BABYWEARING IN A WHEELCHAIR
Tania is the mother of a one and a half year-old girl. She is a Born To Carry Peer Supporter with The Happy Sling Lady in Birmingham and is currently working on setting up a sling library and consultancy services in her local area of Nuneaton, as well as supporting disabled primary caregivers from further afield. She has a number of medical conditions which, amongst other things, mean she needs to use a wheelchair out of her house and sometimes around her home too. But nothing stops Tania from being an amazing mum to her little one. Tania tried out our Explore Carrier – we are excited to have her share her experience:
I never thought I would be a structured buckles kind of babywearer. While other parents-to-be spend time researching cots, prams and all manner of other baby related products, I focussed on one thing - working out what the right sling would be for me. This was a decision that was significantly impacted by my disabilities. I’m an ambulatory wheelchair user with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Basically this means that the ‘glue’ which holds my body together doesn’t work properly and my heart rate is temperamental at best. These conditions mean that I’m in constant pain, experience significant fatigue, I’m dizzy on a regular basis and my joints are unstable.
One of the first things I did when researching different types of slings, was to discount buckle carriers. I knew that having a buckle on my spine, against my wheelchair backrest, would only end in pain - not only back pain, but hip, neck and probably shoulder pain, because I’d be holding my body differently to compensate for a buckle being on my back.
After trying a few different sling types, I eventually settled on woven wraps being the best option for me - they’re versatile, which means I can switch up the carries (ways of tying), depending on what my body is doing (or not doing) at any given time. However, woven wraps aren’t ideal when you need to get out of the house quickly. Particularly if you have an undiagnosed cow’s milk protein allergy baby, like I had. So, I needed an alternative that would allow me to get my daughter up and secure quickly, with minimal fuss. Enter the Tula Explore.
Having the opportunity to try the Tula Explore was a revelation! Stop the press - the buckle is on the wearer’s side! To an abled parent, this detail may seem trivial. But, as a wheelchair user (and with my specific conditions), it was HUGE!
I think it’s safe to say that the majority of buckle carriers have their buckle on the back. So it’s fantastic to see that Tula have put their buckle on the Explore on the side, making buckle carriers accessible to those who, for whatever reason, have difficulty with a buckle on their back.
Words and photos from @whentaniatalks