We have a lot of volunteers that are having first babies soon, so we thought we would put together a list of often recommended tips for first time parents / old-hand pet owners, plus baby items we’re hearing about! Let us know if you have anything to add!
One thing you can do to get your pet ready for a baby joining the family is to start to get the nursery ready. If you plan on letting your pets in the nursery, let them get comfortable with the room as you’re putting it together. If you do not want them in the nursery, putting a baby gate is a good way for them to get comfortable with the changes without being able to enter the room. Start to lay the ground rules down way before the baby makes her entrance. For example, if you don’t want your cat to jump in the crib, start using sticky tape or a product like SSSCat by PetSafe; if it detects motion in its range, it sprays a harmless but startling puff of air. If you set it up in advance, by the time the baby comes you should be able to remove the deterrents and your pet’s behavior should be already set.
This is a bassinet we have heard nothing but rave reviews about! Not only is it stylish and compact, but it will give you on average an entire hour extra of sleep per night!
Expensive, yes! But we hear it gets you SLEEP which is going to be at a premium of premiums! Automatically starts to jiggle when it senses that your baby is waking up! Good until baby is about 6 months old. The SNOO smart sleeper is on all of our lists!
You have all the grooming accessories for your dogs & cats; now it’s time to start a baby grooming product collection! The FridaBaby products are a godsend for helping make your baby comfortable & healthy. A snot-plugged nose making your little one miserable will be gone in a jif with the NoseFrida. A gassy tummy will be alleviated by the Windi. Buy all the BabyFrida products to be prepared for all your future baby’s bodily functions! 😀
This is a great baby monitor to use when you are in the house. You get real-time video on an awesome little receiver. It has features like two-way talk, temperature readout so you can make sure that your baby is comfortable even if she’s on the other side of the house, night vision, etc. Battery life is great too!
Arlo is the very best camera! I have four Arlo cameras already, and will be adding this one before my baby comes. Right now, my Arlo cameras help me keep tabs on my dog who has seizures, as well as the rest of the furbabies. I have one in the barn too, and was able to watch my horses during the last hurricane and was able to relax knowing they were safe. You can get motion alerts, and it saves all your little videos for 7 days. This is the kind of camera that would be great to have if you were at work and want to check up on the nanny! This Arlo has features like the above cam does too; you can check up on the temperature and humidy, and even play lullabies!
The Puj Tub transforms your sink into a cushy little baby bath!
Something else you can do to help prepare your furbaby for the arrival of the human baby is to get them used to the sounds a baby will make. So… cooing, sure. But mostly crying. And squealing! Find videos on YouTube of babies crying and start playing them on the regular at the sound you think they will be happening in your home soon. Then the sounds won’t be so foreign!
When it comes to sounds, white noise machines are a MUST even if you only have pets. Then when you add a baby to the mix? We keep one going every night just so the dogs don’t wake up to every noise on the street at night. Keep your baby sleeping during naptime! Here are a few really well reviewed options!
Keep your baby’s butt protected, but the cream off your hands!
Keep your medications out of the reach of your new little one!
More bathtime goodies!
You will want to start adjusting your schedule to what you approximate it will be after the baby arrives. If you pet gets LOTS of one-on-one and snuggling time, start weaning them back as you just will not have time for it after the baby comes. Instead of lots of time, make sure that the time you give your pets is quality time. If you have a dog, take them to the lake swimming or take them on a hike. If you have a cat, have active playtime with the laser pointer you’ve had in the kitchen drawer for so long. Then start planning for the activities you will be able to have with your pet when the baby arrives. If you’re a dog owner, you know they love walks! Get them used to walking with a stroller! Then there will be one less change that arrives with the crying bundle of smells!
Although no one can quite prepare you for the changes your schedule will see, and the changes in your sleep schedule, getting prepared now will make things easier once the baby arrives. Making sure you have everything she needs to be safe & happy once she arrives will take a load off your mind. Start by getting sleep essentials like this sleep sack, which is now what is recommended in place of baby blankets that pose a health risk.
This is the #1 one on Amazon!
Before you bring the baby home, you hopefully will have a day or two when the baby is at the hospital and you can use the time to acclimate your pet to the new baby’s smells. Bring home a blanket from the hospital or some of her worn pajamas to let your pet sniff. Then when you bring her home for the first time, make sure you are calm and set the tone for this VERY BIG CHANGE. Greet your pet, then while someone else is holding the baby let your pet sniff her. If your pet gets too excited, cut the introduction session short but do not get excited about it. Take the baby away until your pet calms down. In every interaction, try to make sure that your pet is seeing this new baby as a mostly positive addition to the home. Being scolded every time he comes near her to investigate or get near her things will confuse him.
Teach your baby sign language for earlier effective communication! Plus, how cute! You can probably try to use the same signals with your dog!
After the baby arrives, your time will be very short for the coming months. When you have help at the house, whether from a neighbor or your partner, make sure you give your pet a few minutes of attention which she is probably craving. Is someone covering for you, so you get a nap? Grab your dog or cat and have a snuggle and snooze session!
Being able to block out loud noises is a good way to help lower your stress level. Whether those noises come from your dogs, construction next door, or your new baby, grab a few minutes of peace by using noise-cancelling headphones for some quiet time. They are indispensable for travel too!
If your pet has difficulty adjusting to the new baby, seek the help of a pet trainer before it becomes a big problem. If you live in South Florida, we would be happy to recommend a trainer. If you live elsewhere, reach out to some local rescue organizations and ask for recommendations to humane, positive-only trainers that can help your pet adjust to the new arrival. It’s amazing the help a knowledgable trainer can give us in situations that seem so difficult!