Organic Baby Clothes: What’s The Big Deal Anyway?
When you become a parent, it is only natural to want the best for your children. From the time you find out you are pregnant to the minute you give birth, you obsess what “the best” means for your little one.
Today, it is not enough to just provide the finest that money can give. Preparing your child for the world also means creating a haven that they can safely live in.
It simply is not all about personal effects, but also a mindset, a culture, even, that your child will grow into.
Going green is not just organic clothing nor is it simply using organic baby toys. It is a way of living that you want your kids to take to heart.
You must be hearing a lot about organic products lately. When you start to have kids, you may notice that organics are not far from your mind. Organic living and products makes us associate everything to providing healthy effects for our kids.
It is a good thing but much is needed to educate when it comes to best organic baby products. Along with organics, you must be hearing it in conjunction with eco-friendly and reused products as well.
These three have the same objectives but actually differ in a lot of things. Organic farming is nothing new. We just forgot about it because we have new technologies to develop things for us. Usually, these technologies came about to address issues on scarcity. In that, these new tech increased production, made production faster at the expense of human health and the environment.
Organics, eco-friendly and reused products all aim to promote healthy living. When we say healthy living, it does not only refer to an individual’s physical care, but also the conscious care for the environment. These products not only benefit people but also the place we live in.
When you say Organic products, these are products made from materials that uses natural ways of farming and cultivating such as non-use of chemical pesticides, less use of water, synthetic pesticides that consider the ecosystem and biodiversity.
Eco-friendly or environment friendly refers to a way of living which helps in any means possible to reduce or cease harm to the environment. When one says eco-friendly products, these are the products that help the environment. At times, it is also referred to conservation of energy and water.
An eco-friendly product goes through rigorous process. At the minimum, these products should use non-toxic materials.
On the other hand, reused or recycled materials have a different make from that of organic products. Reused or made from recycled products may use reclaimed wood, glass, wool, metal or plastic made from reclaimed products to be made into something new.
Going green is a way of living. It simply does not stop from buying organic products or reused stuff. When you make a choice to “go green”, you live and breathe it. You exercise caution when it comes to products. In addition, you take part in promoting means and ways to save the environment by setting an example to everyone.
So now you know what the “organic” label on clothes mean. Next, you have to know what materials you can expect to see when looking at the most popular and authentic organic baby clothes brands.
Organic baby clothing come in many different materials, not just cotton. Below are just some of the most common fabrics used for clothing.
Contrary to what everyone thinks, cotton is not at all organic unless labeled organic cotton. Not many people know that cotton uses the most number of chemicals than any other crop in the world. It covers 2.5% of the earth’ cultivate land but uses 16% of the world’s insecticides. Shocking, we know.
Fleece is often found in babies’ outer clothing layers. Contrary to popular belief, fleece is great for baby clothes because it is moisture-wicking. Moisture-wicking is a fabric characteristic that keeps moisture away from skin. You hear this a lot in workout clothes.
It comes in different weights, so you can choose what you want for a specific task. Fleece is great for winter and in-between seasons. It is also soft, hence great for baby clothes. It is also a vegan alternative to wool.
Cashmere or cashmere wool
Cashmere is one of the top luxury fabrics for any kind of clothing. You don’t just find baby clothes in this fabric, you usually see it in throws, sweaters, shirts and even formal wear.
Bamboo has increased its popularity as an organic material for clothing in the past few years. It is a type of fabric that is thermal-regulating. This means it adjusts to the wearer’s temperature. This is why it is becoming a favorite for baby clothes. In addition, it is also hypo-allergenic and natural anti-bacterial. It is the perfect fabric for a baby’s sensitive skin.
Considered a strong fabric because of its resilient characteristic, Hemp is resistant to bacteria and pests. Because of this, it does not need pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. In addition, it is also resistant to molds. Depending on the type of weaving, hemp can either be very strong or soft.
Silk (as in spider’s silk, since we are talking about organic materials) is made up of amino acids. Considered an extremely strong type of fabric, even stronger than Kevlar and steel. It also has the ability to stretch 30% longer from its original length, without breaking. Silk is a very resilient fabric.
Linen is a generic term for fabrics, but the type that is made from the fax plant and has not been cared for through the use of pesticides is considered organic. It is highly absorbent and cool, making it a serious alternative for baby clothes. The only downside of linen is that maintenance type is “dry clean only”.
Yes, soy is the soy in soybean that we use as food condiments or food additives. Made from soy protein fiber left from processing soybean.
Ramie is very rare in that only a few of it is sold in the international market. Widely known in East to Southeast Asia, with China as its number one producer, the Ramie plant has an ancient past of Egyptian culture. It is one of the oldest textile fabrics, having been used in Egyptian mummification.
