When you’re nearing the beautiful end of your pregnancy, the last thing you should worry about is how the family pet will react to your bouncing bundle of joy. Though many dogs get along just fine with babies, they may need some gentle introductions to ensure that they don’t play too rough with your newborn. Before your due date arrives and you head off to the hospital, make sure to read these tips for introducing your dog to your baby to sweeten the first meeting when you return.
Begin Introducing Baby Supplies and Furniture Before the Baby Arrives
If you cut your dog off from everything in the nursery, they can’t get used to the sights and smells that come with a newborn. As you fill up your nursery with furniture and supplies, let your dog sniff around and acclimate to some of the items associated with the newest member of your family. Keep the supplies and toys out of reach of your dog, but don’t restrict their access to the nursery if you don’t have to—the introduction of a restricted area may only build intrigue and cause hyperactivity once they’re allowed in the room.
Find Somewhere for Your Dog To Stay While You’re at the Hospital
A home without you may not be a home at all to your dog. For practical reasons, consider finding someone to care for your dog while you’re away—whether it’s a friend or family member. You can also board your dog at a boarding facility. You may want a day without your canine companion at home to allow for time to fully recuperate after an exhausting visit to the hospital.
When you bring your dog back home, try to wear them out before taking them inside. If you leave them at a dog boarder, pick them up after they’ve had time to play with other dogs for the day. You may want to choose a boarding service that you trust. A sleepy, worn-out dog is less likely to show excitement around new things, making it easier to introduce the baby.
Take It Slow and Give Rewards for Good Interactions
Your dog may be a natural caretaker or a bit apprehensive around the new family addition. One tip for introducing your dog to your baby is to make the introduction as slow as possible. Try to start outside of the nursery and allow the dog to sniff around before noticing the baby. Let them sniff a blanket that the baby has been wrapped in so that they can get familiar with all the new smells. You may not need to leash the dog, but you do need to stay close.
Hold the baby during the dog’s first meeting. Start by allowing the pup to sniff the newborn’s feet. After this, give them a treat to reward good behavior. Avoid scolding, as the negative interaction can ruin the association the dog has with the baby.
No matter how much you love and trust your dog, when you introduce your dog to your baby, always be prepared for unpredictable behavior. Sometimes a baby’s crying can cause stress on your dog, which may cause them to act out. And big dogs are often unaware of just how big they are, so even good intentions can be dangerous around tiny babies. Eventually, and with the right amount of patience, they will grow to become the best of friends.
Christina Duron is a writer living in the Chicagoland area. Her passion for writing and mental health help create thought provoking and engaging pieces and hopes to use them to empower mothers and women to embrace the beauty of motherhood.
Pregnancy is a difficult time, even if you do not have to worry about anything else that is going on. Maintaining a healthy relationship during pregnancy also requires work and mutual effort. When trying to do both at the same time, it can be even more challenging to keep things going smoothly.
A stronger relationship not only makes you happier, but also provides a stable family environment for your child—before and after the birth. If you are wondering how to keep things happy between you and your partner while you are pregnant, these tips may well help you.
Make sure your partner does their share
While you are the one who is pregnant and will experience the physical strain of pregnancy and birth, this doesn’t mean pregnancy should be seen as only your burden. After all, it takes two to make a baby! Your partner must play their part in supporting you throughout the pregnancy. This means being prepared to look after you when you are suffering from morning sickness, comforting you when you are feeling mood swings or anxiety, being on hand to deal with any emergencies, and generally keeping your spirits up.
It can also mean your partner taking on extra responsibilities in terms of household chores, as your pregnancy is likely to cause you some mental and physical strain. Suppose you feel exhaustion, sickness, abdominal pains, or any other effect. In that case, your partner should be willing to step in and take care of any tasks on your behalf. Don’t let yourself feel guilty about letting your partner take on extra responsibilities; remember that carrying their baby is a huge responsibility itself.
Create a postpartum plan to help you communicate to your partner what you need after giving birth.
