4th July 2016
A lovely guest blog by David Martin from Remap, a national charity working through local groups of skilled volunteers to help disabled people achieve independence and a better quality of life. David explains how Remap helped a disabled new mum with the tasks of caring for her newborn.
Changing your newborn baby’s nappy is not the easiest task for anyone, but what if you have only one functional arm? This was the challenge facing first-time mum Jenny and she had the added worry of whether she would be able to carry the baby safely with her one arm. The health visitor and occupational therapist were looking for a way to help her change her baby’s nappy and to carry the baby safely with her one good arm. A solution was provided by Remap; a charity that provides custom-made equipment for disabled people of all ages, free of charge.
Fortunately, Jenny’s occupational therapist (OT) knew about the help available from Remap. Amy Wilkins, the OT concerned writes: “The task of changing a baby’s bottom (especially a very young baby) can be challenging enough to anyone, as babies have this amazing ability to curl up in a ball and then have the quickest involuntary movements. A great length of time was spent surfing the web and browsing through catalogues to look for equipment that could support the baby during this process. However, there was nothing on the current market that would enable this goal to be achieved. This was when I turned to Remap for their support with making something bespoke.”
Remap provides custom-made equipment for disabled people of all ages, free of charge. Their 900 volunteers are organised into local groups all across the UK, so Amy contacted the local group in Derby, close to where Jenny lives.
Volunteer, Allan Sutton, went to meet Jenny and decided to design some means of holding baby’s feet up, while the nappy was changed. He made a ‘goalpost’ frame mounted on two long wooden feet that spanned the changing mat. A small sling was then hooked onto the frame; being suitable for looping around baby’s feet to hold them up in the correct position.
To solve the challenge of carrying the baby safely, Allan made a harness, similar to those used in “reins” for small children, but this one had an attachment ring at the front. Jenny wears a lanyard round her neck which she clips onto the attachment ring when she picks up the baby. This means that the baby is restrained and safe from falling if it wriggles or kicks out of Jenny’s good arm.
Remap helping disabled mums
For over 50 years, Remap has helped thousands of disabled people like Jenny to live more independently. Other devices Remap has made for disabled mums include baby carriers, adapted cots and beds, a modified stair lift to get a baby up and down stairs and various ways for wheelchair users to carry their baby.
Remap is a charity that provides custom-made equipment for disabled people of all ages, free of charge. For over 50 years, this unassuming charity has been quietly helping thousands of people with disabilities to live more independently. It has a network of over 75 groups across England and Wales, so there is probably one near you.
To make a referral, or for more information, visit the Remap website at www.remap.org.uk or phone the national office on 01732 760209.