Introducing a New Baby Into the Family

I talked the other day to a family who would be welcoming a newborn human into their home within the next couple of days.

The cat was uninterested.

One of the dogs thought it was interesting, and asked why the humans were bringing in a little baby. But he didn’t really see it affecting his life.

The other dog, however, was beyond excited. I had to keep showing him that a baby was not a toy. He really wanted to lick it. And possibly carry it around. The parents and I showed him that he was welcome to visit the baby when invited, but otherwise needed to keep a few feet away, giving it space.

He was a dog with good intentions. He wanted to do what the humans asked, but he was sure he would forget in the moment of excitement of smelling this tiny baby. (To our knowledge he hadn’t seen a baby before, so we’re not sure why it was so amazing to him.) He asked the humans to remind him if he got overexcited, because he might forget.

It’s always a good idea to have a conversation before bringing a new family member into the home. The existing family members usually want to know why the new one is coming, and who chose him/her, and what everyone’s roles and expectations will be. Laying it all out ahead of time eases tension, and helps the humans clarify in their own minds what the rules will be. (Most problems with animal companions come from fuzzy-minded humans.)

The Bach flower remedy Walnut is a good adjunct to any shift in family dynamics. For the animals, you can put a drop in their water every time you change it (make sure they still drink it), or you can put a drop on your hand and rub it into their coat from the head down to the tail. For humans, put a drop in water or under your tongue a couple of times a day. For babies, put a drop on their tummy or the back of their neck twice a day.

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