Many mum’s, including me, instinctively turn to natural materials when it comes to finding clothing, bedding, toys or anything that’s going to come into close contact with our baby’s skin.
Why? Sometimes it’s a completely unconscious thing. You could just browsing through clothes in a shop, flicking through the rails with your hands and finding yourself attracted to a certain feel of a garment. Maybe it’s something we instinctively know to look for?
Some of the reasons for preferring natural materials may be obvious to some of you, but I wanted to look into it and really understand all the ways that natural materials can be best for our babies.
It’s better to chew!
By the time babies are a few months old and for at least a couple of years after that, they become fascinated with shoving anything, ANYTHING, into their mouths! From mud to your hair, to their own shoes... nothing is off limits, as you’ll know!
You can guarantee that their clothes (sleeves especially) and toys will all get to enjoy a good chew. I knew that if my baby was going to put anything into their mouth and - by default - ingest any of those fibres, I’d much prefer it was a natural material and not something made from plastic and chemicals.
This is one of the main reasons we made our teethers (designed especially to go in baby’s mouth) from BPA free, food grade silicone.
Naturally fire resistant
I love the fact that natural materials like wool are naturally fire resistant. I don’t expect my kids to be playing with anything that could burst into flames, obviously, but anything that gives them extra protection is welcome.
It’s not just clothes… mattresses are required to be fire resistant, so instead of choosing something that has been treated with a variety of different substances to achieve this, I prefer to use a natural, organic wool mattress like this one from the Wool Room in Wales.
Many natural materials are more hardwearing and resistant to the wear and tear that occurs in everyday life. I know I can shove cotton babygrows, muslin cloths and sheets and bamboo blankets into the wash at any temperature and they’ll come out in one piece, clean and softer than when they went in.
With woo like merino, especially, it has a higher resistance to taking on odour as it can absorb moisture vapour and even the odour molecules from sweat which it only releases when washed.
Natural fabrics are more breathable than synthetics. They react to the body and its changes in temperature well, and won’t trap sweat against the skin when you’re hot. Natural fibres are better at absorbing moisture vapour, moving it away from the skin to evaporate in the air meaning you feel less clammy and uncomfortable in hot, or cold weather.
It keeps you warm and cool
Unlike synthetic material, natural materials can react to changes in body temperature to help babies stay warm when the weather is cold, and cool when the weather is warm.
When babies are small, they can’t regulate their own temperature as they’re not able to shiver to warm themselves. The maid way they stay warm is by using brown adipose tissue (BAT) which is created in the womb. This, however, takes a lot of energy for a baby, and is why they rely on you almost completely to ensure they’re the right temperature.
Clothing that helps you to do this is always a bonus!
Sustainability has become more and more important to me over the years as I’ve become much more aware of how our consumer habits can drive environmentally positive initiative.
As natural materials are made from plant fibres, they break down and decompose quickly, passing less harmful fibres into the earth as they degrade. As synthetic fibres are made from plastic, they don’t break down as quickly and can be harmful to the planet.
Organic cotton and other organic materials are cultivated using less pesticides, and with less harm to the environment.
They’re all the reasons I managed to come up with, but if you know another benefit of using natural or organic material for babies, please share it with us!