Are you a new parent or due to be one soon? Then it’s worth knowing the best way to take care of your new baby’s feet as they grow. In this article, Rachel Clinkard, from footwear retailer Charles Clinkard, provides five tips for caring for those tiny feet.
When you have a baby to care for, there are so many things you need to care for. And, one of the areas that many new parents find daunting is making sure that their feet are nice and healthy. To help you provide the best care possible for your little one, I’ve put together five handy tips that will make sure that you’re making all the right moves when it comes to their foot development.
Make Sure Their Feet Are Cleaned Regularly
Though your little one might not be exploring too much in the first months, you’ll be astonished at how much dirt can get on their feet from all that wiggling when they’re lying down! It’s also natural for your baby to put their feet in their mouth in this period, so you’ll need to keep them clean.
Give their feet a clean once per day. Prepare some warm water and a gentle, baby-friendly soap and use a soft sponge to wipe each foot, before drying them with a towel. Make sure you dry between your baby’s toes to ensure bacteria doesn’t take root.
Ensure Their Toenails Are Trimmed Regularly
Your baby’s toenails can grow at quite a fast pace, so it’s important that you keep them trimmed to prevent them from becoming a scratching hazard or catching on their clothing or socks. With short toenails, your little one will also be less at risk of developing ingrowing toenails.
Aim to give them a trim at least every two weeks using a baby nail clipper or scissors, or, by filing them down with a small emery board. Take care not to cut their nails down too far and make a straight cut across rather than a rounded one.
If you have trouble cutting your baby’s nails due to them being restless or squirming, then it may be worth trying it after bath time when they’re more relaxed. Or, you could try putting them in a rocker or highchair where it’s easy to distract them with something fun.
Maximise The Time They Spend Barefoot
When your little one spends time barefoot, they’re able to move and kick their legs freely, which can help to develop their feet by building strength in their ligaments and foot arches. While you’ll need to protect your baby’s feet with booties and socks when you go outside, when they’re indoors, you should try and give them plenty of time with bare feet to aid their foot development.
Choose Suitable Footwear For Their Stage Of Development
In the first months, a baby’s feet will be mostly soft cartilage and tendons as their feet develop. With time, they will gain strength in their legs as their muscles take shape and they get closer to the all-important toddling phase of their childhood.
As their feet change so quickly, you need to make sure that you choose footwear that matches their stage of development. When they’re wiggling and kicking as a baby, the likes of socks, booties, soft-soled baby shoes, and slippers, will provide them with the freedom to move and the extra flexibility that their feet need in the early days.
When your little one begins to show the first signs of wanting to walk, you’ll need to get them their first pair of real shoes. At this stage of, you’ll likely be looking for a pair of prewalker shoes that offer extra support for taking those first steps, but are flexible enough for a developing foot. You should also take care to allow extra room in any shoes, as your baby will grow at a fast pace.
I highly recommend visiting a specialist shoe shop that offers a kids’ shoe fitting service to make sure your child is wearing correctly sized and suitable footwear.
Help Your Little One To Take Those First Steps
While every baby learns to walk at their own pace, most find their feet at between 6–18 months, so it’s worth being vigilant at this milestone. Signs that your little one will be taking their first steps are varied, ranging from pulling themselves up on furniture to crying more often and changing their sleeping pattern as their brains enter that next stage of development.
There are also a few things you can do to help them take their first steps. For instance, you can try to encourage them to stand upright by placing a favourite toy on a chair to see if they pull themselves up to get it. Be sure to praise them if they do, as this will positively reinforce being on two feet, and make them want to try it again in the future. Just be ready to help them sit back down afterwards, as they won’t have mastered the art of lowering themselves.
Follow my tips and you’ll be able to take care of your little one’s feet and encourage their healthy development right through until they’re walking on their own.