Disability History Month 2020
18 November - 20 December 2020
Disability History Month runs from 18th November to 23rd December 2020. We posted throughout the month to raise awareness of health inequities and solutions.
The barriers to breastfeeding for parents with disability are complex and manifold. You can read more on this page from the Hospital Infant Feeding Network and this page from the Breastfeeding Network.
Being able to support all lactating parents to breastfeed/chest feed/breast milk feed in a comfortable, efficient and sustainable way is essential to our work at OBS. Listening and responding to each family’s unique needs helps us to find solutions with them. Sling libraries, run by trained and experienced Baby Wearing Consultants, can be a great resource for mothers with physical disabilities which impact feeding in the early weeks and beyond. You can contact the Oxford Sling Library for more information locally; other sling libraries exist around the country.
December 3rd is the International Day of People with Disabilities. This year BBC published this account of being a disabled parent by Nina Tame, a counsellor and disability mentor.
There are so many precious moments in a breastfeeding relationship, however we communicate. Resources on breastfeeding and parenting as a Deaf person include:
This video from the Deaf Breastfeeding Project
Deaf Parenting's page on pregnancy and birth
Disability, Pregnancy & Parenthood's page on being a deaf parent with hearing children
As a society, we’re not very good at spotting or supporting neurodiversity. Parents with autism (diagnosed or undiagnosed) may find it really hard to ask for and get appropriate support and the particular vulnerability we all share as new mothers or lactating parents can leave those with sensory and/or communication challenges isolated and overwhelmed. Support services like OBS must be truly accessible and helpful to all who need them.
Find out more here:
BfN's page on breastfeeding with a disability
The Taking Control: ADHD Podcast episode on parenting
ADDept's resources for parenting with ADD & ADHD
The National Autistic Society's online training modules (not free)
Experiences of support (or the lack of it) may stay with mothers and lactating parents for many years. Feelings of failure and guilt knock confidence and disempower new parents, especially if they feel they did something wrong. Communication (even if it’s the same thing over and over again) is key to supporting Neurodiverse parents as they find their feet.
Find out more here:
BfN breastfeeding supporter Katrona Templeton's blog on breastfeeding with a disability
Mouth of Mums blog post on breastfeeding with a sensory processing disorder
There’s no sugar-coating this issue: learning disabled parents often don’t get to parent their children. Supporting, empowering and nurturing these families in a timely, appropriate and skilful way is an ideal that many aren’t lucky enough to experience.
At OBS we work hard to ensure that all families in need of our services can access them and that where possible we can make a difference.
This image below used with the kind permission of the wonderful Mind The Gap Theatre Company and was originally created as part of the Daughters of Fortune research project in collaboration with Royal Holloway University of London. Read more about the research project (including cost free training materials).