How to mix fur babies with human babies
Wednesday, 1 May 2019 | Mummy and Little Me
A mama of fur babies and human babies!
Following our first full day out as a family of 5, Hubs & I, Jesse & our 2 fur children – Ruby & Bonnie, (which I have to add, was far more successful than I had anticipated). I’ve decided to theme this weeks blog around sharing the love between all of our children – furry or not!! Don’t get me wrong, we’ve been on walks before, trips to the beach for an hour or so, but never a full day, picnic, friends and of all weekends – Bank Holiday, it was bound to be a busy one!
Welcoming a new member into the family
We got Ruby, our golden retriever the same month we moved into our first home together, and she gained her best buddy, Bonnie, our Labrador, the following summer. Before having a baby, our weekends were spent devoted to the two of them – trips to the beach, the local river bank or holidays in the UK which meant they could come along too! This was something I was so conscious of ensuring we tried our hardest not to change, although things would be inevitably different.
During pregnancy they were SUPER friendly, laying on my belly etc. as though they were already bonding with the baby. Both dogs have been fabulous with their new baby brother, if anything a little too interested! We obviously keep them at arms length, and always ensure we never leave them alone together, but they’ll often come over and try to give him a lick, or watch what he’s up to! They’re even more fond now he’s eating, and likes to drop food to them!
We always spoke about how we didn’t want the dogs to feel left out when the baby arrived, we worried that isolating them from him would make them resentful, so ensured that as soon as we arrived home the dogs were back home. They were so excited to see us, but it was almost like they knew, they were so gentle, and would sit by the crib guarding Jesse. We did notice the dogs were a little wary of people coming round, but ensured we gave them treats and reassured them everything was ok. They were clearly protecting the families newest member.
As Jesse grows it’s wonderful to see the interest he has in them, and equally the love they have towards him. We ensure they have a safe, but involved relationship with one another, encouraging Jesse to stroke them carefully and ensuring the dogs have their own space too. We don’t allow Jesse to touch any of their toys or beds, and visa versa, we want the all to respect one another. So far so good, however we are always conscious of the fact that neither the dogs or baby are fully aware, and can be temperamental so ensure we are all eyes and in a reachable position when they interact with one another. I can’t wait for them all to grow and learn together.
From my experience, I’ve put together some top tips for anyone bringing a baby home when they already have dogs;
Top tips for introducing the baby to the fur babies
1. Start the process before the baby is born
This can be done by having the crib around before the baby is born, as well as the pram and other items to ensure the dogs are used to them. Also installing a baby gate to the baby’s bedroom to ensure the dogs know this is a ‘no go’ zone for them.
2. Ensure the dogs can respond to simple demands
This is vital for ensuring the dogs understand when it’s time to come away from the baby and ensuring a calm environment is maintained. We took our dogs to training and puppies which has definitely helped their obedience as adult dogs and is something we use daily.
3. Don’t exclude the dogs when baby arrives
As I mentioned before, isolating the dogs is bound to make them even more curious and feel uneasy, especially when they’re used to so much attention prior to the new arrival. Your love just has to be shared now!
4. Greet your dogs and then introduce the baby
On arrival home we tried to do this, just to settle the dogs and for them to be prepared for the baby. This would allow them to know we were home and one of us settled the dogs before brining the baby in.
5. Try to keep normality where possible
Our dogs were used to hourly walks, sometimes multiple walks, daily however we knew this simply wouldn’t be feasible when the baby came, at least not for the first few weeks, or months, so we reduced this slightly before Jesse arrived, we made sure one of us was comfortable with walking with them and cut their walks slightly, but enough to ensure they had plenty of physical exercise.
Good luck – and remember, you CAN share your love, and the dogs are just as important as before, even on tough days, you can do this!