What happens when your companion animals are joined by a new human baby?
A new baby and companion animals can be the best of friends, but it’s important to be aware that the way in which you introduce them can make or break their future relationship.
Of course, the family dynamic will change and that’s pretty much unavoidable, but there are ways to protect the bond you share with your furry companions and foster a healthy friendship between them and your newest arrival.
If any changes to your furbabies’ eating or sleeping arrangements are going to be necessary when the human baby arrives. Try to make them well before that time. If it’s possible to do so, make these changes before becoming pregnant.
Domesticated animals are quite perceptive and are very much creatures of habit. If they are feeling any stress due to change. It’s prudent to avoid them making a connection between those feelings and the new baby.
If your companion animals are used to sleeping on your bed and that will no longer be possible. Make a special new place for them to stay in at night. making it as appealing as possible. You may even like to feed them their favorite treats in the new space. Try to spend some time cuddling them in there to create positive connections.
Introduce Baby Slowly
When baby comes home for the first time, their mother should enter the house alone. Allow the animals to see and smell how she has changed. After a bit of sniffing and patting, baby can come into the house.
Don’t expect a particular reaction. Some animals will freeze up, some will become very excited. Others will shy away or show no immediate response. The most important thing you can do is not make a big deal of the situation regardless of their reaction.
If they are stressed, try to have baby in a separate room while at least one person stays with the animal and interacts with them as they would normally. If they don’t seem interested, don’t push it. They will grow curious over time and check baby out for themselves.
Keep Things As Normal As Possible
If your companion animals are used to being fed at certain times or getting pats when you come in the front door. Make sure you keep up with those things as much as you can. A new baby is a huge change for them and it’s up to you to minimize the ‘weirdness’ in their lives.
It’s our job to help them, so they can relax and incorporate this change into their reality sooner.
DON’T SLACK ON SAFETY
This is absolutely the most important thing to remember when animals live with children. Companion animals should never be left unsupervised with babies or young children.
No matter how long they’ve lived with humans and how much experience they have living with children. Parents should always educate themselves on their companion animals. Species specific behaviors and body language (this is a great idea even if they don’t live with children as it can strengthen your bond) and supervise all interactions. Consider safety equipment such as baby gates and cat proof covers for baby’s sleeping and playing areas.
Lead By Example
Your companion animals will understand that your new baby is a precious being when they see the way you treat them and the same thing will happen when your child grows up seeing you treat your furry friends with love and respect.
We know that having a new baby is a really exciting and scary time! Don’t forget to check out this post on 5 Things We Wish We Knew About New Babies
**Be kind and patient with your loved ones and your home will be harmonious.**
If You have some great suggestions, we’d love to hear them in the comments!