Cloth Diapering a Newborn with Wool
Woolens for Babies During Wintertime
After months of scraping, spraying, rinsing and soaking toddler cloth diapers and overcoming the tremendous challenges of potty training, I had forgotten how much I enjoyed cloth diapering a newborn. I welcomed the simplicity of a diaper that requires nothing… extra, other than the sheer joy of gazing into my sweet newborn’s face while putting a fresh diaper in place.
When our first son was born, we had not yet discovered the joys of using wool full-time, hence the great struggle with stinky polyester covers that never seemed to breathe enough to keep the diaper rash away.
This time, everything is different, and I am thrilled to report that it is entirely possible to use wool full-time, even on a tiny newborn. Cloth diapering a newborn with wool covers does require some preparation and planning ahead to be sure that you have the right supplies on hand, so we have compiled a few tips to make it as easy as possible.
Fitted, sized diapers will make your life a lot easier when using wool on a newborn. You will need approximately 2 or 3 dozen fitted, organic cotton diapers in a newborn size. If you plan on using cloth full-time for your newborn, it’s not a bad idea to invest in newborn, sized fitted diapers, such as theOrganic Caboose newborn fitteds or the OsoCozy fitteds, as opposed to a one-size diaper. You can certainly use a one-size fitted diaper, but we have yet to find a one-size diaper that actually fits a newborn baby, so unless you want a diaper that is so gigantic that your tiny baby can hardly move, it will be well worth the money spent. Plus, newborn sized fitted diapers typically fit babies between around 7 and 13 lbs, so your baby can wear them for at least a few months. Compare this to the cost of buying a package of disposables every week, and your savings are big.
Photo courtesy of Organic Caboose
Tie nappies are great for newborns, but with wool covers, they work best only if you have become quite skilled at tying them so that there are no gaps at the legs (to avoid messes inside of your wool cover)
We suggest fitted diapers for newborns because of the notoriously explosive newborn poo! We love prefolds, flats, and tie nappies, but if you want to use wool full-time on a newborn, you may quickly tire of rinsing out stained wool covers, which must be hand washed. Fitted diapers are much more effective at containing the orange explosions—far better, in fact than disposable diapers, from which newborn poo inevitably finds an escape route and ends up all over the blankets, clothes, and anything else that was just cleaned.
Wool soakers and newborn babies are a match made in heaven. We love wool soakers for newborns for so many reasons- organic, soft, warm natural fibers keep your baby just the right temperature, warm and dry, and they can wear them all the time! With so much time spent at home just cuddling and loving, your newborn can wear his or her soaker on its own or underneath loose clothing and stay comfy and warm. There is really no need for separate day/night covers when using wool full-time on a newborn. The soft wool envelops their tiny bodies, rising up to the chest to keep their mid-sections warm, and the long legs of the soaker fits a newborn like a little pair of pants, keeping those tiny legs just the right temperature too. With a fitted diaper underneath, your wool should stay clean enough to require very little washing, which is always a relief for a new mother. A wool soaker that has been lanolized properly will keep your little one’s clothing and bed dry at night time as well. If your budget is small, purchase a wool soaker one or two sizes up, which will fit big right now but can be used for many months, if not years.
Another type of wool cover that we adore for our newborn are the lightweight,Engel nappy pants. Lightweight, breathable, and comfy, these little wool shorts will keep your newborn dry just long enough for you to know it’s time for a diaper change. Since frequent changing is ideal for sensitive newborn skin anyway and helps prevent diaper rashes, the nappy pants offer just the right amount of protection.
Prep your wool covers in advance!!! This means before baby arrives, not after. This must be part of your nesting duties. If you wait until after your baby arrives, weeks will pass before you have any desire to stand over a sink lanolizing and washing wool covers, so unless you have a family member who loves you enough to do it for you, prep your wool while you’re still pregnant!
This means washing and lanolizing brand new soakers several times, and allowing for a few days of drying time. This also means prepping your cloth diapers if they are brand new- remember that cloth diapers made from natural fibers must be washed in hot water 3-5 times before they are ready for use. Do not skip these steps and attempt to put a brand new cloth diaper with an unwashed wool soaker on your newborn because you’re anxious to try them out. Skipping this important step will result in lots of leakage.
Have a wool wash bar on hand for spot cleaning. Despite your best efforts and a stash of fitted diapers that fit your baby well, there will be times when your wool gets messy. As a new mom, protect yourself and respect those first few precious weeks of recovering from childbirth and bonding with your baby- the last thing you should be doing is washing your wool. With a wool wash bar, you can easily rinse out stains and rub a little soap onto the stain in less than 2 minutes, set the wool aside to dry, and by the end of the day, your cover will be good as new! This is a great job to delegate to husbands and other family members who can offer a helping hand.
Most importantly, make sure that cloth diapering is enjoyable for you and your new baby! If it’s too much, give yourself a break and use disposables for the first few weeks. We moms have enough mom guilt for the rest of our babies’ lives to stress over extra laundry when we should be resting, so if you don’t have someone doing laundry for you, don’t do cloth, and don’t beat yourself up over it! Spend every minute you have resting and cuddling with your precious new baby. Bringing a baby into the world is hard work, and you have earned every minute of this babymoon.
