Around 1 year, baby starts to take the first steps… An emotional moment for the whole family! But should baby wear shoes straight away? Here are the tips from a specialist.
At birth, baby’s foot is essentially composed of fat and cartilage. It will take 21 years to completely ossify! For now, the foot’s arch is completely masked by a thick fatty cussion which makes the feet appear flat: no panic, it actually is only the case for 10% of children.
Curiously, some children choose to take their first steps on the tip of their feet… This great event usually happens around the age of 1. Parents, keep your eyes peeled: If you see baby test the “foot dance” (standing, baby balances on its tiptoes then heels, leaning forward then backwards), it’s that he/she will walk soon!
Of course, at first he/she will be finding the right balance: He/she will lift feet much higher than necessary, move forward with bent elbows and arms wide out, will fall on his bum regularly, brought down by the weight of the diaper. Fortunately, baby is perseverant. In 10-15 days, he will have develop a certain balance, and in a few weeks will be walking around like a big boy/girl!
With or without shoes for the first steps?
Tiny baby shoes, we love ’em, they’re so cute! Except psychomotor experts are formal: Around 1 year, baby doesn’t need shoes at all to learn how to walk. Indeed, to find his balance, the child needs bare feet, very simply: This will allow him to have a good adherence with regards to the floor, to feel different textures, adapt the foot movement… Things that are impossible to do with a pair of shoes, as cute as they may be.
Putting shoes on a child taking its first steps is like trying to teach an adult to walk on hands.. with big gloves. You can even pass on socks: at home, barefeet is perfect.
We’ve said it: around 1, baby’s foot is still malleable. Yet shoes (and even those with a thin sole) can hinder its good development and even induce anomalies – flat feet, for example. It is thus best to favour a “free locomotion”.
And then? As soon as the child can walk on its own in autonomy (without mum or dad), you can invest in a little pair specifically made for baby, with a thin and supple sole and good ankle support. This will only be used when baby wants to play in the garden or for walks in town… as much as possible, allow baby to roam barefeet – it’s much more enjoyable!