You know all about adding a new furry family member to your household. But what about baby? Here’s how you can ease the transition.
Especially in the case of a first child, the whole experience can understandably bother cats and dogs that have previously been the center of your attention.
Babies demand a lot of time. Since you can’t add hours to the day, your pets will likely receive less of your time. Help them adjust by gradually lessening the time you give them one-on-one attention before baby is born. Work on your pets’ behavior problems such as a dog’s nipping and jumping up or a cat that swats. You can find more information on how to handle pets and babies together on the website of My Babies Planet.
Maintain a quiet pet retreat far from where you’ll primarily care for baby. That way, pets can withdraw to their food, water and litter when the crying bothers them.
Anytime you introduce something new that involves the baby, offer treats and petting. Set up baby’s gear early so pets become used to baby gates and furniture. Allow pets to smell items such as diapers and baby lotion so these scents become part of the household.
Introduce baby to the pets by bringing home a blanket or other item with baby’s scent on it. Lay it on the floor where your pets will find it.
In addition to new smells, a baby brings new sounds to your pets’ world. Play videos of a baby crying and cooing.
Shortly before the baby is form, have your pet groomer trim your pets’ nails and smooth them. Even a loving pet can get excited and scratch by accident. Pet nail trimming can help minimize the chances hurting the baby, so keep handy the phone number of your cat and dog groomer.
When baby comes home, don’t force an introduction. Hand baby off to someone else so you can greet your pets and reassure them. After your pets have been fed and feel relaxed, place the car seat on the floor with baby in it, sit down with them and allow your pets to check out the new family member. Again, offer treats and attention.
If your pets shows teeth, hisses or growls, remove the baby, but don’t scold the pets. Try again later.
Don’t leave your pets alone with baby. Pets can unknowingly hurt infants by playing too rough. Restrict their access from baby’s room during sleep time or use a crib tent and baby monitor.
Above all, try to keep your pets’ regular schedule, such as feeding time and visits from a pet sitter (once mom is back at work). Once your pets see your love for them continues, they’ll readily accept the new baby.
by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant