23 Aug How do you take care of newborn babies’ feet?
It seems like all my friends are having babies at the moment (it must be something in the water!). I am fielding a lot of questions about the best way to care for the little bambino’s tootsies. So here goes, the top tips your baby will thank you for.
Did you know when a child is born, it has only 22 partially developed bones in its feet?
A baby’s feet are mainly cartilage. Their bones will develop as they grow until their late teens when they have 26 fully developed adult bones in each foot. Foot health is so important for babies and young children so here are some helpful hints for the early months.
Don’t forget the baby’s feet at bath time! Use a gentle soap so as not to irritate their skin and, most importantly, dry the feet carefully afterward. Focus on the gaps between the toes and around the toenails – as in adults, bacteria love to live in a dark, damp environment.
Unless it’s cold, let your baby go barefoot. Having their feet unrestricted to bend and move naturally is a key part of their development and understanding of movement. Especially in the hot Queensland weather, keeping their feet uncovered will also help keep them keep cool and prevent them from overheating.
Although tiny, babies’ toenails that are left to grow too long can damage their super-soft skin when kicking or playing with their feet. Get yourself some baby-specific nail clippers to help get the job done. Trim them straight across leaving no rough edges.
Kicking, bending their legs, and flexing their feet are all part of normal development, so are encouraged. Keeping your baby active with play is not only good for their development but also for bonding for parent and child. There are even baby yoga classes now! Here on the Sunshine Coast, swimming classes are also very popular.
Put socks on your baby’s feet if it’s cold. Feet are an important part of body temperature regulation; if your baby is too cold, it can result in a range of issues, such as difficulty sleeping or reduced appetite. This can be easily overcome by popping a pair of socks on. Make sure the socks fit properly – babies grow quickly, so check regularly that you can comfortably slip your finger down between the ankle band and your baby’s skin without much pressure.
Ever heard the expression “You have to crawl before you walk”? This rings true, every milestone your baby reaches is creating strength, movement patterns, and bone development to allow them to move to the next stage. Avoid hard-soled shoes until your baby is walking outdoors – tiny versions of fashionable shoes can seem like a cute idea, but they can also be very heavy on their little feet and make it more difficult for them to walk and encourage poor gait patterns. So stick with socks and soft booties while they are tiny tots and don’t worry they will be in shoes before you know it!
Read more about developmental milestones: https://raisingchildren.net.au/guides/first-1000-days/development/baby-development