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Buying for baby as a disabled parent- My top three purchases

TheWheelsOnMumTheWheelsOnMum Posts: 4Member Connected
edited August 2018 in Guest blogs

Hi my name is Danielle, and I have a blog called ‘TheWheelsOnMum’. I am a Mama to a wonderful 2 year old, and due to my physical conditions, EDS, POTS and Sciatica, outside of my home I use a wheelchair to get around. When I found out I was pregnant I tried to search online about being a disabled parent and couldn’t find what I was after. So I started my blog in hopes of helping others in my situation. You can find me as ‘TheWheelsOnMum’ on Facebook or Scope’s Community.

As a first time parent, I had no idea what baby equipment was and wasn’t going to work for me; and I certainly didn’t have the budget to be able to buy everything to give it a go! So my husband and I spent more time than I care to admit, in baby stores trying out figure out what it was we needed. Inevitably we made a few purchases we regretted, so I wanted to share with you all three of the bigger baby items I found super helpful as a first time disabled Mama.

image taken from behind of danielle in her wheelchair holding hands with a toddler in a blue dress walking beside her

Cot

We tried out so many cots, and I struggled with all of them. I couldn’t safely, or comfortably reach over the sides. I was getting really upset wondering if I was going to be able to use a cot at all, when a sales clerk suggested a drop side cot, which allowed the side to be slid out of the way! Annoyingly I did have to order it online but I was so grateful that we did! I was able to use the cot with ease: well ‘ease’ probably isn’t the best word, as easy as it was going to get combined with a baby that didn’t want to sleep.

Car Seat

I was so confused when it came to car seats. There are ones that fix to the seatbelt, ones that fix to the car etc, and that’s before you take into account my additional needs. But the best car seat I could find, for any car, is a 360/Spin car seat. Now they are on the pricy side, but… what isn’t when it comes to having a baby? The seat turns so you can have baby facing you to secure them into the seat, and then you can turn them to forward/rear facing. They are like something from the future and I couldn’t recommend them enough.

Pram (and baby carriers)

Something that had always pulled at my heartstrings was that I wasn’t going to be able to push a pram around the park in the conventional way. However, we still spent a huge amount of time deliberating about the pram, as I’m sure most new parents do. The biggest piece of advice I would give is to find an adjustable handled pram, not a handle that just slides up and down, but one that pivots up and down to different angles. They go down far enough for me to comfortably push my baby, whilst someone pushes me.

The other thing I CANNOT RECOMMEND ENOUGH is a baby carrier. My personal favourite is a Mei Tai. They have baby carriers in so many styles and materials, there’s something for everyone! I could go on but that’s for another time.

So these are my top three, big baby purchases as a disabled parent but I’d love to hear from you all! What are your must have items for baby as a parent with additional needs? It would be wonderful to have all of your suggestions for other mummies and daddies to see.

Please check out my Mummy Blog... https://www.facebook.com/thewheelsonmum/

Replies

  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 7,348Administrator Scope community team
    Great post @TheWheelsOnMum - my friend is a wheelchair user and swears by her baby carrier too!
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • mossycowmossycow Posts: 463Community champion Pioneering
    Hi Danielle,
    Great Post, I think it's something the massive baby industry doesn't think about enough personally.... Though it is over a decade since we were buying baby stuff for our now nearly 11 year old. 

    I wasn't a wheelchair user back then, but have been more recently when my nephew was born and yes, I have missed being able to push a pram round... 

    I was recommend having dedicated help if looking into breastfeeding as I did physically find this hard with arm and upper body problems. I got great advice regarding positioning, things like high friction, machine washable cushions that helped me do alsorts... But also in mixed feeding so I could breastfeed when able and use formula when say put in town and unable to hold Emily to feed. 

    Car seat you mentioned sounds awesome, yeah, wished I d  heard of that! Cos getting her in the house when she'd fallen asleep in the car was impossible without someone else there.... 

    Hope it's going fab with your now toddler! As Emily grew up she became physically able to get out the car, feed herself etc and physically it's much easier in many ways. She has adapted and just takes stuff in her stride... 
    I would like people's judgment and expectation to catch up with her! 

