Have you ever held a baby and just marveled at their little, pudgy feet? Most moms and grandmas find a baby’s feet to be irresistible. You just have to count their toes, feel their soft skin, be awed by their tiny toenails, and kiss them again and again. Admit it a baby’s feet are just too cute.
At birth, a baby has 22 bones in their feet. These bones are made up of soft, pliable cartilage that makes their feet fragile and more susceptible to injury. As a child grows, the cartilage in their feet changes into bone; and the number of bones increases to 26.
Normally, most babies’ feet are flat. Their arches gradually form as their bones develop. Many children may have flat feet up until age 3 or 4.
Since a child’s feet develop and grow rapidly during their first year, it’s important to keep them strong and healthy and to promote normal foot development. So, here are steps you can do to care of your baby’s feet:
- Check your baby’s feet regularly. Remove any lint, hair or fuzz balls between the toes that can irritate your infant and make them cry. Look for blisters that may form when a baby’s socks are too tight. If you notice any abnormalities, see your child’s doctor immediately.
- Make sure your baby’s feet are clean and dry at all times. Clean their feet after diaper changes to make sure they don’t have any poo on them. Also, you can use a gentle baby lotion to soothe dry patches.
- Resist the urge to stand your baby upright since an infant’s back isn’t strong enough to support themselves until around 6 months. After your child learns to crawl, you can stand them up in your lap – just make sure you support the child’s weight. Don’t force your child to walk until he is physically and emotionally ready to walk, which generally happens between 10 to 18 months.
- Trim your child’s nails regularly. Use clean nail clippers to clip them straight across – do not round the edges. Don’t trim them too short. Leave a little of the white nail at the tip. Watch for ingrown toenails (the edge of the toenail grows into the skin causing the toe to become red, swollen and/or ooze pus) which can be painful for your baby. You can treat an ingrown toenail by gently filing the nail away from the skin, applying over-the-counter antibiotic cream and gently wrapping the toe with gauze. If you don’t see improvement after a couple of days, take your baby to see your doctor.
- Keep your baby’s feet covered, depending upon the climate and your preference. Make sure her sleepers, socks or soft booties are loose. You don’t want to squash her feet and toes and restrict her movement. Socks, tights and booties should be made of natural fibers like cotton. Check your baby’s sleepers, socks and booties often to make sure they’re not too tight.
- Don’t put shoes on your child until he/she is ready to walk. Since your baby’s feet are delicate and malleable, shoes can restrict the natural development of your child’s feet and could cause damage if they’re too tight.
- Allow your baby to exercise his feet and legs. Lying your child uncovered enables him to kick and move his feet and legs, so he can strengthen his muscles.
- Change your baby’s position several times a day. Lying too long in the same spot can put an unnecessary strain on her legs and feet.
By following these tips, you can help ensure that your baby’s feet and legs will grow and develop as they should, preparing them for those all important first steps and beyond.
Custom Orthotics Can Help Improve Foot Function
Generally, custom foot orthotics aren’t recommended until your child is at least 3 years old. If arch supports, like ezWalker® Performance Insoles, are recommended, they can help your child’s feet function more efficiently while improving posture and balance.
A child’s custom orthotics should be replaced regularly as your child grows – usually every 6 months or as your child outgrows her shoes. Usually, children should continue to wear arch supports until the growth plates in their feet are set. This usually occurs in girls around the ages of 14 and 15 and in boys around the ages of 16 and 17.
For more information on children’s foot orthotics, contact the WalkEzStore.com.
Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.