The Tot’s organic cotton gift guide

Is organic cotton really better than the conventional stuff? Find out why the answer is a resounding “yes” and shop our favorite organic cotton products.

Most of us have a vague idea that organic cotton is better for our health and the environment than conventional cotton, but we wouldn’t be able to explain exactly why. And when we see the heftier price tags attached to certified organic cotton products, we start to wonder whether they’re worth it. To take the guesswork out of the cotton debate and help you make an informed decision, we looked at some of the latest research.

What are the benefits of organic cotton?

According to global non-profit organization Textile Exchange, organic cotton has a range of important health, environmental, social and economic benefits.

In 2015, farmers around the world who grew organic instead of conventional cotton potentially saved close to 58 billion gallons of water (that’s 87,201 Olympic-sized pools!) and almost 102,000 tons of CO2 (the equivalent of driving an average car around the world 13,572 times).

They also kept genetically modified organisms (GMOs), pesticides and chemicals out of nearly 865,000 acres – or more than 654,000 football fields – of organic certified land. Why is this so significant? According to a major scientific review, some pesticides that are commonly used on conventional cotton in the United States, such as diuron and paraquat, may cause cancer, birth defects, Parkinson’s disease, kidney damage and a range of other negative health effects. Worse still, prenatal exposure to organophosphate insecticides – such as malathion, which is used in American cotton fields – is strongly linked with a range of developmental, cognitive and behavioural deficits that can have lasting negative effects on the brain.

From a socioeconomic perspective, 193, 840 farmers benefited from organic farming practices in 2015, which can include fair trade or decent work policies, community benefits, and healthier working conditions thanks to the absence of toxic chemicals.

The organic cotton market is growing

So, organic cotton rocks and the world is finally, um, cottoning on. Globally, there’s four times more organic agricultural land than there was in 1999 and the industry continues to grow, according to Textile Exchange’s Organic Cotton Market Report 2017. There are now 18 countries producing organic cotton, with India and China in the lead and the U.S. in sixth position.

While the demand for organic cotton is stabilizing in some sectors, it’s growing in others, including home textiles, hospitality and feminine hygiene products. There’s also an increased demand for longer organic cotton fibers which are necessary to produce high-end products.

Organic cotton brands we covet

Not only are these amazing brands committed to a non-toxic and sustainable lifestyle, they make some of the most gorgeous baby products in the land. Love!

Modern Burlap

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This gorgeous range of GOTS-certified organic cotton swaddles, sheets and quilts are printed with non-toxic dyes and feature black-and-white patterns to stimulate your baby’s brain development.

Estella

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We love Estella! Not only are their cuddly blankets, rattles and onesies made from organic cotton, bamboo and other sustainable materials, they’re hand-crafted by local artisans in Peru and Bolivia.

Atelier Choux

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The organic cotton swaddles, bibs and blankets lovingly designed by Atelier Choux are true works of art. Featuring illustrations by acclaimed Swedish artist Mattias Adolfsson, they’ll keep your little one cozy and look fabulous in your home.

Babee and Me

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This Australian-based company ensures all its products are ethically made from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton or other natural fibers and printed with non-toxic inks. We can’t get enough of the reversible organic playmat.

Halo 

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The Organic Sleepsack wearable blanket is a safe-sleeping option designed to replace loose bedding that could cover your baby’s face. It also helps wee ones sleep better by keeping them warm and snug throughout the night.

Woombie

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Woombie’s organic cotton swaddles, wraps and rompers are free from chemicals, toxins and flame retardants. They’re so soft and snuggly that you’ll want to wrap yourself in them too!

Finn & Emma

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Parents love sustainable brand Finn + Emma for their whimsical and fun toys, play gyms and more. Each Finn + Emma product is created to heirloom quality standards meaning that it’s made with 100 percent GOTS certified organic cotton, eco-friendly dyes, and all-natural wood.