A Dog and a Baby

Bella has always been the #1 baby in my life.

baby bell (2)

{Baby Bell! I used to dress her everyday. Haha}

She was actually a Valentine’s gift from the Pilot. I was studying at my apartment, he went out to “run an errand” and came back with a little maltipoo that fit in the palm of my hand- she was 3 lbs. He knew I had been wanting a puppy forever, and it was love at first sight. Everyone in the family loves Bella (my mom wants to dognap her), and whenever we come over, they ask where she is if we leave her at home.

She’s my little partner in crime, goes with me everywhere, and has actually been one of the very few constants in this crazy military life.

She’s lived SO many places with me:

-my Tucson college apartment with roomies

-my Tucson college apartment just the two of us

-In Fayetteville, NC

-Valdosta, GA

-Orlando and

-back to Tucson

and she definitely knows something is up. I actually think she knew I was pregnant before I did

I tried to explain to her that I’ll love her just as much when the little guy gets here, but I know she’ll be super jealous.


She likes having us all to herself.


The thing is, I’m not worried in the least about her biting or hurting the baby. She LOVES kids. In fact, during a dinner party one night, she was sitting in front of our friends’ baby and the baby reached out, grabbed Bella’s ear and pulled- hard. She let out a little yelp, ran away and that was it.


I just know she’ll be jealous and not understand.

Did you have a dog before baby? Any tips on how to make it easier for a puppy to adjust to a new baby in the house?

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  1. Kara on August 7, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    If you have your husband bring home the baby’s hat (the one they give when he’s born) for Bella to sniff, that helps. Otherwise, just stay relaxed and trust that everyone will love each other. 🙂

    • Kara on August 8, 2011 at 10:44 am

      I actually wrote a post a few months ago about babies and dogs. I have a very easygoing dog, but hopefully you’ll find something helpful there.

    • Gina on August 8, 2011 at 12:21 pm

      We did that when our first child was born. I’m not srue if it helped but it sure didn’t hurt. We had absolutely no issues with the baby and the pets.

  2. Kristi on August 7, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    I worried so much about it! Towards the end of my pregnancy, I would talk to my dog and cry and tell her I would still love her best. But once the baby was here, it just wasn’t true. And the dog just seemed to know that things had shifted and she was totally fine with it. They ended up being great buddies!

  3. Silvia @ skinny jeans food on August 7, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Bella is gonna be a great, protective big sister!

  4. Sana on August 7, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Awww Bella is going to be a big sister!

  5. Krystina (Organically Me) on August 7, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    The story about how the pilot got Bella is adorable. If my boyfriend got me a puppy I’d melt into a big Krystina puddle.

  6. Cheri on August 7, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Before we had our son we let the dogs hang out in his room, sniff everything that was for him, even stick their noses into the diaper bag. After our son was born, one of his baby blankets was brought home for them to sniff and check out and the dogs were given the “gentle” command with the smell. Then when we brought baby home, my hands were free when we came inside so I could pet and love on them. Dad had the job of bringing in baby and putting him (car seat and all) on the table for them to “gently” investigate. They took right to him thankfully and would cry whenever he seemed the least bit out of sorts 🙂

  7. Amy on August 7, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    Once little man is there,

  8. Shanna on August 7, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    We got a dog a yr ago and have heard the trick is slow introductions and watching for acting out 😉

  9. Amy on August 7, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Once little man is there, Bella may be a bit jealous. BUT she will see how important he is to his mama, so since she loves you soooooo much, she will be very protective of him. It will be fine. She will just need a bit of an adjustment period.

  10. Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me on August 7, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    lol Bella looks angry in that first photo! She is such a cutie. I know it will be hard for her but just make sure to still give her plenty of attention. She’ll adjust just fine.

    • Fitnessista on August 7, 2011 at 7:17 pm

      not angry, sassy. haha

  11. Evelyn on August 7, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    I’m sure she’ll be amazing! I know that when I was little my mother was really concerned about our family pup, but oddly enough, he guarded me and slept next to my crib, and he was the same way for the rest of his life. I’m sure baby and puppy will be BFF’s.

