Dogs, cats, and other pets can make great playmates for your baby. However, it’s essential to understand that the adjustment period for your pet may be a little difficult.
Prepare Your Pets
When you bring home your baby, there will be a lot of changes for your pet. Experts recommend making the transition as gradual as possible. One way is to start doing things around the home to prepare, such as decorating the nursery to allow your pet time to become accustomed to this room and the new smells. If you don’t want your pets to visit the nursery, putting up a baby gate still allows them to see and hear your baby without feeling isolated.
Even if you don’t plan to use a gate for your baby’s room but around other areas of your home– you may also want to get your dog used to the idea before the baby arrives and use them at regular intervals. Help them understand that gates are not a punishment by placing treats in the area you want them to stay in.
Plan in Advance for Pet Care
Having a newborn is an exciting new experience, but it’s also exhausting. Many new parents need extra help. It’s important to plan for pet care in advance. Having someone who can feed and care for your animals, especially if you’ll be traveling to bring your newborn home with you, can be a huge weight off your shoulders. You may even ask someone to walk the dog for you for the first few weeks of your baby’s life.
Continue to Make Time for Your Pets
It’s important not to neglect your pets when the baby comes.
If possible, you should adjust your schedule before you bring your baby home. If you gradually reduce the amount of time you spend with your pets, having the new baby won’t be such a drastic change for them. If you need to adjust their feeding schedule, it’s also best to do this ahead of time.
If your pet is used to spending more time with one of the partners, it may be a good idea to get them used to the other one now. This gives you more flexibility when one of you is busy with the baby. Either way, it’s good practice to make sure that someone spends at least 10 minutes of quality time with your pet every day. It may help you relax, and it will mean the world to your pet.
Introducing Your Baby to Your Pet
Introducing your new baby to pets is a lot like introducing your pets to another new pet. If possible, you should bring home something that smells like the baby and show it to your pet first. This could be a blanket or burp rag, or piece of clothing. Dogs are especially grateful for exploring new scents.
When you bring your baby home for the first time, someone else should hold the baby while you approach your pet for a warm welcome. Spend time with your pet, talk to them, pet them and give them some treats. If your dog gets too excited, it’s best to take the baby out of the room temporarily and help them calm down and try again. Then you can let your dog approach the baby and allow them to get to know each other. Of course, any interactions between your pet and your baby should never be forced, but they must always be supervised.
How to keep Your Baby Safe
While most dogs and cats are worthy of your trust, you cannot predict what will happen. Babies startle easily and make sudden movements that could seem scary to a pet. A pet could also accidentally hurt a baby by doing what they normally do with you, such as sitting on your lap. A dog may even want to carry a baby around, much like they would with a newborn pup. They don’t mean any harm, but it can put your baby at risk. For these reasons, you should ensure that all interactions between your pet and your baby are supervised. Otherwise, it’s best to ensure there’s a physical separation.
You should keep your pets from licking your baby’s face, since your newborn’s immune system is still weak. It’s important to keep your interactions with your pet positive and not to add new restrictions unless they’re necessary. For example, if your dog has always been allowed to sit on the couch, they should still be able to do so once the baby comes. Don’t forget to enjoy the friendship that is bound to form between your baby and your pets.