Your newborn - the essentials
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Your baby's feet

The first year of your baby's life will not be spent with shoe shop assistants! For most of this time you'll want her toes to be naked.

Posted: 29 June 2006
by Laura Lee Davies

Not only are babies' feet so cute that you'll want to stare at them all day, it's a good idea for the first year to keep your child's feet visible whenever possible. That is, avoid shoes and even socks when you're baby is in a warm, safe environment.

Start Rite Digger
Babies' feet are made of cartilage and fatty tissue rather than strong bones and therefore they are very easily squashed out of shape.
It is important not to cover their feet or squeeze them into socks that are too small, or sleepsuits which pull the toes up because your baby is too big for them. Additionally, try to avoid putting any shoes on them at all.
In cold weather and whilst out and about, you might want to keep their feet covered. If you have a soft, sleeping bag-like buggy cover, then this will probably be enough, but you can put socks on if they allow room for toes to wriggle.
If you do want to pick up some soft shoes to keep socks in place, try things like Daisy Roots, which are soft leather shoes that do not enclose your baby's feet too tightly.
Go to a good children's shoe shop where the assistant can make sure what you choose isn't too tight or too heavyweight on your child's feet.

Start Rite Jelly Tot
By the time your baby is crawling, you might want to have some kind of footwear, but again, where possible, try to leave shoes and socks off.
Beware that some socks will make your baby slip and slide, putting off their natural progression as they discover their legs!
Again, find light, soft shoes in breathable natural materials and get them checked when you buy them, from a good shoe shop.

Start Rite Flexi

When babies become toddlers
As your baby begins to cruise, bare feet will again allow him to let his feet spread to a natural shape which best supports his body.
Footwear at this time should be along the lines of before.
When he has been walking for about six weeks, you can take him to get his first pair of shoes fitted.
You might baulk at the price of children's shoes, but good retailers will check the size properly and won't sell you a pair of shoes if they don't have anything that's right for your child's feet, so it's worth it in terms of customer care. (Plus, shops like Clark's and Russell & Bromley do have good sales, where the shoes will still be fitted properly, even if they're reduced.)
Go for breathable natural fibres like soft leather, and shoes with good support to them.

The Start-rite website has some excellent advice and tips for footwear. It's free for all parents to check out. Go to www.startriteshoes for more.

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