In our final series of posts about being a blind parent, Carly Malone gives us an overview of her experiences as a blind mum.
The world of parenting with a sight impairment is a challenging but fun one. I generally think it is a case of doing the same things as everyone else, but finding different methods of doing them. Audio-based toys make it easier to find out what my child is up to, and I can interact easier using this method of play.
When I have measured formula milk I use the scoop from the tin, and make up several small tubs with one scoop per ounce. For example when making a seven ounce feed, I put seven level scoops of the powdered milk in to a small tub. I keep six of these measured up so that when it is time to make a feed up, the powder is already pre-measured. I also find the ‘Tommy Tippy perfect prep formula maker’ a life saver. This works by:
1 Placing the empty bottle under the nozzle of the machine.
2 Pressing the large round button which is situated at the top of the machine, this releases a small amount of boiling water in to the bottle.
3 Removing the bottle and adding the pre-measured powder in to the bottle. Fasten the top on to the bottle and give it a gentle shake.
4 Remove the lid of the bottle and place it back under the nozzle of the machine.
5 Press the large round button again which is situated at the top of the machine. This releases some water to make up the feed to the selected measurement.
6 Remove the bottle from under the machine, place the lid back on the bottle and give the bottle another gentle shake. The bottle is now ready for the baby to drink.
I have found a couple of things useful here; the first one being neurophen sachets which contain five mils of the medicine. These are more useful when the baby is older than six months. Other methods I have used include 2.5 mil and 5 mil syringes which have been used to measure the medicine. At present I use medicine spoons which contain a 2.5 mil measurement at one end, and a 5 mil measurement at the other end. In order to make sure that I don’t give more than 5 mil doses, I find it easier to give two 2.5 mil spoonful’s of medicine.
Weaning and feeding
When I started the weaning process I began with the method of spoon feeding. I find it useful to place a small amount of the food on the spoon, and place my index finger alongside the bowl of the spoon which allows me to feel for the baby’s mouth. I also find it useful to have different shape bowls for different courses, such as square bowls for savoury foods and round bowls for desserts; this is particularly useful for freezing foods. When pureeing foods I tend to place the foods in a jug, and then use a small stick blender to puree the food. When using the baby led method or giving foods which can be eaten by hand, I prefer to hold the bowl and give one piece of food at a time. I find this is an easier way of monitoring where the food goes, and whether the baby has eaten the food or not.
I started an application to access further support from social services, however with all the recent changes in social services departments, I currently look on gaining support in this way as a daunting task. However, I have found local playgroups particularly supportive. I am also a member of the ‘Blind Mums connect’ forum on Facebook, and have gained a lot of useful knowledge from other members of this forum and fellow friends of mine who are in a similar situation to myself. Additional things I have found useful are apps such as Tap Tap See, which is a camera which can be used by people with blindness and low vision to take a picture of an object. The app uses the camera to take a picture, and the Voiceover screen reader can convey a description of the image; I find this particularly useful when identifying clothing. I also find Voiceover useful on my iPhone, as I can use this to browse the internet and find out information on the type of things which are useful and age appropriate for my child.
While walking out and about I use a sling, this allows me to confidently get around while making sure that my child is safe. When reading I can use clear vision books which are print and braille, meaning that I am able to read the story while showing my little one the pictures. When it comes to monitoring temperature I use a talking thermometer, which speaks the temperature so that I can ensure all is well.