Friday, February 2, 2018
4 Ways to Get Ready for a New Baby (And Prioritize Self-Care) When You Have a Disability
Getting ready to bring a child into the world is amazing and beautiful. It also means a laundry list of things that have to be done to get ready. For expectant parents who have a disability, that list of to-dos includes figuring out how to make baby gear work for your home and your unique needs.
#1 Get Your Home Ready
If you have a disability, you most likely already have a routine at home that fits your needs. Now you have to take into consideration a baby’s needs and the best way of meeting those needs that works for you. Start with a good guide, like this checklist from RealSimple.com, and use it as a tool to think about how you plan on parenting and how any gear or adaptations will meet your needs. For example, many parents choose to use a bassinet in the beginning to keep their baby close at night, and one popular option is a bassinet co-sleeper that attaches to your bed. This might be a great option to keep your baby within arm’s reach so you don’t have to worry about mobility in the wee hours of the morning.
#2 Get YOU Ready
All your attention may be focused on the your little one’s arrival, but moms and dads both need to think about their own needs too. For moms who plan on breastfeeding, stock up on nursing bras and nursing pads. Just as you want to have everything ready for your baby, planning ahead for your needs means you don’t have to worry about extra trips to the store after your child’s arrival. Another way you can plan ahead for your own needs is to make some meals you can freeze that will be ready to pop in the oven when you need them.
Even with the best preparation, adjusting to parenthood can be stressful. That’s entirely normal, but when stress rises, take a look at what you’re doing for yourself and see how you can make self-care a priority. Whatever you like to do to relieve stress now, whether it’s exercising, taking a relaxing bath, or chatting with friends, plan on scheduling time for that after your baby is born. Self-care is about more than basic needs and time for yourself, though. Create a habit of checking in with yourself and how you’re feeling throughout the day. Start doing that now so you’re in the habit of making yourself and your own needs a priority when your baby comes.
#3 Arrange Care
If you have close friends and family who can help, talk with them now about how they can help because that social support is especially crucial in the early days. Many new parents like to set up websites that let loved ones coordinate bringing you a meal. Whatever your abilities or limitations may be, parenting a newborn is a round-the-clock job, and having help makes a huge difference in how you feel. If you’re planning on hiring a babysitter or nanny, asking friends for referrals is the best way to find someone who is the right fit for your family.
#4 Reach Out
Along the same lines as reaching out to friends and family for help, start connecting with other parents and researching resources that will help on your parenting journey. The U.S. Department for Child Welfare has an excellent list of resources for parents who have a disability. You can start using these now to reach out to other parents who are in your situation. Parents who have been through it already can give tips and be a valuable support system.
Reaching out for support and prioritizing self-care are two of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby. The adjustment to parenthood can be exhausting and stressful, but it’s also a time to bond with your baby and enjoy the sweet moments of his or her first days and weeks. When you prepare as much as you can ahead of time, it’s easier to be in the moment when the time comes.
By: Ashley Taylor