Read this guide to know about 5 alternative natural and friendly fabrics that will be perfect for you and your baby.
Having a child is a magical process but it does present you with a fair share of challenges.
And post-pregnancy baby-care is also equal parts challenging as it is fulfilling.
As you fuss over the baby’s health and comfort, do not forget to take care of your health and work on feeling comfortable in your skin.
Clothes play a huge role in making you and the baby feel comfortable. And the most important aspect of a piece of clothing is the fabric.
What do you need from your fabric?
You need the fabric to be friendly. But what is a friendly fabric?
Such fabric is breathable, soft, natural, nontoxic for your skin, and does not release microplastics into the environment.
You absolutely want to avoid fabrics like nylon, polyester, spandex, rayon, and acrylic. These are not breathable or gentle on the skin. They let sweat and bacteria accumulate which not only gives you a bad body odor but can also cause rashes and allergies.
Then, why not wear cotton?
Cotton is breathable, soft, and natural. Yes, it does shrink easily, wrinkles, takes forever to dry, and is quite flammable but don’t the merits outweigh these cons?
The answer is, NO.
There are a lot more problems with cotton. The production of cotton fabric depletes the environment in multiple ways.
The pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides used during cotton farming ruin the quality of soil, are bad for the health of the farmers, and seep into the water bodies, eventually affecting our health directly.
As the pests develop resistance and the soil is further eroded of nutrients, farmers have to use more of these chemicals each time. And the cycle continues.
Cultivation of cotton is also responsible for drying up the Aral Sea which was once the fourth-largest lake in the world. Can you imagine the amount of water cotton needs to grow?
Even the process of turning cotton into wearable fabric damages the environment. Weaving and spinning consume a lot of energy and also generates a hefty amount of solid waste.
Now, the most important question you can ask is, “What are the alternatives?” because a world with contaminated food and a water crisis is not what your children deserve.
Here’s a list of 5 friendly fabrics for you and your baby that can replace cotton:
This is what the hemp crop looks like:
No, industrial hemp is not marijuana.
It has a 0.3% or less concentration of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which means– it cannot get you high.
Hemp fabric is made using fibers from the stocks of the Cannabis Sativa plant.
It feels like cotton but does not shrink, and gets softer with every wash. It is also more durable, a hemp t-shirt can last triple the time as compared to a cotton t-shirt.
- It is breathable, lightweight and does not let sweat or bacteria accumulate on your or your baby’s skin.
- The fabric is not processed using any chemicals that can cause allergies or rashes.
- Producing hemp is much easier than producing cotton. While 50% of the world’s pesticides are sprayed on cotton, hemp does not attract pests.
- It needs half the amount of water as cotton to grow and even replenishes the soil instead of depriving it of nutrients.
- Hemp fabric is eco-friendly, biodegradable, and does not contribute to the problem of solid waste.
Hemp is the right choice for you, your baby, and even the farmers and the environment.
Yes, Bamboo is a lot more than a symbol of good luck.
Reasons to choose Bamboo:
- This fabric is softer than both cotton and silk. It is also cheaper and more breathable than both cotton and silk.
- It is especially good for you if you have skin allergies, irritation or inflammation. It can protect your skin from UV rays, keep you warmer in winters and cooler in summers.
- This fabric requires less washing and maintenance than cotton. It contains a natural compound called, Kun which protects the skin from harmful microbes.
- Just like hemp, it is biodegradable. Bamboo is a self-replenishing crop and requires a lesser amount of fertilizers and water to grow than cotton.
This beautiful plant produces an equally beautiful fabric.
The fibers from the stem and roots of the flax plant give you the fabric you know as linen. It is an expensive fabric but the durability makes up for it.
Choose linen because:
- Linen is stain-resistant, making it a great choice for your baby’s clothes.
- It is perfect for summer (but if you have sensitive skin, the fabric can feel itchy.)
- Although linen clothes require regular maintenance, the crop can grow without fertilizers or irrigation, making it more sustainable than cotton.
The only problems you can have with linen are the infamous wrinkles and lack of elasticity.
This is what the ramie crop looks like:
Why replace cotton with ramie?
- This fabric has a beautiful luster and although it is more expensive than most variants of cotton, it is not as expensive as linen or silk.
- It can grow rougher over time but unlike linen does not feel itchy.
- It is durable, maintains shape, and does not shrink.
- Ramie crop is another eco-friendly and sustainable alternative to cotton. It can grow without chemical aid and resists bacteria, UV rays, rot and insects.
Eucalyptus trees have so much to offer.
Lyocell fabric is commonly known as Tencel.
Lyocell is a great choice because:
- It is a breathable fabric that is smooth, elastic, and remains wrinkle-free. It is lightweight and comfortable to wear.
- Just like Bamboo, lyocell is sensitive skin-friendly because of its softness and bacteria-resistant nature.
- The fabric’s suede-like texture drapes beautifully.
The only problem is that the fires are difficult to bind during lyocell’s production.
Though lyocell is more expensive than cotton, its production uses less energy and water. It is generally obtained from the wood of eucalyptus trees, which makes it naturally biodegradable and sustainable.
These 5 fabrics have their unique advantages but hemp is the ideal choice.
- The colour of hemp fabric is naturally appealing and it does not need to be dyed. This means you can save your and your baby’s skin from exposure to unnecessary chemicals.
- Hemp does not absorb water, in fact, it resists it. Your baby’s skin will remain dry in hemp clothing and they can be saved from rashes.
- The fabric can absorb UV rays from the sun and act as a shield for your skin.
- Hemp fabric resists mold which makes it easy to store.
- You can wear hemp in all seasons. It is soft and hangs freely, making it comfortable to wear in the summer but the fabric isn’t too thin and can be layered in during winter.
- Another perk is that hemp clothes can be recycled. It is not only ideal for your skin but also saves you from the guilt of adding to solid waste and landfills.