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..to let dd go barefoot?

(77 Posts)
mrsgordonfreeman Mon 13-Jun-11 13:53:38

Little Freeman is not walking yet, at 19 months.

So we decided to let her go barefoot.

It's been a revelation. From stumping about like a recently reanimated Frankenstein's monster, to toddling along quite happily, holding on with just one hand.

When we put the shoes back on, the monster returns, shambling beside us, asking for an "uppy" after a few minutes. Her shoes are well fitted and of good quality, but they are like little inflexible blocks on her tiny feet. They do not move with her feet, thus denying her the benefit of priorperception (feedback from the surface her foot meets which helps with her balance). Watching her feet as she walks barefoot is edifying: every toe splays out, you can see the dozens of bones and muscles move in response, absorbing the shock of her landing and pushing her off again for the next step. She will even run, hands held, round and round the playground. I tried that in her shoes and she fell over almost immediately.

Her father has recently converted to barefoot running and absolutely loves it, his posture and speed have improved tremendously since he ditched the clompy trainers (he wears barefoot shoes if he can't be sure of the surfaces).

However, the level of horror the barefoot baby causes in passers by is quite offputting. Even indoors, apparently, there are piles of broken glass, stray pins, rusty nails and pools of toxic chemicals just waiting to impale or scorch her tiny feets. Outside is basically carpeted in dog poo, barbed wire and unexploded WW2 ordnance.

I honestly thought that as a mother who still breastfeeds a toddler in public that people would comment upon that, rather than my shoeless infant, but I've never had anything at all. If someone catches a glimpse of pink feet on the other hand, they do find it necessary to point the many hazards out to me.

I don't really mind. I do scan the ground in front of her for hazards. I will scoop her up if necessary. Her walking has come along really well and she just needs a hand holding for confidence's sake.

So is it unreasonable to let her walk barefoot whenever possible? Obviously she wears shoes when it's wet, cold or hazardous, and sometimes just socks.

thisisourtiime Mon 13-Jun-11 13:55:05

A non walking baby shouldn't be wearing shoes, for the reasons you mention!

You're supposed to hold off til they've been walking a month or so.

LordSucre Mon 13-Jun-11 13:56:17

yanbu

thisisourtiime Mon 13-Jun-11 13:58:06

Why did you buy her shoes, anyway? And did you buy walking shoes or cruising shoes? Do you think the shoes are responsible for her delay in walking? I would imagine they are partly to blame.

TheBigJessie Mon 13-Jun-11 13:58:28

Well, this is a bugbear of mine, and no mistake! Putting small children in shoes before they're ready, that is. The pressure people exert on others to put tiny infants!

My babies went barefoot until they started wanting to walk outside. So they got their first shoes at 15 months. I would do the same again.

TheBigJessie Mon 13-Jun-11 13:59:15

That should read: to put shoes on tiny infants.

whatsallthehullaballoo Mon 13-Jun-11 13:59:27

I do not understand - the outside ground can be quite vile. I wouldn't have my toddler walking outdoors barefoot. Cigarette butts, dog pee (dried), hot drain covers, spit ergh, bird poo.
They could also stubb their toes or get trodden on.

I suppose it is up to you but I think if you do this she may take a long time to want to wear shoes. Maybe try some soft soled ones for the time being?

TheSecondComing Mon 13-Jun-11 13:59:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

littleducks Mon 13-Jun-11 13:59:59

I wouldnt let a young child walk outside barefoot in a public place. IN the garden when i was sure there were no shards of glass would be ok though. Could you not try some of those leather baby shoes, ds had some at that age as he had odd feet that wouldnt fit shoes for ages after learning to walk. Obviously you still have to be vigilant but the provise a tiny bit of protection.

TheBigJessie Mon 13-Jun-11 14:02:37

Anyway. Let her go barefoot indoors.

Get her some little crawlers/cruisers for outside. Mothercare/Clarks/any good shoe shop.

Those have flexible soles, especially to allow toddlers' small feet to flex, as they walk.

