Are there real dangers in having a baby around pit bulls, or are all the concerns a reflection of some dogs not being raised properly? Should my wife be concerned to bring our new baby home to a house where I have a pit bull? The dog has always been well behaved.
Am I being unreasonable keeping the dog? I certainly don't want any danger for the baby.
I look forward to your advice.
From: Justadad, Woburn
I don't know anything about pit bulls (but I bet some of our readers do!) and I'm not going to Google them because I know there's controversy about them and there will be lots of articles on both sides. There also is lots of information on how to introduce a pet to a new baby. (I particularly like the idea of getting the pet used to the smells that will be introduced into the house, like talcum powder, baby oil, etc.) But even though I know this question is going to generate heated response, I'm answering it because I think there's a really important issue involved:
Anything that stresses a new mother will also stress the baby, with potentially long-lasting effects. In fact, research shows that stress during pregnancy can affect the baby. I would also bet that it will affect your marriage. I don't mean to give new mothers permission to become prima donas and to make unnecessary changes and demands on their household or marriage.
What I do mean is that if a new mother is so concerned about something -- anything -- to the point that it's going to make her anxious, worried, jittery or simply, not herself, that's not a good situation. There are plenty of things that can happen post-partum that you can't predict; that she's going to be anxious about the dog is something you know about up-front.
I guess that sounds like I'm saying you have to get rid of the dog, doesn't it? But it's not because it's a pit bull, it's because your wife doesn't sound like she can control her feelings about this.
Just for the record, we have a dog, and we had a (different) dog when our son was born. Byron was already a senior citizen at Eli's birth, but that doesn't mean we didn't watch him like a hawk. Even a dog you love and have known for years is still an animal whose behaviors we can't always predict or understand. And if I had insisted I couldn't handle having a dog around once the baby was born? That would have been awful for my husband, but I think he would have had an easier time making the decision once he fell more in love with the baby than he had ever been with the dog. Sorry, Byron.
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