Your pet is going to think he or she has to step aside with your new baby's arrival, and this can be stressful. Your pet thinks of you as a mother or father, and any other pets as his or her sibling. Previously, your pet has been the center of all your attention. Fortunately, there are things you can do to prepare your pet for your baby's arrival.
Minimizing Hurt Feelings
Gradually spend less time with your pet before the baby arrives. This will make it easier for your pet to cope with the shared attention. If the pet is attached to the mother-to-be, another family member should step up and give the pet some extra pampering until the new mother gets adjusted to her new schedule with the new baby.
Prepare Your Pet Medically in Advance
Months before your baby is due, you should have a veterinarian give your pet a routine exam and any needed vaccinations. Spaying or neutering your pet will make them calmer and less aggressive which can give you peace of mind with a new baby in the home.
If your pet has any bad behaviors such as biting, pouncing, swatting, or scratching, they need to be addressed before the baby comes. Training your pet or having a professional trainer train your pet for you are two ways to go.
Get Your Pet Used to the Idea of a Baby Beforehand
If you have a friend with a baby, you should ask the friend to come over to give your pet an opportunity to see what a baby is. Just make sure your friend is aware of the intended purpose of the visit beforehand. This will give your pet a chance to see what a baby looks like, smells like, and sounds like before your baby actually comes.
If you plan on using a rocking chair, swing, or noise machine when the baby arrives, consider turning them on periodically before the baby comes to get the pet used to any sounds they might make beforehand. It is also a good idea to get some baby powder and sprinkle it on objects around the home to help the pet get adjusted to the new smell. You can even put baby lotion on yourself to help the pet recognize this new smell.
With time, love, and effort, your pet can be ready for the arrival of the new baby. You just have to keep in mind adding a baby to a home with a pet is no different than having a second child when your first one is so used to being the only child in your life.
For more ideas, speak to your vet or pediatrician.