For several couples, a pet is their first “baby.” And, your four-legged furry companion will still be a cherished part of the family when your new baby enters the picture. However, your routines will inevitably shift or take a U-turn, leading to a befuddling pet.
Like a newborn, pets thrive on predictability, and your new baby can drastically change not only your life but also your pet’s. Soon, they will have to share your attention that was once only theirs with a demanding infant. And, they would not understand why the long playtimes or walks are getting shorter.
So, this question is, “how to introduce pets to babies?” Keep reading on to find some helpful advice.
Introducing Pets to Babies
The key to having your pet and newborn get along is to plan ahead. You should ensure a smooth process of introducing your pet to them so they can have an adorable, long and healthy relationship.
To achieve this, try following these tips to introduce your pet to a new baby, starting from when you are already pregnant:
- Set up your newborn’s things (furniture, toys, clothes, etc.) as soon as possible so that your pet gets accustomed to the new changes before the baby’s arrival.
- Turn on all the baby stuff, so they get accustomed to it. This would include, for example, the vibrating chairs, swings, noise machines, etc. You could also try running around the room screaming, “I can’t take this anymore!” to get the pet familiar with the noises that accompany a new baby. (New baby humor.)
- This one’s probably my top favorite! Invite friends or family that already have newborns to your home to get your pet familiar with and comfortable around infants. Think of it as tester bait (just kidding). But believe me, doing this can do wonders for introducing your pet to babies.
- Don’t wait for the baby’s arrival to create boundaries, instead highlight them right from the start. “No, you cannot sleep in the crib,” “No, you can’t gnaw on the stacking rings,” etc.
- Let your pet smell something of the infant before you introduce them to each other. If your pet is a dog, be sure to let them know that this hairless little creature with the new scent is yours. Moreover, for them to sniff, hold the baby at a distance – you should ensure that you are still the Alpha of the house.
- Try placing an inexpensive motion detector (or some double-sided tape) in the baby’s crib or on the changing table. This will help discourage sudden jump-ins when you are not looking.
- Get the pet used to receiving attention from you while off your lap. Doing this can ensure the animal doesn’t feel displaced or unloved when you’re holding the baby.
There you have it – my best advice to introduce your pet to a new baby. Please share your personal experiences and tips on introducing pets to babies in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!