  12. Kate @ Vet in the Saddle on August 7, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    I haven’t been in this situation (no kids), but I do have multiple pets, and I think the important thing is to continue to spend time with Bella and take her to the dog park and do all the normal things you would with her as much as possible. I know it kind of seems like such a “duh” thing to do, but I think you just need to focus on having “Bella time” and “baby time” 🙂

  13. Madeline (Food Fitness & Family) on August 7, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    I am really excited to read all the comments on this post because I have been thinking about the same things with our dogs. My puggle is SUPER spoiled and used to being the king of the house. Our German Shepherd is our big baby.

    My friends have 2 boxers and they did what a couple of other readers suggested – brought home a blanket before the baby and let the dogs get the smell. Then had dad bring baby in, in the car seat, and kept baby in the car seat for the introduction. Everything I have read has leaned towards this kind of approach.

    I am sure Bella will be great 🙂

    • Dynamics on August 7, 2011 at 10:49 pm

      Also…We were told to put our scent on the baby and introduce the baby outside the home so she likes the baby before coming on her territory.

  14. ivette on August 7, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    One of the things that helped us was bringing two used blankies from the hospital home before the baby arrived for them to smell and have as their own. I must say I have two very large dobermans, and they LOVE my son, he throws himself on them, pulls their ears, drags them around by the collar, and they do nothing of course I am forever present and always close enough just in case, because im a nervous nelly. But its ike they knew. they just accepted it. and rolled with it.

  15. Chloe (In Fine Feather) on August 7, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    I’ve definitely heard that letting the dog smell the baby clothes & the baby is a great way for them to get used to the little one. I’m sure Bella will also love having him around once she figures out what is going on 🙂 It will definitely be a transition for all of you, but since she’s already such a good dog I’m sure she’ll be great.

  16. kristine on August 7, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Im sure bella will learn to love her new brother 🙂

  17. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga on August 7, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    Girl our dogs never adjusted to Skylar. It’s a really long story, I can email you about it.

    You are super smart to be talking to Bella, spending time with her, giving her extra love now…all this stuff will help out down the road, trust me.

    I am working on the little project for you…should be emailing it over within an hour 🙂

  18. Lauren on August 7, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    My pup was definitely my first baby! I even cried when I went I to labor because I was worried about her being alone for such a long time! Haha! It took a little while, but she adjusted. We actually had to give her Bach remedy dog drops to calm her down because every time the baby would cry, she thought we were hurting her. She would bark at my husband and I and “bite” us (her bites are playful, she doesn’t hurt or anything). Now at 8 months we are all adjusted, even all sleeping in the same bed! 🙂 I would say it took a month or so to calm her and have her understand what was going on. They are buddies now, Audriana even throws her toy to her! Haha!

    • Lauren on August 7, 2011 at 8:24 pm

      P.s. We brought the hospital blanket home for her to sniff and let her check out and sniff the baby.

  19. britt on August 7, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    my dog, also bella, definitely knew something was going on when i was pregnant. she would snuggle up against my belly all day long. a couple months before i was due, we would play audio of a baby crying to get her used to it so she wouldn’t be nervous. to introduce her to the new baby, we brought a receiving blanket with us to the hospital so we could make it smell like the new baby and then my husband brought it home to bella before we brought the baby home. we also bought her a new toy to give to her when we introduced her to the baby. a new baby was really no big deal to her until he started crawling. that’s kind of freaked her out and made her more nervous but we just give them both their space. the baby actually chases bella and it’s a lot of fun but she wants nothing to do with him touching/petting her. and if we have to redirect him, tell him no, etc, she feels the need to help. we call her the “enforcer.” she barks at him when he is looking at her through the baby gate but that’s really all. my biggest piece of advice is don’t force them together. give them space and they will both be happy.
    p.s. sorry if this is long and confusing. hope it makes sense 😉

  20. Ginger on August 7, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    We were so nervous about how our spoiled elderly dog and two cats (all indoor) would adjust to the baby. we did bring a blanket from the hospital for them to sniff but they didn’t really care about that.
    Truthfully, we’ve neglected them a lot since our baby was born 6 months ago. Thankfully, they’ve adjusted just fine! None of them care much about the baby or bother her (nor are they trying to cuddle with her – ha ha). She’s just now getting to where she’ll notice them and pull on their fur. They don’t like it but none of them have snapped at her. They just yelp and run away.
    I’m hoping one day at least one of the cats will be her buddy, but obviously she’ll have to learn to pet not pull first! Ha ha.
    Anyway, your pup will be fine. They are more resiliant than you think. And you’re committed to still being a great pup mama, which is the MOST important thing! (I hate it when people have babies and get rid of their pets)

