Babies and pets

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.

me and bell7

(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!

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  1. Lisa on January 14, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Great post, Laury!!
    I love the pics of munchi and ella—they’re both super adorable 🙂
    I don’t have any pets, or any babies on the way…but this is a very interesting topic–things we non-pet owners wouldn’t think of. From now on, I’ll be sure to acknowledge and say hello to my friends’ pets when I visit to smooch their babies!

  2. Robyn (GirlonRaw) on January 14, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Love Laury! And nice post girl, I really love that pic of Ella sleeping. Aren’t they just adorable when you watch them sleep.

  3. Lucy on January 14, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Thank you for this post Laury (&Gina)!

    We don’t have any babies on the way yet, but have two kitties who get treated very much like Munchkin did/does. It’s awesome and a relief to know that when the time comes, there are things we can do to make them feel just as loved <3

  4. Andrea on January 14, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Thank you for sharing! Adorable pics! We are so worried that when we have babies of what might happen with the kitties. I have one female cat that is a diva and one male kitten that is IDENTICAL to Munchkin (white markings and all). 🙂 We are not worried about the male but the female isn’t very nice. I will definitely try the tips you mentioned to help with the process.

  5. Chantal on January 14, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Awesome, Laury! The steps you guys took to make both Ella and Munchkin comfortable with each other were so conscious and me and the hubs (who I just read this too) really admire that 🙂 And they’re both super cute!

  6. Laury on January 14, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Thank you so much again for inviting me to do a guest post, Gina 🙂

    I’m excited to hear all about Bella’s story! That photo of the two of you is too sweet! My sister in laws dog was a super protective too, it’s very sweet to see how fur-siblings just know to take on the role to protect their own!


  7. Krystina (Organically Me) on January 14, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    This post was really cute. It really shows how much you value and love your pet, I’m sure there are a lot of people that wouldn’t even think about this. I have a cat that I absolutely adore (yay cat people!) and I’m definitely going to want her to feel loved and attended to when I have a child.

  8. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga on January 14, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Great post and I love the baby + pet pictures…so cute.

    I hope things are going smoothly on the new parenthood front, Gina, with baby and with pets and with it all.

    And Laury, fun to see you over here. And your daughter just is growing like a weed!

  9. Michelle (Better with Berries) on January 14, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Love this post – even though I don’t have any kids yet, and won’t for a while, I have a dog (meeko) that will (hopefully) still be around when the time comes. I’ve always worried a little about what meeko would do since she is used to getting all of my attention. It was interesting reading someone’s story!

  10. Carrie on January 14, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Thank you Laury! Such a great topic for a post! 🙂 I love seeing two of my favorite bloggers together.

    When we brought my first baby home we were unfortunately not as lucky with my dogs. They did not respond well to the baby. I wans’t sure if it was agression or what, but it was frightening and so stressful. I cried for days (baby hormones!) because my dogs had always been my babies. The thought of things not working out was absolutely heartbreaking to me- I couldn’t even consider it without crying. Luckily we called a dog trainer and she was able to explain that their behavior indicated stress and anxiety and not any aggression. We had to be extremely careful, but my daughter is six months now and things are great- thank goodness!

    I love the baby posts~ Keep them coming! 🙂

  11. Yelena (One Healthy Apple) on January 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    This is a fantastic post, with great tips. I am pregnant and have some fears about our first child (yes, my dog is my child) getting less attention and not adjusting well, but I am really hoping we all adjust. Thanks for the great tips and Laury- your daughter is a cutie pie!

  12. JennP on January 14, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    This might sound naive, but my only real concern with our 2 cats when we brought our daughter home was allergies – which fortunately have not been a problem. They are both pretty mellow, and I knew that they wouldn’t be jealous or territorial (it probably helped to have 2, because they were used to sharing everything already).

    I just found that we had to be very mindful once she became mobile that she wasn’t sneaking up on them while they napped, getting into their food etc. But, all in all, we had a very smooth, easy transition to life with pets and a baby.

