7 Tips to a Harmonious Baby-Puppy Relationship

There are two different types of dog families. Those who have dogs before babies, and those who have babies before dogs. We belong to the first type with our little puppy.

We’ve had our little fur baby Maggie since a year into our marriage. She was our first child. When my sweet hubby was still working night shift, we decided a dog would be the perfect companion for my lonely nights. We were right. She was my cuddle buddy, and made those nights enjoyable, and she helped me feel safe.

 

Fast forward to 3 years later. We decided it was time to expand our family. We were blessed with a healthy pregnancy and we were incredibly excited. However, I was very nervous about the impact it was going to have on our little fur baby. I love her so much, and while I was almost completely sure that she and the baby would get along, there was still a part of me that was worried. Because if the baby and dog don’t get along, you don’t get rid of baby. It is a clear choice as to what has to happen. But moments like this made my worries melt away.

We went on walks together almost every day while I was pregnant. Complete with bathroom breaks for me and the puppy! She became very protective of me during my pregnancy, which resulted in me apologizing to a lot of nice folks when Maggie would growl at them as we walked by. So she definitely knew something was going on with me and that I was vulnerable and in need of protection.

Our first days with our baby didn’t go as planned, with 5 days in the NICU, (which you might already know about if you have read my blog before!) Once he was finally discharged, we were sent home and the dog loved him right away. She wanted to be as close to him as possible at all times (Sometimes a little too close!).

Now that he is mobile, they are even better buddys. They are basically siblings, and their friendship seriously melts my heart.

So with that backstory, here are my 7 tips for a harmonious baby-puppy relationship.

1. Give your dog plenty of attention.

Their life has changed forever with the addition of a tiny human but it doesn’t need to be a bad change. Dogs are incredibly understanding creatures but they do have needs. Make sure their needs are being met, emotional and physical. Make time for you and the dog, still go for walks or whatever you did before the baby came along.

2. Let them get used to each other.

Allow your baby to touch them, and to see the dog up close. At first, our little man didn’t know what to make of Maggie. She was the strange fast moving blurry furball that would lick him sometimes. But now she is his absolute favorite. It goes both ways so let the dog get used to the baby. That means letting them smell them, and be near them. However….

3. Set firm boundaries.

Decide what works for your family. For us, Maggie knows that she can lick the baby, but that his mouth is off limits (which is why she does it when she thinks I’m not looking. *sigh*). She knows she can cuddle him, but she knows not to jump on him. Make your expectations clear to your fur baby. They can’t read your mind!

4.  Faciliate gentle puppy petting.

Babies are grabbers by nature. They yank, they pull, they bite. I show our little man how to use gentle soft hands on our puppy’s fur. I don’t think it sinks in quite yet, but it is still important to me to do this. Eventually he will begin to understand, and we’ll be on the right track.

5. Allow the dog some alone time.

Sometimes Maggie needs a break and goes and lays down somewhere quiet. Other times she wants to be right in the middle of the action. They know what they need.

6.  Don’t let the puppy spoiling stop!

The baby gets new toys, what about the puppy? Make sure they aren’t feeling left out. My mother in law is wonderful about making sure the puppy is spoiled as well as the baby.

7. Give it time.

All friendships take time, including puppy-baby friendships. You can’t force anything, you can only facilitate.

There you have it, 7 Tips for a harmonious baby-puppy relationship! What are your experiences with baby puppy friendships? I always love to hear from readers, comment below!

 

The Journey of Self-Acceptance: Tips to Work Towards Loving Yourself

Let’s talk about something that most of us struggle with: self-acceptance. People can tell when you are being yourself, they trust you more, and they feel more at ease with you. Anyone can tell from a mile away if you are being insincere. (Below photo credit goes to the fantastic Katy Cooper photography!)

A big step to genuineness is being comfortable with who you are. Self-acceptance and self-love are concepts that most of us struggle with. It’s hard to love ourselves sometimes, but if we don’t we find ourselves in a difficult and sad state of mind.

Self-acceptance can be broken down into many categories, but we’re going to focus on two of the big ones. Your personality and your physical body.