It’s Woolen Season! In this article:
- The Benefits of Woolen Underwear for Babies & Children
- Which woolens are best for underwear?
- What other wool garments are good for babies for winter?
As the cooler months approach, wool is flying off of our shelves faster than we can keep up with it. And it’s no wonder- wool is nature’s perfect fiber to bundle up your baby for the winter months. Wool booties, wool hats, wool sweaters, wool leggings, wool overalls, wool mittens, wool blankets, wool diaper covers… and a well-kept secret, wool underwear. There is no better way to keep your baby at a perfect, consistent temperature while playing outside in the cold and snow, going for walks, hiking and camping, riding in the stroller, sleeping…and just about anywhere!
Woolen Underwear for Babies & Children: The BenefitsWhile there’s nothing like a cozy wool sweater, hat, or jacket for playing outside in chilly weather, it can be easy to overlook the tremendous benefits of how your child is dressed underneath her regular clothing. It’s incredible how much extra warmth is provided by a simple, single-knit wool shirt or pair of leggings.
- Wool is breathable. Unlike a synthetic long underwear for winter, a high quality wool base layer still allow your child’s skin to breathe, keeping them from overheating or sweating. This is excellent for newborn babies who are unable to regulate their internal temperature or let us know when they feel too hot or too cold. This also makes wool excellent for sleeping- babies sleep comfortably in wool, as their skin can breathe and they are not exposed to synthetic materials, which are not breathable and can easily cause overheating.
- Wool is temperature-regulating: Woolen underwear are wonderful for those crisp fall days when the weather could turn any way the wind blows. If the day is warmer than expected, the temperature regulating properties of wool will prevent your child from overheating. A lovely single-knit wool shirt or leggings are perfect for use on their own as well when the weather warms up a bit. For very chilly days, a snug layer of wool or wool/silk blend will keep your child insulated underneath regular clothing.
- Wool is very absorbent: Wool can absorb up to 40% of its weight In moisture before it will begin to feel wet. This is extremely beneficial for an underwear layer because if your child is very active and begins to sweat, the wool will absorb the moisture but will take some time to feel damp, thus keeping your baby feeling warm and dry. Even when wool becomes wet, since it regulates temperature very well, it does not feel cold.
- Wool is self-cleansing: Wool has naturally antibacterial properties, so it does not need to be cleaned frequently. The lanolin that is naturally found in sheep’s wool helps to remove odors as the wool becomes damp. This is beneficial for underwear layers because your child can wear them again and again, through sweat, urine, and dirt, and you will not need to wash it frequently!
Which woolens are best for underwear?
Single-knit Organic Merino Wool. A single-knit, pure, 100% organic merino wool shirt and leggings is excellent for underwear during winter, and it is also perfect on its own for spring, fall, and even for summer camping trips! Our son wears his pure wool shirt from Engel year-round, and his favorite time to wear it is for summer hiking an camping trips.
Wool/Silk Blends (Single-Knit). A wool/silk blendis also a lovely choice because these garments have not only the beneficial properties of wool, but also the benefits of silk. This lightweight, breathable, temperature-regulating fabric makes an excellent combination with pure organic wool. This blend keeps your child warm and cozy without overheating, it is easy to clean, and most importantly, these natural fibers are safe for your baby.
Photo courtesy of Living Crafts
Choosing garments that are single-knit as opposed to thicker, double-knit garments enable you to dress your baby in other clothing over the wool. You can also dress your baby in a single-knit garment on its own, but they are thin, so while they are wonderful for moderate weather, if the weather is quite cold, it is ideal to add an extra layer over the woolen layer or to dress your baby in a double-knit or thicker, felted wool garment.
What other wool garments are good for babies for winter?
Wool pajamas. Investing in a high quality pair of footed wool pajamas will allow your child to sleep comfortably year round. Wool terry pajamas are excellent for the cooler months of the year, as they are slightly thicker without being too hot, and you can still layer a single-knit layer of wool underneath them or add a thick pair of wool socks for the coldest nights. If your baby does not like sleep sacks and still kicks the blankets off, wool pajamas will keep your baby at just the right temperature without any blankets at all. For the warmer months, a single-knit pair of wool/silk pajamas is ideal.
photo courtesy of Engel Natur
Boiled Wool Outerwear. Boiled wool is the warmest wool we have found, making it ideal for outdoor wear during the colder months of the year. Boiled wool is essentially felted wool. Water, heat, and friction are used to break up the wool’s structure, resulting in felted wool that is half the original size of the wool in all directions. During this process, thousands of tiny air bubbles are trapped in the material, which forms an entirely natural barrier against both hot and cold temperatures, keeping your baby’s temperature constant even in very cold temperatures.
Photo courtesy of Disana
Boiled wool is soft and light, so it is very comfortable for your child to wear. Boiled wool protects your child against the cold, is almost entirely windproof, and like all wool garments, helps balance hot and cold temperatures. The result is a fabric that keeps your baby warm and dry while allowing your baby’s skin to breathe.
Keep Your Baby Cool in Summertime with Organic Silk
Organic Cloth Diapering: Getting Started
During the heat of the summer, particularly during an exceptionally scorching summer such as this one, new parents often struggle to find appropriate clothing for their newborn baby. The dilemma is this: how do we find clothing that will keep our babies at a comfortable temperature under the heat of the sun without exposing their delicate skin to the sun’s damaging UV rays?
