“Cujo, meet the new baby. I’ll let you two get acquainted and I’ll be right back.”
First let me start this post by saying that if you are pregnant and have a pet, at least one person will ask you if you are going to get rid of it once the baby comes.
Many people have decided that all dogs will eat a baby and cats will jump in a crib and suck the breath out of your child before lying on its face.
Be sure to tell these people that you have to keep the animal otherwise who will you leave the baby with when you go to the bar? Then say, “Gotta run and pick up the baby’s crib snake from Reptile World.”
For the record, people are responsible for way more infant fatalities than any animal.
All that said, you want to make sure that bringing your baby home to meet your dog or cat (or other little creature) goes smoothly.
Here are some great tips I found:
1. Set up the baby’s stuff as soon as possible so everyone gets accustomed to the new digs.
2. Establish boundaries right from the get go. Nope, you can’t sleep in the crib and you may not gnaw on the stacking rings.
3. Use double sided tape or a cheap motion detector in the crib or on the change table to discourage sneaky jump-ins while you’re not looking.
4. Get your pet accustomed to getting attention from you off your lap so they don’t feel so displaced when you’re holding the weeble.
5. Fire up all the baby crap so they get used to it. For example, the swings, vibrating chairs, noise machines, etc. (Perhaps, run around the house screaming, “I can’t take this anymore!” – it will get all of you familiar with the sounds that accompany a newborn.)
6. Get their nails trimmed. Sometimes a misplaced paw is inevitable, so trim back the talons so you aren’t adding to the mishap.
7. Let the pet smell something of the baby’s before you introduce them. If it’s a dog be sure to establish that the item is yours and hold it at a distance for them to sniff – you have to make sure you’re still all alpha dog and all that shit.
8. If you’re introducing a dog, take it for a long walk before the introduction and have the baby in the house when it gets back. Make sure that you are holding the baby when the dog comes in and let it sniff it at a distance. Gradually let the dog get closer to the baby but stay in control of the situation.
9. Try to keep the pet’s routine as normal possible. Think about how much the baby will affect the routine and dial it back before the baby comes if necessary.
10. Don’t leave the baby with your pet alone. That’s not fair to anyone and you don’t want to give those dicks that told you to get rid of your pet any “I-told-you-so” ammunition.
11. Lastly, my favourite suggestion was to invite people over that already have infants to get your pet accustomed to a baby. You know, tester bait. Seriously though, it is a great idea, I just thought the wording was funny.
My cats are terrified of children, but when I brought the boys home it didn’t take long for them to figure out that this was something really important and it would be best if they just tolerated it. It also helped that they were both really mellow cats. Of course, that didn’t stop either of them from walking in and meowing JUST as I got the baby to sleep and JUST out of sock throwing range. Little buggers.
Personally, I found their company really comforting in the first few months of my sons’ lives. They would think nothing of hopping up on the couch at 3 am, sniff a little baby foot, then curl up next to me and go to sleep. It was like they were saying, “You’ve got this, Man. Don’t sweat it so much.”
Viva la hairball!
Virnalisa sent me this awesome pic of Sir Winston reading up on the new baby ; )
Also check out my Pinterest board for all the awesome photos of kids with pets. You can pass it along to all the naysayers that don’t understand that animals are the best, damn things out there when you have a baby.