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Tips for Introducing Pets to a New Baby

Top Tips for Introducing Your Pet to a New Baby

Your bundle of joy will soon be on his or her way! As exciting of a time as this is, there’s also a long list of things to do. That includes prepping all your family members for meeting the baby. But you can't forget about one of the most caring and loyal members of your family: your pet.

Introducing pets to a new baby can be challenging. After all, dogs and cats can be sensitive to changes in their established routines. As a treasured member of your family, it's important to have a plan in place for pets when your baby arrives.

If you're expecting, it helps to know what to expect from your pet. We'll go through helpful tips for dogs and cats, so you can ensure your home stays a warm and happy place after your baby comes home.

Tips for Introducing Cats to Babies

Introducing cats to babies starts before your new bundle of joy is born. In the months leading up to your baby's arrival, start introducing baby items to your cat. This can include the crib, baby powder, shampoos and milk. That way, your cat will be less threatened by all the new smells in the house.

When It's Time for Them to Meet

Once your baby is born, introduce him or her to your cat in a quiet room that is a neutral space. That means a place where your cat doesn't eat or sleep. Allow your cat to sniff your baby and be sure to reward them for gentle behavior.

If your cat runs away or loses interest, that's fine. One of the biggest mistakes people make when introducing cats to babies is forcing interaction. Cats are naturally curious, but it's important to let your cat investigate on their own. Forcing them to be together can put a lot of unnecessary stress on your pet.

Supervision is Key

While your cat and baby are getting to know each other, make sure you supervise them. You can catch bad behaviors from your cat and correct them before they turn into unwanted habits, ensuring the safety of both your baby and cat.

Preparing Your Dog for a Baby

Unlike cats, dogs are often more social and need much more direct contact from you to be happy. You want your dog to continue to be an essential part of your family life. Here's how you can help ensure your dog and newborn get along with these 3 tips.

1. Don't Force Interaction

This tip we mentioned above is even more important for dogs. When your newborn gets home, invite your dog over to sniff and explore. If your dog is more cautious at first, that’s okay. Let your dog warm up to this newest member of his family at his own pace.

2. Stay Social

We know how much time newborns need. But don't forget about spending time with your dog, too. After all, your newborn isn’t replacing your dog, so you need to pay attention to both.

Allow your dog to be in the same room as your newborn to stay close to you. And keep your dog’s schedule as normal as possible. Take him or her on daily walks and maintain their daycare schedule to ensure they get playtime with other dogs.

3. Welcome Curiosity

To prevent your dog from being jealous of your baby, don't punish them for being curious. If your dog is approaching your baby, invite them in instead of scolding them. This can help replace any rivalry your dog may be feeling with love and compassion.

Bonus Tip for Cats and Dogs!

A great tip for cats and dogs is having a family member take an item of your baby's from the hospital to your pet. It will get them accustomed to your baby’s smell before you come home from the hospital. It's a great way to start introducing pets to a new baby!

King's Daughters' Health is Here to Support Your Pregnancy

At King's Daughters' Health, our maternity care services and OGBYN doctors have years of experience focused on one goal: Doing everything we can to support the health of you and your baby.

Our staff has the expertise to assist your entire family through this wonderful time - and that includes our four-legged companions! Get started by making an appointment or contact our caring team today.

Call 812.801.0856 to speak with our Obstetrics/Maternity team.

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