Ramie is a very durable fiber, white in color with silky luster. Ramie is like silk but does not have the elasticity that silk has. It is difficult to “harvest” so it is quite expensive.
Tencel comes from natural cellulose wood pulp. It uses the Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood pulp. It also uses less toxic chemicals that are in a closed-loop process. Closed-loop process is a type of process that recovers any emissions from solvent used in making Tencel. From the recovery, it breaks down the emission into biological water treatment plants.
Known for its warmth and durability, you will often see wool used for jackets, sweaters, mittens or gloves. It is water and flame resistant as well as odor an odor repellant. Wool comes from shearing sheep, goats, rabbits and llamas. It also comes in variety such as cashmere, merino, mohair and angora.
Now that you know what materials are used for organic clothing, let’s take a look at what specific baby items you can find in organic variants.
Before we even give birth to our babies, you would be sure to get a lot of advice on what things your babies need by the time they come out. Which brand and type of clothing will no doubt come up, with some hardcore parents pushing you to “go completely organic.”
It is a good thing that the organic industry is stepping up its game to make not just organic fabric but also organic cotton baby clothes. This means you have more options, but since the demand is up, you can expect the price to rise as well.
But is there really such a thing as affordable organic baby clothes? Truly, parents have it hard all the time. We constantly worry about costs among other things. We all want the best and the best seems to go point us to the path of organic baby products.
What types of items can you get for your baby that are certified organic? Take a look:
Organic baby diapers
First there were cloth diapers, now there are organic diapers too. We had a few hesitations with reusable baby diapers but were swayed by organic ones. This is because some organic materials such as bamboo have natural anti-bacterial components.
Without the anti-bacterial components, we would not have recommended these items. Hygiene is a serious matter when it comes to babies, especially in diapers.
Organic baby pajamas
It is important that babies are always comfortable even when they are ready to sleep. Organic baby pajamas are just the thing to provide comfort even when our little ones are fast asleep.
Who knows, their pajamas might even be a cause for sleeping through the night (good for you mothers!).
Organic baby blankets
Blankets are a serious issue when it comes to safety in sleeping. Blankets are not allowed for the really little ones because of a suffocation issue and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
But this is not to say that it cannot be used by toddlers and bigger kids. Blankets are protection when the weather is cold, so the tendency is to put it up almost up to our necks. Fumes from dangerous fabrics and dyes unknowingly creep up into our body. This is why an organic cotton baby blanket is an apt answer to these subtle dangers.
Organic baby towels
Atopic dermatitis or eczema is becoming more common in babies. This is a skin condition that is either caused by genetics or the environment. It is considered an allergy as well. Allergies don’t’ go away that easily, in fact some even have it for life such as this skin condition.
The best thing that we can do is to manage it by removing things such as chemical-based dyes and non-cotton fabrics. Towels are one of the few things that touch our babies’ skin and it very important to use cotton towels for babies’ sensitive skin. Organic towels answer this problem perfectly.
Organic baby wipes
Wipes and diapers go hand in hand. Similar to organic diapers, organic wipes are a huge advantage when it comes to hygiene and keeping infections far from your baby. As we said, it’s a sensitive area, so we don’t recommend taking the shortcut for this.
Organic baby socks
It’s so important that we do the best for our babies that we carried in our womb for nine months. Keeping their feet warm are important for ensuring that they sleep well and are comfortable. You need socks that aren’t too tight but snug enough that your baby won’t kick them during sleep or crying.
Organic baby onesies
Onesies are your baby’s first clothes. Aside from diapers, these will bear the wear and tear because they will soil these most of the time. Organic baby clothes brands are the easiest to find.
Kate Quinn Organics is top of mind when it comes to brands. But you have to make sure you’re getting the most durable ones or else you’ll end up buying more. Organic baby onesies contain organic baby fabric, which makes it more durable. Durability is one of the advantages of organic fabric, not to mention its health purposes.
Organic baby toys
When we think of safety, we immediately guard what our little rascals are going to put in their mouths next. This isn’t a selective trait among babies and toddlers, all of them go through this phase. Imagine what they put in their mouths when that happens.
It isn’t enough that we guard against choking hazards, we also guard against everything that goes through their mouths. They can suck on paint and lead when they put toys in their mouth.
The best solution is to at least do some preventive maintenance when it comes to hazardous ingredients. That preventive maintenance is in organic baby toys, which use natural pigments.
Purchasing organic clothes is of course a personal choice following a change in lifestyle and mindset. A change in mindset or culture can’t be done overnight. Be it buying organic baby boy clothes or organic baby girl clothes, your personal choices also determine your commitment to the environment.
Let’s take a look at what could be the pros and cons of using organic products.
