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When Does Your Baby Need Shoes? Not As Early As You Might Think

One of the best — and most frivolous — parts of becoming a mother is getting to dress your baby in all those adorable clothes you got at your baby shower  Who doesn't want a mini-me to dress up in mini-clothes? All of those years you spent dressing up your American Girl doll are finally coming in handy. But when it comes down to it, knowing when to transition your baby to certain items can be tricky. Because all the tiny accoutrements are adorable, but what about necessity? When does your baby need shoes? And what kind of shoes will they need?

Well, you can hold off on getting those kiddie kicks. According to Kids Health, barefoot is best for your baby's foot development until your baby begins to walk on their own. Socks or booties with non-skid soles are the best way to keep your baby's feet warm during the impending colder months without hindering their foot development. But once your baby is ready to walk on their own, you'll want to start considering shoes for your child for their first outside adventures, according to Metro Parent. Of course, this occurrence varies from child to child. According to Baby Center, babies start walking anywhere between nine and 12 months. Once your baby's walking, that's where things can start to get complicated.

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Though some people assume that babies need a hard soled shoe to support them while they learn to walk, Dr. Jane Andersen, a podiatrist in Chapel Hill, N.C., told The Chicago Tribune that those hard soles can get in the way of your baby's walking development. "After they start walking, you want them either barefoot or in the most flexible shoe possible so their muscles can develop properly," Andersen said. She added that the bones in a baby's foot don't finish hardening until a child reaches around five years of age, and in theory, constricting those soft feet with rigid shoes could prevent the bones from developing properly.

Though it can be fun to outfit your little one from head to toe the minute they're out of the womb, it's important to remember that barefoot is best for your baby's foot development, and to wait to put them in serious shoes until they're walking, and taking on outdoor adventures. Because you want to protect your baby's feet, but you don't want to hinder their growth and development. So before you buy out all of those baby sized dunks and Mary Janes, think twice, and do your research on how soft the sole of the shoes are. If you're concerned with how rigid or how soft your baby's shoes are, consult your pediatrician and have them guide you toward the best shoes for your child.