Having a baby is easily one of the most profound changing moments of your life — and raising one is probably one of the most stressful. How do you know what foods to choose, what sheets work the best, or which detergent you should be using to wash your little one’s clothes?
If your little one has sensitive skin, even their clothing can irritate it. What fabrics should you be looking for in clothes, bedding and other items, if your baby has sensitive skin?
Pick — Organic Cotton
Cotton is one of the most breathable fabrics, which is ideal for anyone with sensitive skin. It’s loose (usually) and lets your skin breathe. Organic cotton, or cotton that is grown and processed without any harsh chemicals, is an even better option for sensitive skin — there’s no risk of exposure to any residual chemicals that might cling to the fabric’s fibers after manufacturing and washing.
The only problem with cotton is that it does absorb moisture and wet fabric can be more irritating to sensitive skin — but as long as the fabric is dry, it’s one of your best options to prevent irritation.
Skip — Polyester
Polyester is probably one of the most common fabrics you’ll find in infant and toddler clothes, because it’s cheap and easy to produce, but it’s also one of the worst fabrics for your infant’s skin. The synthetic polymers used to create the fabric also tend to irritate skin, and can harbor dangerous chemicals that are used in the fabric’s creation.
Polyester, because of its flammability, also often contains flame retardant chemicals. For infants, who spend as much time chewing on their clothes as they do wearing them, this is one fabric you should skip.
Pick — Silk
The idea of putting an infant in silk might seem terrifying, but hear us out. Silk has been studied as a possible option for individuals with sensitive skin, in addition to children with eczema. While not the most cost effective option, if your infant is having problems with other fabrics, silk may be a good alternative. The fabric is naturally anti-microbial, which helps to reduce the chance of a secondary skin infection that can make sensitive skin problems worse.
Skip — Wool
Wool is a go-to for many parents who live in cold climates, but for individuals with sensitive skin it can be an itchy mess. Wool, harvested and woven from sheep, is a natural fabric but its rough fibers can cause itching and skin irritation even in individuals who don’t have sensitive skin. If you can’t put on a wool sweater without wanting to scratch your skin off, imagine how your baby feels with their sensitive skin.
Pick — Microfiber
Most of us think of washcloths and other cleaning implements when we start talking about microfiber, but its smooth surface and moisture wicking abilities make it an awesome choice for babies with sensitive skin. It cleans easily and helps to keep skin dry in a way that cotton can’t even begin to match, which helps to reduce the possibility of skin irritation.
If you can’t find microfiber clothing, look into washcloths and bedding make of the material. These items can also help keep that baby soft skin healthy and irritation free.
Skip — Fleece
Fleece can be great for lightweight warmth but because it holds heat so well, it can irritate sensitive skin and cause heat rash in warmer climates. If you do choose to use fleece for your infant, make sure it’s thin and is used in outer layers so it can be easily removed if it does start to irritate their skin.
Pick — Bamboo
Bamboo is one of the softest fabrics on the market. Bamboo has antimicrobial properties, which means that it’s healthy and clean for anyone’s skin. The material is also soft and breathable, making it the ideal choice whether or not your infant has sensitive skin. Plus bamboo has the added bonus of being an eco-friendly and non-toxic product.
It can be difficult to determine what is causing skin irritation on infants — they’re too little to tell us what’s bothering them — but by choosing organic or non-allergenic fabrics, it’s easier to keep their skin protected when they have to wear clothes.
Author Bio – I’m Emily Folk, and I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. Growing up I had a love of animals, and after countless marathons of watching Animal Planet documentaries, I developed a passion for ecology and conservation. Find more about Emily here – Conservation Folk