Adaptions & Support for Disabled Parents
Adapted equipment can make life easier for parents with disabilities, here’s some information on where you can find help with adaptions...
During pregnancy, my main concern was working out how I would be able to be an independent parent, but that information was so hard to find.
I live in England, so the majority of information here is services and charities available for parents living in England or the UK.
One of the first priorities was my wheelchair, working out a safe way to transport my baby out of hospital, to appointments and trip out.
There’s a few options on this without making physical adaptions.
⭐️ Baby carriers & slings. There are many Sling libraries popping up all over the UK, which makes trying a sling before making a purchase so much easier. Pop along to your local sling library, and try out a couple. Some can be used with crutches, while seated in a wheelchair, and other mobility aids. Comfort and independence is paramount, so try a few to see if they are comfortable on your back, joints and wether you can put it on yourself.
⭐️ Seat belt. I’ve seen many wheelchair users use a velcro lap belt, that goes round their toddler and around their waste to keep toddler safe. I actually used the seatbelt on my manual wheelchair putting it around my waist and Harrisons from when he was around 1 year old.
⭐️ When Harrison was very young, for the first few months, I didn’t use a carrier at all, and preferred on short journeys to put him inside my clothes skin to skin.
Wheelchair adaptions (Electric & Manual) I was keen to look at wheelchair adaptions, so when we went to long hospital appointments and trips out with my carers or husband I could be Independant. There’s a couple of ways to do this.
⭐️ NHS WHEELCHAIRS - for those with wheelchairs owned by the NHS, you can go to Wheelchair Services to talk about adaptions. Wheelchair Services referred me to medical physics who sent out an engineer to make a bespoke adaption. This was a free service, although I was required to by the seat to attach to the front. For the first year the engineer adapted a first stage car seat to the front, as seen in the picture above, i was about 6 months pregnant when I was referred, and the adaption was finished a few weeks after Harrison was born. After a year the engineer returned to adapt a bike seat to the front, which can be seen on my home page. My son is 3 now, and we still use this bike seat on most of our trips out, he loves it! As my electric wheelchair is owned by the NHS, the charities I contacted didn’t want to adapt it without their permission.
⭐️ Privately owned wheelchairs. For those that own their wheelchair, there are charities such as REMAP that do adaptions. Similar to the NHS service, you are mostly required to by the materials, but the engineers time is provided free.
Sleeping Arrangements Thinking about where your baby will sleep, and how you can be Independant does need to be thought about during pregnancy. If you decided on an adapted cot, these take time to order.
I went down the route of an adapted cot, I also go a Moses basket, a next to me crib and I actually needed up co-sleeping, same surface. I struggled to lift by baby out of a basket, and out of the adapted cot as I couldn’t get my arms at the right angle without dislocating something. My husband an I have a king size electric bed, that has two mattresses. With Harrison breastfeeding every two hours, and carers checking in constantly, my husband moved in to the spare room. Enabling him to get a good night sleep when my carers worked nights, and meaning he could get enough sleep to help out during the day. My air flow mattress is on my side, and a hard memory foam mattress on my husbands side, but a few pool noodles ... TBC
In the heat of August, there was no need for covers.