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Flame retardant or not, fabric softeners are full of chemicals that are designed to stay in the clothing - which means they're designed to rub off on your baby. Your best bet is an unscented, preferably natural detergent.
Oh, or you could buy baby clothes made of bamboo - it's amazingly soft! Expensive, but you'd probably pay more for fabric softeners for the life of other clothes. If you're looking for a natural alternative that also softens, try soap nuts - I've heard they're fabulous because they're totally natural and soften clothes beautifully. Here's info about them: http://www.maggiespureland.com/index.htmlThis is a cheaper place to buy them (though you might find cheaper ones elsewhere: http://stores.buysoapnuts.com/-strse-Organic-Soap-Nuts/Categories.bok
i'm a mother of a 6 year old girl and another girl on the way and i always used 'Baby ALL' for my first girl and plan to use that or 'DREFT' for my next child. 'Baby ALL' is less expensive than 'DREFT' if you can find it, but either one works wonders for the cleansing and softening of baby's clothes. my first had really sensitive skin and the 'Baby ALL' worked great! hope this helps and congrats on expecting!
Purex just came out with a new fabric softener that is safe to use on baby's clothes. It's called Purex Complete Crystals Softener and is 92% natural. Unlike Snuggle and Downy, the product does NOT contain any oil. The oil found in Snuggle, Downy, and most other liquid softener products is what softens fabrics, but this oily residue coats the fibers which reduces the built-in flame retardent properties of your baby's clothes. This is why you're not supposed to use liquid fabric softeners on baby's clothes but Purex crystals is safe. I've seen them in Wal-Mart and you can learn more about them here: http://www.purex.com/products/softeners/purex-complete-crystals