When my husband and I found out that we were having twins, we panicked. How will we manage with two babies? There was a fair amount of stress at first. It was the seemingly little things that really annoyed me. I found that every time I took them out in the pram they lost a shoe or sock. As all mothers know, babies usually pull off their socks or kick off their shoes so the amount of money that was wasted in lost shoes was unbelievable. When they got a bit older and wanted to play in the garden but still were unsteady on their feet I found myself running after them so I could catch them if they fell (very hard when they run in opposite directions). I wasn’t really worried about them hurting themselves as they were on the grass but as we live in Northern Ireland and it rains often, the grass is ALWAYS wet and I knew that if they only sat down for a split second they would get soaked. With the amount of laundry any mum goes through a week, the last thing you need is an extra load. I found myself not letting the kids outside to play because of the extra work that entailed and the extra stress with changing clothes or have to be on the watch out for any puddles and constantly tell the kids off for sitting on the ground and not letting them fully enjoy themselves.
When the children were 1 year old I have had enough and decided to make life easier and less stressful for myself. I’m from Sweden and in Scandinavia we focus on practicality and design in every day life but most of the clothes we put on our children in Sweden weren’t even on the market here in Northern Ireland/Ireland so I took a trip home to see what I could find. First thing I bought were the Swedish Moccasins, an indoor slipper made of a little knitted sock with a soft leather sole attached on to it. It is non slip for early walkers and let their muscles and balance develop naturally as it is the closest to bare foot you can get in a slipper.
Research has showed that children with the healthiest feet are those who habitually go barefoot, according to Dr. Lynn T. Staheli and a growing number of other pediatric orthopedists. His studies show that non-shoe-wearers have better flexibility and mobility, stronger feet, fewer deformities, and less complaints than those who wear shoes regularly. He says that, when a child must wear a shoe, it should be lightweight, flexible and above all, should not have the arch supports and stiff sides once deemed necessary to give the foot support.
In Britain and Ireland we tend to put shoes on our children as soon as they show any sign at all to want to walk, thinking it will help them balance but studies actually shows that it can be damaging. In fact, the best shoe for a child is often no shoe at all. “Walking is a collaborative effort requiring constant communication between the brain and feet. Nerve endings on the bottom of the feet sense the ground beneath and send signals to the brain that help it determine how and where weight should be distributed with each new step. Shoes alter that feedback to the brain” according to Dr. Carol Frey, associate clinical professor of orthopaedic surgery in Manhattan Beach, California. “The thicker the sole, the more muffled the message. Children are forced to walk with their feet further apart to keep their balance.”
These moccasins aren’t a new product in Sweden, in fact they have been a popular item among babies and children since the 1950’s. The moccasins are so comfortable, fun and funky designs that the babies don’t even try to remove them (and if you have a baby that really dislikes wearing anything on the feet, rest assure, as it is nearly impossible for him/her to remove because it has double elastic at the ankle.) So no more lost shoes in the shopping centre! They are so warm and cosy on our tile floors as well summer or winter and when your little bundle is crawling around the house, they eventually will get dirty (new mum’s just don’t have time to hover every day) but no problems here, just pop in the machine and wash at 40 degrees, hang to dry and they are as good as new.
Gosh did these little moccasins made our life easier. Soon all my friends just needed a pair for their baby so I started importing them from Sweden with my own design and brand. Next Item that I imported was a set of Waterproof jacket and dungaree trousers. WOW what a hassle free out door life! The kids could sit on the grass, jump in the puddles, lie in the sandbox, help daddy wash the car etc and when it was time to come in, I just pulled the trousers of and they were bone dry and still clean underneath. It wasn’t long until my friends discovered that they were just what children and mums living in Ireland need and I was asked to bring some back for them next time I went home to Sweden for a visit.