What I've Learned So Far as a Mom in a Wheelchair
I instantly started to research ways to take care of my son once the pregnancy test turned positive. I am a T6-T8 paraplegic from a car accident in 1999. With a spinal cord injury, creativity definitely comes into play when you have a child. This is what I have learned so far as a mom in a wheelchair.
Get support! Facebook has some great resources for moms in chairs. A lot of the Facebook groups have great resources and people willing to help and guide you.
Try new things. One thing that works for someone else might work for you. You can always try out an item and return it if it doesn’t work.
Educate the naysayers. When my son was born, my parents’ friends asked, how is Jessica going to care for her kid? I educated my parents’ friends by showing them what I was able to do. It truly opened their mind to what parents with SCIs can do.
Ask for help. I am pretty stubborn and try to do things on my own. However, I sometimes need help. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help.
Be creative. There are so many things out there you might never think to use, such as overalls to pick your child up off the floor or using the Boppy to carry your baby as you roll around your house.
Follow YouTube vloggers who are parents in wheelchairs such as GettingThere, MegJohnson and Priscillah81. Not all the moms have SCIs, but all are great resources.
Here are some items that helped me as a mom in a wheelchair:
Brest Friend nursing pillow. My son’s lactation consultant in the NICU recommended this. It ties around your back, which prevents it from moving when breast or bottle feeding.
Graco Pack N Play. Many of the Pack N Plays have the bassinet feature on the top of the Pack N Play. This made it easy for me to reach my son and pick up him. The nice thing about the Pack N Play is it grows with your child.
PUJ bathtub. This foam bathtub fits nicely in the sink and protects your baby’s head, neck and back from the porcelain or steel sink. It also props them up. My son is currently 9 months and we’re still using it (it is for 0-6 months). It is also easy to clean.
Baby Brezza Formula Pro machine. This formula machine is like a Keurig minus the K cups. You put the formula on top of the machine and it dispenses mixed formula (the water tank is on the side) with a press of a button. This was great for middle of the night feedings.
Lap Baby. After months of debating, I finally bought this. It is great when your baby is older (recommended for 3 months and up) and want to go hands free when rolling. It is made of soft yet strong material and supports the baby’s lap and stomach area.
A highchair that goes on a regular chair. We were gifted the Graco Blossom high chair. The nice thing about this highchair is the seat is removable. I put the seat on a dining chair, which makes it easier for me to transfer my son. With the regular high chair base, I wasn’t able to get close enough.
Custom harness from Childharness.ca. This harness has been a life saver. It allows me to safely put and pick up my son off the floor. It can be tricky to put on, but worth it.
Overalls. Another para in my wheelchair moms group on Facebook recommended them. They have also been a lifesaver. These allow me to safely put and pick up my son off the floor. The Oshkosh denim ones work well and are pretty strong. Avoid the corduroy ones. They are a lot thinner.
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