Monday, June 28, 2010

The magic of wool: The benefits for cloth diapering at Knickernappies

I am thrilled to have a guest post today over at the Knickernappies blog:

"The magic of wool: The benefits for cloth diapering!"

Woolly Mommath wool diaper cover standing at window 17 mI was a wool skeptic before beginning cloth diapering, but I am now a die-hard convert!

Organic merino wool is so soft against the skin, and the properties of natural wool are truly astounding: both absorbing and repelling liquids, with antibacterial and hypoallergenic powers.

(Yes, powers! It's magic, I tell ya!)

Take a look at the article to find out why you should consider wool fabric, knitted, or felted covers and accessories for your cloth-diapered little one.

I didn't want to link to specific products or affiliates on Knickernappies' blog, but if you're curious about what precisely we used, I'll give you some links here.

We used prefolds from a diaper service as the foundation with a variety of covers on top. We used non-wool covers and wraps during the first few months until we had a blessed opportunity to try out wool and were sold. After we figured out what we liked, we used our wool covers exclusively unless they had all gotten dirty and we had to reach into the second-tier of our cover stash!

We first tried out wool soakers from LANACare and Aristocrats. We were fortunate to have a relative agree to foot the bill, but you can find less expensive handmade or used soakers (aka shorties and longies) from work-at-home sellers or resellers on eBay or at cloth-friendly consignment stores. You can also knit some yourself if you're feeling handy!

I liked this simple pattern to make an adult's wool sweater into a repurposed soaker, and I had a dryer-ruined sweater that was just the ticket … but never got around to sewing it up. Next baby?

Eventually we realized that for ease of diapering, a fabric wool cover that opened like a wrap with a closure (such as Velcro or Aplix or snaps) was easier for us as we switched out the prefolds underneath. Name-brand options there include the Sckoon Merino Wool Diaper Front Cover, Imse Vimse Bumpy Wool Diaper Cover, Little Beetle Organic Wool Cover, or Swaddlebees Merino Wool Diaper Cover. We tried out a few name-brand and homemade varieties.

But our hands-down favorite for price, convenience, and sizing for our unconventionally large infant ended up being a custom wool fabric cover with Velcro closures made by a work-at-home mama and sold on eBay. You can see one such cover on 17-month-old Mikko in the picture at right. Unfortunately, she isn't making them at this point, so good thing we stocked up! You can still check on eBay or Etsy for similar options and other helpful sellers.

I cared for our wool covers with Eucalan fine fabric wash (I love the lavender and grapefruit scents, and I heard lavender was good for repelling moths) and lanolin. I used just the generic breastfeeding cream I had on hand, but pretty much any lanolin will do. If you're giving birth at a hospital, you can even ask if they have some to take home. I didn't get through one whole tube of lanolin in two years of cloth diapering with wool covers, so you don't need much.

Mikko and I slept on a soft and thin organic merino wool blanket we used as a puddle pad to soak up leaking breastmilk and accidents.

Let me know if you have any questions about specific wool products, and add your own recommendations in the comments here or at Knickernappies!

Remember to read the Knickernappies guest post for more comprehensive information about the benefits of wool!


TopHat said...

I made up some wool pads out of old sweaters to use underneath the future baby and my breasts while I nurse in bed. :)

Lauren Wayne said...

That's a good idea! I also used a wool blanket I found at an Army store and tried felting and lanolizing it. It worked ok, but wasn't as soft as the merino. But soft sweaters would be nice!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info, Lauren. I have been wondering how to make the covers from old wool sweaters. I am definitely going to use the pattern you sent. How often do you lanolize your wool covers?

Lauren Wayne said...

Acacia: I'd say I lanolized any specific cover about once every couple weeks. If we got any leaks, particularly damp spots from contact on our lap or similar, I assumed it was past time and would get the lanolin out. If you use the Eucalan, it does have a little lanolin in it, so I would usually do one or more washes/soaks in Eucalan alone between straight-up lanolizings. You can just use your own observations about whether you need to do it more or less, based on pee getting on you. Ha ha! (That's the life of a parent, right?)

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