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How to Introduce Your Pet to Your New Baby

Congratulations! If you are reading this article, there’s a high chance that you are either expecting a baby or have had one recently. When newborns and toddlers enter the picture, there are a lot of arrangements to be made. From buying baby clothes, nursery essentials and other knick-knacks to preparing the entire family for the big welcome, there is a lot to be done in the nine months leading up to a baby’s arrival. In this entire hullabaloo, it is very easy to forget another important member of the family who, perhaps, needs the most help with the adjustment. If your family is one that already includes a pet, you might need to put in some extra effort to help get your pets accustomed to the new bundle of joy. And that can often require love, patience, and pet training.

Introducing Pets to New Babies
"I'm tagged again...!!" by bluewinx15(BACK) is licensed under CC BY 2.0

How Pets Enhance Pregnancy

Having a pet in the house has more benefits than we know, especially when you are pregnant. Studies have found out that having an indoor pet in the house when you are expecting a child can actually be beneficial to the unborn child. The study reveals that pre-natal exposure to pets such as dogs and cats can significantly lower the levels of an antibody linked to asthma and allergy in the kid. So, if you have a pet at home during your pregnancy, chances are your kids will grow up to have more resistance against some allergens.

While having a pet during pregnancy can reduce the risk of allergies in the kids, it might lead to another problem – adjustment to the new family addition! And it is your older ‘baby’ who will have to battle with the issue. Believe it or not, pets go through the same emotions and stresses that a human would when changes are made to their environment or living arrangements. Some cats and dogs have known to become quite territorial and display aggressive behavior when a newborn is brought into the household. Does that mean you should look for a new home for your pet as you prepare yourself to welcome the baby? It doesn't necessarily have to be so, say experts.

Training Your Pet before the Arrival of the Baby

It is a good practice to evaluate the nature of your dog much before the arrival of the baby. Does your dog start barking and getting restless when it spots children during its walks? Does your cat try to claw new people? If your pet displays any such behavior, it is advisable to consider donating your pet in view of the safety of your kid. If, however, your pet is a cool customer with kids, displaying only minor curiosity, rejoice! With a little bit of dog socialization in place, you can afford to keep both babies at home. And with some minor training, your pet (especially a dog) and your baby can grow up to be the best of buddies in later years.

It is not unusual for even the mildest and most loving pets to display signs of ‘sibling rivalry’ with the arrival of a newborn. Months before your due date, arrange a secluded but comfortable corner for the pet and make it a habit for the pet to spend long hours there, without you tending to it every now and then. This will instill independence in your pet and will make it easier to deal with the reduced attention when you bring your baby home. If you have a dog, you can also bring a cloth that the baby was wrapped in from the hospital (before the baby actually comes home) and let the dog sniff it to acclimatize it. No matter how much you train your pets, be very alert for the first few months after the baby comes home. Sudden attacks are not uncommon.

Once the Baby Comes Home

Pets usually tend to hover close to their parents (and other people they are comfortable with) as soon as they walk in through the door. But too many people can make it restless. When you are bringing your baby in for the first time, make sure to first send in one or two people who are comfortable with your pet so that it can show its usual enthusiasm and excitement around them. Once it has calmed down a little, walk in with your baby. Never leave your little one alone with your pets initially.

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