Strong Feet - Happy Feet!
Strong Feet depend on what is done from Birth
I grew up in a little town called Putaruru. Like all small towns during the 1950's it was in the middle of nowhere. It's only claim to fame was that it had eight sawmills operating in the district, clear-felling the native forests. None is left today. Like most families we had only the barest essentials.
The photo to the left of my younger sister, Lorraine, and I pretty much sums things up.
Our feet were always bare, even during the freezing Winters. All clothes were handed down from the older child to the younger one. Although I do recall having a pair of shiny Sunday School Shoes, they were the most uncomfortable of things and hardly ever worn.
You have to be impressed with my 'Dungaree' outfit which Mum cut and sewed from some old corduroy. There was no such thing as fashion back then. Not for us anyway!
I later became adept at knitting, since everything was recycled, including old woollen jumpers. I could even darn a worn out sock. Actually, you could say that nothing really wore out back then.
In many ways it was an idyllic childhood, despite having so little. Sure, there were some really tough and unpleasant things to deal with, but we sure had freedom. Putaruru was a rough-and-tough timber town back then. What we call bullying nowadays was the norm. We had to fend for ourselves. That's what brothers and sisters were good for. There was no running to Mummy and Daddy. The consequences were worse!
We spent endless hours exploring the farms, forests, streams and ponds that surrounded Putaruru. We did so barefoot. Boy, did I have strong feet! We all did. And I still do to this day.
If it were not for being endowed with such strong feet my bothers and sisters would not have had nearly the active lives as we have, nor would we as actively engaged in life like we are today.
I thank my Mother and my Father for this. I do so over and over again.
Thankyou, Mum and Dad, for giving us strong feet to carry us through life!
Here is Baby Gordon, just weeks old. He is the next generation of the Mollers. Such a lovely Stretch and Grow and in the right colour for a boy! Now, take a close look at Gordon's tiny toes.
Oh dear - his toes are horribly cramped and scrunched!
Poor wee feet!
His Stretch and Grow does fit but look at the horrific damage being done to his feet!
Baby bones are malleable cartilage
Baby Gordon's limbs, including feet, are flexible, malleable cartilage that will gradually morph into strong bones, supported by equally strong tendons and ligaments. It is during these early months and years that his little frame decides how it is structured. His soft bones respond to the pressures from outside and form accordingly.
If the toes are cramped, this is how they will be as the cartilage becomes calcified bone. Instead of being long, wide and immensely strong, cramped feet will be short, weak and narrow. Bones are the pulleys and levers for tendons which are activated by muscles. The power and stability of the muscles are permanently compromised if the bones of the feet are unable to form as Mother Nature intended.
You will gather that I have a dislike of the Stretch and Grow for babies. You are correct. Every Stretch and Grow that clothed any of my four children ended up having their feet cut out! I recommend that you do the same for your child.
Here is Baby Gordon with a design solution that has Grandad Gary much happier than before. Thank you, Mary-Ann and Paul!
"But he will have cold feet", you say
Yes, he will, and that is the way Nature intends. Let me explain.
Internal core temperature is about 37.4 degrees Celsius. We maintain this as a constant by reducing blood flow to the periphery when it is cold, while increasing flow when it is warm. Babies have a relatively thick layer of fat just under the skin. It is a very good insulator, but means the skin will usually feel cool to the touch. Babies have a very high metabolism which means they generate a lot of heat compared to an adult. It is therefore rare for a baby to get cold.
Babies are not as effective as an adult at dissipating excess heat, but better at retaining heat. This is why there are few reports of babies dying from cold while in their cribs. They do die from overheating. Too much clothing, too much bedding and too much heating. overheating is a possible factor in cot deaths and febrile convulsions.
The main vectors for a baby to dissipate excess heat is via the head, the arms and the legs. Sure, cover the head when the air is cold but leave the feet and hands bare - unless the conditions are freezing - of course!
Baby will then be able to regulate core body temperature by shunting blood to and from the exposed skin, as and how much it may be required to maintain a healthy 37.5 degrees.
Baby's toes should always be several degrees cooler than core temperature (37.4).
If Baby's hands and feet feel warm to the touch, instead of feeling cool or neutral, then Baby is overheating and needs to have some clothing removed. A parent does Baby no favours by allowing him or her to overheat!
Happy feet - happy Baby!