Baby shoes

Season 3 Episode 40 | The battle to wear baby shoes

We’re so excited to share the latest episode of our Moms on Call parenting podcast, all about babies and toddlers! Is there anything cuter than baby shoes? It is hard to resist buying those tiny baby shoes for your little one, but the only problem is that they often refuse to wear them! Caitlyn in South Carolina has an issue with her almost one-year-old, who refuses to wear shoes. How do you keep shoes on a baby? We’ll give you our best tips and explain why these could be early signs of your child’s Toddler by Design category!

Laura Hunter/Jennifer Walker: Okay. When you found out you were pregnant, what was the first thing you bought your baby? Chances are it was a pair of cute baby shoes or a onesie. But let's be honest, little Nikes, vans, or even cowboy boots are hard to resist, and they look so cute on those little feet!

Laura Hunter/Jennifer Walker: They do. But there is a significant chance when it comes to wearing those shoes that your baby might not want to keep them on. It is hard to get them on in the first place! Let's tell the truth here today on our podcast and talk about the right time to get your baby into shoes of any kind. Let's talk about the proper fit, what to do when putting them on, and what to do if it turns into a battle.

Whoever said babies and toddlers don’t come with an instruction manual never met the Moms on Call. For nearly 20 years, Jennifer Walker and Laura Hunter have helped over half a million families navigate parenthood with their best-selling books, online courses, apps, and network of certified consultants. And now they have this podcast to talk directly with you. Ask your questions at 888-234-7979.

Let's tell the truth here today on our podcast and talk about the right time to get your baby into shoes of any kind.

Caller 1: My name is Caitlin, and I live in Spartanburg, South Carolina. I'm a first-time mom, and my son is almost a year old, but we are having difficulty getting him used to wearing shoes. He is taking a couple of steps here and there. We know he will be walking on his own in no time. When we are at home, we do not put shoes on him, but when we go to church or out to dinner or something like that, we are trying to get him used to wearing shoes, and he will not have them. We have taken him to a specialty children's store to ensure we have him in the correct size. So nothing is hurting him, but he is struggling with it. We do not want to scar him for life, but we do not want him to hurt his little feet. Thanks.

Do we need to keep trying, and eventually, he will get used to it, or is it okay to push the issue down the road for a few months when he is fully mobile?

Laura Hunter/Jennifer Walker: I love how you said you do not want to scar him for life. Laura and I will reassure you now that you will not scar him for life by asking him to do the things that life requires. So you are a great parent, and the one thing that we know for sure is that he will be fine. So let's talk about why kids have this affinity. Some do, and some do not, and what can we do about it?

Laura Hunter/Jennifer Walker: Sometimes, they wear cute little socks and shoes when they are young, which works out great. But as they are getting closer to this 12-15-month mark and we start to go to, need for a better word, real shoes, right? Yeah.

Laura Hunter/Jennifer Walker: Yeah, they are stiffer. They feel different. It's just different. And so, a lot of times, it is just unfamiliar. And we put the shoes on, and they throw a fit. They are trying to pull them off. Guess what we do? Our eyes are big. We're starting to get nervous. Anxious. We're like, and I will ruin him for life if I put these baby shoes on him! And so now we are giving a response to that. So then, the next time we do it, it happens again.

And now, three weeks go by, and there is still this battle around shoes at 12 months of age.

Laura Hunter/Jennifer Walker: So one of the things that we cannot do is make life accommodate our kids. We want to make kids that can accommodate life, which is what we are working toward. Sometimes we do hard things, and that's okay. So we want to start this subtext: you don't always have to wear shoes, but you do have to wear them sometimes. Act very naturally and normal. That's just how it works for all of us. It's about something other than the comfort level, but I appreciate that you're concerned about the right size and having them fitted. And we'll say, give it a trial run. Yeah, we're going to have to wear shoes today. I know you are not really into it, but you will be great at it or figure it out. We all do. And that confidence in you helps to set the foundation of allowing them to do things they are not crazy about, which they can do.

Laura Hunter/Jennifer Walker: And I also think that when we're getting those shoes on, and they're fighting and throwing a fit, we get the shoes on, and we redirect attention. We use distraction, get outside, go to the door, and talk about the clouds in the sky.

We use redirection at 12 months of age to get them focused on something else.

Laura Hunter/Jennifer Walker: And then we put 'em in a car seat, and they properly take the shoes off while we are driving to wherever we're going. We know, oh, we know! Then we're having to put 'em back on. But car seats are a bit easier because those feet are a moving target. That's right. This should be a proper rodeo sport for some.

Laura Hunter/Jennifer Walker: Yeah, definitely an Olympic sport for sure. And it's easiest to get those Velcro ones off, but they make some really hardy Velcro. So sometimes, looking for shoes with that heartier Velcro, they're harder to get off. And just like Laura was saying, it is our reaction, even if it's frustrating. They want to continue to see what frustration looks like. Not because they're
mean-spirited, but because they're curious.

Thank you for listening to the Moms on Call podcast. If you have a question for Jennifer and Laura, call 888-234-7979. Visit for resources to help you parent confidently and thrive, not just survive your amazing parenting journey.

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