Dogs and Babies – How we Integrated our Kids

Dogs and Babies - How we integrated out kidsI know I am not alone here, because I have friends all over the board with this one. I have some that are just like me, and their pets ARE part of the family. I have some that have no kids, don’t want kids, kids are grown and gone, etc, and have dogs. All of those people treat their dogs like children too…and that’s ok!

This post is not to tell you about how spoiled my animals are, we can all guess that it’s a TON. I wanted to kind of explain how we had to fit my human daughter into the lives of the “children” that we already had when she was born. I do not agree with getting rid of your animals because you are having a child. If that is your reasoning, my opinion is that you never should have had an animal in the first place. I am a HUGE animal lover and owner, and I help local rescue organizations as often as I can so that more animals can be saved and get forever homes. I believe in integration. Yes, you integrate a new baby into the home with animals as you would integrate a new baby into the home with other children. I know it is not exactly the same, but that is my opinion and my view and how we made it work.

I read the articles; I researched the Internet. “Get your dog used to their ears being poked and their tails being pulled”. Ok, that’s all fine and dandy, but my dogs let ME do those things. Doing it more often, in my opinion, wasn’t going to get them used to a new person doing it. I really have two sweet dogs. They LOVE adults and think everyone who comes by, is coming to see them. They, before my daughter was born, were a bit hesitant around “small people” meaning children. The taller they were, the better my dogs felt about them.

Dogs and Babies - Cuddle Time Before Baby
 Forget the Internet, I was going to do this my way.

  • Every new item and piece of furniture I got for the baby, I let them check out. Smell it, lay on it, etc. When I was pregnant, both dogs were less “broken” in means of their bad bones, and were always getting on the couch.
  • I took this opportunity to snuggle with them, especially the farther along I got in my pregnancy.
  • I let them rest their heads and sometimes part of their bodies on my belly and me. Of course, I was always sure to be careful there was no baby-squishing going on.

Dogs are very smart, I had a feeling that they would know what was going on, and pick up on my cues to them.

 Dogs and Babies - Smell is so importantOnce my daughter was born:
  • I sent my husband home from the hospital with a blanket that she had been wrapped in. I wanted them to smell her. I wanted them to be able to recognize her smell when I got home with her so that she wasn’t a complete stranger to them.
  • Because I had just had a C-section and all my family had left town before I was released, my neighbor was nice enough to come help when we got home.
  • They were shut in a bedroom when I came in, so I had a chance to grab a pillow to hold over my incision and put the car seat up on the table.

Dogs and Babies - Leash if necessary

  • He and my husband leashed them up and brought them out. I am rarely away from them, so they were OVER THE MOON to see me, and were a bit crazy, but luckily we had help and had them on leashes.
  • We let them put their feet on the table and sniff the new addition to our family.
  • We let them out and put them away on and off for the first few hours, just to keep them calm around her, and around me since I had a fresh incision.

They welcomed her with wagging tails and wet kisses. They were excited to meet her, and I was a happy momma!

Stay tuned for part two, where I will explain how they have grown along with my baby, and their relationship.

Until Next Time,

The Not So Single Mom

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