Posts Tagged ‘walking’

Does My Baby Really Need Tiny Shoes?

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 7.58.34 AMAfter a couple of failed attempts of getting tiny wiggly baby toes into cute little baby shoes, I started to wonder if tiny shoes were even necessary for an infant.

Shoes were not on my baby registry or on my list of must-have items before my baby arrived, but I somehow still ended up with a few pairs.  They are kind of irresistible and cute for people who like to buy presents for new babies.  I get it.  And, I also felt bad for not putting them on my babies.

I was able to re-gift a few of the brand new pairs of infant shoes that I received and I secretly wonder what happened to those shoes. Were they worn?  Were re-gifted?

How did I keep my babies feet warm and covered without putting tiny shoes on them?  As newborns, their outfits mostly consisted of convenient one-piece pajamas which kept their feet covered and warm.  When they wore something that exposed their toes, I put little socks on their feet, which usually fell off immediately.  When they became mobile, my babies seemed to love bare feet. They helped them get around more easily and socks and shoes only seemed to get in their way. When I took them outside for a walk in the stroller on a cool day, I put blankets over their feet and if I put them in the swing at the park on a cold day, I used slipper socks. I also started using baby moccasins and loved how easy they were to put on and keep on.

In my opinion, shoes are not necessary for babies until they start walking–and many orthopedic experts agree that barefoot is best for babies’ development. In fact, I even waited until they were almost confident walkers before adding shoes into the game of walking.  They seemed to grip the floor better with bare feet and it was one less thing to trip over. I also found it very confusing to figure out what size baby shoes worked for my babies.

Sarah Cole is a stay at home mom and a freelance writer of two busy toddlers who both learned to walk before they were a year old.  


Newborn Coping Strategies

Friday, August 26th, 2016

IMG_1141The newborn days pass by in a blur. Often, parents of a newborn are so tired they could cry, frazzled from learning their new baby’s cues and trying to get into a routine, possibly stressed or sore from breastfeeding, plus working through the postpartum hormonal roller coaster. It’s hard to stop and smell the roses (or in this case, smell that new baby scent).

One thing that helped our family get through the early days was having made up meals and packing them in the freezer before hand. If you’re lucky enough to be on the receiving end of a meal train, even better! You’ll need nutritious and hearty food to keep up and help your body heal from birth, and sometimes (most of the time), you’ll be too tired to want to mess with much.

If you can, getting help with older children from other adults is a real blessing. Just picking up your older kids and taking them to the park or a movie can give you a chance to catch a nap or even possibly have a couple moments of silence. Likewise, don’t be afraid to accept offers of help cleaning up or with the laundry. If you don’t have help, letting the laundry sit a couple days won’t hurt (though if you’re cloth diapering, this probably isn’t an option).

Try and get out and get some fresh air and stretch your legs. When my first son was born deep into the Alaskan winter, it was difficult because of snow and ice to walk outdoors, so I would walk on the track at the gym. This isn’t a fitness or weight loss activity, but a mental health activity. My younger son was born in the summer, so I could walk outdoors with him right away.

Lean on your partner (and your partner likewise) to get a little self-care time in. Shoot for every day. Before you have a newborn, you will never fully appreciate having ten minutes to shower, brush your teeth, and put on some lotion. This may not happen everyday, but it makes a huge difference in your outlook when you are able to get those few moments to yourself.

Finally, keep close watch on yourself. Baby blues are normal. If you continue to feel depressed or anxious, please reach out to your partner, family or friends, and to your doctor. It’s important to you and your baby to watch out for your mental health.

And remember to take time to enjoy that new-baby smell, it will be gone before you know it.

Meaghan Howard is a busy stay-at-home mom to two little boys and a houseful of animals. She and her family are enjoying living overseas for the time being.

Put Some Shoes on that Baby!

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

Put some Shoes on that Baby!I’m pretty sure that the first thing I ever purchased for my baby was shoes. Maybe the second thing, too. Seriously, they are so dang cute. I still slow down walking past the baby shoes at the department store, despite my kids having long outgrown the tiny sizes.

Despite their cuteness, though, they never ended up getting much use. Wrangling a chubby little foot into cute shoes was more of a battle than I had time for most days, and shoes for a non-walker ended up being a luxury of time I could rarely afford.

When my babies were preparing to take their first steps, however, shoes became a little different animal. My mom suggested the same advice she had gotten when I was a newborn–that sturdy soled, high-topped shoes are best for new walkers. My pediatrician said the opposite; that barefoot or as close to it as possible was best.

