When my friend was eight months pregnant, she looked at her Beagle-mix Bailey and said that she was worried her new baby would take away her love from her older, fuzzier, four-legged baby. Her relationship with Bailey is a healthy and normal human-dog relationship, where she takes him for walks and he joins her on the couch for TV time. This is by no means one of those you-are-the-child-I-never-had-so-I’ll-treat-you-like-my-real-child kind of relationship. But she feared Bailey would become more of a nuisance after Henry was born, and less of her furry best friend.
Your future relationship with your pet, after the baby is born, will depend on your particular situation as a pet-lover and new mother. Certainly, you won’t have quite as much time for it with a new baby in the house, but that doesn’t mean your friendship is caput. You may have a different result if it’s a cat, or dog. Dogs tend to be more sensitive, while cats, more independent. This means that your dog may require more affection during this changing time to remind him or her that they are still your favorite thing on four legs. With a cat, they may act as though nothing in the world has changed. You may ultimately find after Baby is born that your relationship hasn’t changed a smidge with your pet, or you may find that you have little use for them, now that you have a real baby to take care of. It’s harsh, but it happens. Before we have a baby, our pet is the closest thing we have to one. So when you have a baby of your own, you don’t need the pet in the same way. All of this means that the bond you had with your dog/cat/iguana is going to find a new rhythm.
If you’re worried about the safety of having a baby around the lovely beast of your home, consult your pediatrician. But for the most part, house pets are respectful of our new babies (whether they do it because of love, or fear, or indifference). It’s when your little one starts chasing them around the house, yanking on innocent tails, that you may need to fear the safety of your Bailey.