Updated: Feb 25
Having Pets and having to be a parent to them is hard enough, but adding a newborn family into the mix can be stressful.
I remember when I was approaching my due date, I had so much anxiety that my pups wouldn't react the best to our new baby.
I was afraid what if they hurt him accidentally, or what if they didn't like their attention taken away and maybe then they would
resent the baby.
After doing a lot more research on this very important way to have a happy home environment, I wish I did some of the checklist differently looking back to the beginning.
This article is here to help you know some of the most important tools to use to introduce your Pets to your newborn.
This is so you don’t have to do the massive research I did, because being a parent our time is very valuable.
Start During the Womb
Starting at the very beginning is super essential to slowly get your animals used to the idea that there is going to be a major change soon.
Dogs and Cats can sense hormones, just like when they know you might be sad. I remember my small dog knew i was pregnant before I even did, she kept sniffing my stomach and I didn’t figure out why until weeks later.
This is why it is good to let them get used to your stomach. Let them lay on your stomach if they are small, or directly by your stomach
if they are larger.
Let them sniff your stomach as much as they want, this let’s them smell those pregnancy hormones.
If they try to paw at your stomach or lay their head down and it’s nothing hard, do not yell
or snap at them.
Simply explain to them, say “ow” loudly, or “no don't do that”. Dogs just want to please so if they think something hurts you they
will correct themselves.
But letting your animals get close to your stomach will only let both of them bond to each other.
Make Changes ASAP
When you find out you are pregnant, start thinking about the things that will have to or that you want to change with your animals.
I knew our baby would be in the bassinet in our room for the first few months, so i didn’t want our dogs to sleep on our bed with us anymore or in the room for that matter.
I also didn’t want our dogs to lay on the couch anymore, because of how much they shed.
I started late on correcting these habits and I wish I started as soon as I thought of my boundaries. So my advice is to start them as soon as you think of the boundaries you want for your pets.
There are some things you have to nip away right off the bat, like if your large animals like to jump on you when they greet you. This needs to be corrected immediately, for this could go bad with your baby belly, or even when you bring home your newborn.
But for the most part, you can
transition your pets slowly.
Examples of slowly transitioning would be:
3 days: Let them start out with a bed on the floor in your bedroom. If they jump on the bed during the night do not correct them.
1 week: Start them out with a bed on the floor. Correct them and show them to their bed on the floor each time.
3-5 days: Move their bed to where you want their new sleep spot to be, and leave the bedroom door opened. If they jump on the bed during the night, show them to their bed each time.
Finally: Put up a baby gate for the bedroom doorway, so they can still get up and see you in bed during the night but cannot enter the room.
Doing this during pregnancy, will not only give your animals plenty of time to adjust, but make sure they will not resent the baby.
Which would most likely happen if you did it the same time your little one arrives.
Preparing for the Hospital
Now no one knows exactly when babies will come, they will come when they want to come!
However, if you are getting induced this part of planning is much easier!
If you have family members that wouldn’t care to take your animals while you have your baby, I honestly recommend talking to them
If you don’t have family members, see if you can talk to your local daycare about leaving space open for the day you are expected to have your baby or being induced and at least 2 days after.
If one or two of your family members is willing to come over to your house or bring them to their home to take care of them during your hospital stay, it will make everything
so much easier!
If you have multiple family members that would be willing and have more than one pet, you can even split them up so its easier on your
What we did, and I would do it this way again if there is ever another baby in the future, because it worked out so well.
We sent our lab to my husbands parents house to run and play at their country home. Then my mother came over to our home to house sit and watch my chihuahua.
We wanted one of our family members to come to our home to be with my chihuahua, because she has anxiety about being with other people when I am not there, and will often get depressed. So we tried to make this transition very smooth on her.
So if you have a dog that has forms of anxiety. I suggest using this tip.
Another tip to do:
When your coming home from the hospital, let your family know that you want them to keep your bigger dogs for one more night. This will make your first night home with your newborn, so much easier.
Because believe me, you need all the rest you can get.
Your first time home after you having your baby it’s essential to take time to introduce your animals to your new baby!
One of the biggest research I found was to take time to introduce your baby to your animals anywhere but your pet’s home.
Have someone you trust, like your partner, hold your baby outside or even have them in the car seat still. And then you mother, slowly let your pets outside and lead them to the baby.
Let them sniff the baby for as long as they want, if it is not making your newborn uncomfortable.
Yelling at your pets to get back or pushing them away will only immediately tell your pets that: when i try to love this new human,
I get hurt.
This practice will only lead your pets to not loving or knowing how to be
When your baby gets more active and starts reaching for things, they will start noticing your
pets a lot more.
Remember to keep up the tradition of not telling your pets to get back or pushing
them away. Let them know they can lay beside them if they want, and they will learn to be a protective big brother or sister to your baby.
The action however does extend both ways, teach your children to love and be respectful of your and all animals.
Do not let them pinch, pull, or slap your pets where they might hurt them.
This will only end up with a bad result: your pet might one day get fed up with the negative treatment and and eventually turn and hurt your baby. This can also lead to your child growing up to be scared of animals for a long time.