Preparing your home for a baby is a joyous and frightening task all at the same time. The excitement of parenthood, the (un)solicited advice of family and friends, and the hidden panic of your brain questioning whether or not you are ready for this next phase of your life. Of course you are ready. As an educator and a person with a disability, you already know you have the strength to overcome challenges and persevere when life seems harder than it should be. You have definitely got this, but here are some handy tips to help reassure you.
Babyproofing a home is an obvious means of addressing safety. It is often the first thing new parents consider when preparing their home for a new arrival. It is tempting to buy everything all at once, but this can and should be done in stages. Consider the age and needs of the child, and at what point in the child’s development the items will actually be helpful. Adding safety devices before they are needed is more frustrating for you than functional for them, particularly since many items severe to limit access.
Safety features that enhance your interactions with and ability to care for the baby are also a necessity. Functional items like grab bars installed in a bathroom can assist with bathing, along with non slip mats, which be handy in the bathroom as well as other areas of the home. Remember to anchor dressers, TV, shelving units, and other items at risk of tipping over. It is also a good idea to clear any obstructions or tripping hazards, widening pathways and access through your home.
As an educator you are likely use to a schedule, but your routine will soon be no more. While your baby may adapt very quickly to regular sleeping and eating patterns, you will have substantially less time to do non-baby things no matter how well you plan your day. Consider efficiency tactics that will help you adjust to a new way of life. Things like advanced meal preparation - both yours and the baby’s - can save tons of time. Other ideas include labeling containers with textured or braille tape, or color coding them to help with easy identification.
There are also a number of adaptive baby products available that are aimed at helping parents with disabilities. If these do not meet your needs, then consider working with an occupational therapist to create a custom solutions specifically for you and your little one. Nursing slings, specialty harnesses and carriers, along with accessible cribs, bathtubs, and strollers can all make the task of caring for your kiddo easier.
As an educator, you know learning is a process, and practice makes it easier over time. Parenting works the same way. It is something you learn as you go, and not a magical ability you inherit simply by having a child. Give yourself time to adapt, and recognize that the more you practice the easier it will become to care for your child. No amount of babyproofing, planning and scheduling, or adaptive products will suffice as a substitute.
Avoid neglecting your own needs, and those of your partner during this transition as well. It can be easy to forget to focus on things other than the baby, but taking time for your marriage, your career, and yourself is important for both you and your child’s wellbeing. Remember that you are setting the example for them, and finding some balance early in their life will help ensure they grow up healthy and happy.
Being a parent is the biggest challenge you will face in your life, and once it starts it never stops. It can be difficult to strike a balance between excessive and not enough preparation, but focusing on keeping both you and your baby safe is a great first steps. Finding ways to make your new routine more effective and convenient will help make the transition into parenthood much easier. Just remember to be patient and kind to yourself as you learn how to be a parent.
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com
Guest Author, Ashley Taylor.
Ashley is a disabled mother of two wonderful, amazing, energetic children. She met her husband, Tom, while doing physical therapy. Tom had suffered a spinal cord injury due to a car accident and uses a wheelchair for mobility. Ashley and Tom knew they wanted children and knew they would have to adapt their lives and home in order to make this dream come true. Ashley is happy to say that they are the proud parents of two healthy, wonderful children and their disabilities haven’t stopped them from leading a happy, fulfilling life.
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