Silk is one of the best natural fibers for keeping babies comfortable without overheating. Lightweight, delicate, and incredibly breathable, babies can wear an organic silk top in the heat of the summer and feel cool and comfortable.
Take that same silk garment and make every step of its production sustainable, and you simply cannot go wrong when it comes to selecting fabric to dress your little one. Certified organic silk is a fabric that is not widely available but that is second to none when it comes to delicate newborn skin. Organic silk is without doubt, one of nature’s most pure and luxurious gifts to a newborn baby.
Why is silk ideal for babies?
- Silk is gentle and soft, making it ideal for sensitive baby skin, soothing for those with allergies.
- Silk is absorbent and stays dry. Silk has the ability to absorb 30% of its weight in moisture while keeping your baby’s skin dry.
- Organic silk is safe for your baby. Organic silkworms consume only organic mulberry leaves, making the final product free of any residues of harmful chemicals.
- Silk has a excellent thermal capacity. Silk is temperature-regulating, maintaining a consistent body temperature for your baby, so your baby will not overheat or become cold while wearing silk. Silk is perfect for any time of year!
- Untreated silk, or ‘raw silk’ has healing properties. Raw silk has not been degummed, meaning that the natural seracin, or silk gum, has not been removed from the filament. This type of silk does not have the typical sheen that most people associate with silk, but it is excellent for babies with sensitive skin. Sericin is said to be healing and anti-inflammatory.
- Silk is lightweight and breathable. Silk clothing is not bulky, enabling you to keep your baby warm with fewer layers. It is ideal either on its own year-round or as a base layer during the cooler months of the year.
- Silk is easy to care for. Most silk garments may be machine washed up to 86 degrees F and dry very quickly since they do not retain moisture.
What is organic silk?
Conventional silk is available everywhere, and its production dates back thousands of years, but few people are aware of what is actually involved in the production of this luxurious textile. We hear a lot about organic cotton these days, but what about organic silk?
The reason there is not much talk of organic silk is that it is very rare. In fact, there is currently only one site for certified organic silk production in the world. The first and only certified organic silk farm in the world, SABA (Sichuan Alkena Biodynamic Agricultur), is a biodynamic farm that is certified by theIMO (Institute for Marketecology) in every step of the silk’s production, from the raw material to the fabric dyes and labor conditions.
Located in the Sichuan province of southwestern China, this project is unique in many aspects. In a world of silk production that involves monoculture, dependence on heavy chemicals, and exploitation of poorly paid laborers, the Sichuan Alkena project is truly a gem in the textile industry.
Silk is a direct product of the silkworm, which eats continuously for approximately 30 days before building its cocoon and spinning its silk thread. As is true with all natural fibers, the quality of the raw material (the silk cocoon, in this case) is directly related to the quality of the end product. Essentially, the silk worm is made of mulberry leaves. Therefore, the quality of the diet of the silkworm itself directly affects the quality of the silk fibers. A silkworm that eats only organic mulberry leaves will produce a much higher quality silk filament that is free of any harmful pesticide residues.
If the feed does contain harmful substances, the silkworm, a highly sensitive organism, will react directly to such substances. The silkworm will either perish or will not develop properly and will be at risk to many different types of diseases. Cocoons produced by diseased silkworms are smaller, spotted, thin-walled and yellow in color instead of the healthy, pearl white color of the healthy cocoons.
A healthy silkworm produces a healthy cocoon, which in turn produces healthy, long filaments that may be endlessly unreeled. This silk is a much higher quality than silk produced from an unhealthy cocoon. Lower quality silk filaments are dull in color, which results in an uneven knitted silk fabric, often resulting in chemicals being added during the preliminary coloring stages. As with any textile production, residues of these harmful substances will remain on the final article of clothing.
Photo courtesy of “mynameisharsha” via Flickr Creative Commons
In the organic silk production on the Sichuan Alkena project, the mulberry trees are grown organically and inter-planted with hundreds of other fruit and over 5000 other plant and tree species that provide nesting sites for birds as well as shade and protection from the wind. The farm is run using biodynamic farming principles. The biodiversity found on this project creates a harmonious, thriving ecosystem that mimics nature.
Poor labor conditions and low wages are another major concern in the production of conventional silk. The labor conditions on the Sichuan Alkena farm are excellent. The workers enjoy safe working conditions, a casual and relaxed work environment, no child labor, and fair wages. Sichuan Alkena’s biologically dynamic cultivation of silk improves environmental conditions, overall living conditions, and requires the need for more manual labor, which has a positive effect on the high level of unemployment among the Chinese countryside populations.
All processes in Sichuan Alkena’s organic silk production, including knitting, weaving, dyeing, printing, and sewing are inspected annually by the IMO and meet the GOTS organic production standards. All dyes used in Alkena’s organic silk is free of heavy metals, toxins, and AOX.
Alkena’s organic baby collection includes beautiful short and long sleeved tops, trousers, rompers, bonnets, and bodysuits. What better first outfit for a summertime baby than lovely, pure organic silk?
