Wilbourn suggests a multifaceted approach with cats, including a lot of feeding, petting, name-crooning and general attention around the time that cat and baby meet.
She also recommends desensitizing the (poor) cat by playing a recording of a baby crying, and perhaps having a friend's child come over to play so the cat gets used to kids, and presumably is then less prone to a full blown freakout when sticky hands grab its tail. She details more approaches in her book, "The Complete Guide to Understanding and Caring for Your Cat."
Krediet said when they bought their daughter home from the hospital, they let the dogs sniff her feet and get to know her, making sure never to leave them with her unsupervised.
Crandall, meanwhile, sums up their approach as "NDLB" (no dog left behind). "We call him our firstborn son and he is the baby's brother," she says, "We try really hard to make him feel special and not that he has been sidelined."
But in case you were wondering if the upshot of all of this is a Disneyesque house of harmony where pet and baby frolic and snuggle in happy unison, you may be asking too much.
While mini-Crandall is becoming increasingly fascinated by the furry creature sharing his home, Crandall says dog E.G. -- while tolerant -- does not return the interest level. "He sniffs him and then goes about his business."
Lack of interest, however, is still one of the better outcomes. Some pets never come around to the change in circumstances. Wilbourn says it can be a good idea to arrange a "worst-case scenario," alternative home for your pet, in case all else fails.
But there are some happy endings. Wilbourn describes one cat who, after an initial show of aggressive behavior, became devoted to the new baby and now acts as a kind of "cat nanny," standing guard over its little friend, maybe wearing a pinafore (that part possibly is just in my imagination).
And according to Krediet, Hector and Lemon's affections have increased exponentially along with the baby's propensity to drop food on the floor. Hector now even lets her ride on his back.
"I think they adapted to the situation the same way we adapted our lives, going from crazy, freedom-loving 20s into responsible married 30s," she says, "I think they've enjoyed parenthood, too."