Many new parents worry about the impact the arrival of their baby is going to have on their first “baby”, their cat or dog. It’s a reasonable fear, but many happy households include both humans and animals, so rest assured, life will be harmonious.
If you have not been inspired by the darling Instagram feed of former fellow giggle blogger Jessica Shyba, have a look at the #theoandbeau hashtag. She’s documented the growth of her puppy and toddler as they nap together and it couldn’t be more adorable.
There are some things you can do to lay the foundation for a good pet and baby relationship. Here are some tips from pet-owning parents:
• Get the nursery and/or any baby furniture set up 2-4 weeks ahead of expected arrival so they can adjust to changes in the way the house is laid out.
• Don’t relocate your pet’s “home” or bed in place of crib or something related to baby.
• While still in the hospital (assuming it’s not a home birth) send a cloth home with baby’s scent on it for pet to smell in advance of homecoming.
• Play sounds such as cooing, crying, giggling, etc to get your animal used to baby noises. You can use YouTube for this purpose. Babies don’t just make new sounds, but they introduce a whole new pitch of voice to your household.
• Begin getting your pet accustomed to child-like handling: ear-tugging, tail pulling. Dogs are trainable, so reprimand them for mouthing at a hand.
• Make sure your dog never jumps on anyone without being invited. Now is the time to retrain that behavior.
Becoming a parent means entering a new social world. In the first couple years, you’ll spend time at playgrounds and parks without your dog, because they don’t belong in areas that are specially designated for toddlers.
In your own home, however, animals and kids can be the best of friends. Be sensitive to your pet’s jealousy and use his or her need for daily exercise as inspiration to get yourself and baby out of the house as well.