Organic Cloth Diapering: Getting Started
Exciting as it may be, getting started with cloth can be quite overwhelming. The variety that exists is exhausting. If you are familiar with our store, you probably already know how selective we are about our offering of cloth diapers.
We feel so strongly about the importance of natural & organic fibers touching your baby’s skin that we have chosen to offer only cloth diapers made fromorganic, natural fibers. This eliminates any concern for artificial materials such as polyester will be in close contact with your baby’s skin.
The best part about all of this is that it makes your cloth diapering decisions much, much easier! Once you cut out all of the choices that include polyester, the number of choices that remain is substantially smaller and not nearly as overwhelming. Not only that, but the factors such as quality and health for your baby means that any choice is a good choice. Now it’s just a matter of narrowing it down to what style you like best, how each diaper fits your baby, and your budget.
The beauty of cloth diapers made from natural fibers is that they are extremely absorbent- each diaper, be it a flat, tie nappy, or fitted, is 100% organic cotton and/or hemp, all of which are incredibly absorbent materials.
Organic Cotton Flats, Prefolds, and Tie Nappies
This category is important because not only is it the most simple and traditional method of cloth diapering, but it is also the most affordable. As long as you don’t mind spending a little time learning the various folds and styles for using these diapers, you will find that they are easy to use and do the job well.
Flats, prefolds, and tie nappies all have one thing in common: they are comprised of one, flat piece of cotton (or other natural fiber). This piece of fabric can vary in thickness and layers. It becomes a diaper when folded directly inside of a diaper cover, folded and fastened with a pin or snappy, or tied onto your baby. These diapers all require a diaper cover to become waterproof.
Flats are gaining popularity these days, and for good reason. Flats have been around for years but have been overshadowed by new trendy styles of diapers. As many parents are realizing the benefits of a completely organic cloth diapering solution, flats are making a comeback and have taken their rightful place in the spotlight once again.
There is a multitude of ways to fold a flat, and we will be featuring an article on folding flats on our blog soon! The benefit of a flat is that it can last from the newborn stage through the toddler stage. That’s right- one diaper, one size, cost between $3-$7 per diaper, that will have your baby covered for 2 years. It’s hard to beat.
A flat will need a cover, of course, and our favorite cover to use with a flat is a wool soaker, wool shorts, or a wool wraparound cover. At night time you can ‘stuff’ a flat with extra doublers, and you can even layer two flats together, fold and stuff them to increase absorbency at night.
Prefolds are similar to flats, but they can have up to eight layers or cotton sewn together with stitching throughout the diaper and around the edge that creates absorbent pillows within the diaper. Prefolds, like flats, require a bit of a learning curve to get down all of the folds, but once you’ve got it, it’s a wonderful diapering solution. Prefolds are typically sized, so you will need to size up as your baby grows.
Tie nappies are a popular concept in Europe and are gaining popularity in the US these days as well. Tie nappies are a bit more tricky to get on your baby than a flat or prefold, but once you have the hang of it, you can do it with your eyes closed. Or in the dark, at 4 am, on a squirming toddler. It can be done!
Tie nappies are wonderful because they require no snappior pin at all (this makes life a lot easier if your snappis have a tendency to run off and hide at that exact moment when you need them). You simply fold, wrap around your baby, and tie with the cotton strings. These diapers are as absorbent as you want them to be- to make them more absorbent, you simply stuff them with extra layers, which can be a prefold, a brushed cotton liner, any type of doubler, or combination of any of these.
The cuteness factor of the tie nappy tempts many a mama, and most mamas fall in love all too quickly with the tie nappy. A favorite in our household, we use tie nappies on our son day and night.
Organic Fitted Diapers
The fitted diaper resembles a disposable diaper more, as it has been sewn into the shape of a diaper, typically featuring gussets around the legs and waist, hidden elastic at the waist, and some type of closure, usually either snaps, Velcro, or nothing at all (requiring the use of pins or snappis).
Many fitted diapers consist of multiple absorbent layers of fabric as well as extra inserts or doublers either sewn or snapped in, giving you the option of adding or removing absorbency as needed. Fitted diapers are available in various sizes or one-size. All fitted diapers require a cover to become waterproof.
Both convenience and absorbency are the main benefits of fitted diaper. Fitted diapers can be quite thick, and since the entire diaper is made from an absorbent, natural fiber, every inch of the diaper will absorb moisture. Fitted diapers paired with a wool soaker are an excellent night time diapering solution.
How many cloth diapers to buy?
Generally speaking, you will need around 12-24 cloth diapers (depending on the age of your baby and frequency of changing) and 3-4 wool covers (if you’re planning to use only wool). A good rule of thumb when you’re just getting started is to purchase a small sampling of various types of diapers so that you can get a good feel for what works best on your baby before investing in an entire stash of just one style of diaper.
Using Wool Full Time & Choosing the Right Wool Cover for Your Baby
Using Wool Full Time & Choosing the Right Wool Cover for Your Baby
Many cloth diapering parents are aware that it is possible to cover their baby’s cloth diaper with a wool cover, but few realize that it is possible to use wool both full-time and exclusively.