  13. Laura on January 14, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Great post Laury! Glad to hear that Munchkin is doing so well with Ella. That first picture of Munchkin is a KILLER! I bet he gets away with murder with those big cute eyes!

    I’m going to keep this post handy for when it comes time to start prepping our pets!

  14. Kath on January 14, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Love love love this post. Big kitty lover.

  15. Ali on January 14, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Your little Munchkin sounds ADORABLE! Thank you so much for sharing the sweetness, as well as all your awesome tips! <3

  16. Leanne (Bride to Mrs.) on January 14, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    What an amazing post! I have two cats (or furbabies as we like to call them) and always wonder if a baby would bother them… lucky for them, they have at least a couple more years before they have to share their space!

  17. Roro on January 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Congrats!! I happy for you guys

    We recently had to give our puppy (12mos) away to a friend. We recently got temporary custody of our nephew who was 4months at the time. Everything seem to be ok for the first month we let our pup smell him and his stuff allow them to get to know each other. Special play time one on one, however slowly our pup stop listening to us not obeying the smallest task sit or stay. Just one day she starting barking at him and becoming aggressive with us /: We both knew we had to find a better home for her because rather or not our nephew stay with us bringing any baby into our home would have been an issue with her. I think it was the fact that she was jealous. Now she is doing better with a home full with teenagers.

  18. Curlysar on January 14, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Aww bless, such a lovely story 🙂

    I grew up with 2 dogs – 1 black and 1 gold labrador, who were brothers. They were my protectors and would go everywhere with me – if anyone came to visit the house when I was a baby, they had to sit down to hold me as 1 would lie across their feet to stop them going anywhere, and the other would lie across the door, so there was no way anyone could take me away haha. Apparently they helped me to walk as well, with 1 either side of me 😀

    They were with us until I was about 12 years old and I miss them even now, 20 years on! They were such a positive experience for me growing up, and I hope Bella will be the same for Olivia 🙂

  19. Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn on January 14, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Wheeee, Laury! Bing, bang, boom! We had two cats when I was born, and I pulled on one of their tails and got scratched (it happens), buuuut then we got rid of them at some point and then got a dog. He was cray but then settled down after a year or two and was the best dog ever. We have a second one now 🙂

    Wheeeeee, babies!

  20. Natasha on January 14, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    I loved this post! We have 6 animals, and are wanting to have a baby in our near future. I love that you kept muchkin a furbaby still after having Ella. So many people don’t, and often end up ignoring there furry ones. I also love the link to the Co sleeping beds!! I didn’t know they exsisted but made me feel more “normal” that my hubby made bunk beds for our dogs to sleep next to me!

  21. Allison on January 15, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Adorable story and great tips! I’m not expecting and don’t plan to have a little one for a few years, but we did just get a puppy and I wondered how they’d react to having a new person in the house…

  22. Sarah on January 15, 2012 at 8:09 am

    This post was awesome! Great photos and great writing. I loved reading about your experience with integrating a pet and a child…I think that it shows that you will be a good parent if you are concerned about how your “first child” will react and care enough to try to make it easier for them. Munchkin is ADORABLE. We have a dog and I am constantly trying to convince my husband to round out our little family (for now) with a kitten…I showed him Munchkin over breakfast and he said “cute cat! We’re still not getting one.” Oh well–I tried! 🙂

  23. thehealthyapron on January 15, 2012 at 11:26 am

    thanks for the tips laury! I will definitely be needing these soon!!

  24. Sonia the mexigarian on January 15, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    We have 3 cats and a puppy. I can’t imagine having a baby with our zoo, but we will have to figure it out because there is no way in hell am I giving up my fur babies. Thank you or your story.

  25. Emily on January 15, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Great post. Thank you so much for including it. Laury, your family is beautiful!

  26. Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner on January 16, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Awwwweeee, Munchkin is so cute. 🙂

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