Pets have long been known to have positive effects on mental health. Studies have shown that pets can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as provide companionship and support. However, while pets may be beneficial for some people, they may not be the best choice for new mothers.
Being a new mum can be an incredibly challenging time. Adjusting to life with a new baby can be exhausting and overwhelming, and adding a pet to the mix can make things even more difficult. Pets require time, attention, and care, which can be hard to give when a new mum is already stretched thin.
New mums have a lot of responsibilities, including feeding, changing, and caring for their newborns. Adding a pet to the mix means that they have to take on even more responsibility, which can be overwhelming. For example, dogs need to be walked multiple times a day, which can be difficult to do when you have a baby to take care of. Cats also require daily care, including feeding, cleaning their litter boxes, and playing with them.
In addition to the extra responsibility, having a pet can also be expensive. Vet bills, food, and other supplies can add up quickly, which can be a financial burden for new mums who may already be struggling with the costs of raising a child.
Furthermore, pets can be a source of stress and anxiety for new mums. If a pet is not well-trained, it can become destructive or disruptive, which can be especially challenging for new mums who are already dealing with a lot. For example, a dog that barks excessively can be very stressful for a new mum trying to get their baby to sleep.
While pets can be great for mental health, they may actually increase stress for mums in the early weeks and months of bringing a baby home. New mums need to focus on taking care of themselves, healing and repairing their bodies after birth, and getting to know their baby.
For me, in the months after our baby was born, I know that my dog’s big puppy eyes asking for a walk, made me feel like there was one more thing that I was failing at.
So maybe an idea to help a family with a new baby might be offering to take the dog for a walk, empty the kitty litter or groom the dog. Maybe it’s taking out the bins, bringing around a cooked meal packed with nutritious vegetables and iron, or maybe it’s just bringing over a laundry basket and taking everything in the laundry home to wash, fold and bring back clean.