A New Year & Our Path to a More Sustainable Life
When we first discovered wool in our home, we had no intention of using it full-time. Up until that time, we had been unable to find a diaper that would keep our baby dry at night, so we invested in a wool soaker, thinking we would use it for nights only. The soaker worked so well that we purchased several other wool covers shortly afterward, and we quickly found ourselves so enamored with wool that we replaced all of our baby’s polyester covers with wool. I cannot remember the last time I used a polyester cover, and the truth is, wool works so incredibly well that I don’t miss those old polyester covers- not even one bit. And my guess is that our son doesn’t miss them either.
How many wool covers will I need to use wool full-time?
The exact amount of covers you will need will again depend on your budget, but the beauty of wool is that you can easily get by with very few covers. This is primarily due to the fact that wool does not need to be washed frequently (at most once a month), and as long as you let the covers air out between uses, you can use the same cover again and again, rotating two covers throughout the day and night.
For a small to moderate budget, we have found that you can get by withtwo daytime wool covers (either pull-on or wrap style, depending on your preference), and one or two nighttime soakers (one will work, but two is ideal so that you can rotate between the two while one is being washed and dried). If your budget is larger, investing in a few additional wool covers can certainly make things more convenient, though it’s not necessary.
Choosing the Right Wool Cover
Like most cloth diapering products, the variety of wool covers available can be daunting. It can be difficult to determine which wool covers will be appropriate for your baby’s needs. The types of wool covers that you need will depend on several factors, such as the amount of time you and your baby spend outside of the home, the climate, the time you have available to care for your wool, etc. Once you identify your needs and determine which types of covers will be a good fit for you and your baby, you may soon find yourself reaching for a wool cover every time you change your baby’s diaper.
If you’re just getting started with wool and are intrigued by the possibility of using it, either on a part-time or full-time basis, the charts below provide a comparison of some of the wool covers we carry in our store, appropriate times to use each cover, and some pros and cons of each.
We have placed the following wool covers into two basic categories: Pull-on Wool Covers, which have no velcro, snaps, or closures of any kind and can simply be pulled onto your baby like a pair of pants; and Wrap Wool Covers, which have a closure such as velcro or snaps and fit in a very similar fashion to a polyester diaper cover. Both work well; the decision is really based on your own personal preference and needs.
Pull-on Wool Covers (No Velcro or Snaps)
||Appropriate Cloth Diaper to Use
|Engel Nappy Pants
||Single-knit organic merino wool (very thin)
||Daytime only, Short periods of time (excluding naptime); Can be worn alone or under clothing
||Fitted Diapers Recommended; Tie Nappy (can be used with Prefolds or Flats with snappi, but care must be taken since wool is delicate), Trifold not recommended
||Most trim & lightweight cover available; Breatheable; Easy to put on baby; Can be stretched to fit over diapers with high rise; Affordable
||Baby must be changed more frequently (cover will soak through faster than some)
|Little Beetle Wool Shorts
||Double layer of organic merino wool jersey (stretchy)
||Any diaper, (wool can be stretched to fit over diapers with high rise); Trifold not recommended
||Very trim, comfortable fit; Highly leak resistant
||More expensive than some
|Engel Double-knit Cover (Soaker)
||Double-knit organic merino wool (very thick)
||All-around use (Nighttime & Daytime, including naps, car rides, carrier rides etc)
||Any diaper; Trifold not recommended;(Fitted diaper recommended for newborns to contain messes)
||Bulletproof; Lasts all night without leaks; Easy to put on baby; Breatheable;High rise keeps baby’s mid-section warm;Versatile
||Can appear bulky for daytime if worn under clothing
||Double-knit organic merino wool(very thick)
||All-around use (Nighttime & Daytime, including naps, car rides, carrier rides, etc)
||Any diaper (trifold not recommended);(Fitted diaper recommended for newborns to contain messes)
||Bulletproof; Lasts all night without leaks; easy to put on baby; Breatheable; High rise keeps baby’s mid-section warm; Versatile
||Requires more preparation than some (should be lanolized 3-4 times); Bulky underneath clothing
|Disana Merino Wool Leggings (Longies)
||Knitted, Ribbed Merino Wool (single layer)
||Daytime use when worn alone; Nightime when worn over a soaker as PJ’s
||Fitted Diapers recommended if worn directly under leggings; Any diaper can be used if combined with additional cover or soaker
||Versatile (can be used over any diaper and/or cover to keep baby more warm & to ensure dryness)
||Hidden elastic around waist can be too snug on some babies; Can soak through if worn alone
|Little Beetle Wool Pants
||Double layer of organic merino wool jersey (stretchy)
||All-around use (night or day)
||Any type of diaper (trifold not recommended)
||Very versatile; Doubles as pants and diaper cover; very leak resistant
||Higher price tag
Wrap Covers (Velcro or Snap Closure)
||Appropriate Diapers to Use
|Disana Organic Boiled Wool Wrap
||Organic Boiled Merino Wool (soft, fleecy, felted wool)
||Naptime and night time (rise is too high for most babies during playtime; better for lying down)
||Any diaper; Works with trifold
||Very leak resistant (can be worn for long periods of time); Comfortable Knitted wool around waist and leg (no elastic)
||Bulky on some babies (Larger sizes 86/92 and 98/104 are very large)
|Little Beetle Wrap (Little-to-Big and Regular)
||Organic Merino Wool Jersey (stretchy); double layer
||Daytime (naptime or playtime, outings, car rides, etc.- very versatile)
||Any diaper with relatively low rise; works with trifold
||Extremely versatile; Very leak resistant; Trim
||Low rise around waist (does not fit over diapers with high rise)
|Organic Caboose Wrap (Regular & LITE)
||Organic Merino Wool (felted, thick)
||Any time (daytime or night time; long excursions)
||Any diaper (fitted, flat, prefold, tie nappy); works with trifold
||Bulletproof; Durable enough for night time; Extremely versatile
||More bulky than some when worn under clothing
A New Year & Our Path to a More Sustainable Life
Wool Care Part 3: Lanolizing a Wool Cloth Diaper Cover
There’s something about the start of a new year that brings out the dreamers in all of us. Hope for a brighter future, dreams about all that can be achieved in life.
