Monday, March 21, 2011

Why Organic Clothes?

My wonderful Psychologist husband tells me that if you think you have OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) then you don’t. However, if I could pick an area that I fall into an OCD panic about it would be researching and choosing all the baby products we need. I divided this blog into several parts because it would be ridiculously long if it remained in one piece. Here is how I broke it down,
Part 1 - Baby out on the town
Part 2 - Chemical free sleep
Part 3 - Why organic clothes?
Part 4 - Items that make life easier
Keep an eye out for the other sections, here is Part 3.

Why Organic Clothes?
You may be thinking, the baby wont eat the clothes so why pay more for organic? I know the trials of choosing which items to pay more for when you are shopping for baby. As I have stated in my other blogs I am a bargain shopper and love a good deal. However, when it comes to the cloth your baby sleeps on or wears I ask you to consider not cutting corners. Organic clothes are not only important to the environment but also to baby, here is why.
The Farmer Wins Too
The farming of organic cotton promotes healthy soil. In addition, although the farmer may take a hit initially he will make more money in a few years if he continues to farm organically. The abandonment of the pesticides will help the surrounding communities to have better air and ground water. Better for the planet!
If Baby Wears it, She will Eat it!
Just because baby is wearing the hat does not mean it wont eventually go in her mouth! According to Green Babies, Sage Moms by Linda Fassa, pesticides are found in baby poo so even if you are nursing your baby and eating organically she can still be effected from pesticides. The effects of these pesticides are still being researched but constant exposure have been linked to allergies, ADD and autism. An added bonus is organic clothing usually is naturally dyed (like veggie or mineral dyes) which are good enough to eat. This means you can let baby teeth on it, wash with it, or sleep on it with out worrying about her ingesting harmful chemicals, synthetic dyes, or plastic based cloth.
The Dirty Truth About Cotton
Here are the facts, “White fluffy cotton may look like the height of purity, yet conventional cotton is anything but. Cotton is the 2nd most pesticide-laden crop on the market, right after coffee and before tobacco. Worse, the pesticides used on cotton crops are some of the most hazardous around. 5 of the top 9 pesticides applied to cotton crops in the US - cyanide, dicofol, naled, propargite, and trifluralin - are classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as Category I and II, the most dangerous. All are known to cause cancer.” - Organic Baby, Simple Steps for Healthy Living by Kimberly Rider
    Organic clothing has fewer chemicals on it when you buy it from the store. If you pick up a cotton shirt right out of the package and it has a soft, slippery feel that feeling is from chemicals used to soften the fabric and make it flame retardant.  These chemicals usually include petroleum products, stain retardants, ammonia, bleach and formaldehyde. Sometimes organic fabric feels less soft then non-organic but the nature of cotton is it wears in to be soft. Remember how mom told you to wash your new clothes before you wear them? She was right, if you knew how many chemicals, people or animals (YUK!) touched your clothes before you took it home you would think twice before washing it just once! 
Wash After Wash it Wears Better
I have noticed that organic clothing is better made and lasts longer. This is just my observation. My organic clothing washes better and keeps from getting those annoying little fabric balls. The exception to this rule is bamboo. I have noticed that jersey knit fabric made from bamboo will get those fabric balls, it is best to stick with a bamboo blend if you are buying jersey knit.
So What is a Green Guru To Do?
Okay, so I know you will make the argument that children grow too fast to spend too much money on clothing and you are right. So here is what I suggest, buy items that are stretchy so they can be worn for a long time. If you look at my Etsy store I make little apron dresses that can be worn as dresses and then as tops making them last for at least 6-9 months. Look for items that have long torsos, are made from stretchy fabrics like jersey knits and have either drawstrings or elastic. These are rules I follow when I create my clothes and it helps well made items to be worn for longer periods of time. Below I outline my favorite wallet saving shops and brands.
      You can also start a healthy mommy borrowing group. This works well for those of you who are blessed to get pregnant for maternity clothes. To start a group you can look at your church or temple or here locally we have a good network of women at Parent’s Place. In this group you can swap gently used clothes of one size for another box of the size you need. Boxes of clothes get passed from one family to another and it all works out even in the end.
Wallet Friendly Organic Clothes
Etsy. There are several amazing women who hand crochet or knit adorable little organic sweaters and sell them at reasonable price points ($25-50). I buy ones that wrap or tie so they can be worn for long periods of time. Here locally I love to shop at Sprout Boutique in Pacific Grove, the ladies there are amazing women and mommies. They support local artists and carry many organic or eco-friendly options. Lastly, online shops. I do not know what I did before Zulily. The idea is like Marshals or Ross, they sell the bulk left over from companies at a discount (usually 40% off). They often have one organic option each day. The only down side is the items take forever to get to you, I sometimes wonder if my package is being delivered by carrier pigeon! Just something to keep in mind, if you are buying an outfit for an event make sure you have at least 2 weeks if you are buying it on Zulily. I provided links to all these wonderful resources for you below.

Book Resources
Green Babies, Sage Moms by Linda Fassa
Ecoholic by Adria Vasil
Healthy Child Healthy World by Christopher Gavigan
Organic Baby, Simple Steps for Healthy Living by Kimberly Rider

Web Resources

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