Pets and babies, it’s the ultimate cuteness combination…you might even feel like you already have a baby when you gaze into your pet’s eyes! But if you’re expecting the arrival of a new baby in your family, it’s important to try and ensure that the pet and baby dynamics will be harmonious and the transition into a household with a baby is a smooth one. Your baby and pet will get used to each other and grow to be firm friends, but the upheaval and introduction of a new family member can sometimes be a shock to the system at first, especially for a pet that has ruled the roost. Here are some top tips.
Chances are that as your baby grows and begins to explore the world around them, your pet might be one of the first sources of curiosity. If your pet isn’t already, getting them used to being poked and prodded (within reason!) is a good idea, so they won’t be so surprised when you child starts doing it.
Before properly introducing your baby to your pet, let your pet sniff a blanket or item of clothing that your baby has worn so they get used to their smell. Then when you calmly introduce your baby, they will already have some sense of who they are. Allow someone else to hold your baby when you introduce your pet and baby for the first time, as your pet may get overexcited at the sight of you and a new arrival.
Your baby will make noise. You’ve already prepared yourself for it and you need to prepare your pet too. The cries of a baby can sound strange to humans and it might be a very bizarre sound for your pet to hear. Try watching some films where a baby cries, play a cd with baby noises or invite round a friend with their baby to try and desensitise your pet to baby sounds…it might help you too.
Mix with other babies
If any of your friends have young children then invite them around so they can interact with your pet and get them used to small kids. They’ll start to find the sounds, sights and smells of a young child familiar and they’ll be able to use these experiences when they’re introduced to your own baby.
Your pet has probably got their own private, comfy space where they like to escape and unwind, but if they don’t then it’s worth creating somewhere that they can relax on their own. Make it extra comfy for them with their favourite toys, blankets, cushions and beanbags, so they’ll want to spend time there. This will make sure that they’re not overstimulated and when it gets too much they can have a nap and get ready for round 2.
There are going to be a lot of new and unfamiliar items in your home, so it’d good to get your pet used to them before your baby arrives. Baby gates, prams and toys can be gently introduced to your pet. Let them have a sniff and a play around your new baby room, so they can take in the new environment, instead of leaving it as a secret space that they can’t access.
Obviously when you have a baby, your focus is going to be predominantly on them, but don’t forget your pet. Make the time to show them affection, take them for walks and play with them so they won’t feel forgotten. Your baby and pet will be getting along famously in no time!