Pets And Your Baby
Ideas on introducing a new baby to pets at home. Preparing the dog for an infant moving in. Guide to involving pets in the joy
Bringing a newborn baby home to a house with pets can be overwhelming. To many, pets are just like children and yet there is no way to explain a new arrival to an animal, or is there? Pets are part of the home. They know when furniture has been moved. They have a favorite spot in the house. They even can sense their master's mood. Therefore, your pet will understand that a baby will be moving in if the news is presented properly.
Many pet owners have already been through a similar process when adding pets to the family. The old pet would be introduced to the new pet cautiously and preferably on neutral ground. The animals would take time to familiarize themselves with each other's scents. A similar process works with infants. Surely, the infant doesn't need to smell the pet, but the animal should be exposed to the infant's scent before actually meeting the baby.
Most pregnant women will say that their pets have been acting strangely or differently since they became pregnant. Some cats and dogs stopped sleeping in their master's beds. Others reported their pets being clingy. One woman said her cat would jump into her lap every time she sat down. Most likely the pet scenses that something is changing. Allow your pet to be part of that change.
The pet owner is most familiar with the pet's personality; so good judgement should be used. I recommend that the cat or dog be allowed into the nursery before the baby comes home. This is the best way to familiarize the pet with all the different scents. Leave a bottle of baby oil or lotion open. If special detergent will be used for the baby's clothes, allow the dog to sniff the clean clothes. A cat might enjoy his favorite blanket or bedding washed in the same detergent.
The days before the newborn is to come home, the infant's scent should be introduced to the pet. If the master is the new mom, a familiar person should come home with a piece of clothing or a blanket for the animal to smell. Dogs usually take it and slobber on it. It is important not to reprimand the animal for his reaction. They, too, are excited.
The day of the arrival, it would be best to bring home a dirty diaper for the dog to smell and do with it as the dog seems fit. This is the best way for dogs to get familiarized with the baby's scent without slobbering on the infant. Weather permitting, clean up is easier if it's done outside.
Lastly, the primary master should enter the home first, and greet the pets. Let someone else carry the infant. It's important to carry out the same welcome home ritual, whether your pet is a cat that doesn't budge at your arrival or if your dog, like Dino, knocks you down at the door.