All changed, we’re having a baby
All changed, we’re having a baby
by Wilmi Kloppers
Bringing your little human home will be a huge adjustment for each and everyone in the household and it is so easy to lose track of the pets. Believe me, I know! While juggling your new routine, it is extremely important to check in with your animals and to pay attention to any behavioral changes, big or small.. Right from the very first moment, even before the little human arrives. As hard as it may seem, make time for your pets too. They wont understand that attention now needs to be shared. Spend some quality time with them and try to include them as much as possible in your daily routine.
Little humans do unpredictable things that might seem extremely scary and strange to your pets. Sudden movements, crying, screaming and unexpected touches can all startle your dogs. Use your time before the little human arrives to ease your pets into the new sounds that the little humans will bring into their daily routine. To allow your pets to gradually get use to the unknown world of little humans, take them to a park and allow then to observe at a distance. Just allow them to take in as much information as possible. Play baby sounds at home during feeding time and shower them with treats every time they experience something new to them. Walk your pet with you new baby stroller and get them use to yet another event that might seem so simple to you but might just be new and terrifying for your pet. If your pets drive in the car with you, strap the baby seat and a doll in every time you go to the park. If your pets are gradually getting use to the baby sounds, use that time to play some baby sounds, very softly during the car ride. Just always try to make this experience as enjoyable as possible.
The scent of a little human is something that most dogs have never experience but luckily you can start preparing your pets for all of these new things before the little human comes home. Another great idea is to ask a fellow mom for a baby blanket and allowing your pets to get use to the smell. You can even use one of your future blankets and add the scent of baby lotion and baby powder. Introduce your pet to the blanket and couple that with an abundance amount of treats for a couple of minutes and take the blanket away. Repeat the ‘scent introduction process’ several times a day to ensure that your pet already gets extremely excited by the time you formally introduce the little human to them. We kept the scented item in a zip lock bag to make sure the scent stays as strong as possible!
Allow your pets to be involved in the settling up of the baby room. Allow them to explore and get use to all of the new smells – Keeping them away might just evoke an unhealthy amount of curiosity.
Feeding times can become an amazing bonding time between your little human, yourself and your pets! During breakfast we all went outside to a specific spot and with each bite the little human receives, the pets received one too. It is amazing how quickly the association of feeding-time-for-all was made. My pets loved breakfast. Keep in mind that the breakfast spot is a special area dedicated to this experience only, and where you and your family doesn’t always have a meal. Don’t attempt this at the dining room table to prevent your dogs begging during every meal.
Create no access areas. It is important for your human and for your pets to have a space of their own. This is especially important when the human starts to crawl. Use these area to feed your pets to avoid incidents over food. Take your pets to that area and spend some quality time there with them, without the human. The one-on-one time is so extremely important for everyone! Use this area as a time out for your pets too. When excitement levels become too high, allow then to access this area for some time to relax without any screaming around them.
Teach your human to touch gentle. When they first start to realize that those fingers can grab, they really love to explore and unfortunately, your kid’s furry tail is first to be explored. Teach your child right from the first experience to touch gently. They will mimic your touch so show them how to pet nicely.. It is also a great idea to teach them the action of “gently”. Couple the word with gentle touches to teach them what it means. This will come in handy if you notice your pets aren’t too comfortable in a situation. In saying this, teach your pets that it is acceptable to move away from a situation that they don’t feel comfortable in. Call your dogs away and reward them a couple of meters away from the little human. Walking away from an uncomfortable situation around the human should become their first option.
Never leave your child unsupervised around your pets. It doesn’t matter how amazing you think your pets are with your little human or how well behaved you think your humans are. Accident happens and kids take chances, around every corner – No matter how well you think you have “trained” them!
There is no love greater than the love that a pet has to offer. Alongside the unconditional love that you will show your little human, will be the unconditional love and bond that will form between your pet and the newest gem of your household. Take responsibility and help to mold their relationship from the beginning to ensure that a friendship, made for life will form between the two of them. Pay attention and teach your children how to love without limits, just as your pets will love you and your family throughout his/her whole life.