    "I'm trying to live like a random poem I read that ended 'to bloom where we are planted"

  • TheWheelsOnMumTheWheelsOnMum Posts: 4Member Connected
    Thank you for your comment. It's wonderful to hear from a fellow differently abled parent. I'd love if they'd think of us more as consumers, I truely hope they will in the future.
    Sounds like you had a good system set up so you could feed your daughter! I found my local services couldnt offer me any advice at all. I wrote about what helped me with nursing in an old blog post; https://wheelsonmum.wixsite.com/thewheelsonmum/single-post/2017/11/06/Parenting-Hacks---Newborn-phase . In hopes of helping other mums in the future. But as I find with all parenting, its alot of learning as you go.
    Yes the car seats are amazing! Technology is amazing. I have to say I was very grateful when my daughter could walk to and from the car unaided, but it seems sad to say that outloud as I dont want her to grow too quickly.
    It's lovely to hear that Emily has adapted so well! Kids are just amazing. I'm hope the next few generations will grow up with newer attitudes. I find that the younger a person is the less they judge, but thats just my experience.




    Please check out my Mummy Blog... https://www.facebook.com/thewheelsonmum/
  • mossycowmossycow Posts: 463Community champion Pioneering
    Heehee, yes I think that does feel true. I used to pop into Emily's school to have the littley ones read to me... They loved my wheelchair.... Pressed all the buttons... Asked loads of questions and then.... That's it... Back to normal! 

    "I'm trying to live like a random poem I read that ended 'to bloom where we are planted"

  • LydiaEmmaLydiaEmma Posts: 2Member Listener
    hiya! I'm new to this group but I too struggled to find useful information and hints and tips for disabled parents! So I thought I'd weigh in!

    CAR SEAT
    I absolutely agree with the Joie 360 Spin car seat... an absolute essential for any disabled parent! So much easier to get baby/toddler in and out of the car and especially if they have fallen asleep! My son is now 19m and I have just purchased a second one of these for my second son due later this month.

    PRAM
    With regards to prams, there is no easy solution when you are using a wheelchair. Like you I am ambulant disabled at home or for very short distances but use a wheelchair for longer journeys outside of my home. I wish there were more readily available pram style attachments for wheelchairs! However, I found that the Uppababy Vista has been great for me. It is so sturdy that I can lean my full weight on it even when it is empty. This has meant that I can walk shorter distances (eg car to shop) leaning heavily on the buggy and using it like a walking frame. This has given me so much more independence as I cannot manage my wheelchair with a toddler on my lap. Also being 36 weeks pregnant there is no longer any room on my lap!! Don't get me wrong, the walking is still challenging and can be painful but I like the physical freedom it gives me to move my son around and I just plan my journey well so I only have to walk a few metres at a time and know there is somewhere to sit down once I'm inside. The only downside to the vista is that it is quite heavy but it can come apart into two sections when lifting into the car and is still lighter than my wheelchair. Also, it needs to be heavy as that's what stops it tipping when I'm hanging my weight off of it! Another great feature is that you can take the carry cot off the frame one handed which is essential if you are leaning on the car for stability or using a wheelchair. It also converts to a double!

    REINS
    I have tried many of these and I like the toddle pack toddler reins. They have straps which attach either side of child rather than in the middle so if you need to rein them in for a road or they fall over and you want to pick them up you can use the reins to do this without them spinning round and tripping them over. It also has a soft padded area across the chest so you are not digging into them if you need to use the reins to pull them up a bit or to stop them falling.

    STAIR GATES
    Lastly, I like the babydan wall fixing stair gate because there is no trip bar! Essential if like me you are not so steady on your feet. Also the mechanism to lock and unlock the gate is quite disabled friendly as it's easier than most to open even if you have arthritis in your hands. I often find I cannot open the stair gates at my friends houses due to needing to be able to pinch 2 buttons down at the same time with quite some force.

    I hope this info helps someone as I wish I'd known all of this before my son was born!

    Lydia x
  • LydiaEmmaLydiaEmma Posts: 2Member Listener
    Oh and for cots, the Next To Me cot is amazing for the first 6m as you can easily scoop up baby from alongside your bed!
  • Pippa_ScopePippa_Scope Posts: 5,858Member Disability Gamechanger
    Welcome to the community, @LydiaEmma. Brilliant advice, thanks for sharing!
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