Cotton is best known for newborn babies because it’s a soft fabric that is flexible and provides aeration that helps your baby regulate their body temperature as cool air can circulate and thermal like qualities retain heat.
Cotton also washes well with grime and dirt releasing easily so your clothes stay nicer for longer... perfect for messy babies!
There are however stark differences in organic cotton baby clothes and non-organic ones.
Clothing Safe For Baby’s Skin Did you know your skin in your largest organ? It’s what protects us as well as many other essential functions. Whilst babies have the same number of layers (three), each of those layers is thinner for our babies.
The epidermis layer is the layer tasked with protecting our body and it’s three to five times thinner than an adult’s and is made up of smaller cells, as you can see in this picture here.
As a result, our baby's skin is less resistant than adult skin which means substances that come in contact with our baby’s skin are more easily absorbed and penetrate into the deeper skin layers.
This is why it’s important to consider the fabrics that sit on the skin of our little ones. Choosing organic helps minimise exposure to potentially harmful chemicals usually found in non-organic clothing, in particular synthetic clothing.
For every one pound of cotton product (1 pound = 1 T-shirt), approximately ⅓ of a pound of chemical pesticides and fertilisers are used.
Whilst only 2.5% of the world’s land is used for cotton production, a massive 25% of the world’s insecticides are used on cotton crops! This is a huge imbalance and represents a large percentage of toxic chemicals used to grow non-organic cotton.
The Environmental Protection Agency considers 7 of the 15 pesticides used on conventional cotton as possible or known carcinogenic (cancer-causing) agents. This is why cotton is considered the world’s dirtiest crop due to its heavy use of insecticides, the most hazardous pesticide to human and animal health.
With most cotton clothing being produced in Chinese sweatshops where women and children work significantly below a living wage you can support change with your wallet by purchasing clothing not made in China. Better yet, by buying GOTS-certified organic cotton.
No pesticides, fertilisers or other chemicals are used when growing organic cotton Only soil that has been free of chemicals for at least 3 years can be certified organic Crop rotation benefits the land and soil Cotton is one of the world’s thirstiest plants but organic cotton requires significantly less because farmers are working with a healthier soil Look for GOTS-certified organic cotton. Something to be aware of is that you can buy organic cotton that is not certified that has been finished with toxic dyes or chemicals - (typically big brands cashing in by jumping on the “organic cotton” hype but actually only caring about their profit margins ! ).
Organic cotton feels much better than conventional cotton. I’m sure you can imagine how much the chemicals from ordinary cotton cuts down on how soft and comfortable the fabric is. Organic cotton however will have your baby floating on clouds!
Organic cotton is very adaptable to different climates so it’ll help keep your baby cool in hot climates like the UAE and the same small gaps in the fabric that circulate a breeze will also help retain thermal insulation in cooler climates like the UK!
Because there’s no chemicals on the fabric your little one’s skin is also much less likely to break out!
This is subjective. It would be easy for me to sit here and say you should buy everything organic but the reality is that organic baby clothes are more expensive.
What you do get is a lot more washes and so longevity out of your clothes. About five times more in fact as you’ll get 100 washes before organic clothes begin to breakdown whereas regular cotton will start breaking down after 20 washes. So your price per wear will be significantly less, but the upfront cost is higher.
From our own experience of having our first child during Covid-19, we were impacted financially when my husband’s salary was cut in half and I was only going to get two month’s maternity pay (it’s why we started our business - read more on this here) so we completely understand doing things on a budget. For some, organic baby clothes will make up the entirety of their baby’s wardrobe, for others, products like mine are for special occasions and dressing your little one up in funky baby clothes that are unique are double cute.
Buying all your baby clothes organic would be costly and so may be an unattainable goal to set yourself. For my little one we bought as much as we could in organic, in particular those close to his skin but full disclosure, we do own non-organic items too. Some of these were bought for us and others we bought ourselves where we couldn’t make our own, find organic versions of the item or had budget constraints.
We think buy organic where you can. Every time you do you’re supporting a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future whilst placing a safer fabric against your little one’s skin.
"As consumers, we have so much power to change the world by just being careful in what we buy" - Emma Watson
I know what it’s like to go shopping for newborn baby clothes. like any doting mum, I’m all about the “squeal effect”—that moment I get out-loud excited about an outfit that would look thee cutest on my little one.
“Fashion can be a universal player in protecting the planet” - Pharrell Williams
But super adorable baby clothes are just one part of the equation. The bib that goes around my baby’s neck shouldfeel as good as it looks. And that’s not always easy to find. So, out of love for my baby, I started making my own organic baby clothes. Because anything that touches my baby’s skin has to be safe, soft, and pass my mum-level standard. And the same goes for anything I make for your little boy or girl.
“It was so important with Carrie because she sources everything ethically. Because I’m not saying ‘go out and buy whole collections’, I’m saying ‘buy one really beautiful thing for someone or yourself’ so that it’s long lasting.” - Fearne Cotton
Lovin’ Dubai Lovin PÉPÉ BEAR’s Baby Clothes!
“The ultimate comfort for your baby bears with their 100% organic handmade baby clothing”
- Lovin Dubai
As a primary school teacher, I’ve gotten pretty good at listening to parents’ concerns. Turns out, most mums have the same worries I do when it comes to baby products.
They want to make sure anything their little one wears is safe and non-irritating, and plenty comfortable. And if cute baby clothes happen to be good for our planet, all the better.
Give them quality. That's the best kind of advertising in the world." - Milton Hershey, Founder of The Hershey Company
Going the extra sustainable step matters because our little ones are counting on us to preserve what we’ve been given.
“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want” - Anne Lappe
It’s the reason I believe in quality, handmade goods that last. It’s why the metal poppers on my garments are dyed with environmentally friendly paint. And it’s why I only use GOTS-certified organic cotton, meaning there are never, ever nasty pesticides or chemicals involved.