November 17, 2020: Choosing your baby’s first shoes
Choosing your baby’s first shoes is such an important purchase.
The Podiatrists at Maidenhead Podiatry are often asked for advice on children’s foot wear and what to look for when buying their baby’s first shoes.
As parents know, most babies don’t stay in one place for very long.
What a fascinating place the world is, particularly if it’s all new to you……and then you learn to crawl.
First things first
By about four months most babies start to rock and roll, first from their side to their back, and back again.
Soon after they’ll start to lie with their upper body supported on one or both hands – all the better to see the world around them.
Next, they learn to sit.
At first, they can stay in place when you put them down for just a few seconds before tumbling back, but later they’ll be able to sit up for themselves as their muscles strengthen and coordination improves.
Babies then work out that by pushing down with hands to raise their upper body, they can pull themselves along.
Later, their legs join in too and then they’re off.
At high speed too – they can crawl 400m in the time it takes you to drink a cup of tea.
Obviously not all babies are the same and some don’t crawl, instead they perform a rather curious bottom shuffling.
Don’t use a baby-walker – your baby will stand when they’re ready and baby-walkers won’t make it any sooner.
In fact, badly adjusted baby-walkers are thought to hinder development.
“Cruising” comes between crawling and walking.
Having pulled themselves up on the furniture children slide their hands to one side, then their feet. This allows them to move their whole body.
To stay upright they will always keep either two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand in place.
At first they crawl when confronted with a gap between furniture.
However, as they grow they learn to cross by moving their feet into the gap and letting go to totter to the next support.
Between 9 and 18 months old, most children learn to walk, depending on development of muscular strength.
But don’t hurry them or become anxious – your child is an individual and will walk as soon as they are ready.
First steps on a very long road.
As soon as your child can take a few steps unaided then they are ready for their first pair of real shoes.
When choosing your child’s first shoes try and find a shop with a trained fitter.
Then look for these features in the shoes you choose –
close cropped soles to prevent tripping
space for movement and growth built in
soft leather uppers for cool comfortable feet
light, flexible soles to aid development of walking
whole and half sizes and a choice of widths to find the correct fit
fully adjustable fastenings
padded ankle for protection and support
At this age most children learn to run and perform little standing jumps.
Once they reach this stage you will need shoes that can take some punishment and still look good.
Infant shoes need room to grow without sacrificing fit.
As your child grows, you will pass many other milestones together. First birthday, first words, as well as other occasions.
While all this is happening your child’s feet and their walking continue to develop all the time.
By the time your child is a fully-fledged toddler they will clearly walk very differently from when they took those first steps.
Arms are no longer used for balance so they can be used to pick up (and throw down!) things that catch their eye.
Knees and feet now point forward as the hip joints are fully in place.
Ankles and knees now flex too, reducing the shock that leads to head movement and, in turn, tumbles.
However walking is still flat footed (which is what can make can make toddlers look clumsy) so light and flexible soles are still vital.
Don’t be concerned by their feet appearing ‘flat’ at this age as it is all part of a developing foot.