How to Introduce your Newborn to Pets
Bringing your newborn home is an exciting time, but it can involve more planning for pet-owners. Not knowing what to expect from your pet with a new child in the house can be scary. However, there are steps you can take to make the transition a little bit easier. It’s important to be well-prepared in advance to help avoid any problems. Here’s what you need to know.
What should I consider?
Just like any new challenge in life, preparation for newborn arrival is vital for pet-owners. The following is a list of things you should keep in mind before your baby arrives!
Because your pets are used to being the center of attention, a new baby in the house will be a huge change for them. It’s important to consider these things far in advance of your newborn arriving home. Preparing your pet for what’s to come is an important part of keeping them and your new baby safe. A few changes to begin making early include:
- Lessen attention and playtime
- Walking the dog while pushing a stroller
- Spending time in the baby’s nursery
When you arrive home with your newborn, your pet will immediately notice a new scent. Before the baby arrives, introduce your dog to the scent of baby lotion or powder that you will be using. Once the baby is born, it’s also a good idea for a family member to take an article of clothing the baby has worn to your home to introduce to the pet. Then, your pet will begin to know the distinctive scent that will be arriving soon.
Who will walk in the door first? Will the baby be in your arms or a car seat? There are a multitude of factors to consider. The most important part of the arrival process is to stay calm. Knowing how you plan to arrive will help alleviate stress and nervousness, which can in turn make your pets calmer during the introduction.
Overall, the most important aspect of introducing your newborn to pets is leadership. Teaching your dog who is in control will make a difference. Be sure to always put the safety of your child and family first and implement training to teach your pet boundaries.
How can I pet-proof my nursery?
Your nursery should become a safe place for your newborn. Therefore, it’s important to train your pet to know the boundaries around this room. Pet-proofing a nursery should begin months in advance before the baby arrives in order to give your pet plenty of time to get used to the new rules.
You may opt to make the nursery completely off limits for the first few months of the baby’s life. After a while, parents may choose whether or not to allow the pet inside the nursery. For some, pets will never be allowed inside the nursery. Others may consider allowing pets to enter a nursery if a parent is present and they can remain calm.
Pet-Proofing the Nursery
For those who want to make the child’s nursery completely off limits to pets, there are a few ways to do so. Depending on the type of pet you have, a baby gate might do the job. However, cats and some dogs have the ability to easily jump baby gates. For some, your only solution may be a closed door.
How can my child help with pets?
As your child grows, they will develop a bond like no other with your pets. Allowing your children to care for pets can teach many lessons and provide them with ways to learn more responsibility. Once your child is old enough, a few chores they can help with are:
- Feeding pets
- Cleaning up after pets
- Taking pets for walks
- Teaching pets tricks
Newborn Preparation at Pediatrics East
The team at Pediatrics East works to provide parents with safe recommendations and advice for every stage of having a child. We know becoming a new parent can bring new challenges and considerations. Our team of pediatricians has learned and experienced challenges alongside new parents and are prepared to provide you navigate this stage.
If you have more questions about recommendations, schedule an appointment to speak with one of our pediatricians in Arlington, Bartlett, Cordova, Collierville, or Germantown today, or contact us online.