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It might be an exaggeration to say there are a million choices when it comes to clothing your baby and toddler, but there certainly is a very wide variety. Whether you choose to know the sex of your baby before they are born, there are some simple basics that every baby will need: onesies, leggings, socks, and outerwear for the season.
According to Washington State's database, companies reported the presence of 13 chemicals of concern in clothing, including antimony, nonylphenols, eight phthalates, solvents like methyl ethyl ketone, phthalic anhydride and styrene. In addition, a study that tested 77 textiles and infant clothing pieces detected bisphenols, including BPA, BPS, benzophenones, bisphenol A diglycidyl ethers (BADGEs), and novolac glycidyl ethers (NOGEs). BPA was found in 82% of items tested, with socks containing the highest concentration. Many of these chemicals are left over from processing the fabrics and can be removed by thorough washing (and it's why it's a good idea to wash all new clothing before wearing).
No matter how cute they look, newborns and young babies don't need shoes. It can even harm their foot development if they wear hard-soled shoes like older children wear.
Consider organic natural fibers like cotton, wool, and bamboo, with non-toxic dyes. Whenever possible, choose organic textiles for items that will touch your baby's body. Products made of fabric are certified organic by GOTS (the Global Organic Textile Standard). Avoid latex to avoid possible allergies.On a budget? Well-washed (with unscented detergents) used baby clothes can be a great way to build a wardrobe. Babies outgrow clothes so quickly there is a lot of wear left after the first baby is done with them. Make sure you wash all clothing for babies before they wear them.
References & Resources
Learn more about the hidden hazards by reviewing the glossary or take a deep dive by reading Safer Products for Babies and Toddlers: Resources and Recommendations for Retailers.
Greenpeace has a campaign to detox the textile industry, and has a lot of information about the hazards there, including in children's clothing.