels or textured tape to help you quickly and accurately identify the product.  This can work in any room in the house. It is also a good idea to make sure you have accurately sized measures to help you when preparing formula or other baby foods. Find measuring spoons and cups that let you measure the exact amount of product you need to help make meal preparation a snap. Adding other sensory tools, like specially designed baby monitors, might prove useful as well if you have hearing or visual limitations.  

If mobility issues are a concern, you may have already found a number of adaptive products that help you transport your baby when you are on the go. For certain disabilities, these types of products may be essential.  For others, like toys that allow you to interact effectively with your baby, you may find that creating your own is just as effective and less expensive.  Other considerations include adding grab bars to your bathroom or other areas of the home to make safely reaching your baby for bathing or changing easier.  Adding non-slip mats is also a good idea since spills are bound to happen. For more information, check out this informative guide on home modifications for parents with disabilities.  

Taking precautions and making home improvements that help you care for your child will be a learning process.  You don’t always need to focus on remodeling or big changes in order to have the best results.  As your baby grows, your needs are likely to change as much as your child’s, so don’t be afraid to adapt your approach. Keeping both the parents and baby healthy is the goal.  

  Ashely Taylor

See more information on their website: http://disabledparents.org


How to Smooth Your Way Into Mommyhood

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There’s a baby coming, bringing with him or her out countless hours of joy … as well as spills, puke and sleepless nights when you’ll be wondering why they won’t stop crying. It’s an emotional roller-coaster, to say the least, but the positives will outweigh the negatives if you make the right preparations. That’s especially important for single mothers-to-be who have no partner to rely on. No matter what your relationship status, keep your head up and follow this advice.

Write a Birth Plan

It’s a document that lets doctors, nurses and midwives know how you would like to give birth, including who is present during labor, what forms of pain relief you allow yourself to use, and what to do with the placenta. The experts at Parents have drawn up a checklist to make it easy for you to create the perfect natal environment, but bear in mind that your preferences may be ignored in the case of an emergency.

Get the Right Gear

A stroller, clothes, diapers: The costs certainly add up. Luckily, an experienced mother with Eco Baby Steps has come up with a list of things that you will definitely need, followed by others that would come in handy. Prioritize and use your baby shower wish list wisely. Plus, the other mothers in your life may have some things left over from raising their children. You may not have to pay much at all if anything.

Prepare Their Room

You want to make sure that you have easy access to everything you need to care for a baby in their room. A designer writing in lifestyle magazine Today suggests keeping diapers, wipes and other changing items to the side of your dominant hand. As for the overall theme, it can be exhausting to choose one, because there are so many options. Start with the furniture, followed by a color palette and decorations to match.

Simplify Your Daily Routine

Now, back to you. Time is of the essence once taking care of the baby becomes your first priority. But your household isn’t going to take care of itself, so you need to streamline your tasks to get them done quickly. The first step is to automate all of your bill-paying so you don’t waste precious time on finances, then find ways to speed up your morning routine and save time on cooking by preparing food in batches.

See a Therapist Now

Even if you’re not dealing with any negative emotions now, they’ll help you determine your susceptibility to postpartum depression based on a number of factors, such as the history of mental illness in your family or incidences of abuse during your own childhood. It’s good to understand your treatment options now just in case you need to see someone later.

Make Self-Care a Priority

Start with the basic elements of overall good health. That means getting some exercise, eating healthy and staying hydrated. Moreover, you should find ways to relieve stress, and there are plenty of ideas to consider, such as taking a walk, practicing yoga, deep breathing or watching the sunrise or sunset. Don’t be afraid to pamper yourself at the spa. You’ve earned it!

Reach Out to Friends and Family

As they say, it takes a village to raise a child. Create your support network now by talking to friends and family about the help you’ll most likely need. That could be someone taking care of the baby, helping with the cooking and cleaning, or taking you to the doctor’s office. There’s always paid help if you can fit it into your budget.

Talk to Other Moms

You’ll find plenty of wisdom and comfort from women who have already been where you’re going, whether it’s advice on putting your baby to sleep or just a shoulder to cry on when the going gets tough. Nowadays, you’ll even find plenty of helpful communities online if there’s no one who can be there for you physically.

It may seem like more than you can handle, but there’s plenty to look forward to, like the baby’s first words, first steps and first day at school. One day, you’ll look back and wish you could do it all again.

Amanda Henderson

Check out more by Amanda at http://safechildren.info/