|flickr photo by Sarah Essex Matthews|
Foot specialists have varying opinions on when babies should wear their first pair of shoes. Some perceive that babies should learn to walk barefoot. After your baby has been attempting to walk for a couple of months, you may try giving him or her some shoes. Your baby's feet will continue to develop just as well without any type of footwear, but most parents find that shoes are required for the beginning walker. Baby shoes help protect your baby's tender feet from the rough surfaces, splinters, and sharp objects that lie on the path. Babies who are learning to walk looks ahead more often, not down, and these uncautious little feet are likely to bump into anything.
Some foot specialists feel that shoes help a baby walk better, others do not. The reason why shoes may help some babies walk better is that the flat, even soles of the shoes provide lateral stability for a young tenderfoot. Walking is a balancing act. Your baby balances on one foot while swinging the other foot ahead. Baby shoes worn on a baby's feet are like flippers on a scuba diver- they square off and widen the margins of the foot, providing a steady, stable surface for the balancing foot while the free foot forges ahead. The baby shoe insoles also provide a surface for your baby's toes to first grip and then push off of when taking a step. If the walking surface is soft and yielding, such as a thick, carpet or a sponge pad in a playpen, a barefoot baby's toes may sink in too much and make walking difficult. When your baby is beginning to take his or her first steps, you may try getting a first pair of shoes. If your baby walks better in them, then your baby is ready for shoes.
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