How Fast Do an Infant's Feet Grow?

When looking at those adorable little baby toes, it's hard to believe that at the end of your baby's first year, his feet -- like the rest of him -- will have experienced a growth explosion. Babies grow more in their first year than they ever will again, so enjoy nuzzling those little toes now, while they're still sweet-smelling, tiny and clean.

Baby Feet Changes

Your baby's foot will grow to nearly half of its final adult length in her first year of life, according to the California Podiatric Medical Association. At birth, your baby's feet might have a slightly "windblown" appearance from his cramped position in the womb. Since a baby's feet are extremely flexible, they will straighten out as your baby grows, unless your doctor notices an abnormality that needs correcting. By age 6 months, your baby's feet will probably have grown around four sizes, the Soft Star Shoe website states.

Keeping Him in Shoes -- or Not

You really don't have to buy your baby a new pair of shoes at any time during his first year, unless he's walking around outside. Babies don't need shoes to support their feet -- no matter what your mom says -- or to help them stand or walk. Around 97 percent of babies under 18 months have flat feet, according to an October 1998 article published in Paediatrics and Child Health, and they're neither abnormal nor in need of any type of corrective footwork.

Best Baby Shoes

The best baby shoes you can provide for your new walker are the softest, most minimal shoes. Not the high whites of yesteryear, but soft, flexible-soled shoes that don't come up over her ankles or feature a slippery, slick, bottom surface that makes falls almost inevitable. You should be able to bend the sole of your baby's shoe easily. Sneakers or other rubber-soled shoes can "catch" on the ground and cause your baby to stumble when she first learns to walk. Pick shoes that have almost straight lines rather than shoes that curve inward, podiatrist Dr. Michael Nirenberg advises.

Changing Sizes

Once your baby becomes a shoe fashionista, you might find her shoe collection outnumbering your own. It's fine to indulge your shoe fetish, as long as you don't fall so in love with certain pairs that you cram your baby's foot into them long after she's outgrown them. Check your baby's shoes regularly to make sure she still has room beyond her longest toe and at the ball of the foot. Between the ages of 1 and 3, a baby's foot grows about 3/4 of an inch per year; the difference between shoe sizes is around 1/4 to 1/3 inch, according to the Soft Star Shoe website. That means you can expect to buy new shoes around three times per year.

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