People with mobility restrictions may feel as though being a parent could be out of the question. For those facing issues with mobility, being a parent, not only brings the usual new parent challenges but an additional set of obstacles to overcome. However, with a little careful planning and by getting the right help, facing life as a parent for those with reduced mobility is not only possible but enjoyable, rewarding and could be easier than you probably thought.
There are many products out there to help parents which will adapt and support mobility issues, with a child on board too.
Finding the right equipment so that you can be as independent as possible really is the key.
Ask other parents in a similar position, either in person or through forums, what has worked for them. Whilst you might not find the exact same set up, it will help you to build a list of points to consider. Independent nursery retailers also offer a fantastic service. Book an appointment for a consultation. With their knowledge and experience, they will help assess your needs and be able to match products to suit you and help you on your journey as a new parent.
The main points to research are:
- Finding the perfect sleeping arrangement e.g. bedside crib to make it easier for you at night to get to your baby when they need changing or feeding or a portable Moses basket or sleep nest that can be moved easily.
- Picking the right pushchair or buggy – consider a height-adjustable single handle that can even be used whilst sitting in a wheelchair, with a tether that can attach to you safely. Always look for a lightweight option, with a single one-hand fold mechanism, and easy one-hand manoeuvrability, and a brake that you can use.
- Ensuring your home is baby and toddler safe, yet still suitable for your own needs. Babies won’t need much in the early days, but planning ahead for when they start moving will mean you are ready.
- Consider swivel car seats to allow for more access and to get a baby in and out of the car more easily.
- Finding everyday items can be adapted to help e.g. attaching castors to a changing table so that it can be wheeled in and out as needed. There are many great products available with adjustable heights, ones that swivel and items which can be used with just one hand. It’s just the help you need to find them.
- Who can help? E.g. can a friend or relative help with modifications or help you feed or change baby, and give you a break from daily tasks when you need it.
For days out, you’ll already be used to experiencing obstacles along the way. Adding a child into the mix will mean that you need to consider new issues too. For example, whether lifts are large enough to fit you and your baby. You may find it easier to pop your baby in a sling on your chest if you are able. Babywearing is not only convenient but also secures your baby safely against your chest to keep them feeling safe.
By planning ahead and asking for help, you can minimise risks that inflexible environments are not ideal for parents with greater mobility needs. There is a lot of help out there. You will have access to a lot already, but you will be surprised how much extra help is offered when a baby is involved!