Weekly while scrolling through my Facebook feed I see so many posts related to people who are having a new baby and are scared of how they are going to manage a new baby and their companion parrot. It’s completely normal to have fears. Having a baby is one of the most stressful things you will do in your life, but you CAN do it. There are ways for your baby and companion parrot to coexist in a harmonious loving environment. It’s all up to you, and keeping a positive attitude on these upcoming changes.
First thing you will want to do is prepare your companion for the arrival of this new little human into your life and his. This really should start months before the baby even arrives. Remember your companion takes his position in the flock very seriously and is sensitive to changes in his environment. Playing sounds of a baby crying or cooing will get him used to the new sounds. Get yourself a baby doll and carry this doll around with you while performing normal baby activities (swaddling, feedings, diaper changes, bath time) if you have a name picked out start using the name on your doll. Familiarize him with the new smells by wearing baby lotions or powders. If you don’t already have one, get yourself play stand for him in your common room where most of you spend time so when the baby is busy swinging or playing on her play mat you can squeeze in some scritches or playtime with your companion. If at all possible have some friends over maybe one with a baby and allow your companion to see these interactions with the baby. Remember your companion is smart and curious it’s normal for him to want to see what this little squirmy noisemaker is all about.
Parrots are social companions they thrive on our love and attention. If your parrot wasn’t a screamer and begins once the baby is around he isn’t trying to annoy you or wake the baby he is confused and voicing his opinions. A few minutes of your attention and love will make him feel secure in his position in the flock. It may seem convenient to do these things while the baby is napping which is fine but you also want to be able to give attention while the baby is awake. In your parrots mind a baby sleeping out of sight out of mind means “I get attention while the baby is gone, life is good” We don’t want to establish jealousy, rather a harmonious relationship between the two where your companion recognizes the baby as a member of the flock as well.
A few weeks before the baby arrives you will want to establish some kind of routine you think you can manage when the baby arrives. Meal preparation for you and your parrot if you feed a whole raw diet can save you hours of time and frustration. Establish a person who can come and care for your companion while you’re recovering. A C-section usually requires a hospital stay of at least 48 hours and you don’t want to be worrying about who is caring for your companion while you’re caring for yourself and your new baby. When arriving home your first instinct may be you want to go lay on the couch and rest, but your companion hasn’t seen you. He was missing you and confused to where his flock member was the last couple of days. Take time greet him give him some love and attention those 10 minutes will mean the world to him. After he has calmed down and so have you it is the ideal time to introduce your companion to your baby. If you’re feeling nervous or anxious take a few minutes to center yourself. Our companions are very insightful to our energy or moods. A positive attitude can develop flock relationships very quickly. Establish a positive harmonious environment in your mind and things will go better for everyone. Make sure to set aside time each day for your companion. Remember, you got your parrot in the first place because you were fascinated with birds and you made the commitment to be in his life forever. Your bond with your parrot can bring you a sense of peace when you are stressed with the responsibilities of a new baby.
The first 6 weeks home will be the most challenging. You will be exhausted, cranky, irritable, and maybe even in some pain. Simple tasks will see so much more daunting, but these 6 weeks will pass. You will establish a schedule that works for you and you will begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. You, your new baby, and your companion can all live together and be happy. New challenges will present themselves as your baby grows into a toddler and you can face those too. Rehoming doesn’t have to be your only answer. Rearranging your lifestyle may not be easy at first but babies aren’t babies forever. They will grow and learn to respect our companion parrots and love them the way you do. Being able to see a relationship form between your beloved companion and child is a beautiful thing. A little more work in the beginning is worth teaching your child at a young age the beauty of all things in life big or small, hairy or feathered.