Digging around, I found my doc indeed had the most up-to-date advice (sorry, Mom). So, around the house, we mostly went barefoot (or wore soft-soled crib shoes during the cold months).

Outdoors was a different story; the climate we lived in allowed being barefoot outdoors approximately five days a year. So, we had to buy a pair of shoes. The key to shoes, when you do need them for a newer walker, is that the soles are flexible. When you see them in the store, flex them. If they bend in half, they’re good to go. Closed toes are safer than open at this age.

When you’re sizing them, getting close to your thumb’s width between the end of your child’s toes and the toe of the foot allows for growth (without being too big to wear). If you have the time and funds, getting that first pair sized at a department store like Nordstrom is a good idea. Stride Rites are perennially popular because of their flex and availability in wide widths, but if you can’t swing that kind of money and don’t have an outlet near you, doing the flex check on shoes before you’re buying them is fine.

As far as used shoes, if you’re down with hand-me-downs for your kids, you may consider the main pair of shoes they learn to walk in at least to be brand new. Just like adult shoes, toddler shoes mold overtime to fit the foot that walks in them, so a hand-me-down pair won’t offer the fit their growing feet need to develop their arches. Shoes like dress shoes, which are rarely worn, are a better option for used.

Meaghan Howard is a full-time mom to two energetic young boys. She and her family are currently enjoying living overseas.

Babyproofing for a Toddler

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

When my son first learned to walk, the first thing he did was toddle over to a big window in our living room, grab the window ledge, and did a pull-up to see outside. Apparently this window was a great source of mystery to him, as it was always above his eye-level as a crawler. This action reminded me that any babyproofing I still had left on my to-do list needed to be done pronto, because my son’s curiosity was finally matching up to his motor skill set.

By the time your child is tentatively taking her first steps, you probably have tackled quite a bit of the babyproofing your home needs. A walking toddler requires a few extra steps though.

First, strap down any heavy furniture! Any room that your child has access to should have all of the heavy stuff strapped to the wall. The hardware is inexpensive and available at baby stores, home improvement stores, and even Ikea. Ikea is even offering free kits in response to the deaths of two children from furniture falling on them.

Window falls are a scarily common (5,000 falls per year according to the AAP ). Lock those things up! If your windows can open more than four inches, you need to babyproof it. This is a great guide for ways to make various types of windows safe for your child.

If you haven’t tucked away any blind cords, now is a great time. These are choking hazards and are even more accessible once your child is walking.

Your child is effectively taller now, so there may be new dangers in your home that weren’t an issue before, like stove controls (if they’re on the front of your range) or any chemicals or tools in now-reachable cabinets.

Finally, don’t forget about your child’s bed. If they sleep in a crib, it’s time to drop the mattress to the lowest level (if you haven’t already done so). Some children are naturally very industrious and will worm their way out of their crib no matter what you do at this stage; make doubly sure their room is completely baby proofed (and for the super agile, some moms I know transitioned their children to a toddler bed sooner rather than later to minimize fall danger).

Meaghan Howard is a mom to two little boys, ages 3 and 6. She’s currently enjoying the expat life in Japan.

Is Crawling Important?

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Is Crawling Important?We all want our babies to reach milestones “on time” and can sometimes forget that babies move at their own pace. Crawling is one of the major milestones that we can easily compare with other babies the same age and having a late crawler can be a little disheartening or worrisome. It’s important to remember that babies have their own time line and we can encourage them but they won’t hit milestones until they’re ready.  Is crawling really important or is going straight to walking perfectly fine?

Crawling is a lot more than just getting from point A to point B. The actual mechanics of it stimulates different areas of the brain, organizing neurons, creating important pathways and increasing communication between the left and right side of the brain.  It also happens to be their first attempt at hand eye coordination, which is especially important, as they get older for reading, writing and sports.

According to an article by Ohio Health many children are meeting their motor milestones later because of the push by the American Academy of Pediatrics to discourage letting babies sleep on their tummies. Since babies spend less time on their bellies their upper bodies aren’t developing enough strength for traditional hand and knee crawling.  The only way to strengthen those muscles are to spend more time doing tummy time and trying to make it as enjoyable as possible for them to be on their belly.

If your baby is a late crawler, don’t fret, there are lots of things you can do to encourage them to crawl. Babies love going through things, so those fun tunnels you’ve seen around serve a great purpose, or you can make your own tunnel obstacle course out of cardboard boxes. Playing hide and seek and chase are also fun games that encourage crawling. Keep on trying and making it fun for both of you!

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby.