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29 weeks

Q&A: How Can I Prepare My Pets For When Baby Comes Home?

How can I prepare my pets for when baby comes home?

Chances are, your pets are already onto you. As your bump grows, your animals will probably get a sense of what's going on. They're baby-makers too, after all. That’s not to say they won’t be jealous, though, especially if they’ve been the “babies” in your life up until now. To keep your dogs, cats, or other critters from getting too stressed when baby comes home, try these tips:

Make some racket
Babies come with all sorts of new sounds. Turning on your infant swing or toys that make noises (or even playing recordings of babies crying) can help your furbabies prepare for your home’s new soundtrack.

Introduce smells
Try letting them sniff the new stuff you’re buying for baby (diapers, lotions, powders) to get accustomed to the new aromas.

Start new rules
Start prepping them for any new rules, like changes to when and where they're allowed in the house.

Ignore them sometimes
Since you’ll probably be spending much less time doting on your pets once baby's around, you can help them adjust by slowly spending less time with them now. It might be tempting to get in as much cuddle time as possible before baby changes the scenery (we know it’s tough!), but gradual change is much easier on an animal than just cutting them off when you bring home your new bundle. Your partner can also help out by forming a stronger relationship with the pets, redistributing a bit of the attention rather than cutting it out.

Bring in the babies
Inviting friends to bring over their new children may help your pets get used to having an infant around, and will give you an opportunity to see how your pets react to babies. Be sure to monitor them closely!

Stop bad habits now
Train your pets not to jump on the crib, jump in your lap without permission (that’s where baby will be!), or engage in potential harmful behaviors like jumping, swatting, or nibbling. Some moms use aluminum foil or double-sided tape on the crib and changing table to train cats not to jump up (both materials tend to freak felines out).

Visit the vet
Don’t forget to have your animals checked out by the vet before baby comes along to make sure they're healthy and up to date on vaccinations. And remember to make arrangements for your pets’ care while you’re off delivering that baby!

Finally, just relax and trust that everything will be fine. It might take some getting used to, but everyone will adjust to the new addition to the family soon enough.

By Erin Walters