Introducing Your Pets to a New Baby
Bringing a new baby home is a very exciting time in your life, but pet parents may be nervous about how their fur baby will react to their new baby. Of course, you can’t wait to have your pet get used to the newest addition to your family, but you want to make sure the first meeting goes well, and that your pet loves the new baby just as much as you. There are some things you can do to assure the safety of everyone when introducing your pets to your new baby.
- Plan ahead– When finding out about your pregnancy, it is important that all pets are up to date on vaccines, have a checkup, and have their nails cut before the baby arrives. You can also start introducing your pet to children if they don’t have any experience with them. Walking through a park or asking a friend or family member with kids if you can come for a visit, when your pet is used to children it will allow them to be more comfortable when the new baby arrives.
- Preparing the house– Start with unpacking baby furniture and getting the nursery ready as early as possible. This allows your pet to explore the new environment of your home and the new space. If your pet is not going to be allowed in the nursery, set those boundaries as early as you can.
Get a pretend baby and do your daily things- Use a baby doll or something that looks like it could be the baby and carry it around. It sounds silly, but it will help your pet start to adjust to the attention shift. You can also play recordings of babies crying softly in the background, so they adjust to the new sounds.
- Plan the meeting beforehand- Allow your pet to greet mom before meeting the baby, after all, mom has been gone for a couple of days. Start with introducing your pet to the baby in a neutral spot, such as in the driveway or sidewalk. Be sure your pet is on a leash or being held, and that the baby is secured in their car seat or being held. Remaining calm and reassuring your pet is important, talk to your pet softly during this first interaction so they know that it is ok.
- Always supervise- No matter how good your pet does with children; it is very important to never leave your pet alone with your new baby. Dogs and cats like to cuddle, and it can be cute when your pet cuddles with your new baby. But, if they are alone with the baby and try to cuddle, that can lead to problems, such as suffocation. Be sure to keep an eye on your pet and don’t leave them with your baby unsupervised.
- Make sure your pet has their special time with you– With the new baby being home, your pet might feel left out or like you don’t love them anymore. When the baby is napping, or when they are asleep for the night, make sure you spend some one on one time with your pet. After all, they were used to being your “baby”, and now that you have your new baby here and home, your pets need to feel loved too.
After your pet is used to the new baby, they will be great friends. But the time when you first come home with your baby can be a very confusing time for your pet. Reassuring and loving on your pet during this time will help them understand that everything is alright, and that you still love them just as much as you did before the baby arrived.
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