Introducing Pets to Your Baby

Baby in diaper and cat sleeping together

We know that pets are part of the family, but how do you introduce them to your little bundle of joy? While it may seem complicated at first, it doesn’t have to be!

With the arrival of your baby, the dynamics and daily routine inside your home will definitely change, which may leave your pets feeling confused or even ignored.

Pets thrive on constant attention and routine, so adding a baby to the picture may make them wonder where the hourly cuddles and night walks have gone.

The good news is, you don’t have to wait until your baby is born before helping your beloved pets adjust to the changes! You can start even while you’re still pregnant!

Here are some tips on how to get your pets used to the new routine as early as now.

When you find out you’re pregnant

Pregnant woman reading tablet with golden retriever puppy at home

Cat owners may be luckier in this aspect given that our feline companions are more independent members of the household, spending most of their day sleeping.

Meanwhile, dog owners may have a bit of a challenge on their hands.

While having your dog jump on you when you come home may seem harmless now, the way your dog greets you can become a problem when you’re 6 months pregnant or even when you’re holding a newborn baby in your arms.

If your dog has never been trained before, it’s time to sign them up for obedience classes now.

Also, if you’re a first-time parent, your dog may not be used to being in the presence of children. However, you can help them get used to this by taking them to parks to see their reactions and behaviour around kids.

3 to 4 months before your due date

Young pregnant woman at home with her cute dog

It may sound silly, but playing pretend will help your pets prepare for what’s to come. It’ll help you prepare for motherhood too!

Get a doll and start carrying it around the home like it’s an actual baby. To make things more convincing, you can even make baby noises and push the doll around in a baby stroller.

You can take the act to the next level by bringing them along while you’re pushing the stroller outside. You’ll likely get weird looks from your neighbours, but this will help your dog get used to the idea of walking with a baby.

You’ll want to train your dog to walk next to a baby stroller for safety reasons. Some dogs get excited while walking outside, which may put you in a situation where you’re pulling on their leash while trying to navigate the stroller at the same time which isn’t ideal. Training them early on will make the process easier when your baby is born.

Another way to prepare your pets is by setting up the nursery ahead of time, including the crib, drawers, and other baby essentials. Your pet will get curious about seeing these baby items inside the house, and this will allow them the time to get accustomed.

1 month before your due date

Dog in daycare at colourful canine enrichment center

Who’s going to feed, walk, and look after your pet while you’re in the hospital?

Unless you’re planning to hire a personal pet sitter (which can be expensive), we’d recommend sending them to a pet daycare while you’re away.

Getting your pets used to the environment at a daycare as early as now prevents them from acting up when it’s time to drop them off before your delivery.

Pet daycares can be extremely convenient when you’re struggling to adjust to being a first-time parent. You can send them there for a few days to give yourself more room to cope with motherhood.

Another low-cost way to do this is by enlisting help from familiar faces like relatives or friends who can look after your pet anytime you need an extra hand.

Coming home after giving birth

Family with a baby and a dog

After a few days of separation, your pet will likely be excited to greet you right at the front door.

When this happens, don’t ignore them! Let your husband hold the baby before going inside to prepare yourself to be attacked with lots of licks and kisses.

After things have calmed down, you can introduce them to your newborn baby by letting them sniff your little one from a safe distance. It’s the first step to making family pets and babies acquainted!

Teaching pets and newborns to get along

Cat lying near newborn baby, top view

While it may be a challenge at first, it’s not impossible for pets and newborn babies to get along!

In fact, the presence of a household pet can even help with your baby’s development.