Tips and Advice for Expectant Moms with Disabilities

Motherhood presents many challenges, and as a woman with a disability, you are used to facing and overcoming challenges with creativity and resilience.  However, you may be worried about the challenge of breastfeeding.  With some basic preparation and tips, you can go into this first phase of motherhood with confidence.


Help!  I’m going to be a mom!


Becoming a mom is both exciting and terrifying, and you’re probably worried about choices you are making.  Keep in mind that breastfeeding is good for your baby.  Studies show it’s a boost to your baby’s health, improving immunity to the flu, ear infections and stomach viruses, and reduces risks for asthma and diabetes.  However, while nursing your baby is natural and is good for your child, it’s not necessarily easy, especially if a disability is involved.

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A lactation consultant is a terrific resource, especially if you are a first-time mother.  These professionals can advise you with tips specific to your situation, such as ways to better position your baby for nursing, as well as general information on breastfeeding.  You’ll also have a specific resource if a problem should arise.  Thankfully, Disabled Parenting notes that WIC will sometimes pay for a lactation consultant’s help.


In the meantime, here are some terrific tips for breastfeeding in general:

  • Try to breastfeed within the first hour following delivery. Even if you aren’t producing much colostrum, it’s better to feed right away instead of trying to awaken your baby a couple hours later.
  • Position your baby’s belly against your belly and your baby’s nose to your nipple. Your baby shouldn’t need to turn to latch.
  • If you push on the back of your baby’s head it will cause your baby to instinctively chomp down.
  • Allow your child to suckle at one breast until finished, then offer the other breast if you can. Many babies will choose one breast at some feedings and both breasts other times.

Related: Real Families, Real Needs: A Compassionate Guide for Families Living with Disability


Tools and tricks


There’s a lot of great equipment out there to make life easier after you bring your baby home.  A sturdy, well-made baby stroller is well worth the investment.  For instance, some experts recommend choosing a stroller you can fold with one-hand.  Similarly, a one-handed side-drop crib could be a boon.  Also, a well-designed baby sling can be a life-saver and there are a ton of great styles.  And some parents even wear a fall-detector that notifies help if needed.


Home prep


There are many things you can do to prepare your home for baby’s arrival.  Some simple steps can boost your confidence and provide a safe nest for you and your little one. “Before bringing a new baby home, parents-to-be can be proactive and remove or remedy some of the dangers that commonly result in injury or even death.  Securing heavy items, such as televisions, bookshelves, dressers, etc., to walls can prevent them from falling on and seriously injuring the baby,” according to HomeAdvisor.


Another terrific tip, try viewing your home from the perspective of a child.  Think about what will be within a little one’s reach that could pose danger; items that are sharp, breakable, poisonous and otherwise hazardous should be removed and safely secured.  Your baby won’t be able to reach things right away, but it won’t be long until your child is mobile.  Preventative steps now will save you having to process concerns and risks later.


You’ll be great!


Being a mom is a scary and exciting challenge.  As a mom with disabilities, you may have special concerns.  With some good preparations and well-chosen equipment, you can go into motherhood with confidence!




Natalie and her husband, Jason, recently bought their first home. She hopes to make the process of buying a home less scary for first-timers by sharing what she and Jason have learned along the way.

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