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Preparing Fur Babies for a Newborn | Coeur d’Alene Photographer

As a Coeur d’Alene photographer, animal lover, and mom of three, I know that when you’re having your first child, you wonder (and stress over) how to prepare your fur baby. Our sweet pets are part of our families! Just like preparing a toddler for their new baby sibling, you’ve gotta prepare your pets, too! Here are six ways to get your first child (aka fur baby) ready for a newborn. 

1. Make A Plan

This might sound obvious, I know. The first thing you should do once you find out you’re expecting? Get a plan together to prepare your pet. Dogs and cats are very sensitive to changes in their environments, so the preparation needs to start ASAP. Get your nursery put together, even if it’s just setting up some of the furniture. Put your dog in some behavioral classes, just to be safe. Give them time to realize that something new is happening to the family! 

2. Introduce Them to Smells and Sounds

Make sure they’re used to interactive baby toys, common fragrances like baby powder and soaps, and even nursery rhyme songs. Babies cry whenever they’re hungry, tired, or need a diaper change. You want to make sure your fur baby won’t get overstimulated by that sound! Associating treats with common newborn sounds is even recommended by the ASPCA. Of course, bringing them along to a maternity session is a great way to introduce toys and scents. As a Coeur d’Alene photographer, I love when fur babies are included. Pets are highly intuitive and pick on up energy shifts, so during your pregnancy they’re aware something has changed.

3. Shift Your Routines

Long before the arrival of the baby, slowly start to shift the routines you have with your pets. Whether that’s decreasing the number of times you go on a long walk with your dog or changing feeding times, you want to make sure the schedule change is not associated directly with the newborn. You can even start taking your stroller on walks with your dog to make sure they’re comfortable. With cats, just having the stroller and baby items in the house for them to sniff is key.

4. Set New Boundaries

Let’s say that your pet is allowed on the couch, but once the baby arrives, you want that to stop. Well, if you’re changing something like that, you need to start setting those boundaries/establishing new rules far in advance. Train them again with treats; reward them for laying down in their beds next to the couch, for instance. Another big one is that if your pet jumps up on you in any way but you worry about that after the baby comes, get that behavior in check before delivery day! 

5. Introduce Them to the Baby’s Scent

After delivery, introduce the scent of your little one before you’re back in the home. This could mean sending your partner inside a few minutes before you follow behind , but anything to let them get used to their smell is great. A little blankie, their first onesie, anything that will prepare your fur baby for this precious little sibling. An at-home session is another great way to involve your pet in this exciting phase of your lives as a family.

6. Take Introductions Slowly

This may go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway: don’t expect your fur baby to love your newborn right away. Things might take some time, but you need to let your pet have the space they require to get used to this big adjustment, even after all the preparation. We all want the cute moments of your pup or cat gently nuzzling into your newborn’s head, but we need to be safe, too. Pets have emotions, so if anything just sit them down for a conversation if you have to! (I’m half joking…)

Having a newborn and a fur baby is such a beautiful experience, but it’s something to carefully plan for! Bringing a baby into the mix is a huge adjustment for people and pets, so take your time and make sure you’ve done all you can to have that big, happy family.

Let’s Get In Touch!

If you have any questions about preparing your fur babies for the arrival of your little one, please reach out! I’d love to chat and help you with anything you may need. Head over to my Instagram for announcements. Of course, should you need a Coeur d’Alene photographer, I would be so happy to work with you and your family.

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Kim Hildebrand