Caring for your baby’s tiny feet to encourage healthy development
You’ll soon be hearing the pitter-patter of tiny feet — but how do you care for them? In this post, Rachel Clinkard, from the family shoe retailer Charles Clinkard, explains how new parents can care for their little one’s feet during their first few years of life.
If you’ve just welcomed your newest arrival into the family, then you’ll no doubt already be obsessed with your baby’s tiny feet — after all, they’re pretty adorable! But you might be wondering whether there’s anything you need to do to make sure their feet and toes stay healthy as they grow. While most of the development will of course happen naturally, there are steps you can take to help the process along. Here, I’ll share my advice for taking care of your baby’s feet, so they’ll grow strong and healthy enough to carry them through life.
Clean and care for their feet daily
Before long, you’ll start to notice that your little one enjoys touching, holding, and playing with their feet — even putting them in their mouths! All of this is perfectly normal, and it’s a sign that their co-ordination skills and leg muscles are developing correctly. But, to make sure they’re not ingesting any germs, you’ll need to make sure you’re keeping their feet nice and clean. So, it’s best to check their feet during each nappy change and give them a proper clean with some warm water and baby soap once a day.
After washing, dry them off carefully with a soft towel, making sure to dry between each little toe. You’ll also want to make sure there a no little bits of dirt, fluff, or loose strands of your hair caught between their toes, as these can be quite uncomfortable for them.
Trim their toenails to keep them safe and comfortable
Babies love to kick their legs and hold and play with their feet, so if their toenails get too long, they could be at risk of scratching themselves. You’ll therefore need to make sure you’re keeping your baby’s toenails at a comfortable length by trimming or filing them every week or two, depending on how fast they grow.
You can use a mini nail file, a set of clippers, or some baby nail scissors to do this, or maybe even a combination of all three. It will be easiest to do this right after bath time, when their nails will be softer and your baby should be relaxed and sleepy. If they’re quite wriggly or don’t like having their nails trimmed, it may help to secure them in a rocker and give them a toy to play with to help keep them busy. Remember to always cut the nails straight across, as this will encourage them to grow healthily and reduce the chances of ingrown nails.
Let them spend as much time barefoot as possible
Your baby’s little feet are very soft and flexible during the first year of their life because the arches and bones are still growing and hardening. So, it’s very important that they aren’t constrained or restricted by hard shoes, as this can interfere with the healthy development of their feet.
Instead, your baby should be barefoot as much as possible, as this allows them to freely kick, flex, and hold their feet to their heart’s content. Going barefoot will also help when they start to learn to walk, as it makes it easier for them to use their developing foot and ankle muscles and to grip the floor with their toes. So, let those adorable little feet be free as much as possible!
If you’re worried about your baby getting cold feet in chilly weather, socks, crib shoes, and soft booties can be used to keep them nice and toasty. Any sturdy, adult-style shoes — like hard soled-trainers, Mary Janes, or boots — are best saved for dressy photoshoots or special occasions.
After your baby has started to toddle about unaided, you can take them to get their first pair of “big shoes” fitted. I would always recommend visiting a retailer that specialises in fitting shoes for young children, as they will be able to advise on the best fit, shoe type, and style for your little one.
By and large, your little one’s feet will grow and develop healthily without you needing to do anything. But, you can help them get the best start in life by following the steps I’ve shared above.