Have you ever been to a minimalistbaby shower? Me neither. Every baby shower is attended by a slew of excited family and friends who spent far too long in the baby section at Target ooh-ing and aah-ing at the tiny shoes and micro hats. It’s easy to understand their excitement because buying a single thing for mom and baby at the upcoming shower is often difficult when you’re bombarded with so many adorable things in the baby section. Even small baby showers with only a few guests get out of control as each attendee brings twice their weight in baby gear. New moms are usually relieved to see the bounty, as each new item is one less thing she’ll have to buy before the due date. However, if you’ve had a baby shower and your little one is on the way, you might be wondering how safe some of the items are. Synthetic fabrics, in particular, have raised alarm for new moms, and cheap baby clothes are usually thrown onto the pile when the gift-giving gets out of hand. If you are wondering whether or not synthetic onesies from Aunt Janice are okay to put on your newborn, I’m here to set the record straight.

Synthetic fiber will not inherently harm your baby. As long as the fabric is soft and pliable, irritation or rashes do not cause the problem from the fabric itself. Instead, synthetic fiber should be avoided because it is not breathable. Babies have very sensitive skin, and moisture could easily become trapped in an outfit that was made of synthetics. When a baby perspired or when his diaper area became moist, the wetness would not go away on its own if it were trapped against the skin by the threads of the clothing. It will quickly cause a rash and irritation. For that reason, it should be avoided.

The exception to this rule is synthetic fleece. Studies show that fleece hats and pullovers for babies are extremely effective at keeping them warm, and they are breathable enough to allow moisture to dry before they cause irritation. These should only be used in cold weather so that perspiration is minimal in the first place.

It’s okay to give away that synthetic onesie that Aunt Janice brought to the baby shower. She’ll never notice, and it will help you more in the long run.

Source: Elizabeth McCullough et al: Determining Temperature Ratings for Children’s Cold Weather Clothing. Applied Ergonomics Volume 40 Issue 5 pp. 870-877 September 2009

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