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Say No To The Nylon

Jun 20, 2008
Baby wear has come a long way since I was wearing it. There are baby photos of me in the knitted dresses, jumpers, socks, knitted hats, mittens and knitted shoes. Any shop bought creation was normally of the easy wash nylon variety. For my mother's benefit, the knitted swimming costume was never going to work and left me with embarrassing memories that scarred me for life.

Four years later, when my brother was born he too was made to endure the humiliation of home grown baby wear, much to my entertainment. Although funnily enough she never made him wear knitted swimming trunks and, again for my mother's benefit, I would like to make my protest heard.

I have distinct memories of being at an uncle's bonfire party with my baby brother barely able to walk and being lined up in front of the guy (not on the fire though) for a photo shoot. There is my elder sister and me each with a hand on my brother's shoulders. He looks a very odd shape as we each have a handful of beige nylon baby wear to stop him from escaping.

Once again for my mother's information, and for all those crazy women out there who actually consider nylon clothing to be a good thing, the burns on my hand that night were from holding onto my brother not, as you thought, from fireworks. Nylon burns are not fun, I don't care about the laundry issues, do not go with the nylon baby wear - this is how people spontaneously combust.

After this life altering event, I had no more contact with babies until I bizarrely became a nanny at the age of sixteen. It was a case of facing my fears head on, not stupidly putting myself into the path of friction burns whilst trying to subdue a two year old son of Satan. However, I was delighted to find that baby wear was a-changing. There was still the occasional nylon sin, mostly the hand me downs, but things were moving on. They even had cotton for babies by this time - can you believe it?

With the discovery that what was next to a baby's skin could cause or cure allergies (I could have told them that and I'm not a scientist), baby wear manufacturers began looking to more natural materials. I'm sure I cannot be the only one that sees this as much as a blessing as the baby itself (except the son of Satan).

Cotton is, these days, the fabric of choice, particularly for those who intend to have their babies in quick succession. Cotton is not a fan of modern day laundering. Granted, it washes great and the whites are boilable - a must for the poo and puke that's going to be emitted from your baby on a regular basis. But it is not a fan of the tumble drier. Once you can get away with, maybe even twice, but put it through the drier a third time and it's shrunk to half the size and is ready for the next baby.

Manufacturers have become wise to this. They know we want - nay, demand - cotton next to our baby's skin and they know it's going to shrink. They know we are likely to have more than one baby, or know someone with a baby, so they change baby wear fashions as often as they do for adults, making sure that once today's clothes have shrunk they are so yesterday that you wouldn't want to pass them on, thus buying more.

This is nothing more than a money laundering scheme so mum, please get out the knitting needles.
About the Author
Fashion expert Catherine Harvey looks at the changing trends in baby wear and looks back to the old days.
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