The growth of our business has been the focus of our energy over this past year, and we have been blessed to experience the beginning of something truly wonderful- along with an amazing community of like-minded, loyal customers. We are left with the feeling of hope, and exciting anticipation of what lies ahead for our family and our little store this year.
As we pause for a moment to breathe and reflect following our busiest holiday season yet, we take time to consider our own goals for the coming year. Our realization of late is this: all of our goals lead us down one path- the path to a more sustainable life. We invite you to follow us as we explore these goals, make new discoveries, and experiment with both the planned & unplanned events that will lead us to our ultimate goal.
As we dream and plan for our future, here is a glimpse at what we are up to as this new year begins:
Planning our 2012 garden. The garlic is in the ground, old seeds have been saved, new seeds have been purchased, herbs are wintering in the greenhouse, and the new garden design plans are underway (with the help of a pencil, paper, and our tiny helper)
Exploring ways to make our garden even more abundant this year, we find ourselves fascinated and intrigued by the permaculture concept, and by this model in particular. This, along with our newly built sustainable greenhouse, will be the new focus of our ever-expanding garden and edible landscape this year.
Continuing our building process. Construction materials, dust & debris have become a part of our daily life as we expand our home & enhance our landscape, and finally, as 2012 commences we begin to see a faint light at the end of the tunnel as projects materialize.
Working toward preserving & producing more of our own food. Experimenting with making cultured milk products & fermented veggies. Packed with beneficial bacteria, one tenth of the cost when made at home, and relatively easy to learn? Yes, please. We have now successfully made yogurt, kefir, and buttermilk as well as lacto-fermented peppers. Canning our garden produce and root cellaring are also in the works for this coming year.
Discovering creative ways to prepare what remains of our 2011 harvest. Beets, anyone?
Wool Care Part3: Lanolizing a Wool Cloh Diaper Cover
Wool Care Part 2: Washing a Wool Diaper Cover in 5 Easy Steps
You should lanolize your wool cover if:
- You purchase a brand new wool cover (Lanolizing is an important part of the “prepping” process and should be done up to two or three times with brand new wool covers); OR
- You notice that your wool cover is no longer keeping your baby dry and has begun to quickly soak through each time your baby is wet (you do NOT need to lanolize every single time you wash your wool cover, especially if you use a wool wash that contains lanolin)
To lanolize, you will need the following items:
- Lanolin (we recommend any type of solid, pure lanolin- many women use the same pure lanolin they used on their breasts during the early days of breastfeeding)
- Very hot water, either in the sink, heated up in a bowl in the microwave, or poured into a glass jar
- Wool wash (this helps break up the lanolin when you melt it)
- A sink or basin filled with lukewarm water
- One or two clean towels
- Some sort of flat drying rack or surface that allows for air circulation
To lanolize, follow these steps:
- Heat up the water until it is very hot but not boiling. You can do this in the microwave, over the stove, or directly out of your tap if your water comes out hot enough. The water must be hot enough to melt the lanolin.
- Put a small amount (1 tsp- 1 tbsp) of pure lanolin + a small amount of wool wash or mild baby wash (about 1 tsp) into the hot water and stir or shake it until the lanolin is completely melted. Make sure the lanolin is melted and that there are not bits still floating around. (we like to do this inside of a water-tight container such as a glass jar, which we fill halfway with hot water, 1 tsp of lanolin, and a small amount of wool wash and shake vigorously)
- Add your hot water/lanolin/wool wash mixture to a sink or basin of lukewarm water (or, if you are using the tap water method, simply turn on your tap again and add some lukewarm water to the mixture).
- Turn your wool soaker inside out and gently press it under the water. Very gently, swish it around a bit under the water so that the lanolin will be evenly distributed over the wool.
- Let the wool soak for around fifteen minutes. Drain the water while supporting the wool.
- Lift the wool from the sink, supporting it with both hands, and gently press the excess water out . Do not wring the wool out. Supporting the wool, gently lay it down on a clean towel. Reshape, and then slowly roll it between two layers of a clean dry towel. Repeat several times until excess water is removed.
- Lay wool flat to dry on a supportive, flat drying rack. The wool can take between 24 and 36 hours to dry, depending on how thick the wool is and how humid the climate is. Turn the wool inside out at least once during the drying process to speed it up a bit.
