Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: When my daughter was born, we had dogs at home. My husband and I were concerned, how do we bring our baby home to our dogs, who were our babies before our baby was born?
My husband asked his brother to take a baby blanket home from the hospital. He took it for our dogs to smell before we brought our baby home. We hoped that way they could get a sniff and realize, “Ok, this kinda smells like Mommy and Daddy.”
When we brought our baby home, my husband went in first to talk the dogs down. Then we brought the baby in. We let them interact a bit, letting the dogs sniff her. We tired to give them a little bit of bonding time, but by then it was time to breastfeed her again!
We were careful to never let the baby on the floor because we were never quite sure where the dogs would be. Upstairs, she was pretty much in her crib and downstairs if I wasn’t holding her, she was in her Pack ‘n Play.
—Jeannette Gonzalez Simon, MD, a mom of one two-year-old daughter who’s expecting another baby and a pediatric gastroenterologist in private practice in Staten Island, NY
Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: When we were thinking about getting a dog, our son was very small. I sought a lot of advice on what type of dog to get. Lots of dogs are great for grownups but not safe for kids. My son was a small baby, so we got a Maltese, which are small dogs.
More than the dog, though, I worried about my baby and the cat. Cats are not great with babies. They are more likely to lash out at them in anger. I watched my cat very carefully anytime she was anywhere near my son.
Also, cats carry more diseases because of their litter boxes, and I always taught my son to wash his hands after he petted the cat. I taught him to be very kind and sweet to the cat, and he usually kept a respectful distance from her.
When my son got a little older, I was able to relax. I have a great photo of my son at a year and a half, dangling a shoelace in front of the cat. I call that photo the “Taming of the Wild.”