More than 4 million people in the U.S. alone are parents who have disabilities, so you are not alone if you’re about to become one of them. Prepare for all the changes of parenthood by getting your home and yourself ready for this major life change. Parenthood is just like anything else: if you’re well-prepared, you’re better-equipped to handle the job.
When should you start preparing your home for the new baby? Right now! You can’t get started too soon because time is going to go pretty quickly. Start by taking a good look around your home and try to spot safety issues before they become real issues later.
Every parent, at some point, faces the saga of baby-proofing their home. People with disabilities need to take some extra safety steps for their new bundle of joy. Add non-slip backing to all of your rugs, or replace them entirely with skid-proof rugs. Add grab bars to the walls of the baby’s room to make changing and bathing times easier. Don’t forget latches on cabinet doors, because soon enough baby will be a curious toddler.
Move the Furniture
Before baby arrives, pick a room for the baby. You may need to move furniture or boxes, so get this done early and get the room prepared. Place all the baby’s furniture well in advance, and practice moving around the room. Can you get all the way around the crib? Can you move easily at the changing area? Set everything up so that it’s well within reach and easy for you to get to.
Keep all supplies within reach, so you don’t have to stain to get to them. And don’t forget your baby gates. The baby will be crawling soon, so set up gates by all stairs and ramps to prevent baby from going places they shouldn’t. Carpet stairs that aren’t carpeted, or better yet replace them with ramps that are easier for you to navigate.
All the Little Things
A baby may be little, but they bring big changes with them. Don’t forget to look around your home and think about all the little details that may affect your new little one. Decluttering is a must, according to Kiddie Proofers. Babies and toddlers will find a way to get into everything, so start the process right now. Mount the TVs securely to the wall, so little hands can’t pull them down. Add night lights to all your rooms so you can see what you’re doing, even at night.
Consider installing a handheld shower, so you can wash baby more easily. Re-organize all your cabinets, so you can access sippy cups and other baby items quickly. Change out your doorknobs to simple latches, rather than turn-style knobs, so you can get in and out of rooms even when your hands are full. Swap door hinges with expandable hinges to give yourself more moving room, too.
Get the Right Gear
There’s not a lot of baby stuff made especially for parents with disabilities, but there is a lot of items out there you can use, according to Outspire. Get a swivel car seat to make transport simple. Look for baby clothes that fasten with Velcro, rather than tiny little buttons and snaps. You can also find wheelchair-accessible cribs that have sidewalls you can lower, or little doors that make it easier to get to baby.
Having a disability can feel like an isolating experience, and having a baby at the same time may get overwhelming. You’re part of a huge community of millions, and more and more people with disabilities are becoming parents. Take some extra steps to prepare for your baby, and get ready for your brand-new life as a parent.
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