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March 11, 2022

Why We Don't Use Baby Socks

At 5-weeks old, Penelope is slowly spending a little more time alert and around each day. Of all my children Penelope has had the most day-night mixup and still has been spending the most time sleeping hard or being cranky about not sleeping during the day. So when she is up, happy and awake we want to make sure that we are giving Nellie (as we call her) the most out of her environment. 

One simple, non-activity based way to do that is so simple - skip the baby socks. This simple change can help a baby explore their environment without a lot of extra prep. This wonderful Instagram account likened wearing baby socks to trying to explore the world with mitten on. It was just the perfect analogy. By wearing socks we make it so much harder for a baby to explore, move, and learn from their environment. 

Skipping Baby Socks for Newborns 

Here are some reasons we choose to skip baby socks:
  • Babies are born with thousands of nerve endings in their feet. Without socks they can use the sensory experiences they feel with their feet to make connections within their brains. Socks will inhibit Penelope's ability to feel texture, temperature, and touch. 
  • Without socks, babies are able to grip the floor around them. They can start to push off the floor, push against things around them. These little movements will eventually lead to larger ones. Once they reach they bellies their feet will be an important part of learning to crawl, stand and walk. Without the full use of her feet, Penelope won't have complete freedom of movement. We would instead be taking away one of her most important ways to move around the world. 

  • Keeping socks off babies will also help to integrate the Plantar Reflex. Babies are born with this reflex that tells them to push off of objects that are around their feet. It helps with delivery and the breast crawl following birth. This important reflex also allows babies to gain the strength they need to eventually control the movements of their feet. The more Penelope will be allowed to use her feet, the faster and better control she will eventually have over them

Aren't Babies Cold without Socks?

This is the most common question I get when people ask why we don't use socks. Babies probably aren't cold just because their feet are cold. Babies have very poor circulation and their hands and feet tend to feel cold no matter what you do. This will eventually stabilize as babies grow and move around more - which improves their circulation. 

Instead, in a healthy, typical baby feel the baby's neck or trunk to determine their temperature. If it's cold in your environment, try adding layers (like a wool vest or sweater) to their body instead of placing things on their hands and feet. 

When it is cold outside, we do use suits that include feet. Generally these are only used by us at temperatures far below room temperature. Since Penelope was born in January, every time we take her out, she is wearing something that covers hands and feet for her safety. 

It's not the end of the world if you prefer to use socks with your baby. But, think about ways you can limit their use or at least provide some sock-free time during the day. 

In this Montessori baby week-by-week series we look at 3 very important reasons that we skip baby socks with our newborn and allow for movement.

This post is week 5 of my weekly Montessori baby series focusing on Penelope. 

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