One of the greatest joys of entering parenthood is witnessing your baby’s big smile and hearing their infectious giggles. For parents, there are many things to be mindful of, including the well-being of our children’s feet.
Whenever your baby cries, you may find yourself wondering, “What is wrong? Are you hungry? Is your nappy wet or soiled?” It’s important to remember that you are doing an amazing job raising a new little human and keeping them happy. (This invaluable advice was given to me by my boss during the early months of parenthood, and I felt compelled to share it!)
On your list of priorities, don’t forget to prioritise your own happiness and cherish the journey of being a new parent. Additionally, never be ashamed to ask for help. As my little girl approaches 15 months, I feel fortunate to have received support and guidance from family, friends, and colleagues.
As a new mother, I’ve discovered that babies rely on us to check and care for every aspect of their lives, including their feet.
One particular concern is hair tourniquet syndrome, a condition where a strand of hair or loose thread tightly wraps around a baby’s toe, finger, or other appendage, causing pain, swelling, redness, and inconsolable crying. (This condition did happen within my local mum’s group.)
The most common sources of hair/ thread that can lead to tourniquet syndrome include:
1. Parental hair: Loose strands from a parent’s head can transfer to the baby’s clothes, blankets, or other items.
2. Bedding and clothing: Fibres from bedding or clothing, such as socks or onesies, can become entangled around a baby’s toes.
3. Stuffed toys and other objects: Infants often grasp and play with soft toys, which can have loose threads that pose a risk if entangled around tiny fingers or toes.
To prevent this condition, it is crucial to regularly check your baby’s feet. The best times to do so are during each nappy change and bath time. If you have long hair, make sure to tie it up, and if you are experiencing postnatal hair loss, regular hair brushing and collecting loose hairs will also help protect your baby.
If you suspect your baby may have hair tourniquet syndrome, prompt removal of the hair is necessary. Please consult your local podiatrist or general practitioner if you have any concerns.
Remember, if you have any concerns regarding your little one’s feet, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
Janice Lo, Podiatrist, mother and survivor of 1 year of many sleepless nights