Hey guys! Tonight’s guest post is a very special one, since it’s something that we were wondering about with our own family: introducing a pet to a baby.
(Bell comforted me while I was in labor at home.. I wanted to take her to the hospital with us)
Bella has always been the baby in our lives, and she’s doing quite well with the shift in roles. She’s the protective mama dog now, and is slowly getting used to the baby shrieks and new family member in the house. I’ll write a post next week with an update on how things are going and what we did to prepare her, but in the meantime, here’s a post from my friend Laury about her own experience.
Hello, Fitnessista readers!
My name is Laury and I’m honored to write a guest post today for Gina! I can not express how excited I am for her and her family. They are in for the best ride of their lives with Olivia! Parenthood is such an amazing gift and I know Gina and Tom are going to make incredible parents… and Bella a wonderful "big sister!" Many congratulations to them!
Recently my husband and I spent our first Christmas/Hanukkah with our beautiful baby girl who was born this past May. Motherhood has been absolutely incredible. Just when I think my little sweetheart couldn’t possibly get any cuter, sweeter or make my heart melt more….it happens.
However, this wasn’t our first holiday as “parents” and Ella was not the first “baby” we kvelled over. Prior to welcoming our little Ella Weez into the world about 8 months ago, this little guy was the baby of the family:
We adopted Munchkin in November of 2008, right before the holidays. And up until now he was the best gift to come into our lives.
When I got pregnant, I anticipated the new addition to our little family would most-likely cramp Munchkin’s style. This was something that we had to fully prepare for.
You see, Munchkin and I have this obsessive, co-dependent relationship with one another. He’s extremely spoiled by both my husband and I. This little kitty is used to being fussed over constantly. Especially by me. With that said, you can only imagine my concern over how he’d react when someone new would come along and take over his role as the center of attention.
My husband, Michael still considers himself a dog person, but he fell just as hard for our little Munchkin as I did. We have a cat that plays fetch for hours, greets us at the door as soon as we get home, and gives us sad eyes whenever we leave to go out. We get showered with head rubs and kisses every morning and we know he adores us both as much as we adore him. All things that proved his stereotype of cats wrong.
(Ella would do lots of dancing when Munchkin purred, snuggling with my belly)
Towards the end of my pregnancy I spent hours reading everything I could about introducing your pet to your new baby. I refused to spend any less time with him, as some sites recommended; I instead had him spend more time with my husband. Michael had taken over a lot of Munchkin’s care when I was pregnant, such as changing his litter and feeding him, and carrying him to bed at night so that Munchi would become a little more attached to him, and less dependent on me.
When we first brought Ella home, Michael carried her in while I greeted Munchkin with tons of kisses after not seeing him for a few days. When we showed him the baby he seemed a little afraid of her. He came close enough to sniff her, but that was about it.
While I was in the hospital Michael brought home one of the baby’s receiving blankets for Munchkin to sleep on. This was something I heard about from friends and clients while I was pregnant, and I really do believe familiarizing him with her scent before their introduction made a difference. I never carried around a swaddled doll, which was another tip I heard about, but I did play clips of babies crying a few times since that was a sound that none of us was used to hearing around the house. That may have lasted about 30 seconds, but at least I can say we tried it.
Some of my most precious moments were those first few weeks home with my little girl. I spent a lot of time just rocking her in the glider and dozing off while she nursed, only to wake up with Munchkin napping on my feet, purring away. He seemed to know to keep his distance from the baby, but he still needed to be involved. He’s such a sweet cat and has never given us any reason to not trust him around Ella. By that same token we were still smart about it. I’d never let him in the nursery if I wasn’t there and we had a custom tent that was made for Ella’s arm reach co-sleeper for those first few months in our bedroom. At this point keeping them separate when we are not closely watching is for his sake since she’d love nothing more than to grab a wad of his fur as he walks by. Lord help him once she really becomes mobile. :/
All in all “our kids” have adapted well to each other. Ella absolutely adores Munchkin. The squeals that come out of her the moment she sees him are too precious. I’ve seen him kind of hover close to her when we have company that he’s not too sure of. And even though our bedroom is his favorite room in the house, you will often find Munchkin guarding the nursery door in the middle of the night. Or stalking the competition. However you want to look at it.
Michael really came through for our little fur baby those first few months where she was literally attached to my boob all day, all night. He went above and beyond to make sure Munchkin got fussed over. Every time we’ve had company he always made sure to tell them to say hello to Munchkin before they even got up the stairs! Currently, our little fur baby often ditches me to snuggle up on my husbands lap. This was unheard of before the baby was born. There was never any amount of luring with food or toys that would make him choose Michael’s lap over my belly rubs. Now, it’s the other way around but I’m okay with it, because at this point baby girl still prefers me and I know that my boys always have each other. 🙂
How did your pet react to baby’s arrival?
Who was your family pet growing up?
Laury writes for The Fitness Dish, a healthy living blog that follows the life, workouts and recipes of a personal trainer and new mom!