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The One Thing You Shouldn’t Buy Online MONTH 10 WEEK 2

Approved by the What’s Up Moms Medical Advisory Board

Your baby’s been crawling, cruising and generally careening around the house like a wild — if slightly unsteady — animal, and now that she’s ready to take her skills to the great outdoors, it’s time for her first pair of shoes. (Keep ‘em barefoot inside to help muscle, ligament and arch development — and balance.)

We’re all about the convenience of online shopping, but for this one, you’ll want to go to a kids’ shoe store so baby can have her feet measured properly and try on some options IRL. Bring socks, and go in the afternoon since feet swell throughout the day.

Pick shoes that are flexible — like leather or mesh — with a non-skid sole, and opt for velcro closures over laces so you don’t lose your mind. No matter how supercute they are, steer clear of 1) shoes with small decorative embellishments that can pop off and cause a choking hazard, and 2) second-hand shoes, since the cushioning will have already conformed to another baby’s feet. After each try-on, check baby’s feet for red spots that could indicate rubbing. And this *probably* goes without saying, but don’t “buy big” thinking that baby will grow into her new shoes; that’s a recipe for a whole lot of (unfunny) pratfalls.

Truth time: Some babies refuse shoes. Loudly. Others will wear them but won’t move in them. Don’t even sweat it. Sometimes it helps to ease into shows by starting with more slipper-like footwear, like socks with a leather bottom or moccasins.

Now that baby is close to rounding the one-year mark, a couple other items for your radar:

A convertible car seat — which you’ll use rear-facing initially — is a game-changer, especially for those babies who rail against their infant car seat. An umbrella stroller is cheap but massively useful now that baby’s bigger and sturdier – good for travel or to just to toss in the car for local outings. And bath toys! Now’s your chance to solidify the ritual of bathtime as really fun and alluring for baby. ‘Cause as we all know, happy baby = happy mom.