Socks vs barefoot. It’s an age-old debate that parents cannot agree on.
While some say it’s essential for a baby’s health and comfort, other’s argue it can hinder their development.
So which side is right?
There are certainly times when a newborn should wear socks. But it’s important to be careful not to dress your little one in socks too often, watch out for overheating and check the fit is correct.
Should Newborns Wear Socks?
As a newborn is not able to walk, crawl or even move around, the reason for them wearing socks will be different to older babies and adults.
For a newborn, socks serve one main purpose – to prevent their tiny feet from getting cold.
Newborn babies are not able to properly regulate their temperature, and most heat escapes from their head or feet.
So a nice pair of warm, soft socks will help keep your little one nice and cozy in cooler temperatures.
Should Newborns Wear Socks Outdoors?
Yes, depending on the outside temperature, it might be a good idea to put a pair of socks on your newborn.
In very cold weather, your baby’s feet could even get frostbite, but even in milder temperatures your baby might need to wear socks to protect them from the elements (see below).
Should Newborns Wear Socks In Summer?
In summer and hotter weather there is less of a need for your newborn to wear socks, particularly as you want to avoid overheating.
However, babies have very sensitive skin, so on a sunny day you might want to still put a pair of thin socks on your little one to protect against sunburn.
Should Newborns Wear Socks When Sleeping?
If your newborn wears a sleep or swaddle sack to bed, then there’s no need for them to wear a pair of socks.
This is because they will be warm enough under their sack.
However, if you think your newborn needs some extra warmth underneath a regular swaddle then there’s no problem putting on a pair of socks.
Should Newborns Wear Socks All The Time?
No, it’s definitely not a good idea for your newborn to wear socks all the time.
If your house is a comfortable temperature – between 68 – 72 degrees Fahrenheit – then wearing socks could lead your baby to overheating.
While it’s important for your baby to wear socks outdoors in colder temperatures, when they are indoors or during warmer months it’s best to let them go barefoot.
This isn’t just to help them stay a comfortable temperature.
The advice from many paediatricians is that a baby should be able to feel and fully wiggle their toes in order to assist their sensory development, something which will be hindered if your baby wears socks all the time.
How Many Socks Does A Newborn Need?
The amount of socks your baby needs will largely depend on the climate where you live, how often you go out and the temperature in your house.
For many babies, around 5 pairs should be enough, depending on how often you do laundry.
As a side note, always remember to wash the socks before their first use to ensure they are as hygienic as possible and to avoid any unnecessary skin irritation.
How Should Baby Socks Fit?
The most important thing regarding fit is that your baby’s socks aren’t too tight, because this could impact their circulation.
If the fit is correct, you should be able to place a finger between your baby’s skin and the fabric.
Not sure how to tell if a sock is too tight?
If the socks leave marks on your little one’s feet or ankles, you probably need to move up a size or two.
It’s also worth considering buying socks that are made from organic cotton, because these could be more gentle on your little one’s skin.
Socks vs Booties?
You might also be wondering if your newborn needs any booties or shoes.
Babies don’t need to wear shoes until they start walking, so there’s no need to worry about those.
But you may need booties.
These are soft, semi-structured footwear that are best described as something between a sock and a shoe.
The advantage of a bootie is that it offers more protection against the cold than socks, so they’re perfect for venturing outdoors in colder weather.
They are also a little smarter and more formal than socks, so they’re perfect for ensuring you little one looks the part when out and about in cold weather!