For the longest time, your fur baby was the most spoiled baby in the house! But now it’s time to welcome your new baby, and you want to make sure your pet is as prepared as possible for their new brother or sister. But where do you start?
There’s plenty of love to go around, but you’ll need to make sure your pet knows that! A new baby is a big change for everyone, but it’s especially important you take the time to let your pet know that adjustments are coming.
Here are just a few tips to get you started before you bring your new baby home!
Adjusting your Pet’s Environment For A New Baby
There are going to be lots of new baby toys, baby furniture, noises, and schedule changes happening once baby arrives. It’s important to slowly adjust your pet to these changes so they aren’t caught off guard, and so they don’t become too stressed. The ASPCA suggests doing things like minimizing the attention your dog receives, as well as switching up their schedule to allow them to adjust to some inconsistency. (Because let’s be honest, life with babies is unpredictable!)
Introducing Baby Smells + Sounds To Your Pet
Babies come with a whole new set of smells and a whole new set of loud sounds that can be alarming to your pet. In order to get your pet used to baby related sounds and smells, it can be helpful to play an audio of a baby crying while your pet is around, as well begin wearing baby lotions and powders around them. If you're able to, bringing home clothing baby has worn in the hospital, or a swaddle baby has been wrapped in, for your dog or cat to smell ahead of time can be a really great help.
Set Clear Boundaries For Your Pet Around The Home
Will your pet be allowed in baby’s room? If they are allowed in baby’s room, will there be different rules in there than the rest of the house? It’s things like these that can start to be integrated ahead of time. Does your dog or cat like to jump on you? If they do, this is a habit you will want to adjust once the baby arrives. Make sure to be very clear as to what your pet’s life will look like once baby comes home.
Bringing Your New Baby Home To A Pet Friendly Home
We asked parents in our Coco-mmunity for their advice for preparing your pet for the new baby and we loved what they had to say! Here are some helpful tips from pet owners and parents for making this transition as smooth as possible:
“We brought home a blanket that smelt like baby before baby came home and let our dog smell it and kept it near him. We also set clear boundaries once we were home so he knew what he could and couldn’t do. And we always spent quality time with our doggie after baby was sleeping so he knew he wasn’t replaced!”
"My husband and I used to refer to our dog as “the baby.” As soon we found I was pregnant we stopped calling him that so he wouldn’t think we’re talking about him. My son also spent some time in the NICU and the nurses let me take his blanket home so our dog could smell it. Everyday until our son came I’d have my dog sniff it and praise him when he didn’t go crazy thinking it was a toy."
“My husband brought home a shirt that the baby had worn in the hospital for our dog to smell and get used to. We also bought a small bone and put it in her hand when she met him so he would recognize that she was giving him a present. I don’t think either of those things were necessary. I think he could tell that my belly was gone and the baby was the approximate size, but it was important to us to set their relationship up for success.”
“Before coming home from the hospital, take the hospital blanket or beanie to your dog to smell it. You can also let the dog sniff and/or lick baby’s feet as soon as you get home to introduce them. Remember, try not to cage the animal away from baby because it might create resentment towards the baby if they feel they are being misplaced for them.”
“I had a C-section so we sent our golden girl, Luna, to stay with her grandparents while we were in the hospital. After we were released from the hospital we got one of the baby’s hospital beanies to them. We decided it might be best for her to stay a couple more days with them before she came home to meet the baby. So for a couple of days she snuggled and carried it around everywhere with her. Once she finally got to meet her little brother, she was so calm and gentle, we were so relieved! She hasn’t left his side since!”
We hope you found this blog helpful as you prepare to welcome your new baby! Please keep in mind that we only provided a few bits of advice here, and if you are looking for more explanation and advice, please visit this ASPCA link for more information.