Bringing home your newborn is one of the most exciting moments of your life. You’ve spent weeks, or more likely months, researching and reading everything imaginable to prepare yourself for how to take care of your new bundle of joy and make their transition home as seamless as possible. But, did you prepare your fur babies for the new addition to your family? One thing that is often overlooked when prepping for a new baby is the effect it will have on family pets. Pets need time to prepare and adjust in order to get ready for a new baby, and while they may not know exactly what is going on, pets are sensitive to change and will realize that something big is happening. Here are some ways to prepare your furry friends at home for the arrival of a newborn baby.
Allow your pet time to adjust to new smells, sounds, and room layouts.
An easy way for your pet to get used to a newborn being around before they even come home is to set up your nursery in advance and stock it with powders, lotions, wipes, and anything else that has a smell that will be associated with your baby. Once set up and stocked with essentials, let your pet explore the new environment and take in all the sights and smells.
In addition to new room layouts and smells, your pet will need to get used to the sounds associated with a baby. A few weeks before bringing baby home, begin playing common baby noises out loud for your pet to hear. This way, if your pet reacts negatively, you will be there to comfort them and let them know it’s okay without also having to worry about your baby. Hopefully, the continued playing of baby noises will desensitize your pets to the sounds and they won’t react in a negative way once your newborn is home.
Consider your pets daily routine and how it may change.
A newborn at home means changes for every member of the family, including your pets. You will now be forced to get used to a new normal of waking up at all hours of the night, changing diapers all day, and many other things, but have you considered how your pet’s routine will also change? Maybe Fido won’t be getting his daily walk or Mr. Whiskers isn’t going to be getting his prompt 5:00pm dinner.
If you think your pet’s daily exercise routine is going to be significantly affected by bringing home your new baby, consider hiring or outsourcing to friends and family the job of walking your dog. If something like a feeding schedule has the potential to change, consider introducing variable feeding times before you bring your baby home. If your pet’s bed or litter box needs moving to a different area of the house, do so well in advance so that they have time to adjust and get comfortable with the new space. Making these changes in advance allows your pet ample time to adjust to their new routine before their new brother or sister comes home.
Make sure your pet understands basic commands.
One of the best ways to ensure your pet is ready for the new baby to arrive is to make sure they are properly trained and understand the most basic commands like, “sit”, “stay”, and “down”. If your dog has a firm grasp on these commands, they will be able to quickly learn what is and is not okay when it comes to interacting with your newborn and how they should behave when the baby is in the room. If your dog doesn’t have the best manners, try enrolling them in training classes a few months before your baby arrives.
Set up a dedicated pet space.
Maybe it’s a corner of your bedroom with a plush bed or a cat tree set up in the living room. Whatever it is, dedicating a space to your pet that is kid and baby-free will allow them to have a space they can retreat to when they need some alone time to relax and decompress. Adjusting to life with a newborn is exhausting for both parents and pets, so providing them with their own space will help them feel comfortable and allow them to relax when the baby is at home.
Remember, bringing home your baby is going to be one of the most exciting and exhausting times of your life. With all the change happening, it’s important to prepare yourself and your pets for the new family member who will be coming home. For more tips and ways to prepare the furry member of your family, feel free to reach out to Pediatric Associates of Savannah.