The answer, in most cases, is simple. YES. Let’s develop the topic a bit, thus.
In case you are asking such a question, the furry baby was probably first in your heart and also in your home. Of course, now that a human baby is on the way, your beloved cat or dog (let’s stick to these species for the sake of the story) should, theoretically, play a different role in the further development of your life. It will never be the baby anymore, but what’s its place now?
The role of the pet
Traditionalists will say that the pet is just an animal, and once you have the baby the pet should be put in its place. What’s its place, you may wonder? Well, if you want to keep your baby extra protected, the cat or the dog should use its designated space.
Create a sleeping place for it, a place where it always eats its food and drinks its water, and don’t forget to wash or wipe its paws in case it goes out. Hygiene is very important, so you need to limit the pet’s movements around the house if you decide that the pet is just a pet and nothing more. Its role is to meow or bark, you can caress it and take it out for a walk from time to time, give it its shots and complete medical care and that’s it. Not too much closeness…
A family member that does not speak
On the other hand, can you “put away” just like that your beloved cat or dog? If your pet is more than just an animal to you, “what to do with it” will come naturally, as you will integrate it step by step in the changes taking place. Allow it in the baby’s future nursery, let it get accustomed to the design and smell, let it climb the crib if it wants. If you let your pet explore, you won’t have to deal with jealousy or hard feelings. Talk to the cat or dog about the impending changes and welcome it close to you whenever it wants to feel loved. Don’t leave it aside of any of the activities you had together until the news of the pregnancy. Your pet is very sensitive and will feel the change right away.
If you decide to treat your cat or dog as a family member that does not speak, make sure the basics of a good relationship with the baby are successful from the start. The daddy should bring home from the hospital a clothing item worn by the newborn to get accustomed to the smell of the new human. Once the mommy arrives after the absence due to the birth of the baby, she should focus her first minutes in the house on the pet. Also, during the first weeks, the parents’ attention should be distributed equally between the pet and the tiny human.
In the first month, they should only stay together under supervision, while the pet’s behavior should be closely monitored. If everything is ok and the manner in which it conducts itself does not change, supervision can be dropped. In fact, many pets are very attentive and protective to babies, yet… better safe than sorry.
Of course, the decision of how to manage the relationship you have with your pet is only yours. And yours is also when setting the tone of the liaison that will be born between your furry baby and your human child. Don’t take a decision regarding this right away, but think it through, and of course, discuss it with your partner.