Who the hell sold you the clumpy things it sounds like she's wearing now?

dickiedavisthunderthighs Mon 13-Jun-11 14:07:21

Tiny soft bare baby feet outside on pavements? YABVU.

mrsjuan Mon 13-Jun-11 14:14:08

In the house, garden and beach, maybe park (depending on how clean and safe it is) - fine.
On the pavement and most playgrounds IME - no way

biddysmama Mon 13-Jun-11 14:16:24

inside no yanbu, its better for their little soft feet but i wouldnt walk barefoot outside

MrsTwinks Mon 13-Jun-11 14:19:05

Inside devinately but outside no way

have you tried pre-walkers? they have really flexible soles and are good for toddlers who cant take shoes yet (i work in a shoe shop). Not selling or anything but have you had her properly fitted because you wouldnt belive the difference in how toddlers can try to run out the shop into traffic walk arround if they are comfy

MrsGravy Mon 13-Jun-11 14:19:21

Agree with mrsjuan. My 1 year old has had no kind of shoes whatsoever - not even the baby sort as she's not walking yet. I let her crawl/walk holding my hand at the park and in the garden but wouldn't let her on a pavement. They literally are caked with dog poo and broken glass round here unfortunately...

Mishy1234 Mon 13-Jun-11 14:20:32

Totally agree that bare feet are best inside. It's a bit risky to go barefoot outside imo (I wouldn't myself!). I agree with the suggestion of getting some soft soled leather shoes for outside use only.

StayingDavidTennantsGirl Mon 13-Jun-11 14:21:52

I would recommend Doodles, from clarkes - they are a soft canvas shoe, with (if I remember correctly) a fairly soft sole. They would hopefully give her feet some protection outside, whilst still allowing her most of the freedom that bare feet do.

I do walk around barefoot a lot - even outsite but my feet are like leather and even so it's still pretty uncomfortable sometimes. A baby's feet are so soft and tender that I can't see how she'd walk comfortably on pavement. Obviously grass or sand would be fine, as long as you were keeping an eye on where she stepped, so she didn't meet any broken glass or dog poo or whatever.

BitOfFun Mon 13-Jun-11 14:21:56

You sound like a right hippie grin

Lady1nTheRadiator Mon 13-Jun-11 14:22:53

Get some leather shoes from Inch Blue or similar. Apart from anything else it's bloody freezing out there.

justGetEmOut Mon 13-Jun-11 14:23:38

I let my kids go barefoot outside all the time. They are all still alive, and I have become immune to the tutting of old ladies.

Having said that, sometimes it is a bit chilly, so when they were tiny I used to get those soft leather shoes like 'Daisy Roots' to keep their socks on.

I hate seeing tiny feet squashed into shoes. I saw baby jelly shoes the other day, they looked like the most agonising thing I've ever seen. hmm

naturalbaby Mon 13-Jun-11 14:25:07

i kept my toddlers barefoot for as long as possible - mainly because kids shoes are so expensive! i only got proper shoes once they were walking on their own outdoors a lot, and it took a long time till they were walking along the pavement or other busy public areas. till then they were in leather baby shoes for toddling in the toddler group playground and our garden. ds2 headed straight for puddles and mud, and it was colder so he got clarks pre-walkers which were a bit more waterproof.

mrsgordonfreeman Mon 13-Jun-11 14:26:38

She only had the shoes to keep her feet warm in the winter, her feet were too big for the sort of fleecy bootees designed for non-walkers.

I am not a hippie, well, not really.

[hides the ring sling]

mrsgordonfreeman Mon 13-Jun-11 14:28:02

She wears cruising shoes but even they are not particularly flexible. Start Rites.

They are so small that it would be difficult to construct them to give any more flexiblity tbh, she is a size 2. Her mother also has tiny feet. And yes, I go barefoot too.

shineoncrazydiam0nd Mon 13-Jun-11 14:30:10

Yuk to a child walking outside with nothing on their feet.

Blatherskite Mon 13-Jun-11 14:31:20

DD never had a pair of shoes until she was walking comfortably. At most, she wore socks when it was chilly. But she only ever walked around the house or garden or the baby gym etc, never on the pavement.

It may look clean but that's because wee and spit dry clear. The rain may wash the dog poo and vomit away but it doesn't get rid of the germs and bacteria. Yuk! And what about the grit and dirt grinding away at her soft little soles. Think how painful the tiniest little speck of grit can be if it gets into your shoe - her little feet are exposed to that all the time!

YABU. Nothing inside fine, but get the poor mite some soft soled leather things to protect her little feet when she's out.

Do you walk barefoot down the highstreet?

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