  21. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance on August 7, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    I didn’t know Bella was a present from the Pilot! That makes her so much more sentimental of a pet 🙂

    I’m sure Bella is nicer than my old dog Dusty, but when my mom had m she had to give him away because he bit my brother 🙁 No bueno

  22. Ali @ urbanfruitbat on August 7, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    My parents had a cat before they had me, and she never really liked me. It was kinda funny. We got new cats, and the new cat that was obsessed with my mom, hated me to. Just worry about the Bella being sassy towards the baby. lol

  23. Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups on August 7, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Dogs are surpringly intuitive when it comes to babies. When my boyfriend’s newphew camee along, our 120-pound dog was super gentle and just likes to lick his feet, if he can get away with it. I’m sure you’ll do a great job still giving Bella love once the baby arrives!

  24. BethT on August 7, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Buddy wasn’t jealous of Lucy – he was just sad that we didn’t pay as much attention to him at first, so be prepared for that 🙁 If you have family or a friend who Bella really loves, maybe see if that person can come over a lot in the first few weeks to give her some snuggles. Once we got in our groove and Lucy started going to bed at a decent hour, Buddy got happy again since he could get back in my lap after dinner 🙂

    • Fitnessista on August 8, 2011 at 1:23 am

      i love that idea- i’m sure people would be happy to come over and snuggle with bell 🙂

  25. Katherine on August 7, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    We have a big half poodle/half german shepherd who is our baby! When we brought the baby home 4 weeks ago, he was with my brother-in-law and they arrived shortly after. The dog was so calm and mindful of our little baby and continues to be. We had all the intention of bringing a blanket home and all that, but it didn’t work out that way. My hubby led our pup to the car seat and let him sniff around before bringing him into the bedroom where the baby and I were. It all worked out great. He follows us into her room every time we change a diaper and sniffs her all the time. We did get advice from a dog trainer who said the most important thing is to let the dog sniff and even lick (gasp!) the baby if they want to. Not shooing them away builds confidence and helps baby become part of the existing family! Bella will do great!

    • Fitnessista on August 8, 2011 at 1:23 am

      that’s a great tip- thank you!

  26. Elizabeth @ reads recipes runs on August 7, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Bella is going to protect that little man like nobody’s business. And once he grows up, just imagine the camaraderie the two will have! I can just imagine the shenanigans…

  27. char @ char on a mission on August 7, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    That is so sweet. I especially love the first pic of Bella!! My SIL and BIL had, had “babies” for their dogs before actual human babies arrived haha, so they had to rename the doggy babies and call them toys, just so they wouldn’t get confused when the actual baby came. But, it never seemed to be a problem because the one dog, like Bella will let the kids do anything to him.

    They’re such smart creatures and I think they understand that they can handle the abuse with kids haha!

  28. Liza on August 7, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    I just had my daughter in March. We have a lab. I tried to obsessively read a lot about how to handle things with dogs and a baby. Mostly because my dog is so big and clumsy, I was afraid she might hurt my daughter by accident. What made the most sense to me was how dogs behave with mothers and puppies in a pack. I read that in a pack moms of puppies don’t let the rest of the pack around their babies right away. My daughter is almost 5 months and Jessie (my dog) has not been anywhere near her yet. Once my daughter gets into the walker/crawling/more mobile stages they will never be left alone together. My dog is sweet and gentle and my heart tells me she would never hurt my daughter but you never know. I also have a 9 year old son and even though they’ve grown up together, Jessie will give small, gentle warning signs when she wants to be left alone for the night. I’ve had to pay attention to how she behaves and teach my son when to leave her alone. Eventually I’ll have to teach my daughter the same things too. As of now, Jessie doesn’t bother with the baby at all. She’s not even curious anymore. 🙂

  29. Sara on August 7, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    My sister’s dog was fine with the baby, putting up with an awful lot of mauling, tail pulling, ear pulling, being used as a pillow… all that stuff that pets have to put up with ;D. One of my cats also was fine with her, but the other three would disappear as soon as my sister’s car pulled up my driveway. If she is already good with kids then that’s a good sign. It’s probably a personality thing – just like humans, some animals are into children and some are not.

