Your Pet and New Baby: A Little Prep Goes a Long Way!
Life is all about transitions. Whether subtle or significant, if we handle changes well, the better off we’ll be. However, when it comes to welcoming a new baby into the world, the transition can be very difficult for many new parents. Eventually, we all figure it out, but guess who else may need a little extra help?
This new chapter can be overwhelming for both human and animal family members, but there are ways to ensure a happy life with your pet and new baby.
Congrats! Now What?
Expectant parents typically pour over numerous books, websites, and magazines. We prepare ourselves so we know what to do. Your pet may sense that something is different (after all, they’re incredibly sensitive), but they won’t truly know the impact of everything until you bring a new baby home.
Emotions on Display
Pets will certainly notice new items in the house, like a crib, bassinet, swing, car seat, etc. They’ll also pick up on nervousness, anxiety, or stress.
Every animal is different. Unless you already live with children or your pet has been exposed to other babies in your life, you won’t know exactly how they’ll behave until the big day arrives.
Baby Meets Pet
Training is the most effective way to ensure your pet remains on their best behavior once your baby is born. Basic obedience is incredibly important for dogs living with small children. If they demonstrate mastery over commands like sit, stay, come, and down, you can help them learn how to keep their paws on the floor at all times. Eliminating jumping behaviors is critical to long-term safety.
Cats are well-known for finding unconventional places to nap. If your cat starts to hang out or sleep inside the baby’s new crib, redirect them to another place, like a window perch, cat tree, or a squishy bed. While this act by itself might not be harmful, this type of behavior can set a dangerous precedent. Baby gear and cats should always remain separate.
Your Pet and New Baby
Stick closely to your pet’s routine. Offer attention, exercise, and affection as much as you can. The following tips will help you establish a peaceful house for your pet and new baby:
- Introduce your pet to the sights and sounds of an infant. Play recordings of a baby crying, gurgling, laughing, and more. Have them see you holding a friend’s baby, and be sure to offer lots of praise, treats, and extra attention during these teachable moments.
- Allow your pet to grow accustomed to the many smells of a new baby. Products like formula, baby powder, and more can help them integrate the details of this new arrival.
- If you’re unable to provide exercise and individualized attention to your pet during the first few weeks, be sure to hire a dog walker or pet sitter to help you out. Lean on friends or family to help get your pet situated while you care for the baby.
- Always supervise every interaction between your pet and new baby.