Your browser is not fully supported. Please upgrade your browser.

Skip to main content

Dressing your baby

Photography: iStock
Illustration: Barry Allen Patenaude

One of the most exciting parts of welcoming a new member of the family into the world is buying all the baby clothes to dress them in. But for all the fun, there’s a serious side to dressing your newborn.

Choosing baby clothes that are both safe and resilient is an important factor when making your purchase. Safe, because quite often synthetic fabrics can cause irritation and lack resilience; let’s face it, babies are custom-built to make a mess.

Natural and nurturing

Choosing a sustainable fibre such as Merino wool is one of the best ways to keep your baby comfortable and snug. By creating a more stable microclimate against the skin, baby clothes made out of Merino wool will help maintain and regulate your newborn’s body temperature. Its high breathability and moisture absorption properties will keep your baby comfortable and help prevent overheating while making sure they remain warm.

Soft and safe

Traditional wools and synthetic blends can be itchy and heavy, but superfine Merino wool is soft, light and incredibly comfortable against the skin. In spite of this lightness, Merino is incredibly good at insulating.

Merino wool also has natural properties that help resist the build-up of odours – something that babies can be very good at creating. Superfine Merino wool is also beneficial for babies with skin conditions such as eczema and heat rash.

Each strand of superfine Merino wool is much finer than the average human hair, making it one of the softest fibres used to make baby clothes. And much like human hair, it’s made primarily out of keratin – an organic protein naturally produced by the human body. 

Organic and hard-wearing

In spite of its softness and fineness, Merino is incredibly hard wearing. Its natural stretch helps it retain its shape, but most importantly – particularly for parents with busy schedules – Merino is machine washable and some baby outfits are even pre-shrunk, making them safe for the dryer. However, always check washing instructions beforehand to see what specific requirements your individual garments have. 

Lastly, many parents want to make sure that, while providing only the best for their baby, they are still doing their best to look after the environment. Merino wool is a naturally sourced, renewable, fibre. Half the weight of Merino is pure organic carbon, derived from the carbon in the atmosphere. By contrast the carbon in synthetic fibres such as polyester and acrylic is extracted from fossil fuels stored underground millions of years ago. Unlike synthetic fibres, wool is readily biodegradable.

Benjamen Judd is a Sydney-based writer who has been published in some of Australia’s biggest publications, including the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Financial Review, and regularly speaks on radio about contemporary men’s style.