As a new parent (over 22 years ago), I had no idea about what my baby needed apart from the basics of food, love and warmth, oh and of course changing his nappy! At this time, there was the basic information available on breastfeeding, nappy rash, teething, etc through anti-natal classes and my midwife. We had no APPS or ‘Dr Google’.  Now days, there are plenty of resources and information out there on the global world-wide-web and still advice from well meaning friends and family. The question is what to follow, do or what to believe.

With my experience and research I have developed various resources for you – with your baby’s physical development in mind. Activities that you can do with your baby, tips on how to get started with things like tummy time and what to do about their feet!

I hope you find these useful and if there is something specific you would like to know or do, then please don’t hesitate to CONTACT ME.

PASSIVE MOVEMENTS

Passive movements (where you move your baby) from birth can help with the development of your baby’s brain and neural network. They are a great way for you to get to know your baby, their body and movements. Use songs and games. As they get older naming body parts can help improve language, coordination and their self awareness.

Watch this video and download the handouts that help explain and show you what to do.

COLIC – FOR HELP & PREVENTION

Here are some great tips and techniques to help your baby if they are experiencing any symptoms associated with colic. Or there’s no harm in doing this short routine daily to help prevent any discomfort for your baby.

Watch this easy to follow video whilst you join in with your baby. Learn how 2 minutes twice a day can help you and your baby. Downloadable handouts available too.

BONUS VIDEOS AND DOWNLOADS

Gain access to Top Tips for Tummy Time and more by registering here.

INTRODUCING THE OLIIKI PARENTING APP

As I mentioned above, there are hundreds, if not thousands of apps to help you in your journey as a parent. I met the founder of this app and after exploring it and checking it out, I recommend it to all parents.  It focuses on the first 1000 days (conception to two) which are crucial to your baby’s overall development.

The Oliiki app has been designed for you as parents and parents-to-be to. With over 1000 activities to spark your baby’s adventures in learning and build your parenting confidence. Based on the latest early childhood learning research and evidence, it is scientifically proven to boost your confidence as a parent.

Check it out today by clicking on the Oliiki image or watch the video and listen to the founder, Clare, describe your role in the first 1000 days.

Disclaimer: I do not benefit in any way from promoting this app.

LET’S TALK FEET & SHOES

Until your baby is cruising and walking the only protection they need may be socks or slippers when it’s cold. Even then, unless they are outside, keep their feet free to enhance grip and their awareness of the world around and under them.

When it comes time to explore outside remember the whole purpose of a shoe is protection – from extreme temperatures and terrain. Now, I’m not saying don’t wear shoes at all – just be selective in the footwear you choose to put your baby’s feet in (and even yours).  If you don’t believe me then pick up a copy of my book or read Anya’s Review on the 10 best barefoot shoes for kids!

“If we start our kids out by wearing minimalistic shoes, there will be no adaptation that’s needed as adults and I believe that this could be one piece of the holy grail in reducing musculoskeletal injuries in adults.”
DR IRENE DAVIS, PROFESSOR AT HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL

What to look for in an infant shoe:

  • Thin, flexible sole for movement and sensitivity.
  • Wide toe box so all toes can move and spread.
  • Flat toe box for ‘neutral’ toes.
  • Flat (zero drop) heel to allow optimal posture.

TIPS FOR FOOTWEAR SHOPPING WITH INFANTS

Shopping at the Shops

  • Go prepared.
  • Make a cardboard template.

    Draw and cut around your infant’s feet with their toes spread, ideally standing so you get the widest spread of their foot and longest toe length.

    It would be best to do this after physical activity or the end of the day as kids’ feet do change.

    This is a quick way to check which shoes match their foot size by inserting the template into the shoe.

    It will narrow down the number of shoes to try on, saving time and energy. Of course many child-specific retailers offer a measuring service which achieves the same thing.

  • Allow time for your infant to walk, run and jump in them before you buy. A shoe should feel comfortable from the start. They shouldn’t need ‘wearing in’, beside which your infant will outgrow them before that may happen!

If shopping online

The cardboard template you made of your child’s foot will help as you can easily measure length and width. Check that the size guide online reflects the size of the actual foot (not the sole of the shoe). Check their returns policy. 

Re-use, recycle

Your infant’s feet will normally out-grow a pair of shoes before they wear out. Second-hand and hand-me-down minimal shoes should pose no problem as long as you check the size and fit properly. And given that most minimal shoes can be more expensive than ‘normal’ shoes, why not!

The older child (and yourself)

As your child grows the options for minimal shoes continue with the Vivobarefoot kids range in the United Kingdom, Wildling Shoes from Europe, and Xero Shoes in the United States. Most companies ship worldwide or have local stockists. It would be great if all shoe manufacturers came on board providing healthier options … one day. 

It just makes so much sense to buy a shoe that fits our foot right at every age, rather than forcing our foot into a shoe.

RECOMMENDED MINIMAL / BAREFOOT SUPPLIERS

There are an increasing number of minimal / barefoot shoe providers emerging onto the market. Many of the companies have been set up by parents looking for more natural footwear solutions – read more here.

Check out Anya’s Reviews for her top 10 options for kids or go check out these two companies where you can buy great barefoot shoes for all the family. PaperKrane are based in Australia and sell worldwide – they have put the FUN back in functional footwear!  Happy Little Soles sell a variety of barefoot shoes – just look out for the ones with the foot logo!

Happy Little Soles

Disclaimer: I do not benefit in any way from promoting either of these suppliers.