Introducing rabbits to a baby

introducing rabbits to a baby

When I was pregnant, I was really worried about introducing rabbits and baby to each other. I needn’t have been, because it’s gone really well. They love each other!

The three rabbits absolutely adore the baby, and we’ve not had any trouble yet. She really enjoys them too and squeals happily when she sees them. She’s learning to stroke them and loves how soft their fur is.

They knew that I was pregnant. Barbara fussed around me a lot. Gingee used to enjoy putting his ear to my stomach. Ned just wanted extra cuddles!

Preparing during pregnancy

Before we even started to think about preparing them to meet the baby, we wanted to give them the chance to have a support network. They used to all live in separate rooms, but over the spring (baby was due in November), we worked hard at bonding them and getting them to share one bedroom. We knew this was going to be important both while I was in hospital, so they weren’t alone for too long, and when baby arrived and we had a bit less time.

Before the baby was born, we got them each a little plastic baby doll. It gave them a chance to sniff at something new, nuzzle it and chin it, and for us to remind them to be gentle.

I spent time with them in early labour, before I went to the hospital. I was on all fours on the floor, and Gingee kept stretching up to nuzzle the bump. They knew something momentous was happening, I think.

I had a long labour (38 hours!), so my husband and I were in hospital for a while. Fortunately, our hospital is walking distance from our house, so he was able to pop home a couple of times to check on them. We left them with lots of extra water and hay.

Actually introducing rabbits to the baby

We introduced them on the day she came home from the hospital.

She was in her bouncer and the rabbits got extra fuss and food. They ignored her for the most part. We had to pick them up to even get them to look at her!

She was so new but wanted to stare at them.

Introducing rabbits to the baby

(She was so tiny! She’s grown a lot even in six weeks!)

But, if you know about bonding rabbits, you’ll know that it’s a good sign when they ignore someone.

Their growing relationship

Since then, we’ve just brought her into our routine.

Three times a day, we say to the baby, “Shall we go and play with our friends the rabbits?” She responds happily to that now!

We bring her with us whenever we feed them so they associate her with good things. She usually gets to lie on the floor with them while they eat and they’ve started leaving pieces of food for her, which is adorable.

Gingee has put his head down to ask for grooming from her a couple of times. She’s not quite got the hang of how to do it, but I’m sure she will!

When she cries, our leader bunny, Gingee, goes to patrol the area while Barbara comes to nuzzle and check she’s okay. (Ned is deaf, so doesn’t really respond to crying!) 

We worried a bit about Gingee at first. He is so attached to my husband, and has been known to be jealous. We’ve been careful to make sure that my husband treats Gingee like the special bunny he is, and I often get to hold the baby a bit more while Gingee gets extra fuss. If anything, he seems happier than before!

They all like to get attention from each other. Baby loves it when they come up and nuzzle at her, and sometimes she cries when they move away. They like it when she touches them – Ned in particular. He’ll sit and look really proud, as if he’s saying, “Look, the baby is playing with me! Me! I’m the chosen one right now!”

The rabbits have their own bedroom, so they have somewhere to escape to where baby doesn’t go. They have their door shut most of the day, but we have three long sessions of food and playtime each day, so they don’t feel neglected.

I was really worried about how it would work out, but while they were a bit wary at first, I’ve never seen them binky as much as they have in the past few weeks!

She’s only seven weeks old and they’re already all so close. I’m so excited to see how their relationship develops as she gets older.

Meeting the new baby #barbarablogs

Barbara Rabbit

Hello, friends. It’s been a while – life has been hectic in our house! We’ve had a new baby, for one thing. And I was sick before that. But it’s time for me to come back and enlighten you with Barbara Rabbit’s pearls of wisdom!  You can read some of my older posts here.

So we have a new baby. I say we, she obviously belongs to my human parents. But she sort of belongs to all of us because she lives here, and so do we. So we all get to hear her crying and play with her.

our new baby

She was born two weeks ago. We knew there was going to be a baby as our parents had been preparing us for a long time. They even bought us some little plastic human babies to show us what she might look like! (She looked nothing like them. It would be like showing someone a tiny Netherland dwarf to prepare them for meeting a Flemish giant.)

We could tell she was about to be born when our parents came to see us in the night. Our daddy gave us loads of extra hay and back up water bottles (I counted six! I tested them all, because I love water bottles!) and let us all out into our room together. Usually at night we had to go into our own houses, but he said that we might like the company.

Our mum wasn’t so talkative. She was mostly sitting like a rabbit, on all fours, making strange sounds. Now I know a bit about having litters, but this looked rather odd and it was a bit scary to me. Gingee was brave and went and nuzzled up at her belly, though.

And then they went away. They were gone for a really, really long time. Our daddy came back after a bit to give us some more food and water and play with us, but Mummy still wasn’t back. He took a video of us to send to Mummy, though.