  30. J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) on August 7, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    Awww, Bella is so adorable! I’m sure the transition will be fine and she will love the baby just as much as everyone else! 🙂

  31. Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn on August 8, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Awwww I wuv. Just keep the doggy from being able to reach the trash can..an old family story is that the dog took the baby out to the trash in its blanket. I kid you not.

    • Fitnessista on August 8, 2011 at 1:20 am

      i’m pretty sure the baby will weigh more than bella, so we should be ok 😉

  32. Michelle on August 8, 2011 at 2:27 am

    I have a pom that we can my “tumor” because she is constantly next to me. Literally, attached. I was VERY worried she’d be jealous. She was allowed to go in out out of the baby’s room, none of that phased her.

    Someone else suggested you not carry the baby in the house the first time. We did that and I think it helped. She had my undivided attention. But after being gone for 5 days, she was so happy to see me (and me her, I was so excited to get home with Via, but I was almost in tears waiting to see her little white face!) that I could have been carrying a infant seat full of treats and he wouldn’t have noticed. She made weird faces at the baby sounds the first few days. The first couple times she jumped up next to me and saw V. in my arms she got all digusted and left. I didn’t run to her or beg her to come. I was am primarily a SAHM and she was going to have to get used to it! V. is 2 now and they are BEST friends. Yes, the dog gets dragged around and covered with baby blankets, she put a toy pot lid on the dog as a hat, she just sits and takes all the attention. We have had one “Timmy’s in the well, Lassie?” moment. The first time Via crawled up the stairs while I was done, Daphne went pom loco! They ride in the jogger together sharing treats. Honestly, my concerns that I wouldn’t be able to give the dog all the attention I had came true and you’ll find the same, but it’s that way it kinda has to be. But it hasn’t done anything to her as far as I can tell. She’s spent every late night feeding at my feet. During some of those long, lonely nights, I really appreciated the company. I think small dogs are more adaptable because the lack of 1:1 is countered by the fact they are small and sit near you and the baby. She’s had to spend more time on a tie out because I would put her out and forget (preggo brain doesn’t go away for awhile :/)or get busy with babe and she’d take off, but she protested only for like a week. Our friends had a maltese and it didn’t pay any attention to their son until he could whip food on the floor, around 1!!

  33. Emma on August 8, 2011 at 4:56 am

    I don’t have a baby yet, but when one of my friends was pregnant their dog, a collie, was sooo protective of her. The dog would lay across her lap with her head on my friends belly, and the dog was really protective of friend. The vet told my friend that dogs, who have much better hearing than humans, can often hear the baby’s heartbeat!! I thought that was awesome 😀

  34. Sally on August 8, 2011 at 6:24 am

    I’m glad you brought this up i’m eager to read the comments and know more about this. I don’t have children yet, but i have 2 adorable cats who have been my babies for almost 5 years now. One of them is very affectionate but veeery jealous. When i’m petting his brother he will give me the stink eye, then he would run and jump on him and bite him and start a fight. So i do worry A LOT about this. Especially that cats can go anywhere, climb on cribs,… Hope someone gives about this! Have a great week

  35. Sam on August 8, 2011 at 8:19 am

    I don’t have either but I want a dog so badly 🙁 I need to live in a house.
    As for the pets + babies thing…I think in the end bella will have more love because your baby is going to grow up loving that dog too!

  36. Juani on August 8, 2011 at 9:43 am

    One of my biggest fears of having a child someday,is that I will neglect my cats.We have 4 (cat lady-in-training!),and both my boyfriend and I love them to bits.

  37. Laura on August 8, 2011 at 9:45 am

    When I was born, my aunt had 2 labs and the first time my parents brought me over to her house they laid me down on the ground and let the doggies sniff me and lick me. My super scared dad was right next to me in case he needed to pull me or the dogs away. My aunt had read somewhere that it gave the dog the sense that they were the parent of the baby. To the day that the labs died, they were super protective of me and never once growled, snapped or even barked at me.

  38. Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) on August 8, 2011 at 10:22 am

    My first baby, a fur baby, is spoiled, but the biggest sweetheart ever. When Baby D arrives in a few weeks, I know Koda is going to be great. I’m so glad, too, because I couldn’t imagine the stress of worrying about a dog getting along with the baby. I’ll post about it, though 🙂

  39. Lily on August 8, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Awww! How old is Bella? Such a cutie!

  40. Valentina on August 8, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Hi Gina,

    I have been reading your blog for a while and your posts are very interesting and fun.
    My comment has nothing to do with your question from this post i do not have a baby yet so i would love to know the answer to that myself LOL! But i did notice that you said you lived in Fayetteville NC, my boyfriend currently lives and works there he has moved over a few months ago, I currently live in Ireland but I am planning to move over and join him in a few months time and i am wondering if you know of any healthy places we could eat out there or are there any good food markets that we could go visit on the weekend?

