What's better for babies: wool, cotton, or acrylic?

In the world of baby knits, there is a huge range of yarn types that baby clothing and accessories may be made with. For Hatchling, I do my best to use only wool, cotton, or acrylic. But what’s the difference between the three, and is one better for babies to wear than the others?

Wool

Babies can find it difficult to regulate their own temperature, but wool is a fantastic heat regulator. Babies lose heat from their feet and their heads fast, so woollen beanies and booties are great for babies. Some wool can be a bit scratchy on a baby’s skin, but merino, alpaca, or polwarth wool is incredibly soft. Hatchling wool items are created with soft wool, merino, alpaca, and polwarth where possible to ensure items are soft on your baby’s skin.

Cotton

Cotton is a great material for summer knits for babies. It’s a very breathable material, so can keep your baby cool even if it’s a “knitted” item which may bring thoughts of winter to mind. Items made with cotton can stretch out over time, but a wash can bring its shape back nicely. It’s also quite a durable material — which is great for baby clothes that need regular washing.

Acrylic

Acrylic yarn is often thought of as no good for babies. This isn’t always true. I wouldn’t suggest acrylic items for premature babies as they can’t regulate their body temperature, so wool is better for them. However, for full-term babies and outerwear, acrylic is a great option. It’s durable and washable, and also a great option for babies who may have sensitive skin that may react to wool.

So, in summary, there’s no one material that suits all babies. Some babies will prefer wool for body temperature regulation, others will prefer acrylic due to skin sensitivity or durability, and cotton is great for summer items. It’s more a preference rather than a necessity (premature babies excluded).