4 Tips For Introducing Your Baby To Your Pet
On my first pregnancy, along with the usual worries that any expectant mother experiences like, – is my baby developing normally? Do we have enough space in the house? Can I now eat for two? (a myth alas, but I was briefly hopeful), I had another worry preying on my already overcrowded mind.
What would Elvis think?
No, I hadn’t lost it, Elvis was my Pug. I was a card-carrying mother of a Furbaby. A lot of pregnant women are reluctant to admit that yes, their pet was their first child, but not I!
He was my child, admittedly a child that came into the world wearing his own winter coat and with a full set of teeth, but my baby nonetheless.
Those of us that have lavished our love on our pet can feel guilty at the thought of bringing in a new entity to the home, that said pet has claimed as its own. We wonder, will the pet be jealous, or can the pet cause the baby health problems? This can be a stressful time, but it can be managed with minimal disruption to you or your pet:
Here Are Some Tips For Introducing Your Pet To Your Baby:
1. No Pets In The Bed
If like me, you got into the bad habit of letting your pet sleep in the bed with you, it’s time to evict them before the baby arrives. Whatever about hygiene reasons, it’s just not practical, you’re going to be up nightly with your newborn.
Babies cry, a lot, and your pet is going to get agitated, which is unfair to the sleep-deprived pair of you. Make life simpler and gradually move your pet into a new sleeping spot. I stress the word gradually. It is completely unfair to expect your original baby, who you’ve adored and cuddled nightly to immediately take to these new developments.
I bought Elvis a crate a couple of months before my daughter was born and put in some cushions that had been on my bed. During the day he would lie on these while I pottered around the kitchen. After a week or so I chanced leaving him in the kitchen at night with the crate door open, he didn’t like it at first but he steadily got used to it. These days he prefers the crate door closed as he goes to sleep. Apparently, it makes the dog feel more secure – who knew?
2. Ask The Professionals
Talk to your Midwife. Believe me, there’s nothing a Midwife hasn’t heard or seen before, they’ve been there, done that, and the baby got sick on the T-Shirt. My concern was hair. Pugs shed, a lot. Would it affect the baby’s breathing? She assured me that unless Elvis was going to lie across the baby as it slept, it shouldn’t be an issue (don't let your dog do this, obviously!). In subsequent visits for even more assurance, I asked this of every medical professional I met, who all told me the same thing.
Read Next: What Do You Need To Know Before Buying A Family Pet?
3. Sniff 'Em Out
When your little bundle of joy has arrived and you’re drunk with love, albeit sloppily, so that you’re all thumbs changing your first nappy and babygro – give said discarded babygro to your partner or whoever is looking after your pet. Allow the pet to sniff and smell the scent of your baby from the item of clothing. This allows the pet to familiarise itself with the baby’s scent and doesn’t traumatise the animal when the new little dictator arrives home.
4. Never Leave Them Alone Together
Lastly, however you manage to introduce your child to your Furbaby, always be mindful that a pet should never, ever be left alone with an infant. Despite all the initial worry though, things do work out. I say this quite confidently as a mother of two healthy children, two Pugs and a Puggle.
Have you got any more tips to add? We'd love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments section below.