Stepping out – we have walking

It’s been something of a momentous week for Minnie (certainly from my point of view…). Not only did she manage her first solo swimming, she’s also toddled her first steps unaided.

As she’s been charging happily around behind her walker for a few weeks, and can stand longer and longer on her own (as long as she doesn’t notice she’s not supported), it’s only been a matter of time – and confidence.toddler-girl-explore-walk

But now she’s taken those first tottering steps, I suspect I’ll soon be chasing round after her even more. Hopefully not before our flight to Copenhagen though!

My mother-in-law has already promised to buy her first pair of walking shoes, so I’ve been doing a bit of research. And in the process, trying to get to the bottom of a debate with another mum about when babies need their first shoes.

Although the shops have everything from pram shoes to crawling/cruiser shoes, the experts all agree that babies should go without shoes for as long as possible to allow free movement and let the feet develop naturally.

At birth, the human foot actually contains no bones, just cartilage. These eventually turn into the 28 bones that make up an adult foot but not until the late teens, so it’s essential to take particular care of baby feet.

baby-feet-delicate-tinyWhich means avoiding shoes where possible and choosing well-fitting options only when you need them. That’s not until she’s confidently walking on her own – about three to six weeks after the first solo steps – and even then, only outside.

As a summer baby, I’ve been lucky. By the time Minnie was out of full-time babygros, the weather was good enough to only need socks outside. I was given some sandals and pram shoes, which she instantly wrenched off, so I gave up until the weather worsened and she needed something to keep her feet warm out in the buggy or when I carried her to nursery.

At about 14 months, I got some cruiser shoes as it was a bit chilly for bare feet but her socks were too slippy to totter in. I wish I’d known about Falke Catspads at the time (which I just came across this morning) – socks with special grippy feet, they seem like a great solution and useful if your baby loathes shoes.

There’s a whole variety out there, available from Amazon for £6.50 as well as for £9 – the latter in specific shoe sizes rather than age ranges.

Whatever you do choose, make sure the shoe’s sole is flexible and as lightweight as possible. Do get measured by a qualified fitter and try to avoid second-hand shoes (not always easy given the price and the fact they need re-measuring every six to eight weeks) which may have moulded to other feet shapes and walking styles.

A Velcro or buckle fastening (or laces, if you can be bothered) are good to make sure shoes stay on securely. Then, the only question is what you like… and if they agree (because they’re not going to wear something they hate)!

With cold weather around the corner, I’ve been eyeing up the high-sided Ida Acorn shoes at Clarks or Crazy Cake high-tops. I’m also trying to tell myself the very cute Softly Ice mini biker boots might be warm but aren’t practical to wiggle onto a wriggly toddler.

Startrite’s Minnie Lottie in red leather are lovely too, although I’m trying not to notice that they’re about as much as the last pair of shoes I bought myself…


Image: sandburchick/Flickr; chicagophotogirl/Flickr