Watching your baby take their first wobbly steps is SO exciting! They’ve gained a whole new level of independence and will be absolutely delighted with themselves. This is usually the time when you might start thinking about a trip to the shoe shop. Here are some things to consider before buying baby’s first shoes.
Babies normally start walking around the one year mark, but it’s important to note that all children develop at their own pace and some may walk early while others may not walk until much later. (If you have concerns about your child walking late, (post 18 months) talk to your GP.) At this stage, their bones are still soft and their feet will still be forming. This means your little one will be wobbly for a while, but as they develop their balance, they will become more confident.
Feel The Floor
During this phase, it’s important not to put them into shoes too early. ‘Bare feet is best’ for the first 6-8 weeks at least. Let them feel the floor and develop their walking skills. If you are worried your little one’s feet might be cold, look for socks with rubberised grips on the soles. Make sure these aren’t too tight as it may constrict the formation of their toes.
Pre-walkers are used by many parents but are not suitable as ‘first shoes’. Many physiotherapists recommend that pre-walkers are not used for walking in as they don’t have the support and stability your baby will need. Let your little one learn to walk in bare feet/socks for the first 8 weeks then, when they are able to walk confidently, it’s time to visit the shoe shop!
Keep It Natural
When buying baby’s first shoes, look for natural materials, such as leather, canvas and cotton. These are breathable and are less likely to rub. Choose shoes that fasten securely with velcro or buckles to minimize accidents.
Rather than buying ‘off the rack’, choose a shoe shop that offers a measuring service, preferably one that’s experienced in measuring for first shoes. They will measure both the length and width of your little one’s foot to ensure the perfect fit. Let your child walk around the shop in the shoes to ensure they fit properly and don’t slip up and down. Be sure their toes aren’t right at the top so they have room to grow.
Babies feet grow fast so it’s recommended that you check their shoes still fit well every 6-8 weeks. The way to do this is to feel the front of the shoe when your little one’s foot is in it. If you can feel their toes at the top, it’s time to buy a new pair.
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