Hesperian Health Guides

Carrying and moving about with the baby

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HealthWiki > A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities > Chapter 12: Caring for your baby > Carrying and moving about with the baby

a woman using crutches while carrying a baby on her back.

Carrying and moving about with a baby can be difficult if you have limited use of your arms and legs. It may be hard to keep your balance, and your lower back may hurt. You will probably have to use your imagination and try many different methods until you find something that works for you. Some women find it easier to carry their baby on the back, and others find it easier on the front. Your baby will be getting heavier and more active all the time, and what works one month may not work the next month.

At first your balance will be affected by the weight of the baby. But if you start while the baby is small, you will soon get used to the feel of your baby. As the baby grows bigger and heavier, your body and balance will adjust to the increase in weight.

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If you use crutches or a stick to help with walking, it may be difficult for
you to carry your baby in your arms. You can probably carry your baby
best on your back.

If you have limited use of your arms

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a sling with shoulder straps, ties, and a cushion where the  baby sits.
This cushion-sling will help distribute the baby’s weight better so it does not put so much strain on your arms and shoulders. You can use it to carry your baby in front or on your back.
a woman in a wheelchair speaking.
Share ideas to help other disabled girls and women learn how to care for a baby.

If you use a wheelchair or a cart

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It can be difficult to hold a baby in your arms or on your lap if you use both your hands to push your wheelchair. But if you can wear a sling around your neck, you can hold the baby safely in it as you roll. Tie the sling to your waist with a strap so that the sling does not bump the baby around.

When the baby grows, you can use a harness that supports the baby while she sits on your lap.

A baby cushion like this, that ties around your waist, will help you to hold your baby safely in your lap.
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If you use sign language

If you are a mother who uses sign language to communicate, you can also use a sling to hold your baby so your hands are free to sign.

a low wall keeping a baby safe in one corner of the room while a woman is having a seizure.

If you have seizures (“fits,” epilepsy)

If you are someone who gets seizures or “fits,” you will know best how often you get them and how severe they are. If you have a seizure while you are holding a small baby and you drop her, she could be badly hurt or even killed.

If possible, try to always have someone who does not have seizures with you and the baby. If you live by yourself, or are sometimes alone with the baby, make a safe space in the room or house and keep the baby there all the time. Do not walk around with the baby, and make sure there are no sharp edges on things like chairs or tables. This way, if you have a seizure while you and the baby are alone, the baby will be safe until the seizure is over. It will also be safer to put the baby on the floor when you feed, bathe, or dress her.

When the baby is a little older and can crawl or walk, put a gate or barrier across an open doorway or any steps, so that the baby is safe even if you have a seizure and are recovering.