When you’re expecting a new baby, you have plenty of planning to do. If you also have a pet at home, it’s important that you prepare your home and pet properly so your new baby and pet can become friends. Our team at Creme de la Creme Port Potomac understands the importance of creating a safe place for both your baby and furry friend so they can have a positive relationship. That’s why we’ve put together these tips to help you introduce your new baby and pet in your Ashburn, Virginia, home.

Preparing Your Home and Pets Before the Baby Comes Home

Small baby plays with a small golden retriever puppy.
Image via Flickr by shixart1985 Licensed CC BY 2.0

With the following tips and strategies, you can streamline the process of introducing your baby and pet in a smooth and easy manner.

Set Up the Baby Room

Pets like to sniff new items brought into their home. Setting up the crib, bassinet, and swing a couple of months before you’re due gives them a chance to become familiar with the items before you put the baby into them.

Carry Around a Pretend Baby

While this step may seem silly, it’s a good strategy. You can carry around a doll and talk to it, coo and laugh with the doll, and put it in the crib. Your pet will become familiar with the action and not feel jealous when you perform these actions with the real baby. Also, put the doll in the stroller when you take a walk with the dog, so it gets used to the stroller.

Expose Pets to Other Babies

Babies often squeal and cry unexpectedly, and pets may be startled by this. You can help condition your dog to these baby sounds by exposing it to other babies. Take your dog to a park where moms and babies spend time so your dog becomes familiar with the sound of squeals and laughter common among babies. If you have friends with babies, invite them over to your home so your cat or dog can experience having a baby in the house.

Have Newborn Baby Clothes Available for Pets To Sniff

Once your baby is born, have them sleep in an outfit. Then, without washing the clothing, put the outfit next to your pet so it can smell the baby smell. By the time the pet and the newborn meet, the baby’s scent will be familiar to your pet.

Prepare and Train Your Pets

Before introducing your baby and your pet, make sure your pet has its vaccinations and pertinent shots. Here are a few local veterinarians who can give your pet a checkup:

Dogs that have professional training are easier to control and can make your life with a new baby easier. An easy way to do this is going to dog training classes.

Pet Training Around Ashburn

Here’s a list of a few pet training facilities in our area:

If you have a cat, you may need to teach them when it’s appropriate to jump on your lap, how to stay out of baby food, and not to jump in the crib.

Arrange for a Pet Sitter

You may want to have a pet sitter take care of your animal for a few days after your baby arrives. Here’s a list of pet sitters:

After the Baby Arrives

You’ve prepared your home, yourself, and pet for the changes about to take place before your baby comes. Here are a few tips to help you after the baby arrives.

Introduce the Baby to Your Pet on Neutral Ground

Once your pet comes back from the pet sitter and it’s time to introduce it to your infant, do so on neutral ground. Bring the dog out to the driveway or to a nearby park and slowly let them smell the baby while petting your dog. Your dog may not feel so territorial and protective on neutral ground.

Give Treats to the Dog While Nursing or Feeding the Baby

One way to encourage positive behavior from your dog is to reward it with treats while you’re engaged with the baby, especially when nursing or feeding them. Nursing and feeding is an intimate experience for you and the baby, and your dog will sense that. Giving your dog treats while feeding will make your furry friend feel special.

Teach Your Young One To Respect Your Pet

You want to teach your pet to sniff and interact with your infant gently, and you also want to teach your growing child to be gentle with your pet. Show the child how to slowly pet the cat or dog without tail or ear pulling.

Always Supervise Baby and Pet

Even with all these strategies in place, you want to supervise any time the baby and pet are in the same room. If the baby startles the dog or cat, the pet may scratch or nip at the baby. Avoid these potential confrontations by supervising interactions.

Keep Your Pet Happy

It’s important to keep routines that your pet is familiar with to keep them healthy and happy. Take your dog, or have someone else take them, for long, scheduled walks or playtime with other dogs. Try to stick to regular feeding times with all pets and make time to give your cat or dog some special alone time.

Cats can startle easily, and if your baby suddenly cries or makes a quick move, you want the cat to have a safe place to go. To keep your cat happy, keep a door open to a room the baby isn’t in for the cat to slip into. A happy pet won’t feel jealous or threatened by the new human infant sharing their home.

All of us at Creme de la Creme Port Potomac hope these tips help you successfully and peacefully introduce your new baby to your cat or dog. Do you have any other suggestions or strategies to help with this important process? If so, feel free to let us know and we’ll add your tip to our list.