How to Survive at Home with Pets and Babiesby Emma Dowey
Before becoming a mum, I used to adore my cats. I was obsessed with them, and they were literally my babies. Along came my first son though in 2013 and overnight, everything changed. I still adored my cats, but having four of them, plus a newborn baby was challenging. I was prepared for making adjustments to the way we let the cats rule the roost. Things would certainly have to change! For example, having the cats upstairs at night would have to stop. I couldn’t risk one of them smothering my newborn bundle of joy with their ass. There are a few things though which helped us navigate this new world of pets and babies!
Life will change when your baby arrives and with that, so will your priorities. You may not have the same amount of time or energy you had for your pet, pre-baby. If I’m honest, sometimes I was so done with the added level of stress the cats brought. Poo on the carpet, bum scrapes, cat food smeared on the kitchen floor (why do they have to take it out of the bowl?!) and pee up the curtains. We had a very needy little boy- cat, not our baby - and yes he had been neutered. It added an extra level of stress on top of the pressures of new mum life!
If you know your pets have a bad habit of chewing all soft things, make a plan for where you will house things like blankets, Moses baskets, bouncers and prams. This was one thing that irritated me – our older cat would try and pee in the pram. It’s just not what you need when you have a screaming baby. And yes, he did pee in the pram twice.
I remember bringing my son home from the hospital in his car carrier and setting him down on the lounge carpet. Our then cat, Jerry, was so intrigued and was his instant best friend. Our other cats preferred to give our son a wide berth. They still do today, seven years on. You know your pets though. Introduce them slowly and take time for everyone to readjust.
Stick to a Routine
Routines aren’t just for babies. We all thrive on routine—even our pets. Try and maintain that level of consistency. Feed them at the same time each day. If you have dogs, walk them at a similar time. Help them readjust to the enormous change that babies bring!
Never Leave Your Baby Unsupervised
It goes without saying but as much as I trust my cats, there’s no way I could trust any of them fully with both my sons. All the cats are placid, but there was no way I could trust that one of them wouldn’t snuggle up in the cot, getting just a bit too close. You just have to be careful.
Are you due to have a baby soon and not sure how your pets will react? Do you worry about what the change will bring to your home? It is a stressful time without the worry of your beloved furry friends adapting too. I’d say plan ahead though and remember that even in the most stressful moments, this too shall pass.