Good news! It is possible for someone with mobility issues to carry their baby in a baby carrier. However, there are a few things you’ll need to consider before you decide whether its right for you, and to determine which baby carrier is the best fit for your personal needs. If you use a wheelchair you’ll find there are now some great wheelchair accessories to help you carry your baby, or you can adapt one of the popular baby carriers available on the market today.
The right carriers can make babywearing so much more natural, easy, and comfortable, and let you hold or carry your children while you take care of everyday work.
Benefits of babywearing
For wheelchair users the most immediate benefit of babywearing is that it lets you carry your baby while your hands remain free. It also offers the additional advantage of creating a snug closeness that improves the parent and baby’s bonding.
Besides, with your baby in such proximity, you tend to communicate more with each other and can play an important part in your baby’s language development.
Selecting the right carrier
With so many different styles of baby carriers to choose from it can be hard to know where to start.
Here’s what works and doesn’t while using carriers in a wheelchair.
1. Keep your disability in mind.
You may be in a wheelchair for a variety of different reasons so it’s important that you select your baby carrier based on your disability or vulnerability.
For example, look for a baby carrier which evens out the weight across your back if you have a weak back, or avoids slings with band straps if your shoulders are painful or weak.
2. Ease of use
Select carriers that you can quickly put on and use. You don’t want something with complicated straps which is impossible to put on whilst sitting in a wheelchair.
Comfort is critical because you will be carrying the weight of your baby for prolonged periods. It would be better to use a carrier which puts minimal pressure on your chest area if you suffer from neuromuscular disease.
You never know when your newborn will get hungry and need feeding so having a breastfeeding-friendly carrier could be a big help if you are breastfeeding.
Pros and cons of different baby carriers for wheelchair parents
The Lapbaby is a baby carrier designed especially for people who use a wheelchair.
- Eat, play and engage with your baby as they sit comfortably and safely on your lap
- Perfect for air travel, restaurants, and at the dinner table - anywhere you want to sit and be close to your baby
- Lightweight and portable, the Lap Baby folds up and stows away in a small cloth travel bag
- Includes easy-clean drop cloth for spills, and tether for keeping toys and pacifiers on hand
- Suitable for ages 3 months up (child must be able to support the weight of their own head). Maximum adult waist size 54in / 137cm. The LapBaby accommodates infants with up to a 17 inch waist comfortably
Wraps like the Moby Wrap are a long piece of fabric you tie around yourself to hold your baby. So while it is useful for some wheelchair users, others may find it confusing to try and secure the wrap. It basically depends on your body, your disability, and how flexible your spine is.
The Mei-Tai is better for carrying one-year-old babies than newborns in a wheelchair. It’s because it’s easier to carry babies in Mei-Tais once they can sit up independently.
· Ring sling
Many parents recommend a ring sling such as the Tula ring sling as a good option for carrying babies in a wheelchair. They are easy to get on and off and perfect for babies of all ages.
Besides, the extra support of your lap makes breastfeeding easy in this position.
· Soft-structured carriers
A secure soft-structured baby carrier such as the Tula baby carrier is an ideal choice depending on your mobility issues. It provides a good balance of support, whilst still keeping your baby close. Look for something without uncomfortable buckles or large knots on the back which may be uncomfortable if you are in a wheelchair.
Hopefully, this article has given you a better idea of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to babywearing with a disability. The right carrier can make life so much easier, and improve the bonding between you and your baby!