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Little Steps: Taking Care of My Baby’s Feet

Babies are born with only 22 bones in each foot, but the numbers of bones increase to 26 by the time they are five years old. The first few years of your baby’s life are crucial as the bones in your baby’s feet are made of soft, flexible cartilage that gradually converts to bone over time.

The reason you have to take extra care of your baby’s feet during this time is because her feet are more vulnerable to injury if not taken care of properly. By the time your child is at the age of two years old, her foot shape would become clear.

There are three main shapes of a foot, and she would have inherited one of these from you;

  • Tapered: Her big toe is the biggest of all toes
  • Rounded: Her second or third toe is longer than her big toe
  • Square: All her toes are roughly of the same length

Parents take extra care of their babies in the first few years; they get paranoid about every little thing, but how many of you can say one of your main focuses of healthcare is on your child’s feet?

I think it is safe to assume that not many parents make a big deal out of their baby’s feet until it is time to start walking, but keep in mind that foot care is extremely important in the early years. In this article we talk about all you need to know about child foot care.

TAKING CARE OF MY CHILD’S FEET

Looking after your child’s feet now will be greatly beneficial in the long run as it would help to prevent foot problems later on in life that could be permanently harmful.

Parents love dressing their babies up in cute clothes, and of course the look is not complete without a pair of socks or soft booties. While it may be great to have a child who looks fashionable, be sure that the footwear on your child gives her toes plenty of room to straighten out and move around easily.

You could also make sure nothing is wrong by checking her feet regularly for blisters and other boils. Wash your child’s feet frequently and dry them in between the toes to avoid any bacteria. Practice cutting her toenails straight across to prevent them from becoming ingrown.

Do not put socks or any other kind of footwear on your child all day long. It is good to let her have some time with bare feet so that she can exercise her feet and toes. While excessive tickling is not recommended, having a little game of slight tickling is good as it encourages her to flex and stretch her foot muscles.

Of course it is exciting to buy shoes for your baby but do not rush into it. Socks made from cotton will do the trick in keeping your child’s feet warm. Something we do not do often enough is check the size of the socks. Socks are known to shrink when tumble dried, so be sure they are the right size for your child’s feet or this could affect how her feet grow.

BUYING MY CHILD’S FIRST SHOES

Did you know that baby who has just started walking; take about 176 steps per minute. Meaning, the longer you let your child walk without shoes, the more it allows your child’s feet to grow naturally.

When your child is just learning how to walk, let her walk barefoot indoors, of course the floor she is walking on has to be clean and clear of all sharp objects. Walking barefoot lets feet develop and strengthen without restriction. Once your child is able to walk on rough surfaces, perhaps you could take her for a walk outdoors with a pair of early first shoes.

It is best to choose shoes made from soft leather and ones that come with a choice of width, making them fit properly. Make sure her first shoes are fitted by a professional shoe fitter as you would want to make sure they fit perfectly.

Aim for ones that come with secure fastening such as Velcro, buckle or laces. These help to hold the heel in place and stop the feet from slipping forward which would result in damage of her toes.

You should practice frequently measuring your child’s feet as children’s feet tend to grow on average, two full sizes a year until they are four years old.

FOOT DEVELOPMENT PROBLEMS THAT COULD HAPPEN

There are some foot developmental problems to watch out for in your child’s early years.

Intoe-ing and outtoe-ing

This is when toddlers walk inwards or outwards. It usually corrects itself when your child gets comfortable with walking. However, it is better to talk to your doctor is this continues after toddlerhood; especially if it seems to only be affecting one foot.

Toe walkin

This is when your child walks on her toes without putting any effort on her heels. This can be a sign of abnormally short Achilles tendons, and might need physiotherapy.

It is very important to take care of your child’s feet from a young age because feet are an important element no matter what age you are.

3 Minor foot problems to watch out for

Blisters

Often caused by tight shoes or when feet are covered up in the hot weather. Check your child’s socks and shoe size often to make sure it fits right.

Ingrown toenails

Causes the side of her skin to look red or swollen. Cut her toenails correctly by not cutting them too short and not curving them.

Athlete’s foot

A fungal infection that causes red, itchy, moist rash between the toes. Dress your toddler in cotton socks and wash and dry her feet properly after swimming.

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