When Rachel and I were preparing for the birth of our son we did the research like any new parents would do about essential products for parenting a newborn baby. The last few months of Rachel’s pregnancy we spent every Saturday at various baby stores looking at furniture and products for the nursery. This was a very exciting time but also mentally draining because while we were looking at different products for a newborn we also had to figure out it’s accessibility as a wheelchair user and more importantly as a wheelchair parent.
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Newborn Wheelchair Parenting
My son was a great baby, but the newborn phase is probably the most difficult phase of parenting as a whole for any parent, but possibly more so for the parent who uses a wheelchair. All parents, regardless of ability, wish they had a 2nd set of hands. This is quite literal for the wheelchair parent because both of our hands are occupied pushing our wheelchairs.
The newborn phase is simple work, but when you put it all together it is exhausting and quite nerve wrecking! But, when the phase is over and the independence kicks in you’ll miss it at times … especially when they begin to help you around the house!
To make things easier on you as a wheelchair parent to a newborn, I want to share 7 essential products for parenting a newborn from a wheelchair. Most of these I’ve owned and loved, and other products are ones that are new and cool that weren’t around when our son was a newborn.
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7 Essential Products for Wheelchair Parenting a Newborn Baby
A changing pad is not an absolute necessity, but having one definitely makes things easier. For the parent who uses a wheelchair, the changing pad keeps your newborn from rolling around. This gives you a few more seconds to navigate your wheelchair to reach for things.
You can change Baby on your bed or the floor, any place that works best for you. Personally, I preferred the side of bed because, I had plenty of room to layout everything and place the changing pad on a towel to catch and spills or messes. But any experienced parent will tell you that babies often have bathroom accidents during changing. You aren’t going to want to change your sheets, or clean your floor each time Baby springs a leak, particularly boys, during a diaper change! Owning a changing pad makes cleaning up after diaper changes as quick as wiping down the changing pad, or throwing the cover into the wash.
A diaper caddy is an essential! It definitely makes things easier. It’s like a toolbox for your newborn. Keep diapers, wipes, vasoline etc. Everything you need to get that diaper changed in a one grab and go spot. For the parent who uses a wheelchair, the diaper caddy can sit on your lap or hang from the push handle on your wheelchair making it incredibly handy.
A GREAT friend of mine! When Baby starts sleeping through the night it can be scary waking up after that much needed solid sleep for a parent! (It sounds crazy now, but you’ll know what I mean…) When you use a video monitor, you can take a glance at the screen, and get right back to enjoying that full night of sleep without having to go through the process of transferring from your bed to your wheelchair. If you’re anything like me after the transfer process – I’m wide awake!
My son is 6 years old and we still have the video monitor set-up. It’s great at night. If he’s tossing and turning a lot during the night I can check that everything is okay without having to go through the process of transferring from my bed to my wheelchair.
A fun thing about still having the video monitor is that we can listen in when he’s in his room reading or just playing. I love hearing him read; particularly when he doesn’t think anyone is listening!
The Boppy Pillow has a lot of accessibility features for the wheelchair parent!
Like all the products I’ve listed, there isn’t a wheelchair accessibility card included in the product. The wheelchair uses for the Boppy Pillow I found are a result of trial and error.
Here are some of the newborn task and activities that I found the Boppy Pillow helpful. Transferring to a couch or bed with a newborn can be a challenge. Putting the Boppy on the couch and placing Baby in the Boppy while you transfer to the couch or bed. The same hold true in reverse. Feeding can be made easier with the Boppy! Place the Boppy on your lap and place the Baby securely in the Boppy. The Baby can’t roll around and is at an angle that makes picking up the Baby easier for burping. There are plenty of other uses you will find!
Sweet Plush Animal for Baby to Grow Up With
A newborn baby can’t play with a toy yet, but they do appreciate consistency. Having a special plush toy around for Baby to see and interact with can actually be a benefit to you!
We did this for my son. As your baby grows he’ll be able to start reaching and grabbing things. For a parent who uses a wheelchair this can really cause problems because wheelchairs having shinny interesting things to grab! A plush . toy can be a fabulous distraction to make changing your baby or transferring him or to a car seat much easier. For our son, it was a monkey similar to this one. Even at 6 years old he still needs him when he goes to sleep!
If you’re a brand new Dad you probably don’t know the terror of having your child’s pacifier fall to the floor of the Wal-Mart on a busy Sunday afternoon. Yuck! You’ll always have a clean spare close at hand using a binky saver— as long as you remember to refill the pouch.
It’s never too early to start babyproofing your house. You bring home Baby and you think you have time, but before you know it your newborn baby is 4 months old and rolling from side to side and then he’s 7 months old and crawling around the house. Don’t blink, Daddy! He’ll be exploring every corner of your home before you know it.
There you have it! My top 7 essential items for parents of a newborn baby. If you’re a Dad-to-be, or a father who uses a wheelchair of a newborn baby you’ll be so much more at ease parenting your newborn with these products in hand.
What products would you recommend for parents of a newborn baby?
Share in the comments below!