Parenting When You Have a Limb Difference: Babies
by Amber Henson, on Feb 22, 2022
There are several paths that can lead to being a parent who has a limb difference. Perhaps you are an adult with a congenital amputation who is having your first child. Or you may have had an amputation before becoming a parent or after your children were born. No matter how you find yourself here, you’re looking for some tips. In this article, we’ll focus on infants and babies. You can also read our article about parenting toddlers or our article about parenting school-age children or teenagers when you have a limb difference.
Here’s a hack for diaper changes, which we first featured in one of our most popular articles, Life Hacks for People with Upper Limb Loss. Our patient told his occupational therapist that he lays his son on his tummy and gives him a toy to keep him busy. This gives the parent easy access to the dirty areas, making cleanup easier and helping the baby be less squirmy.
As for getting your baby in and out of the crib, depending on your level of amputation, you may want to investigate the cribs that have been modified to allow you to get the child into and out of the crib while sitting. That way, you can get the baby onto your lap and situated safely before standing up. You can watch a video of someone utilizing this type of crib.
Almost any terminal device that grips will work fine for holding a baby bottle. But what you may want to think about is how messy things get. Babies dribble a lot when bottle-feeding, and once the solid foods begin, you may find strained peas in the babies’ ears and yours. Most of the multi-articulating myoelectric hands can’t get wet, so be sure the glove covering the hand doesn’t have any holes. But, if the last thing you feel like doing is inspecting your glove for nearly microscopic tears, consider donning a passive or body-powered terminal device for feeding time.
- Dressing and Getting Ready
Depending on when you don your prosthetic device in the morning or take it off at the end of the day, you may find yourself dressing your baby without the help of a prosthesis. There are assistive devices for putting on clothing that we listed here that you may find helpful. Luckily, most baby clothes involve snaps, and while those can be difficult to manipulate with one hand, it is possible.
Here are some words of wisdom from one of our Arm Dynamics’ team members, Kristi, who is a congenital amputee and a mom: “Know your limits! If your limb is tired and you wear a prosthesis, be careful about lifting your child. Your strength and ability to lift may be less than when your limb is not tired. Also, if you’re using a myoelectric device, the control you have to open and close the device may not be as accurate when you’re fatigued. You don’t want to pinch or drop your kiddo!”
Keep an eye out for upcoming blog articles about older children. If you are a parent with a limb difference (or will be soon!) and would like to learn more about our prosthetic care, please contact us. If you are a parent with a limb difference and you have some advice for your peers, please comment below. Thanks for reading!
For more information, see related Arm Dynamics articles here: