Saturday, 14 July 2012

Ingredients for a 6-18 month old baby

Every parent will tell a new mother that babyhood gets easier in some ways after 6 months and yet worse in others. It certainly gets tougher for a disabled parent as the child gets heavier it becomes more tricky to lift baby around, much more planning goes into this game of parenting after 6 months as whilst some tasks get easier others get quite tricky but with the right equipment no problem is unresolvable.

By six months your baby may be sitting on their own, may be crawling or may need pillows around them to sit up, may only be lying on tummy and going no where, if your child is going nowhere enjoy the peace while you can and do not wish they would hurry up and develope!

Here are some simple ideas for the disabled parent with a six month old and beyond. Also I throw in a big dose of confidence your way because you can do it!

1.Problems sitting on the floor?. You need to get creative, I am fortunate enough to be able to get a bed right up against a wall in the corner of his room so two sides of the bed are blocked. I then sit my son in the middle of the bed and I sit along exposed side of the bed legs out in front of me so the only side of bed exposed is the end of the bed which I watch. The bed is our floor, we play with tea sets, read books even put waterproof cover over bed,bowl of water and play with water.

2.Trying to get on floor. I have no strength in my legs and little in my arms. I also have pain and damage in all limbs. I find a room with a sofa or bed. I close the door to the room as my son crawls at speed of light. I remove objects I don't want him touching prior to getting on floor. Then I placed the Bumbo seat on the sofa or bed making sure the seat is right at the back of the sofa or in the middle of a bed. Then I sit beside my son,pull him out of the bumbo, still sitting I grab him with my forearms under his armpits and lower him to the floor, then I slide of the sofa or bed. Getting up is another story, check out my "I got on the floor" blog post.

My son in his Bumbo.

3. Encouraging your child to develop sitting muscles and leg muscles. Use the Bumbo as this definately encouraged my sons muscles and he quickly managed to sit on his own. For developing leg muscles, for enabling your child to be at a height to play with and to even feed child from a baby walker is a great idea, even my Health Visitor said in my case a walker would be good. Walkers are funny things, sometimes they put a child in a silly superman position, sometimes they are tricky for a disabled parent to lift child in and out of, we tried three of these darn things and a lot of money was wasted until we found :

The Babylo buzzy bee walker from Babies R Us £29.99

This was a fantastic buy and an essential piece of kit for any disabled parent, we had the toys on for a while until he got bored and then we used his tray to play cars with him, to do a puzzle on, to read to,to feed him in but mostly to encourage leg muscle strength as we struggle to hold him in a walking position. Easy to get child in and out of as the seat leg holes stay open, the seat is firm and baby at good height to grab under arm pits.

4. Time for a mega easy buggy- The only way I was totally independent was when my son reached 7 months and I was able to get a Babystart Buggy from Argos which literally kicks out and folds up with another kick, swivel wheels and very light weight.

Babystart buggy with canopy from Argos

5. Also time for an accessible car seat! I will keep this point simple, a Maxi Cosi Axiss is a must if you have restricted movement. Check out the link for the Maxi Cosi Axiss demo video .

6. Don't feel you have to safety every thing in your lounge if you will struggle to manage the safety devices, get child a playpen for your lounge or family space instead. Your child can crawl in their bedroom and you can safety kit that out. You will need an accessible playpen, one you can walk into.

Lindam Safe metal playpen
7.Safety gates. My son is not at an age where he is trying to tackle stairs so we do not have a stair gate, instead we put a safety gate across his bedroom doorway and leave the door open so he can see us. When using a wheelchair and with rubbish dexterity, we needed a gate with no bar at the bottom, called a "no trip" gate. We find BabyDan has the easiest opening mechanisim, isn't spring loaded making the gate difficult to push open and has no bar on the bottom. With the downstairs we either have our son in the playpen when out the room or we shut all doors to kitchen, dining room and keep an eye on him in the hallway so we have no need to gate down stairs at the moment, however he will get exploritory with stairs and the playpen will be a useful gate as it opens up to form a gate for awkward stair cases or for stairways needing a stair lift.

BabyDan No trip gate

8.Bathing malarkey! We contacted Adult Social Services when Christopher got to 5 months old, an OT came out and ordered us a slatted bath board, we put this across the bath, we place a baby bath ,with an easy rubber plug, on top of board. We use a jug which is a bit arduous, to fill up bath with warm water, we use no bubble bath as this makes for a slippy child and very dangerous to try and lift out. The only way bathing is safe is if there is two of you if you have poor arm strength, one needs to hold baby in sitting position in bath whilst other washes hair and body. Then one needs to lift baby to other parent sat on toilet with a towel or on a chair very close to bath. Baby sat on this parents lap, dried and left in towel to be carried to a bed to finish changing. We only give our son a proper bath once a week, any more is ridiculous and not required at this age. For the rest of the time we do a bed bath, see ingredients for 0-6 months old. 

Otherwise that is about it, my son now is weaned, so we no longer need sterilizing kit.

We still have lots of fun but now it is even more rewarding as he is laughing, picking up new words seconds after I have spoken them, enjoys reading more and more and loves to see new things. It is more exhausting in some ways from the earlier stages as he is up most of the day and wants to be more on the go. Which requires me watching him all the time, trying to follow him, trying to find new things to do with him that I can actually do. However, above all he is happy and loving life so I guess I am doing something right :o)

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