There is so much to do to prepare for a new baby in your life. Parents who are welcoming their second and even third still have some prep to do, but they’ll likely find the new arrival much easier to adjust into their routine. Either way, some parents forget the house pets. Forgive them, because they have a lot on their mind. Then, trying to find decent advice on the topic is very hard. Remember my other articles on the topic of Pet Parenting? In them, I mention the arm chair experts. This is just another region where you’ll get an earful of bad advice.
So how do you prepare the dog, or even your cat? If you’ve had dogs all your life, you can pretty well trust your sixth sense about things. For those who are new to having pets, it might be a little harder to tap into an intuitive path.
First of all, medical professionals are going to tell you that you need to remove your pet from the room in which your child will be sleeping. They have many reasons for this: dander, biting, crawling into the bassinet, rolling over on the baby, fleas and ticks, and so on…
If your dog has been sleeping in your bed for years, this change can cause aggression. Let’s not beat around the bush. No matter how well you plan out the move, the dog is going to understand it as punishment. Don’t beat yourself up that you allowed them into your room. It’s good for bonding between you, and creates loyalty and affection in your pet. It also helps you sleep better. You did the right thing, pet parent.
But the doctor’s advice makes sense for the reasons listed. What do you do? It’s completely up to you, my friend. Assess your pet. Will they be broken hearted by this? Can you make the adjustment early enough that they don’t associate the change with the baby coming home? Try it out, and see what comes of it. If you’re like me, you’ll say whatever and plan on keeping your dog right where they have always been. Sadie is my baby, too. She’s clean, and I am diligent about flea and tick control. She’s too big to get in the bassinet. My daughter will not sleep on the bed. There will not be unsupervised time between dog and baby, so bites are not going to happen. Dander? I plan to brush and bath her, and also vacuum a lot, just like always.
One of the questions I asked above reminds me that we need to talk about one of the most important steps: start early. Whatever you choose to do, start it the moment that you know. There’s no waiting with pooch, because they can smell the changes in you, and you’ll start to notice changes in them too. Nothing severe. They may be more affectionate or more aloof. They might seem more concerned with your coming and goings. Sadie currently wigs out at me using the stove, something that I’ve always done around her. I guess she thinks I’m going to fall in or something. No one said their reactions would be rational. I appreciate her concern. She also likes to lay so she can stare at me lovingly, and she likes to sniff my belly.
The main step I have taken in this adjustment is making her part of as much as I can. While I complete the nursery, she’s there. When I buy new things we look them over and put them away together. I talk to her about the baby. Sharing tidbits from my meals is still a part of her life. I’m the one who walks her, and cleans up after her. Basically, although things are changing, her routine is kept the same. I want her to have a sense of security and normalcy.
What’s the plan if I have to have a c-section, and even if I don’t there will still be down time? My parents, who are a big part of her life, will help me to take care of her during that time of healing. She will be introduced to the baby as soon as possible and not be barred from rooms or people or baby. Her routine will be kept as much the same as is possible. She’s used to intermittent changes, and I’m treating this as one of those intermittent alterations. Hopefully, in no time, she’ll think nothing of baby’s arrival, and be quite content with the new pack member.
I’ll have to follow up with readers to see how the actual transition goes. I wish expectant parents reading this the best of luck, and hope that I have great news to share in the coming months. (I am due later this summer, but hope to have plenty of blog posts ready to release through my maternity leave, while I adjust to a new schedule and figure out what my schedule will be like.) Stay tuned!
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