I have been dancing around the great big elephant in the room ,that is the subject of cots, for long enough! This is a difficult blog to write because cots are just hard work and every parent whether able bodied or not will have a wealth of different views on what makes a great cot! However it has to be dealt with because no one gave me any idea and I spent many painful hours on knackered pregnant lady knees and I had no idea what I would need to consider.
We purchased the cheapest cot available in Mothercare as we knew it was likely that it would need adapting by my father. We felt if something went drastically wrong we had only spent £50 and could afford another. We purchased the Ashton cot -NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE ASHTON COT BED! Cot beds are a whole different set of issues and frankly I would avoid them like the plague if you have short arms,bad back or can't bend because the base of cot beds do not alter enough. Go into Mothercare and try every cot, the "Ashton cot" has now been replaced by the "East Coast Nursery Barton cot" at Mothercare online but there are many in store models that have the base height raise to the same depth as the one in the picture below:
|"East Coast Nursery Barton Cot" from www.mothercare.com|
My son was tiny at 5lbs and 5oz and didn't like the feel of great big spaces and the first night he screamed and screamed in his cot until I placed him in his carry cot which sat in the cot!
I use a stair lift to get downstairs and I placed his carry cot on the lift seat, did the lifts safety strap around the cot and my husband who can sort of manage stairs walked alongside the lift as I drove it down remotely. I would lie his carry cot on the sofa downstairs during the day and he was happy. I would never leave him un-attended on the sofa.The carry straps made lifting him about easy because there were nice big straps to stick over my forearm as I find holding things by hands tricky and painful. I got a carry cot cheaply from e-bay and chose a soft one as these are lighter to carry.Make sure you get one that has proper straps clearly attached to the carry cot, anything that describes itself as folding into a handbag holdal does not have proper carrying straps despite it may look like it has a carrying handle. Look for something like the Maclaren Techno XLR or Britax Soft Carry Cot,I am a very over cautious mother, I know but at least you know I am not suggesting mad dare devil things to do with a child!
|Maclaren Techno XLR carry cot available only online at www.mothercare.com.|
Christopher got too big for his carry cot, he still wasn't sitting at 4 months but my husband and I knew we would have to do something quickly about dropping the cot base. So my husband constructed four huge cot leg blocks which he put on each leg and nailed each leg to it to make sure it was sturdy. This raised the cot right up so when the base was dropped it still meant it was at waist height. However it also meant the top of the cot side was at my eye level, fortunately my arms could just about reach to still do the side.
Eventually we saw an Occupational Therapist as we could hardly keep raising the block height on the cot,I would end up needing a ladder to get the cot side down! The OT got in touch with an organisation called REMAP who do bespoke adaptations for free,sometimes they will come up with a specific piece of equipment they design and make for an individual. The organisation is comprised of engineers be it electrical,civil engineers,retired health professionals such as Occupational Therapists etc and they all do it voluntarily. This organisation has a fantastic group of people who give their time to make a real impact on a disabled person being independent,they helped me in my lab when I was studying for my Biology A-level, I never dreamt I would see them back helping me with my child!
A link to REMAP is provided at the end of the blog. The engineer and my husband spoke at some length, I did some demonstrations of my tragic arms and muscle strength, the man from REMAP took the cot away ,worked his magic and now the cot stands on long legs but the side stays put and drops down further when the base is at its lowest point. Now my son is safe even if he chooses to have a party in his cot!
In summary, get a cheap cot but one that is manageable at the moment for you, don't get a cot that hasn't got a good adjustable base already or a cot side difficult to drop down,people can't work miracles in seconds. Get in touch with your local council- Adult Social Services department and ask to self refer to an OT preferably whilst you are pregnant because referral can take a while. If that fails then get in touch with Remap directly,they are helpful people and will do what they can. Get a carry cot that is sturdy, not one that is described as being able to be folded away.
I would stay clear of swinging cribs which are dangerous if you struggle with picking a child up,the last thing you need is the darn bed moving too!
Take a look at "Baby bed blocks" available in Mothercare or at www.mothercare.com .Consider these if you have a bad back, poor reach, painful upper limb joints etc:
|Baby bed blocks, fab idea from Mothercare.com see link below.|
A friend of mine with equally poor muscles and very limited arm use suggested to me that a "co-sleeper" cot that goes right up to your bedside is useful because you can slide your baby over using your mouth and onto your lap.You can even feed the baby if breastfeeding by rolling baby on to its side facing your breast, wiggle yourself up to babies mouth and hey presto, one baby having a fantastic meal I can only suggest, I always recommend you having a look at any baby item in a shop first and it is up to you to ensure the item suits your specific needs and your child's needs.
|NScessity BabyBay co-sleeping cot from www.amazon.co.uk|
|Bedside cot co-sleeper,height adjustable from www.amazon.co.uk|
If you want or need to spend £2000 on a cot that is adjustable by the press of a button or that has gate doors these are available and you can look at them at: http://www.livingmadeeasy.org.uk/children/cots-accessible-for-disabled-parents-2834-p/
However the purpose of this blog is to review normal high street,affordable baby equipment that is useful to the disabled parent. I can only ever have one child because of my joints and illness etc and to fork out £2000 is not sensible when I can manage a cheaper alternative, however if you need such a cot I would urge you to contact your Adult Social Services Department ASAP, they will know of charities that can help you fund one of these if they can not help find the funds for you.
Good night, sleep tight, mind the bed bugs don't bite :o) x