I became a mom in July 2017. A mom to a 4-month-old Maltipoo and I named him Chandler Paddington.
Since then, I considered (and spoiled) him as my own son, as crazy as that may sound.
(Check Chandler’s Instagram here to see how he’s living the best life)
Needless to say, I felt anxious as to how he would take it when he finds out there’s going to be another baby in my life.
Chandler became more clingy than usual so I suspected he knew something was different.
As my due date drew nearer, I made sure I gave him the love and care he deserves and expects from me while we prepare for the biggest change in our lives yet.
INTRODUCING CHANDLER TO THE BABY
I didn’t introduce the two of them right away. I had to set the stage up for Chandler and eased into it.
So here’s what I did:
I got Chandler a new toy and had the baby’s smell on it. This way, he could start familiarizing himself with him.
I left Chandler at Doggie Retreat school and have the baby come home first. By doing this, Chandler won’t feel like the baby is a guest who is just coming over.
We brought Chandler home and acted normal. By the time he got home, the baby was already settled.
I gave him the toy with the baby’s smell on it. He then started sniffing and familiarizing himself.
Though we acted normal, he was immediately distracted so he left the toy after a few minutes. He knew something was different so he rushed to the room where the baby is.
Chandler generally took it well. Much better than I expected, to be honest. It was a successful introduction, but there was still the challenge of them living together.
MANAGING BARKS AND CRIES
Babies inevitably cry. And when they do, they tend to be extremely loud. This is in addition to Chandler’s barks. He does get excited when he hears the front door, when there’s a sudden noise somewhere, and when he gets excited.
I’m so relieved that our baby can sleep through Chandler’s barks! He does get startled sometimes, but he falls back to sleep.
Chandler, too, could sleep through at first but he developed a habit after a while. He howls!
We actually don’t know if he’s annoyed or he’s talking back to him, but either way, we find it so funny!
PAWRENTING-PARENTING LIFE BALANCE
Now, the big question is, how am I able to handle having a clingy dog who thinks he’s still a baby and taking care of my baby?
1. Make sure no one is neglected.
While my rule of thumb is the baby comes first, I would make it to a point that Chandler is still attended to. For example, when the baby cries because he’s hungry and at the same time Chandler needs to be fed too, I ask my husband to help me attend to one. If I feed the baby, he will feed Chandler and vice versa.
It could get tricky since Chandler is more attached to me so he would instinctively come to me. When that happens, I would just give Chandler a reassuring pat while I can’t give him my full attention yet.
2. Nothing is compromised
At this stage, I still can’t attend to both at the same time. I generally attend to one at a time. When I’m doing so, I make sure I give my 100% then just attend to the other after. When this is impossible, I ask help from my husband to attend to one first.
3. Always make up for lost time.
Because I choose to give my undivided attention when I’m attending to one, I make sure I make up for it. If I have to shower Chandler and the baby is with my husband, I would go to him right after I shower Chandler and reassure him I’m around.
It’s the same with Chandler. Once I’m done feeding the baby, I would give Chandler a treat and play with him after.
There’s only so much I can do to balance my time and attention. To be honest, there is still a tinge of guilt when I have to say “later, okay?” to Chandler or when my baby has to wait a little longer while I wash my hands after I play with Chandler and before I attend to him. This is why an extra pair of hands is always appreciated.
4. Make Chandler feel as if nothing has changed.
Because Chandler knows he’s always been my baby, I do my best to reassure him he’s not getting less love just because most of my attention is with the baby right now. It could be challenging at times, but so far he’s been fairly understanding. He just needs the same cuddles and of course giving him treats always cheers him up.
My pawrenting + parenting journey has just begun and I’m learning as I go along. Things will be different as the two of them grow, but I am looking forward to seeing them grow up together and be the best of friends.
Do you have any other tips on how to handle pawrenting + parenting? Leave them in the comments section below. I would love to hear them!