This post may contain affiliate links to items I love, and I am confident you will too! All opinions are my own, however, I may receive a small commission on purchases. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For any health advice I give on nutrition and weight loss, make sure you check with your doctor, as I am not a health professional.
It is almost time for your new baby to arrive! You have the nursery set up, the closet and dresser full of tiny clothes, and the changing table is stocked with diapers and wipes. You also have an adorable and curious pet! When you are already a pet parent, having a baby will not only be a big change for you as a couple, but will also be a big change for your pet. Introducing your baby to your pets is a big deal! Here are a few tips and tricks to preparing your pet for the exciting day you bring your newborn home.
Animals have a much more keen sense of smell than humans. Let your pet sniff your baby bump and teach them to be gentle and calm while saying your baby’s name or the word “baby”. Just as you train a dog to sit, lay down, or roll over on command, you want to have a command word or phrase that they associate with being gentle and calm in relation to your newborn. When your pet follows you around the house, be sure to use these same phrases or words when handling your new baby’s items. Since everything baby related has its own distinct scent, you will want your pet to also associate these items with the new addition to your family. Items such as diapers, baby wash, baby powder, wipes, even the laundry detergent if you are using one made for babies should be introduced to your pet.
Pets are naturally curious about new things being brought into their home. When you are putting together your baby’s nursery, be sure that any areas you want off-limits to your pet are made clear from the beginning. Let your pet check out the new items such as the bassinet or crib, but do not let them jump in and if they do, be sure to scold or discipline them so they realize that space is not meant for them – no matter how cozy it seems! This will help them learn before your newborn arrives that they cannot be in those spaces. The last thing you want is your overly excited puppy or kitty accidentally scratching your newborn because they wanted to snuggle with them!
Creating a “pet and me” area where you plan to encourage monitored play time between your baby and pet is also a great idea. This could be a spot in the nursery or in your living room or even in multiple rooms. Putting a soft cozy rug down with a couple of your pets favorite toys along with a baby swing or something similar will let your pet know that while there are some new things that are out of bounds, that doesn’t mean the baby will be replacing them! Placing a rocking chair or comfortable seating of some sort for yourself will allow you to be present and comfortable while you are getting your pet used to the shared area. You want your pet to bond positively with your newborn, giving both of them a special relationship that will grow with your baby.
One of the things that may be hardest to prepare your pet for is the noise a newborn makes. For such tiny people, they sure can get loud when they are hungry or need a diaper change! If you have any family or friends with young children, invite them over for a play day with your pet. Children of all ages are fascinated by animals so they will be quite entertained while helping your pet get used to being around small kids. While the noises a baby makes may be unique, and a different volume than a young child, getting your pet used to the commotion of having a child there is a good start. You can also find recordings of babies crying and play them from your phone. Leave your phone in an area where the baby will be sleeping and then play the sound effects. This will get your pet used to those big noises coming from a small space!
When you first bring your baby home, try to introduce them to your pet right away. Although you will most likely be tired and sore, letting your pet check out the new arrival will keep them from getting too curious while you are resting. Plan to spend some time in one of the “pet and me” areas. Sit in your rocking chair or on your loveseat, whatever you have placed in there for you, and hold the baby while encouraging your pet to sit beside you if there is room or, by your feet if not. Talk to your pet in a soft voice, using your “calm and gentle” words or phrases while letting them smell and “meet” your baby. Once they have had some time with you and your baby, go ahead and put your baby to bed. Then spend some one on one time with your pet. Remember, having a pet is like having a child and you have just been gone for a few days and come back with a new addition to the family which will require a lot of your time! Spend some time with your pet before you go to rest giving them a treat for being good during the introduction and some pats and snuggles.
In conclusion, when it comes to introducing your baby to your pets, it is a time of learning and adjustment for everyone. It may take each pet time to acclimate to having to share your attention but that is okay. Just be patient with them and remember that they are a chosen part of your family and while most animals are highly intelligent, the majority of them don’t fully understand what is going on when we are talking to them. Preparing pets for a new addition to the family will not only help the transition go more smoothly, it will also help ensure the likelihood of a very special lifetime bond between your pet and your baby.
Be sure to check out this post on bringing a new puppy into your home if you are looking to make a new addition of the furry kind!