Pets and Pregnancy: 3 Things to Know to Easing the transition for fido when baby comes home

Our guest post today is from another stay at home Mom.  This is our first guest post from Kristen Hurst.  We had no problem introducing Charlie and our little girl.  Here is Charlie and our little girl in the first year.  Another post I wrote is how to raise a child after training a dog.  But these tips are helpful for parents who are worried about the process.  I do admit when we our little girl started feeding charlie food off of her high chair things got stressful!  Also, the site at the end of this post has really cute bathing suits.  I was pregnant in a bathing suit in Vegas for a friends wedding and loved it.     

Before my husband and I had our children, we had a yellow lab, Sadie. And of course, she was our only dog, appropriately spoiled and could practically walk on water. She was our first ‘child’ and took on that role accordingly. My husband had the big idea of breeding her (she was a pedigreed hunting dog after all) and I found myself a mid-wife delivering nine lab puppies one Super Bowl Sunday some twenty years ago. Needless to say, having the whole puppy experience was a crash course in what I could expect with my own future children, namely; no sleep, exhaustion, no sleep and succumbing to chronic fatigue. But of course, as part of our human condition, it seems our brains are hardwired to forget such trivial things like sleep, so I went on to have our children, in quick succession, adding to my already depleted and sleep-deprived brain.

But what about good old Sadie? You may ask. Sadly, she has passed on and truth be told, I did find the task of having dogs and children to be challenging at best and had I known that our first ‘child’ would be forever relegated to that of a lowly nuisance, I would have rethought how I approached bringing home our baby and introducing our dog to the newest family member.

1. Online Help

With your selections of requisite parenting classes like Lamaze instruction, baby care 101and how to calm a frantic husband, there may not be much available on developing your baby/pet relationship. The Humane Society[1] offers great tips to help reduce the anxiety your pet, baby and of course, yourself will have with all the new adjustments in your family unit.

Trainers

There are specialized dog trainers that will come to your house and help work on some basic skills on adapting your dog’s new role as big brother/sister. Don’t forget, for many years now your dog has been the queen/king on their domain until they were rudely knocked off their throne by a screaming and rather unpleasant smelly little noisemaker. Work together and don’t forget to carve out time alone for your furrier child, if you can have your spouse watch the little ones, take them on a little one-on-one walk, have some peaceful alone time, just like those carefree days before their world was shaken to their core.

3. Watch out for both

Let’s be honest; dogs/cats can act out defensively especially if they feel threatened. Of course, this is hard to explain to a nine-month-old who just grabbed your cat’s tail for the umpteenth time, but this time the cat had enough and lashed back. Never an ideal situation. Keep the Neosporin in short supply as well as updating all your pet’s shots. If their interactions become too dangerous, try keeping the pets outside during playtime and in when the baby is napping. On the other hand, if your child is suffering wounds to the point that it is breaking skin, you may have to make the tough call, here.


At the end of the day, juggling parenthood and family life can be a challenge and this includes the welfare of your furry (and scaly) family members as well. Try to make the introductions safely, and always with supervision. It can work out and your child can grow up with the same pet that you love as well. Be patient and above all, be smart.


[1] http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/pets_babies.html

Kristen Hurst is a stay at home mother of three who enjoys blogging. She received her bachelor’s degree in fashion marketing, and writes often about maternity swimwear.   When she’s not trying to juggle the lives of Casey, Austin and Ben, she enjoys painting and catching up with a great Jane Austen novel.


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