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There are few symbols of new arrivals more iconic than a pair of baby shoes. Mini-sized items are cute in themselves, and baby shoes are so photogenic. You can even have them bronzed or hang them from the rear-view mirror of your car (we do not recommend doing both). But for however you choose to use the shoes, does your newborn actually need to wear them?
Shoes can provide some protection for baby’s feet, and also help keep little prying fingers from removing socks. What they can also be, however, is restrictive. The bones in a newborn’s feet are still soft and developing. They don’t fully harden until around 5 years old, and it’s important to make sure obstacles don’t get in the way of forming a proper foot structure and arch.
During infancy, before walking, bare feet or socks are best. There may still be times when shoes are wanted or expected, of course, and that’s fine. Opt for shoes that are flexible, give the feet wiggle room, and don’t pinch at any points.
Once a child begins toddling around, still try to stick to bare feet when possible. Having direct contact with the ground will help better develop his or her senses of balance and stability. When some protection and warmth are needed, socks with rubber grips on the bottom are also helpful.
We are happy to provide foot and ankle care advice for new parents and parents-to-be. Call the Bloomington office of Dr. Kevin Powers at (812) 333-4422 to schedule an appointment. You can also contact us through our online form.