There’s a lot to plan and prepare for when it comes to bringing baby home after birth.
Something that can often be overlooked is the relationship between your family pets and your new baby.
It’s easy to assume pets will easily adapt to the arrival of a new baby, but this is not always the case, Red Nose midwife Jane Wiggill cautions.
“80 per cent of dog bites to children happen at either your home, or at a friend’s home,” she says.
But, with a little bit of preparation, you can introduce your baby to your pet in a gentle manner.
The first step, explains Jane, is to think of ways to safely separate your pets from your baby.
“Make sure you have internal flywire doors installed, or child gates, that allow for some space between bub and your family pet,” she says.
And, she says, think about changes to your pet’s routine that will occur once baby comes home.
“Changes to a pet’s routine can include things like where they sleep, eat, and when and how you exercise or play with them,” Jane explains.
“Start introducing these changes to routine before your new baby arrives, to make them a bit more comfortable.
“For example, if you plan on taking your dog for a walk with your baby in a pram, practice this before your baby arrives.”
You can also prepare your pet for baby’s arrival by getting them used to baby noises, smells and furniture or objects beforehand.
“Let your pet explore new smells by applying lotions and powders to your hand and letting them smell, or play a recording of baby noises so they get used to these new sounds,” Jane says.
“You can also let your pet come into your baby nursery so they can smell and investigate the furniture.”
So, now you have prepared your pet for your baby’s arrival, what should you do when it is time to introduce bub to your pet?
”Never force a pet to meet your baby,” Jane advises.
“Let your dog or cat approach when it is comfortable, and give them lots of reassurance and positive reinforcement through praise and stroking.”
It’s also a good idea for mum to spend some one-on-one time with your pet. “It’s important that your pet doesn’t feel like it is being punished, so make sure you have lots of toys and treats on hand.”
By following these tips, you can be reassured that your pet and baby will have a loving relationship.”
This article was put together with thanks to our friends at We are Family.
For more tips and tricks, visit www.wearefamily.vic.gov.au