Chemicals, specifically pesticides go into most of what we have. Pesticide is considered poison. Why would you want poison into your body or your family’s? Pesticides are like shotguns, they don’t do bullseyes, focusing on a specific target. Instead, they scatter, hitting everything within the parameter of where they were shot or sprayed on.
This means they have collateral damage, killing useful insects vital to our ecosystem such as spiders and ants. It doesn’t take a genius to know where these pesticides are going to go – in the air, water streams, the hearth, and our produce.
One of these produce is cotton. As previously mentioned, cotton surprisingly gets the brunt of pesticides. Some manufacturers even use formaldehyde in clothes.
So unless you want formaldehyde touching your baby’s skin, it’s best to go organic when it comes to your little ones’ stuff, not just clothes.
We don’t want to be the dark cloud on your everyday sunny day, but the environment needs a lot of help. The environment’s plight is a pressing matter, hence it is something that we should take seriously. By using and purchasing organic, you contribute to the healing of the environment, since producing organic clothing has less impact on the ecosystem.
Organically-grown and made clothing doesn’t use machines or pesticides, which means that the production doesn’t involve as much conventional energy and chemicals.
Everything that helps the environment and prolongs our life span has our thumbs up when it comes to quality. Cotton that is grown organically has denser fibers which make it durable.
Most organically-made products are made by hand and are of high quality, because most brands realize that they have to be competitive with industrially-produced goods.
Many of you would disagree with this statement, but take a moment to think again. We all want value for our money. This is usually shown when we prefer to buy stuff that lasts longer but at a higher price than regular items.
When it comes to cost, this is the value that organic living is teaching us. By making things last longer through durability and superb workmanship, we gain positive things and lessons.
Financially speaking, buying organics enable us to look at the value over the years instead of upfront cost. In short, the ROI is greater, if we want to look at it on the side of business.
Organic fertilizers, fungicides and synthetic pesticides that are used in organic farming are costly. This is because only a few have embraced organic farming. In addition, organic farming needs manual labor compared to the conventional way of farming.
All of these add to the higher cost of organic materials. However, more and more are moving into organic farming, seeing that the rate by which cotton produced increases over time. In no time, organic cotton prices will be as competitive.
You might also pay at least $5 more for a piece of clothing just to be sure that you’re getting a truly “organic” item.
Because the number of organic farmers are still on the rise, the availability of its products are still limited to a few establishments. However, we see this changing soon.
Most of the time, our preferences for buying things are based on price. Though we know this should not be the factor alone, price plays a huge part of our decision to buy. Right off the bat, organic cotton is much more expensive than the conventional one.
The only way to view this and create a different perspective on organic and inorganic is to see how these are made from scratch. Let us use cotton as our point of comparison. Conventional cotton has been there for a long time, creating economies of scale. Unlike in organic cotton, though a rising industry, sellers are considered mom and pops who cannot afford the manufacturing muscle.
Furthermore, organic living is not just about price and having to achieve the lowest number possible once it becomes an even bigger industry. Organic living will affect many things in your lives, especially your ethics towards the environment and people who work on these natural components.
Let us give you a brief on what goes on in an organic farm to contribute to that high price that often gets talked about.
- More expensive to grow the material. While organic cotton does not use pesticides, weed and other insects need to be warded off. This processes costs a lot more than using chemicals.
- More expensive to manufacture. Organic cotton is also manufactured in facilities that manufacture the conventional ones. So before organic farmers are able to manufacture, all facilities and machines involved must undergo a stringent cleaning process so as not to contaminate with the chemicals left from conventional cotton manufacturing. Imagine the costs and manpower it needs to do this just to protect the organic produce.
- Difficulty to market. Because it is a relatively small industry, marketing budgets aren’t that great.
- Labor ethics. “The trend towards fast and cheap fashion often means someone or something else is paying the price.” Organic is not just about the product, as we mentioned--it is a way of living. This means ensuring that in every step of the process, there is fair trade, including the employment of laborers who put together every shirt and pants you can think of.
There are countless of brands who can afford to sell their stuff for cheap pricing, but it is usually because some part in the pricing system is a low and unfair factor – most of the time, at the expense of farmers and laborers. In organic living, we do not want that.