They both came back eventually, though. And when they did, they had the small human with them!

She’s bigger than a baby rabbit, and even has more hair than one. The top of her head is really furry and I like to nuzzle at it. She’s smaller than all of us full grown rabbits, though. Here she is with Ned:

Ned the rabbit with the new baby

We like seeing her. Generally our parents bring her to visit two or three times a day. She sits with us while we eat, usually, and then we nuzzle at her sometimes.

She doesn’t play very much yet, which is a bit disappointing. I hoped she’d be able to do a bit more, but sometimes Daddy can make her stroke me which is nice. Although she touched my foot yesterday and I did not like that. I flicked my feet at her but she didn’t seem to understand what it meant. That’s alright, she’s only small and there’s still time for her to learn!

I like that she’s often wearing lovely soft clothes – softer than either of our parents’ clothes. It’s really nice to nuzzle up against. I particularly like chinning her feet.

She’s not as loud as I thought she might be! And when she is loud, our parents quickly take her into a different room or give her some milk, so it doesn’t bother us too much.

Our mum wouldn’t sit on the floor with us for a few days. That was sad, as I like playing with her on the floor. But she’s getting better at it again now! I have heard that birth is particularly hard for humans, so I suppose this is an after-effect of that, a bit like when I had my dental surgery and my mouth hurt for a few days.

Gingee is being particularly vigilant, and patrolling downstairs a lot. I asked him about it, and he explained that it’s because we have a new member of our group now, so he needs to keep an eye out. He still thinks he’s in charge!

Ned just wants her to become a bit more interactive! He likes more active play, and she doesn’t do that yet.

All in all, we feel quite good about this new arrival.

Are there any other rabbits out there with human babies? What do you think of yours?

“Don’t have an only child!”

I read this earlier and it got me thinking.

I’m an only child. My husband is one of three.

I have to admit, I always thought I’d have a big family. At least three or four children. Well, going back a longer way, I thought about more like six, seven, eight. Then we started to talk about actual children, and think about finances.

Financially, we do okay. We live in a town with low house prices and a fairly low cost of living. We only earn average salaries, but due to the town we moved to, we have enough for a nice life, really. I like the idea of being able to give this baby a lot of opportunities. If we only have one, we can give a lot more. I know that I got a lot of support from my parents, and I’m so grateful to them; it’s set us up well.

When we got married, we bought a four-bedroom house for our imaginary children. We filled one bedroom with ourselves. One became a study. Three rabbits moved into the third. That leaves one for our baby. (As an only child, I have a horror of sharing a room. It’s bad enough I have to share with my husband!)

Me as a very small only child

Being an only child never did me any harm!

But, right now, the main reason for considering stopping at one is pregnancy.

Physically, pregnancy has been great for me. Yes, I had four horrific months of nausea and losing weight. Okay, right now baby is sitting on my sciatic nerve and my whole bottom and leg are numb and painfully tingly. I admit I’m sort of waddling and in pain a fair amount at nearly 32 weeks over here. But in general, my body seems to know what it’s doing over here. My blood pressure is always great, my blood and urine tests come back nicely, baby’s growth seems to be on track despite my shocking diet, etc.

But pregnancy has been emotionally more difficult than I expected. I’ve written about it before. I’m not myself when I’m pregnant, it turns out. I’m this sad, irritable, tired, weepy lady. I don’t like her very much. Then again, I don’t like anything right now. I am constantly angry.

It feels like I’m not so good at my job, my marriage or keeping my home going when I’m pregnant. Right now, that’s just an annoying inconvenience, but when I already have a child, I feel like it wouldn’t be fair on them to put them through what I’m like when I’m pregnant. And it wouldn’t be fair on me.

So maybe I’m letting go of the dream of having more than one baby. Maybe we’ll have a wonderful, lovely, beautiful only child.

It’s sad to say goodbye to the dream, but then again, there are lots of dreams that I’ve not been able to fulfill.

I love taking ballet class but I’ll never be a professional dancer, for example. But that doesn’t mean my experience of taking class isn’t wonderful in its own right. I can love pliés as much as any other dancer, and I can love my one baby as much as any mother who has more than one loves them all.

So I am making my peace with the idea that this one may be an only child. (I’m not saying never, because of course the best way to make God laugh is to tell him your plans!) But what I’m not thrilled about is the sheer amount of people who are already asking me “When are you having the next one?” No. I haven’t even had the first yet!

If I admit that this may be our only, they often follow up with, “Oh, don’t have an only child! They’re so spoilt/they find it hard to make friends/you’ll just love the first so much you’ll want to give it a sibling!” So then I get to out myself as being an only child. No, I don’t think I’m spoilt. I’m average at making friends. My parents love me an awful lot and I certainly don’t object that they never “gave me” a sibling. I had a great childhood.

And unless you want me to unload all of my pregnancy anger on you, it might be a good idea to stop asking!