As the baby progresses to crawling, they become more functional, to propel him across the floor. He then proceeds to pull himself up and, for the first time, bears weight on them. Then come those wonderful first steps. It's amazing that all this occurs in about the first year of life!
In order for a baby to be able to get a grasp of the weight bearing process, it's important that he has full sensation to their feet. A baby needs to feel the pressures in his feet, known as proprioception, to learn how to balance. Shoes with a real, firm sole do not allow the baby to properly feel his feet. I'm not talking about booties or socks, but those really cute, tiny, Converse All-Stars.
You can take the smartest person...let's say a pediatrician (who really knows better)...tell them that their infant should not be wearing shoes yet and their response would invariably be "I know...but they're so cute!" or "I know...but they match his outfit!" I'm all for cute babies, but let's not effect the kid's development!
Also, infants are rapidly growing creatures. A sock or soft bootie allows the foot to expand and grow as it should while allowing the baby to feel the ground. Too often, shoes are kept on a child even though they're too small. When you're dealing with an infant or toddler, they won't be able to tell you the shoes hurt like an older child will. Keep those patent leather black Mary-Janes off of the girls! Keep those baby Nike's off of the boys!
Once the baby starts to take some steps, it's okay to put a shoe on him. When you do, make sure that you put on one with a flexible sole. Rigid soles are not appropriate for a new developing foot! Grab the shoe by the heel and push up under the toe. You should find the shoe flexing with little resistance.
Once your child begins to walk, if you find that he sits down often, complains that his feet hurt, or would rather crawl then walk, he might be experiencing pain, indicating a true problem with the feet or ankles. If this is the case, be sure to visit your Houston podiatrist to check everything out!
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist in Houston, TX and is the medical director of Tanglewood Foot Specialists. He treats all injuries and conditions of the foot and ankle. For more information and many informative videos, visit http://www.tanglewoodfootspecialists.com and his blog at http://tanglewoodfootspecialists.blogspot.com