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Planning to have a new addition to the family can be stressful. It can seem like everyone has their own ideas about what diapers to use, what clothes to buy, or how to deal with the baby when she cries.  Add in your own concerns about the mental or physical disabilities of either yourself or your spouse, and it can seem like there is no end to the problems.  Making sure you have everything you need for when the baby comes can make everything much easier.  Relieve at least a few of your concerns by focusing on baby-proofing and on yourself.

Baby-Proofing

When beginning your preparations, start by giving your home a total safety once-over.  Put baby locks on all of the cabinets that will be in their reach when they become mobile (it will be sooner than you think!).  Make sure any harmful cleaning chemical bottles and residue have been put away or washed off.  Making sure you have things that will help you when the baby arrives is also very important – this could include wheelchair-accessible cribs and changing tables, or anything else specific to your personal needs.  Finding others with similar circumstances to yours is also going to help; they will have the answers you need, and even the answers to questions you might not have thought to ask yet!

You will also want your home stocked with anything you may need.  That means plenty of diapers to get you through the first couple of weeks, pacifiers, and baby-friendly laundry detergent for future baby food stains.  Don’t go too crazy, though, because babies will quickly outgrow their diapers and clothing sizes.  Having everything you need at home, and setting up the baby room, changing tables, and anything else that will be used daily, is going to help reduce stress.

Taking Care of Yourself

Babies definitely take a lot of work.  Those first few weeks can make it seem like there isn’t anything you do that doesn’t involve the baby, or thinking of the baby, or wondering when you will be back with the baby.  It is important, however, to make sure you take the time to care for yourself and cope with the stress that comes with parenting.  Having healthy meals that can be made in advance and frozen is going to help immensely.  This will save you the time and stress of finding ways to eat healthily when you barely have time to keep up with your own daily maintenance, let alone the baby’s.  Do try to take time for yourself each day, even if it is only a couple of minutes.  Find something you absolutely love to do, and keep that time to yourself sacred.  If you love to read, try to put your baby to bed a few minutes early, and get in a few chapters of that novel you have been dying to read.  No matter what it is, make sure you have a little time for it.

A support group of family and friends, other new parents, or even caretakers is going to be extremely helpful in all aspects of child care and helping you to find that precious me-time.  It can be even more important as a parent with a disability, because whether you need help breastfeeding or even just putting the baby to sleep, having someone to rely on is a huge help.  Check out local support groups or websites that allow you to hire caretakers for assistance.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to remember that even with a disability, you are just as loving and nurturing as any other parent, and there is no reason that your baby won’t be perfectly happy with you.  In fact, she might turn out more well-adjusted than some other kids. We wish you all the best in this new journey!

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