I spent a good chunk of life trying to hide my true self, at least from the majority of the world. The scary thing about this blog is that these inner thoughts of mine are all over the internet for anyone to read, and my true personality is all over it. The epitome of vulnerability! But it is very exciting to have the opportunity to share my thoughts, and hopefully help people and influence them for good.

Think for a second, what makes you, you? What makes you special and different from those around you? If you are struggling to come up with answers to this, ask someone who knows you well.

I am a major dork, with a corny sense of humor! (But if you follow this blog, you know that already!) I’m easily distracted, but a very deep thinker. I’m reserved with those I don’t know, but with those I know and trust I am a serious chatterbox. I’m still learning to be proud of who I am.

What physical traits of yours set you apart? Which ones do you love, and which ones are you not crazy about?

In middle school, I would straighten my curly hair, I would wear thick foundation that covered my freckles. I wore far too much black eye liner, and I tweezed my eyebrows into oblivion. I did this because that was what I thought I needed to do to be beautiful. But when I look back at pictures of myself back then compared to now, I don’t look like myself, and I definitely didn’t look beautiful. I was taking what made me different and hiding it.

These days, I wear less make up than I ever have in the past. My freckles show, and I rarely straighten my hair. I’ve embraced a more natural look. Some of this is due to being a working mom and not having much time; but most of it is due to being happy with who I am, and not feeling the need to change everything about myself. (So here’s a cheesy selfie!)

What does this mean for you?

This doesn’t mean I’m against doing what you need to for you to feel beautiful (I regularly color my hair, because I like too!) But make sure you are doing it for yourself, and not for anyone else. You live in your skin, and the people around you don’t. This isn’t a debate about whether overweight people should strive to be healthier or accept themselves as they are, let’s please not fight about that. 🙂

Take some time, ponder the questions above, and we’ll talk more about this next week!

5 Tips for Coping with Change (For Those who HATE It!)

For someone who doesn’t care for change, I’ve done a lot of it in the past year! I started a new job. I had a baby. So my home life and work life are completely different! Instead of going home from work and relaxing, I’m wrangling an adorable little chunk monster! And my house is full of baby gear and baby toys! I also cut my hair short…which I hadn’t done in 8 years! (Postpartum hair loss is something else…am I right ladies??) Here are my 5 tips for coping with change!

1. Accept that change is a part of life (This is a BIG step towards coping with change appropriately) 

It happens. There’s no stopping it. You aren’t alive if everything is staying the same. It’s a tough and painful truth of life. As I sometimes say…suck it up buttercup!

2. Understand that some change is good.

While my world has been flipped on its head by our new addition to our family, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I mean, look at that cute face!

3. Understand that some change is bad, and that sucks!

The loss of a loved one, a natural disaster. An event that takes something from us, whether it be something physical, emotional, any kind of loss or other unwanted experience. It is ok to grieve that change, because not all change is positive. Allow yourself to grieve. It is necessary sometimes! One of my petty changes I don’t care for is the stretch marks I was gifted with after being pregnant with my 9 pound cutie! But he is so worth it.

4. Realize that not all change is within your control.

As a control freak in some aspects, it can be wonderful and also stressful for me to realize that I don’t control everything. It can be very freeing and a huge step towards coping with change appropriately to understand that some things are outside of your control. Not my circus, not my monkeys! 🙂

5. It’s ok to miss aspects of how your life used to be.

And don’t feel bad about trying to recapture some of what you miss, as long as you are still moving forward and not living in the past. In fact, if you can figure out exactly what it is and bring some of it back, that’s awesome!

My husband I used to go basically everywhere together, and that stopped when the baby was born. I would stay home, and my husband would go do whatever needed to get done. (Because seriously, it is such a hassle to bring a baby anywhere!) I realized this, and while it was way more convenient to divide and conquer, we started doing that again! We brought the baby (and his thousands of supplies) with us! And I am so happy with this decision and the time together that we reclaimed.

Childless Hailey disappeared forever 8 months ago, and sometimes I miss her. Mom Hailey is very different, but she is way better than Childless Hailey in many ways. She is more patient, more relaxed (about some things!) and she is for sure less selfish! (Ok, are you over me talking about myself in the third person? I’m done!)

What have been your experiences with change, and coping with change? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you!

If you want to read about the biggest change I have ever experienced, click here!