Let’s take a look at how expensive it is to go organic and to just buy what’s available online.
|Diapers||$7.99, 1 pack on Amazon||$7.49, 1 pack on Amazon|
|Toys||$17.95 on Amazon||$12.88 on Amazon|
|Wipes||$30.97, 6 packs on Amazon||$19.44, 8 packs on Amazon|
|Swaddle blankets||$26, Kate Quinn Organics||$11.99, Amazon|
|Baby Leggings/Pajamas||$20, Kate Quinn Organics||$24, 2 pairs on Amazon|
|Onesies/jumpsuits||32, Kate Quinn Organics||Starts at $16.99, on Amazon|
|Socks||$5, 1 pair, Kate Quinn Organics||$7.99, 6 pairs on Amazon|
|Hooded towels||$34 Kate Quinn Organics||$19.20 on Amazon|
That’s quite a price jump. Is it worth it? It really depends on how much you care for the environment and your own budget for ensuring your child does not come into contact with chemicals.
While organic products are getting the limelight they deserve, there will be a few who will take advantage of this and make marketing deceptions out of their products.
Organic farming is not so widespread, so countries have different laws on organic farming. Some have strict laws governing brands while others have little or no laws at all. So while you might cry “foul” at times, it is also best to be discerning of the products that you buy.
In June of last year, the Textile Exchange Organization reported a 10% growth in organic produce. This, they say can be attributed to the increase demand and better network between organic farmers and textile supply chain.
In the same report, use of organic cotton by the top 10 brands has increased by 25%. To give you a background, the “elite”, so to speak, join this list through volume and growth. It is a promising market and an even more promising endeavor if top brands continue to adhere to the “go green” mission.
As a result of bigger brands joining this effort, the market is slowly gaining knowledge on the importance of this revolution in the textile industry. In the same way, consumers realize that they have better options when it comes to personal items such as clothing and cosmetics.
Consequently, we cannot discredit those who want to take advantage of this change in the industry. It’s easy to slap on the word “organic,” even if you’re selling a lie.
What we can do is to continually educate ourselves. In particular, the following should be your guidelines in filtering the good stuff from the bad stuff and those in between (yes, the grey area, so to speak.) Under these circumstances, there are quite a few ways to find out whether the clothes you’re wearing or the baby stuff you want to buy meet the standards.
Global Organic Textile Standard or GOTS is a standard in textile which certifies that textiles are made from organic fibers, having met stringent environmental and social criteria during the manufacturing process, and has been certified by a third party along the processing.
This symbol is also a certification symbol that is certified by GOTS and the Soil Association Certification Ltd. This faction is a founding member of GOTS and is also an owner of the Global Standard Gmbh who manages GOTS.
This is a category of the type of cotton used in the textile. This symbol states that the cotton used in the clothing is 100% organic fibers, but not necessarily processed to organic standards.
While the OE100 is 100% cotton fiber character, the OE blended symbol means clothing or textile has a 5% minimum organic fiber in it.
Organic Trade Association or OTA defines four standards ranging from 100% organic to less than 70%. When clothing is labeled as 100% organic cotton, this means all components of the fabric have been grown organically and certified. This may include even the threads used to sew the fabric.
There are different governing bodies for the organic industry. Different countries have them as well not just in the US. The Control Union or formerly SKAL is a Dutch organization that certifies across Europe, South America and Asia.
When a clothing is indicated as having met the Oeko-Tex standards, this means the clothing was made in an eco-friendly fashion or process. Moreover, when clothing has been labeled Oeko-tex 100, this means it was tested and found to be free from harmful levels from 100 substances.
bluesign is a Switzerland-based standards organization that emphasizes environmentally smart and sustainable manufacturing and production. In its certification, it states that a component “certifies substances that have been rigorously tested against harmful effects on humans and the environment and for efficient consumption of relevant resources.”
While clothes can be organic, the paint used might not be. Dyes allowed under GOTS are limited to natural dyes and some that meet the GOTS standards. These include heavy metals, formaldehyde, pesticides and azo dyes.
If you can’t have 100% organic products, then you can at least decide on the description. Look for terms such as:
- low-impact dyes
- low-eco impact manufacturing
- no chemical finishes
- clay dyes
- fiber-reactive dyes
These are better alternatives to petroleum-based dyes and synthetic finishes.
1. When shopping online, read up about the company before purchasing. Most of the time, brands have dedicated pages about their business. Some will disclose all materials used as well as a narration of their production processes.
2. Look for the IVN Best and IVN Certified label or text. This label is Germany’s two tier labeling system. IVN is International Association of Natural Textile Industry.
3. Look for the JOCA certification labels. JOCA or Japan Organic Cotton Association is a certification group that certifies for GOTS as well as act as consultants to brands in Japan.
Environment consciousness comes in many different forms. Some may patronize organic baby clothing brands and choose the best organic baby clothes that the market can offer.
At the end of the day, we all want our children to be safe. As mothers, we would like to praise ourselves for a job well done in keeping our kids safe from harm. If the answer is in organic baby products, then it’s an investment well spent.
If organic baby stuff can remove even an inch of worry in our hearts, then it’s an ally worth keeping on our side.