One of the biggest concerns for new moms is what type of diaper solution to commit to.
Specially a solution that can keep a baby dry for long periods of time and save you the headache of frequently changing diapers.
Sure, you can get by with relying on disposables but it’s possible to keep your baby dry for up to twelve hours with a cost-effective and renewable solution—Wool diaper covers.
Some new parents and even experienced mommas can be put off by what you need to do to care for wool clothing, but it is not too hard once you get used to it.
Once you use it for some time, you’ll see that the investment is worth it.
I like that wool diaper covers come in a number of styles and the good thing is that you’re not stuck with just one type. What’s more is that wool has characteristics that absolutely beat synthetics and disposables. You can slip on a wool cover even on a newborn and simply change it out in the morning, hang it to dry, and reuse it without washing.
Some wool styles already double as bottoms so you can cross that off the list on your next shopping run, but you can use wool designs like the soaker for simply wearing as shorts or to wear under a dress.
There are lots of possibilities when cloth diapering with wool. Using wool diaper covers is not only an environmentally conscious solution but also a cost-effective one as well.
What goes into wool and cloth diapering?
To give you an overview of what goes into eco-friendly diapering, let me cover the basics. First, you’ll need an absorbent layer to catch all the pee and the poop. There are many routes to go here, but let’s say you’ll use prefold cloth diapers. You’ll want to lay the prefold inside a diaper cover of a thick material such as wool or a synthetic PUL diaper cover. A classic design has leg elastics and adjustable button snaps, making it great for newborns.
The wool diaper cover acts as a water-resistant barrier to keep the moisture contained within the diaper setup. The thing with wool is that it naturally repels water even after long use. When moisture does seep into the fabric, it wicks away any wetness to keep your baby’s bottom feeling nice and dry.
How wool works
Apart from repelling moisture, Lanolin in wool naturally contains antibacterial and anti-fungal properties to protect the sheep’s skin from infections.
What’s more is that Lanolin neutralizes urine and breaks it down into salt and water.
It can smell like pee just after your baby goes, but the odor goes away over time because of this reaction.
The wool should smell nice, clean, and dry shortly after the moisture wicks away. But once the wool is shorn off, the fabric won’t naturally get any more Lanolin.
This is why there are extra steps involved in caring for your wool covers. More on that in a minute.
Essentials for cloth diapering
As stated earlier, the absorbent material goes in underneath, and then you put on the wool cover. I also said that there are tons of designs for cloth diapers, but don’t freak out! I’m here to help.
Cloth Diaper Options
Prefold cloth diapers are multi-layered and typically made of soft cotton. It’s extremely absorbent and keeps its thick rectangular shape especially when folded inward.
Fitted cloth diapers are great for the newborn phase because they’re soft and have leg elastics to keep the pee and poop contained.
By far the most versatile type of cloth diaper is the flat. It’s basically a thin rectangular cotton cloth that you can wrap around your baby in different ways. If you’re into learning how to use these with wool, there are plenty of guides online for what you can do with them. They’re also very cheap.
When using anything other than the fitted types, you’ll need to fasten the whole thing together before using a wool diaper cover. For this, you can use Snappies, which wrap around over the cloth diaper and snap together at the end. Alternatively, you can use an elastic fastener with velcro ends such as a Bandie form a company called HappyBaby.
Good for all climates
I know you’ve probably heard that wool is only good for cold climates but that’s actually a total myth. Wool is fantastic because it’s both breathable and water-resistant. It has a porous cell structure at the microscopic level so it allows air to pass through all while keeping the moisture out because of the wool’s lanolin oil. Additionally, wool diaper covers are typically thin and lightweight.
While they’re the best to use even during the summer, wool covers are also great at warming baby up during the colder months. This is thanks partly to its superior wicking ability which lets it draw the moisture out from inside the diaper cover and evaporates all that wetness. Another warming factor in wool is its naturally insulating quality.
With all that said, it’s easy to see that wool diaper covers are great investments. They’re ideal for any climate so you can use them all year round. Best of all, you can buy or sell your wool stash second hand to save even more.Heavy wetter tip: If you want a dry baby bum come morning, leave the wool uncovered! Give the wool access to the air so that the moisture wicks away from the cloth diaper and evaporates. During the colder months, use wool longies or footies for added warmth.
Different materials for wool diaper covers
Wool Interlock is machine woven wool that’s convenient because it’s double knit, meaning there’s no wrong or right side. The wool wash setting in your washing machine should do fine since wool interlock is extremely durable but if you’re not the type to take chances, handwashing is the way to go.
Felted Wool is typically what you get when buying upcycled or recycled wool covers because they’re made from used and old sweaters. These are cheaper options and are cared for in the same way as other wool products.
Knitted wool diaper covers are either hand- or machine-knit. They have larger knits than interlock, which makes them more delicate. These are the most finicky of the bunch because you need to be more careful not to felt them. Lanolizing this wool is also a must and I recommend hand washing these. The upside is its mind-boggling variety since they range widely in wool patterns and designs.
