Newborn babies have tiny feet that need protection from the elements. The staggering array of baby socks on store shelves is a testament to just how handy they are. Your baby doesn't need to have a pair of socks on at all times, and when she wears them depends on the weather outside and the temperature inside. It's a good idea to have a stash of baby socks, but know when they're needed and when they're not.
The primary purpose of putting socks on your newborn is to prevent her feet from getting chilled. Because newborns aren't moving around, their feet tend to get cold easily, and socks help keep their feet warm. Many parents put socks on their babies because they come as part of an outfit or because they match what their baby is already wearing.
When to Wear
If you're taking your baby outside in cold weather, you should put a pair of warm socks. This is particularly important if it's snowing or if the temperatures are frigid. Your baby's tiny feet are susceptible to frostbite, according to HealthyChildren.org, and a pair of warm socks is crucial to preventing it. Even crisp fall days require a pair of socks to keep your newborn's feet warm. On hot summer days, your newborn probably doesn't need socks, but a thin pair won't hurt either.
What to Look For
Not all newborn socks are created equally, so look for certain things before buying your baby any. Look for socks that aren't too tight or too small. Socks that are too tight or too small can impede normal foot development, according to HealthyChildren.org. Choosing socks that are slightly big gives your baby room to grow into them, which she'll do fairly quickly. Leah Severson, author of "Bargain Buys for Baby's First Year," suggests buying baby socks with elastic tops because they'll stay on your newborn's feet more easily. You might also consider buying your baby socks in all one color, recommends Sandy L. Chung, author of "Dr. Sandy's Top to Bottom Guide to Your Newborn," because it'll be easier to find a matching pair when it's time to dress your little one.
You'll need between four and seven pairs of socks for your newborn, depending on how often you do laundry. Because newborns don't walk, one pair of socks per day is probably enough. Baby booties are an alternative to socks, and many infant outfits come with matching booties. Many newborn outfits have feet built in, as well, which make socks unnecessary.