Baby clothes are sooooo cute. Those tiny sneakers and sleepers call out to all new parents “Buy me!” But before you load up the nursery with an extensive new baby wardrobe, remember to think green. Less is better when it comes to buying items you won’t be using for very long.
Plan for Growth
Newborns have one primary job—to grow—and they do it very well and very quickly. Experienced parents can tell you stories about the bundles of baby clothes they bought and then packed away, unused, because their babies outgrew them before they had a chance to be worn.
For this reason, think before you buy. Yes, it’s hard to resist that newborn dress shirt with the bow tie or that adorable party dress, but it’s unlikely that your newborn will be attending any formal affairs in the first few weeks of life, and after that, the outfit won’t fit anymore anyway. The same goes for those oh-so-useful one-piece sleepers and undershirts that babies often live in. They are wonderful, but don’t buy too many at once. Your baby will jump from one size to the next faster than you can unpack your latest purchase.
Consider shopping for baby clothes in consignment shops and resale stores. And donate or resell those your own baby outgrows. This is a very green concept. So rather than buying that handsome baby bow tie and tuxedo set, invest instead in saving the resources used up by manufacturing, packaging, and distributing clothing that may be worn only once.
Buying baby clothes made of organic fabrics is one green parenting decision that is getting easier to follow through on every day. Brands such as Under the Canopy are providing eco-friendly clothes with a great sense of style. Thanks to increasing consumer demand, organic baby clothes are now standard stock in many children’s clothing stores. In fact, sales of organic fibers for infant clothes and cloth diapers rose 40 percent between 2004 and 2005, to $40 million. This surge in popularity has encouraged retail giants like Target and Wal-Mart to take these products mainstream.1
In addition to the health and environmental benefits of avoiding the toxic pesticides and chemical fertilizers used in conventional fibers (outlined in the diaper section earlier), organic clothing also allows you to protect your baby’s delicate skin from other chemicals used in the manufacture of children’s clothing. These include flame retardants, wrinkle resisters, stain repellants, colorfastness treatments, and chemical dyes. In fact, formaldehyde and PVC are often used as fabric finishers.
Although cotton is the most popular organic fiber, you can also wrap your baby in fabrics of organically grown wool, bamboo, hemp, and linen (flax). As demand increases, so will the availability of these green fabrics.