Parenting

Parenting: Putting on the right shoe

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Our little guy is now pulling himself up. In fact, he'd rather be under his own steam to stand or crawl than be held. So with him on the verge of taking steps, we've wondered if we should be more regular and rigid about getting him into shoes. In fact, we thought a pair of shoes might help him start to walk.

But it turns out that our best bet is his bare feet or socks. "According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies don't actually need to wear shoes until they begin to walk. Shoes...don't help her to walk any faster," says the pediatrics site on About.com.

In fact, those old leather shoes that we've seen bronzed a million times are a really bad choice for little feet. Instead, leaving a baby in socks or barefoot helps him stretch his toes, build muscle and develop the equilibrium to stand and walk.

But once your baby starts walking it is time to get him shod. And while there are lots of adorable options, cuteness is not the best measure of what to put on the feet.

BabyCenter.com, which is an excellent go-to site, has some great tips:

  • Shop later in the day. Your child's foot can expand as much as five percent over the day.
  • Choose a sneaker or breathable, lightweight upper, like canvas, cloth or soft leather. Stiff leather constrains the child and can make him sweat.
  • Stand your child up. There should be enough room to squeeze your pinky between the heel and shoe and the full width of your thumb between his toe and the shoe's tip.
  • Grab the material at the top of the shoe. It should have some give; otherwise, it may be too tight.
  • Kids don't break in shoes like adults. After a short while in the store in the shoe, check your child's feet. If there are irritated spots, don't get the shoes with the idea they can be broken in later.
  • Make sure laces are long enough to double knot.
  • Think twice on Velcro. Once kids figure it out, you may permanently be on the hunt for a mate to one lonely shoe or crazed with the sound of constantly ripping Velcro.
Congrats on these days of cruising and first steps. And happy shoe shopping!

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