Wool Care Part 2: Washing a Wool Diaper Cover in 5 Easy Steps
Wool Care Part 1: The Basics (The DO’s and the DON’T's)
You should wash your wool diaper cover when:
- You purchase a brand new wool cover (all wool covers should be washed prior to use, and then lanolized two or three times before reaching optimal performance); OR
- Your used wool cover needs to be washed (you do not need to wash your wool after each use- simply air dry between uses. You will know it needs to be washed when it is stained or when it smells or urine; this may be every 2 or 3 weeks).
When your wool needs to be lanolized, follow these steps and then follow our instructions on lanolizing. You do NOT need to re-lanolize each time you wash, especially if you use a wool wash that contains lanolin (e.g. Eucalan). There is no need to dry between washing and lanolizing.
To wash wool, you will need the following items:
- A basin, sink or tub
- Lukewarm water
- Wool wash (ideally one that contains lanolin)
- One or two clean towels
- Flat surface or drying rack
- Fill your basin or sink with lukewarm water. Make sure the water is just slightly warmer than room temperature and is neither too hot nor too cold because extreme temperatures can shock the wool and cause it to felt and shrink.
- Add about a teaspoon of wool wash to the water. Swish the water around to create suds.
- Gently press your wool cover under the water. Swish the soapy water around the garment a bit to hand wash, but be careful not to wring or twist the wool while washing. You can lightly press the wool while washing, and you can turn the cover inside out if you wish. Let soak for 15 minutes.
- Drain the water out of the sink while gently supporting the wool. Gently lift the wool out of the sink, pressing it between your hands a few times to remove excess water. Do not wring the wool.
- Gently lay the wool onto the clean towel. Reshape the garment. Fold another layer of clean towel over the wool and gently roll the wool while pressing softly. Repeat two or three times. Lay the wool flat to dry on a flat drying surface, ideally one that allows air to circulate. Wool typically takes 24 hours or more to completely dry; you can turn the garment inside out halfway through the drying process to speed things along.
Wool Care Part 1: The Basics (The DO’s and the DON’T's)
Getting the Facts Straight About Wool Covers: 12 Myths About Wool
Wool care is easy! We promise. Before we get into all the details, here are just a few basic things to remember when caring for your wool.
DO’s and DON’Ts when Caring for Wool
DO wash and lanolize all brand new wool covers and other garments before using them on your baby.
DO leave your woolens to soak for a bit when washing, but not for too long! (wool fibers can swell under prolonged soaking, causing wool to shrink & felt)
DO wash your wool from time to time, but only after it is either visibly soiled or very stinky (as opposed to never washing, which can be tempting, but which we do not advocate!)
DO use a good quality wool wash (ideally one that contains lanolin)
DO use solid lanolin as opposed to liquid lanolin when lanolizing your wool
DO spot clean your wool covers if they get a small poo stain; you can easily do this with a wool wash bar.
DO allow your wool cover to air out between uses …this will keep it smelling fresh and clean
DO wash wool by hand
DO lay your wool flat to dry
DO support your wet wool with both hands when transporting it (this will keep it from stretching)
DO expect a bit of shrinkage after washing a wool cover for the first time
DO expect some felting to occur after many uses on your baby (this is actually helpful in preventing leaks!)
DO lightly press your wool while hand washing, but DON’t rub or wring out
DO melt the lanolin with very hot water & add a little wool wash to prevent it from clumping when you lanolize your wool
…and the DON’Ts
DON’T wash your woolens with water that is very hot or very cold (extreme temperatures can shock the wool, causing it to shrink and become matted and hard)
DON’T wash your woolens in the washing machine, even if you have a “wool” setting (this will cause extreme shrinkage)
DONT dry your wool in direct sunlight
DON’T wash your wool until it’s visibly soiled or stinky! (unless, of course, you really love doing laundry and just can’t get enough of it!)
DONT wring, rub, or stretch your wool while it is wet; this can cause it to stretch and become misshapen.
DON’T use woolite on your wool
DON’T dry your wool in the dryer (even if you have a wool/delicate setting)
It’s not as complicated as you thought, right? Washing wool is really a piece of cake… and once you start using wool on your baby and experience all of the benefits of wool, you won’t even bat an eye when it comes to caring for your wool.
Next on the blog: Wool Care Part 2: Washing Wool
Myth #1: “Wool is scary.”
Wool is not scary in the least! In fact, wool just might become your best friend. You just have to get to know wool really well, and you’ll soon fall in love as you realize how un-scary it really is. Before you know it, you may not be able to live without it. ♥
Myth #2: “A wool cover will leak.”
Wool, once properly prepped, will not leak. Ever. In fact, wool will keep your baby warmer and happier than ever before. While it is true that wool itself is not waterproof, it is actually highly absorbent at a microscopic level, and the lanolin naturally found in wool is water repellent. Our baby was such a heavy night time wetter that he never managed to stay dry the whole night through until he wore his first wool soaker through the night. We never once had a leak after that. This phenomenon never ceases to amaze me. Wool by itself tends to naturally repel water, and that property combined with lanolin (the oil naturally found in wool that is secreted by the sheep’s skin, which you add from time to time during the washing process), you have an excellent water-repelling fiber that’s totally natural!
Myth #3: “Wool is difficult and time-consuming to clean.”
