But what about the Furry First Born?

But what about the Furry First Born?

About the author: Alyssa Birkhofer is a new mom to her baby boy Cameron, dog mom to her mini goldendoodle Molly, and long time resident of Hoboken/Jersey City. She’s a healthcare public relations specialist in NYC by day, gym rat by night, and a forever Huskies fan/UCONN graduate. Follow Alyssa on IG: @AlyssaBleiHoff

About the author: Alyssa Birkhofer is a new mom to her baby boy Cameron, dog mom to her mini goldendoodle Molly, and long time resident of Hoboken/Jersey City. She’s a healthcare public relations specialist in NYC by day, gym rat by night, and a forever Huskies fan/UCONN graduate. Follow Alyssa on IG: @AlyssaBleiHoff


When you first met your spouse, you probably felt the sparks and perhaps love at first sight. You never thought you’d love another like this again… until you bring home the cutest puppy ever! Instantly you treat your new pet like a child, giving him or her all your love and attention, taking tons of photos, and revolving your life and vacation plans around your furry first born. Then you bring another human into the world and you start to feel pet guilt. You love your pet. You gave your pet every free moment of love you had. But now, the introduction of a new baby into your world has taken over all that free time. And when baby goes to bed, there are still bottles to clean and clothes to wash, dinner to cook, and a husband to snuggle with. Your poor pet has essentially been ignored all day. And yes, we did forget to feed our fur baby a couple times in the beginning of this transition! You feel terrible, but you are simply too exhausted.


Dog moms often spend lots of time reading and researching the best way to introduce their new baby to their pet before giving birth. You want to be sure everything goes smoothly, that your pet treats your baby with love and care, and that your pet understands his or her space as opposed to the baby’s. It’s an adjustment for everyone, but what about that period of time after the initial adjustment? Did anyone ever research and plan for that?

When we gave birth to our son earlier this year, we were thrilled to see our puppy grow a huge love for him and clearly understand what was hers vs what was his, but we also noticed she wasn’t as interested in hanging out with US anymore. Later at night when we put the baby down to sleep, we looked forward to snuggling our pup on the couch but instead she would go hide in her crate. It appeared that she understood her limits and was “staying out of the way.” We were heartbroken to see our furry first born isolating herself in the house and have tips for keeping your furry first born feeling the love beyond the initial “meet the baby” phase.

  • Keep the routine: Routine does NOT mean schedule. Even if you have to take your pet for a morning walk an hour earlier or later than normal, just keep the morning walk intact. Keep the same treats in your pocket and let the same parent be the morning walker. We take Molly out a little earlier now and for a shorter period of time, but I’m still the one doing the morning walks and she knows she’ll get it. She also knows she’ll get a treat when we get inside like always.

 

  • Surround with other furry friends: Our dog goes on walks with her dog walker and a few other dogs she loves. Although expensive to do, we have kept the dog walker intact during my maternity leave and on the same schedule with the same dog friends. Not only does this help me while tending to the baby, but gives our pup excitement, consistency, and exercise she needs to remain low key inside.

 

  • Bring in a new toy: Who doesn’t love a new toy? Not only did this reinforce our dog’s
    understanding of what’s hers and what’s not, it showed we are thinking of her and gave her mood an extra boost. Note that squeaky toys are loud and if your baby is a light sleeper, opt for less noisy toys.

 

  • Find time to snuggle: Let’s be honest, after a long day of parenting, you put your baby down and still have to make dinner and wash bottles and maybe have a half hour with your significant other which probably consists of watching TV before falling asleep. I noticed in my “after baby goes to bed routine” the puppy would be following me around with a cute look on her face that I was simply ignoring to just get things done. When I stopped to give her a few minutes of my attention, she was SUCH a happy camper and less likely to sadly trek to her crate.

 

  • Plan puppy dates: Yes, just like we need to make time for our spouses after a baby, “date night” (or date day) applies to your pet just the same. Give them fun activities to do with you and remind them that they too are part of the family. In the Jersey City area there are so many dog activities your furry first born will love! Taphaus in Hoboken recently hosted a Barks N Brunch event, and Jersey City’s Liberty Harbor neighborhood had its “Dog Days of Summer” festival. We often hop on the Warren Street ferry to Liberty State Park and walk/run around with the whole family. Our pup gets a kick out of the ferry ride too. And every October there’s a puppy Halloween parade in Paulus Hook – the costumes are fun and the puppies love gathering together.

 

How did your furry first born handle the addition of a new baby? Let us know in the comments!

 

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Leave a comment
* Your email address will not be published
* Required fields