By Olivia K Pitkethly, MA, LMHC
Who can resist buying those Weeboks or mini Mary Janes? Finding cute outfits and the shoes to compliment them is like reliving our childhoods when we dressed up our dolls! However, it’s one thing to put shoes on our poor, patient kiddos for pictures, and another to find the right walking shoe for baby’s first steps.
Podiatrist Earlie Hairston recommends waiting until your baby starts walking before putting shoes on him. A baby’s foot is always developing, and pediatricians recommend allowing the baby to walk barefoot or in nonskid socks so the foot continues to grow outside the confines of a shoe. A baby learns to walk by gripping the ground with his toes and using his heel for stability. When your child begins walking outside, shoes should be used for protection.
“When purchasing shoes for a baby, make sure there is a supportive arch since babies have flat feet,” said Hairston. Lightweight shoes with non-skid soles, such as sneakers, are best to keep your child steady. Check the shoe’s fit every month. The distance between the child’s big toe and the inside edge of the shoe should be about the width of your finger.
Since a baby’s foot changes size every two or three months, it might be tempting to use big sister’s old shoes rather than spend money on a new pair. But Hairston advises against this. “Avoid hand-me-down shoes because the integrity of the shoe might be compromised, such as the sole or the arch,” he said.
Do they still bronze baby shoes?
In a word, yes! Growing up, it seemed like every baby’s nursery had bronzed shoes sitting atop the dresser. Nowadays, it’s not just bronze; you can have your baby’s shoes preserved in pewter, silver and even gold!
Walk this way
A new walker’s little penguin waddle is adorable, but what is normal? If your child is walking on the balls of her feet or with her toes pointed inward, this is a normal developmental stage. However, if these traits continue past age 2, you should talk to your pediatrician. Other potential issues to look for include limping (with or without pain) and having no interest in walking after she has turned 15 months old. While frequent falling is to be expected in the early walking stages, if it continues, coupled with the inability or difficulty to get back up again, please talk to your doctor.