Wool is not at all difficult to clean. Start to finish, you can wash your wool in 18 minutes flat (excluding drying time, of course). 15 of those minutes, you can be in a different room playing with your baby or checking your email. To make things even easier, you don’t have to clean your wool more frequently than once per month. Just air out your covers between each use, rotating between two or three covers during the day, and you don’t need to wash them until they smell of ammonia or have a visible stain. When you need to lanolize your wool, this process will add a few extra minutes to your routine, but this does not need to be done every time the wool is washed (even less if you use a wool wash that contains lanolin).
Myth #4: “Wool is too itchy! My baby will be uncomfortable.”
Have you touched 100% organic virgin merino wool yet? Once you do, all fears of itching will be eliminated. It’s one of the softest materials you will ever touch. If your concern is a wool allergy, your baby is probably allergic to the chemical residue that conventional wool contains. Try organic wool, which contains no chemical or pesticide residues. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. It is also interesting to note that many babies are sensitive to polyester rather than wool.
Myth #5: “Wool is more expensive than PUL.”
While each individual wool cover may have a higher price tag up front, in the long run you’ll spend less on diaper covers if you use wool exclusively than you would if you used PUL exclusively. The reason is that with wool you can get away with fewer covers. Wool covers don’t stink until they are very well used, so as long as you let the cover air out between uses, you can keep using, and using, and using it. Conversely, with PUL covers, use them twice and they reek of urine so strongly you can smell it across the room.
Myth #6: “Wool is too warm! My baby will be too hot during summertime (or in general) while wearing wool.”
Wool, especially good quality wool, such as the organic, virgin merino wool we carry, is so lightweight and breathable that your baby can wear it on the hottest of summer days and not even break a sweat. Wool by itself it so breathable that your baby’s temperature will not rise while wearing wool. PUL covers, on the other hand, are not breathable in the least and thus result in higher temperatures inside of the diaper and more incidences of diaper rash. This is an added benefit for preventing diaper rash too, a condition that is often the result of heat and not enough air circulation. Plus, there are wool covers for every season…if you’re still concerned about too much warmth, try these ultra thin, single layer wool shorts, which are great for daytime and summertime.
Myth #7: “My baby can wear wool at night, but not during the day. Wool is too thick to wear underneath clothes.”
There are many types of wool covers designed specifically for daytime use. They are just as leak-proof as any PUL cover, they are just as trim, and they still have all of the same wonderful benefits of any wool cover. There are stretchy one-size wool wraps, thicker, more heavy duty wraps with Velcro fasteners, and even lightweight pull-on shorts. You can even get fancy wool pants that double as pants and a diaper cover, all in one! Talk about cost-effective.
Myth #8: “Wool will not last as long as PUL. Won’t it stretch, felt, or shrink after many uses?”
If you properly take care of your wool, it will last for years, and chances are, it will outlive any PUL cover out there. Besides, a little felting on a wool diaper cover will actually help prevent leaks, so it’s certainly not something to be feared.
Myth #9: “I use prefolds, and those are impossible to use under wool.”
Prefolds can, in fact, absolutely be used with wool, just as they can with any PUL cover. You just need the right type of wool cover. A good wool wrap, such as the Little Beetle, Organic Caboose, or Disana, will fit perfectly over a prefold diaper held in place with a snappi or pin. If snappis are not your thing, you can even trifold your prefold directly into the wool wrap and place it quickly on your baby. If any messes leak out onto your wool cover, you can do a quick stain clean-up with a wool wash bar and some lukewarm water.
Myth #10: “My baby will leak if we go out of the house.”
Your baby will not leak at all wearing the appropriate type of wool cover that is properly prepped. We are full-time wool users– at night, during the day, and outside of the house– and our baby has never once had a leak, even after several hours with the same wool cover. There are some great options available for nighttime wear, daytime wear, and even lighter options that are great for summertime or families that practice EC.
Myth #11: “Wool is okay for some days, but it’s impossible to use full-time.”
Anyone can use wool full time with the right combination of diapers and covers. There are some great options available that are ideal for different times of day: thick wool soakers that are tough enough to last all night, trim stretchy wool wraps that are perfect for outings and naps, and even lighter options that are great for summertime or families that practice EC.
Myth #12: “It’s impossible to use wool with a newborn because newborn poo is too runny and will quickly soil the wool covers.”
While it is true that newborn poo can run onto the inside of a wool cover more easily than solid food poo, using wool with a newborn is not impossible. You simply need the right type of cloth diaper. We recommend using a cotton fitted diaper that really fits your baby snugly and comfortably. A fitted diaper that fits right will really help to contain poo leakage so you can continue using your wool cover without washing it until really necessary. Another useful tip- invest in a wool wash bar and spot clean your cover in the case of a small poo stain.
Wool is an outstanding choice for cloth diaper cover. We became addicts after our baby’s first leak-free night wearing his Engel wool soaker on a chilly winter night. We never looked back. Organic wool paired with a 100% organic cotton fitted or prefold diaper is the only true organic and all-natural cloth diapering solution. No PUL, no plastic, no Velcro, and even no snaps or pins are all options! An organic wool diaper cover is the only all-natural, polyester-free choice for cloth diaper covers. And since it works just as well, if not better, why not go for the all natural, sustainable choice?