Is It Safe For Babies To Sleep In Fleece?

The short answer is yes, if the fleece is made with 100% natural fibers such as cotton that allows the body to respire. There’s so much confusion surrounding this question because most consumers don’t realize that “fleece” is a type of fabric that can be composed from many different types of fibers. So what are the different options of fleece sleepwear and why is it important to know these differences before you purchase pajamas for your child? Let’s break it down. 

Polyester Fleece 

rolls of polyester fleece blankets stacked on end in a group

In the United States and beyond, fleece made with polyester fibers is the most widely known and commonly available fabric. Polyester fleece is also called micro fleece and is used for everything from jackets to pajamas to blankets. 

Organic Cotton Fleece  

These days cotton fleece is close to impossible to find in 100% cotton let alone organically grown cotton. The ubiquitous pull over hoodie is almost always made with a blend of 70% cotton and 30% polyester. While this blend is fine for outer garments and day wear, it’s not recommended for sleepwear. 

Polyester Fleece and Sleepwear - Not Good Bed Companions

While pajamas, sleep sacks and blankets made with polyester fleece are extremely affordable to purchase they come loaded with a host of potential problems for both humans and the environment. 

  • Does not allow the body to breathe, resulting in potentially dangerous overheating. 
  • Creates a perfect environment for the development of rashes, eczema and other skin ailments.  
  • Contains several toxic substances that are dangerous for growing children. 
  • Detrimental to the health of our oceans.
  • 20-200 years for polyester garments to decompose. 
  • Made from two petroleum products: terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol.
Toddler sitting on stool wearing a cotton fleece pajama set in natural with black forest print

Cotton Fleece and Sleepwear - The Healthy Choice

While pajamas, sleep sacks and blankets made with 100% organic cotton fleece are more challenging to find and come at a higher price point they are infinitely more comfortable to sleep in and are safer for both humans and the environment. 

  • Allows the body to breathe, resulting in a better night's sleep.
  • Reduces the risk of SIDS and the development of rashes, eczema and other skin ailments. 
  • Reduces exposure to harsh chemical fabric finishes. 
  • 1-5 months for cotton garments to decompose. 
  • Made from organically grown cotton fibers that are free of harsh chemical finishes other than low impact, fiber reactive dyes. 

Now that we understand the critical differences between polyester and cotton fleece pajamas and blankets, what about the hand? That is to say, how do the two fabrics feel in the hand? How do they feel when wearing?

Polyester Fleece Hand 

  • Both sides of the fabric have a pile and are soft and fuzzy. 
  • Warm to wear but uncomfortable once the body heats up since moisture is trapped resulting in a wet, clammy feeling. 
  • Dries quickly but can cause uncomfortable static electric shocks. 

Cotton Fleece Hand 

Toddler wrapped in moss green and natural cotton fleece blanket
  • Just the inside of the fabric has a pile and is soft and fuzzy. The outside of
    the fabric is smooth, much like a tee shirt knit. 
  • Warm to wear and continues to stay comfortable since body moisture is released through the fibers. 
  • Takes longer to dry but does not cause static electric shocks. 

In conclusion, the main things to consider when thinking about which type of fleece pajamas to purchase for your baby to ensure a comfortable and safe night's sleep is overheating, short term chemical exposure and long term chemical exposure. In all three instances cotton fleece is the clear winner and the better option for the health and comfort of your precious new family member and the health of the planet that they will ultimately inherit.