    • Fitnessista on August 8, 2011 at 11:43 am

      hi valentina!
      so fun to hear from a reader in ireland- i’d love to travel there one of these days 🙂
      i loved fayetteville. it’s tiny, and some parts are sketchy, but we had so much fun there. they don’t offer too much as far as restaurants go (chain restaurants), but i had no prob finding healthy options wherever we went. also, wilmington beach is BEAUTIFUL, and so are trips to myrtle beach and raleigh. they do have a fayetteville farmers market, too 🙂

  41. MMalloy on August 8, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Everyone told us while we were pregnant that we would be in trouble with our Yorkie ‘Tinkerbell’…not true. Tink loves Alice, sure it took some adjustments for everyone, but Tink was the least of it. My best advice is to give Bella ‘safe places’ once baby is moving. We have a safety gate in our main area that Tink can go in and out of freely, Alice on the other hand is safe on one side (keeps her from getting upstairs or into our bathroom on the main floor).

  42. azjenny on August 8, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Hey Gina, I never post but couldn’t pass this one up. Congratulations on your upcoming arrival! Do you remember my sweet black and yellow labs you dogsat – Tex & Annie? Everyone told us they would be jealous and feel neglected when we had babies. We made it a point to give them attention and kept to their regular ball chasing / walking routine and never had a problem. In fact, their lives were more exciting once the babies arrived – they would sit under the highchair and wait for food to drop, etc. – Bella will be fine! 🙂

    • Fitnessista on August 8, 2011 at 5:58 pm

      hi jenny! so awesome to hear from you- hope you and your fam are doing well. i definitely remember tex and annie! thanks for the words of reassurance 🙂 take care!

  43. Kimberly @ Healthy Strides on August 8, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    My lil guy is a month old, and I was naive in thinking it was going to be a smooth transition with our 2.5-year-old Siberian husky. He’s never done anything to hurt the baby – in fact, he wants to lick him all the time – but you can see that he’s depressed. We do our best to keep him exercised and allow him to be involved with Miles. Other things that might have helped: We were home a whole day before picking up Denali from the kennel and had a formal introduction of the two; Denali is allowed in the nursery but only when we are there; and making sure one of us gives him some belly rubs throughout the day. Good luck!

  44. Kate on August 8, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Awww baby Bella is so cute! I definitely thought that I’d dress my chihuahua up more than I have. Since I don’t have any kids yet, I don’t have any pearls of wisdom to offer. I have actually wondered myself how she will respond when we have kids. I look forward to seeing the responses!

  45. Tena on August 8, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    I was wondering how old your malti-poo is. My malti-poo was born in Tucson and could be Bella’s identical twin. I know they all look somewhat similar, but it’s uncanny. 🙂

    • Fitnessista on August 8, 2011 at 7:06 pm

      she’ll be 6 on december 14 🙂

      • Tena on August 8, 2011 at 7:19 pm

        Ohhh, he just turned 5…so I guess they weren’t litter mates. Darn, that would have been awesome. 🙂

        • Fitnessista on August 8, 2011 at 7:30 pm

          that would have been!

  46. mary on August 8, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    I think Bella will understand right away. Dogs understand offspring. If she’s like my dog, she’ll be the baby’s biggest protector in no time.

  47. Emily on August 8, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    So funny story. My parents had a cat (Sony) when I was born. It was their beloved kitty and then I came along. One day Sony jumped on my crib and hissed and me and my mom scolded the cat. From that day until the cat died she HATED me. I wasn’t allowed to touch her. My sister (who is two years younger) and the cat got along great. So, in conclusion, I have no advise.

  48. Lori Z on August 9, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    We took a blanket to the hospital and wrapped our daughter in it. My husband then took it home and put it in our dogs bed so he would be familiar with her scent. I don’t know if that is what did the trick, but we brought her home and he was very protective of her. No matter who was holding her, he was right at their feet! No problems whatsoever!

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