If you have pets and decide to have a baby at some point in time you will have to introduce your pets to the new baby. Sadly, many new parents forget this because they are tired and adjusting to their new role. This can end up in a jealous cat or dog, which usually ends up in the animal being placed for adoption.
With proper preparation, the transition can be made easier and your new baby can have a lifelong friend with the pet.
You want to start early preparing your pet for the new baby. Start off slow by just having the baby’s room set up and let your pet explore the room. If you have a pet that likes to climb into beds, make sure you encourage your pet to explore the bed, but discourage them from getting in the bed.
Introduce your pet to other kids if possible. Being around other kids, even if they are not newborn babies, can help your pet learn how to interact safely with kids. Don’t force your pet to be around the kids or babies either, if your pet would rather hide, that is fine, let him come out in his own time.
Try to gradually changes your schedule. When you have a baby your schedule with change dramatically, meaning that your pet’s schedule will change as well. You can anticipate these changes and start making them slowly and gradually over time.
Get your pet ready for how the baby may eventually touch them. For example, poke them, pull lightly on their tail, or pinch their ear, you obviously want to do this gently, but as your little one gets older it will be harder to keep your child from doing these things. You can reinforce good behavior by giving your pet a treat if he behaves well.
You can introduce your pets to your baby’s smells before you come home from the hospital. Pack an extra blanket in your hospital bag and once the baby is born, start wrapping her in it. Try to leave it on the baby for 24 hours. Then, have your significant other take the blanket home and show it to your pets. The blanket will have the baby’s smell on it and your pets can get used to the smell before you bring the baby home, meaning that your baby’s smell will now be familiar.
Once you bring baby home, again, don’t force your pet to come close. Once your pet is comfortable, they will come closer and closer. As your pet gets closer you can talk to your pet about the baby and even take the baby’s hand to touch your pet to show him that it is OK.
No matter how well your pet seems to accept your new baby, you should never leave your baby alone with your pet.
When it comes time to introduce your pets to the new baby, it can be a process, but it is worth it as your pet and your child will have a lasting friendship. Pets are great for kids, and if you prepare your pet ahead of time, there shouldn’t be any problems and you should be able to keep your pet long term (unless your child has an allergy).
How did you introduce your pets to the new baby?