Be open as a couple for mental health challenges
Pregnancy can have significant effects on moods and mental health. As well as anxiety about becoming a parent, there are many hormonal changes in the body which are necessary to keep the body functioning. Unfortunately, these usually come with some emotional and mental side effects. It is uncommon to go through pregnancy without experiencing pretty significant mood swings at some point. This could manifest in many ways, from depression to mania to irritability.
While we are all still responsible for our actions regardless of our mental state, it is only realistic for you and your partner to prepare for some mental health struggles that are likely to affect both of you. Your relationship may be tested by an increase in irritability, for example. You may find yourself becoming very frustrated at seemingly minor things, and you are likely to take out this frustration on your partner at some point.
The best way to deal with this as a couple is to be prepared for this and aware of it. It is not just up to you to deal with your emotions, and it is not just up to your partner to ignore their needs in the relationship either. Overcoming the mental and emotional strain of pregnancy is a task that requires effort and mutual understanding from both partners.
Accept changes to your sex drive
With so many hormonal changes happening during pregnancy, it is no surprise that sex drive is an area that is likely to be affected. It is highly common for a pregnant person’s libido to decrease or even disappear altogether at times. This may be due to hormonal fluctuations, stress, fears about what your partner thinks of your changing body, or any combination of these factors. You may be unable to have sex at certain times, even if you want to, due to abdominal pain from your baby kicking!
Generally speaking, your partner is unlikely to be concerned by your body changing if they genuinely love and respect you. After all—every adult knows that pregnancy causes physical changes, many of which are only temporary. You may want to approach your libido in the same way you approach your mood; acknowledging that it will fluctuate and become more unpredictable. Making your partner aware of this fact can help you to keep your relationship passionate.
Practically speaking, some couples find that scheduling in nights for sex works, while others prefer to respond to the libido as and when it changes. Whatever you do, it is vital to communicate, and both expect changes to your sex life during pregnancy. Towards the end of the pregnancy, you may have to try different, more comfortable, and less strenuous positions if you have sex.
Discuss any money worries with each other
Although bringing a baby into the world is a beautiful thing, it is undeniable that having an extra mouth to feed is a significant financial expense. In addition to this, pregnancy and maternity can result in the need to take more time off work. When you are pregnant, it is to be expected that you will be working significantly reduced hours for the next couple of years at least. Suppose you are lucky enough to work for an employer that provides sufficient maternity pay. In that case, this factor may not weigh on your mind. However, if you are in less stable employment, pregnancy and maternity can affect your finances.
If you are in a serious, long-term relationship, you should be able to talk about money with each other. If you are worried about the financial implications of your pregnancy, there are a few measures that can be taken. Your partner may be able to work overtime. You may be able to cut back on luxuries (such as canceling subscriptions, etc.). You may even be able to sell items for some extra cash.
Of the luxuries that you may need to cut back on, one of the most likely is going on dates. This is not just for financial reasons; the physical and mental effects of pregnancy may make going out strenuous and challenging. However, it is still important to maintain the health of your relationship. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to spend quality time with your partner without breaking the bank. If the tightening of your budget has made fancy dinner dates impossible, don’t panic. There are plenty of ways that you can have a fun date night at home without spending much money at all!
Aside from having dates, it is as important to focus on your relationship during pregnancy as it is at any other time. Pregnancy is a heavy burden, and it can easily take up all of your time and mental energy. However, just because you and your partner have the pressures of pregnancy to deal with, that doesn’t mean that other potential relationship issues simply disappear. While your partner should be aware that things will be tricky and the pregnancy will be prioritized over other needs, you both still need to make an effort to keep your relationship healthy and enjoyable as you did before.
Just because you will soon become a three, this does not mean that your relationship as a couple is no longer important—in fact, a healthy relationship is more important than ever before when you are raising a child together. If you can follow these steps and communicate effectively, openly, and honestly with each other, then pregnancy can strengthen—rather than weaken—your bond.
Brenda Adair is a relationships and lifestyle writer, coffee enthusiast, and a lover of new experiences. You’ll usually find her in a coffee shop with her laptop and a flat white scribbling down an article or a blog post. She is a contributing author at GoDates, and several other online publications.