Washing and caring for a wool diaper cover
How often should you wash your wool covers?
Every two weeks is recommended but you can get away with washing them when used after four weeks if the wool hasn’t been peed or pooped on.
Is the wool stained by some stray doo doo?
Just spot clean and then wash the wool cover either on the same day or the day after. You’ll know when it’s time to wash when the wool cover is moist and smells funky even after it’s hung to dry.
This is because the wool is also very absorbent and all the Lanolin is used up. It can absorb about a third of its weight in moisture before it even starts feeling wet. But this shouldn’t happen when used before the two-week mark from the last washing.
How to wash wool covers
To wash the diaper cover, first you should spot clean any stains. Do this by applying a stain stick on the spot and work it into the wool using gentle pinching motions to avoid over-agitating the fabric.
Proceed by filling the sink with tepid water (not too warm, but not lukewarm either) to avoid shocking the wool, and pour about half a cap’s worth of wool wash into the water then agitate it with your fingers.
Gently soak the wool diaper for around twenty minutes but don’t rinse out the soap if it’s not soiled too much.
Do not use hot water.
Do not wring the diaper cover.
Just squeeze out the water from the wool using your hands to avoid felting the fibers or destroying the fabric’s shape.
Do not put the cover in the drier.
Lanolizing the wool
You’ll need a jar of pure lanolin like this.
Scoop out around half a teaspoon of lanolin into a mason jar and pour in some hot water to liquify the oil.
Next, pour in a small drop of wool wash to dissolve the oil into the water. Cover the jar and then shake the solution to mix it well. The mixture should turn white and bubbly. Pour it all into a sink of tepid water and mix it in well.
Soak the wool cover in the mixture for twenty minutes, then squeeze out the liquid from the fabric.
Time to dry it off even more.
Lay the wool diaper cover onto a towel and roll the whole thing like a burrito. Squeeze the towel burrito to take out most of the remaining moisture and finally, you can hang it to dry on a drying rack overnight.
Using wool wet bags shows that you’re hardcore about going all natural and organic. There’s a bunch you could buy online, but if you also have time and don’t mind a little DIY project you can make your own since they’re basically wool rectangles with straps.
Wool changing pads are other natural options for changing diapers when you’re out and about. They should work just as well as synthetic options when it comes to moisture resistance plus the added bonus of being machine washable.
Got a baby girl? Accessorize her wool diaper covers with a limitless selection of embroidered patches, buttons, and embellished applique which should all look good against the solid colors of the interlock wool fabric.
Diaper cover styles
The classic wool newborn cover is great because of its adjustable snap fastening at the sides. This makes it so that there are no tight spots in the tummy area. For nighttime use, grab ones which are a size larger if your baby is in the upper half of the weight range. Also, look for ones made of merino interlock wool for a super comfy fit! A good example is this classic one shown below
Pros: They’re adjustable and easy to put on.
Cons: Baby needs to wear something over the wool cover if you’re going out.
A few months old to toddler stage
Soakers are pull-on style wool diaper covers ideal for toddlers who can handle themselves a little better than the younger ’uns.
They’re quick to put on and are great for both boys and girls. The little ladies can wear them underneath dresses because they double as wool underwear too.
Pros: Saves time, is easy to put on even when standing and has a snug fit.
Cons: Has an underwear style which might not pair well with shirts.
Toddlers and up
Wool shorties are great for this phase. They’re basically interlock wool shorts that resemble board shorts. The belly area has a wide elastic portion to keep the cover on snug while the hems offer a lot of freedom for when your toddler runs around and explores.
Pros: Doubles as wool outerwear, thin, and gives a lot of freedom of movement.
Cons: Better for bigger babies or toddlers.
These are basically pajama pants made of wool. Here are some nice ones that you make like. They’re great for home wear and can come in knitted and interlock styles.
Get a bunch of embroidered wool patches and go to town with decorating these!
These are used much like longies but also cover the feet. These are best used with fastened prefolds or fitted cloth diapers. Check out these Footies
These are for the little ladies and are essentially skirts made of knit or interlock wool.
They are built with a crotch to keep the diaper secure.
A variation of the wool skirtie has legs that can reach up to the ankles.
Check out some nice wool skirties here
Don’t be overwhelmed with all the variety when it comes to wool covers. Remember that you can mix it up with different wool pieces or stick with one style also.
You’re golden either way.
You can do this, mommy!
Cloth diapering with wool takes some commitment, but you should also see the investment pay off in the long run especially if you plan on having more than one child. If it’s otherwise, then you shouldn’t have too much trouble reselling your wool stash to a deserving wool mommy anyway.
Lastly, don’t forget to stock up on consumable items like wool wash, lanolin, and baby wipes. If you want to know where to buy Lanolin for wool, check Amazon when it’s time to resupply. If you have any questions, don’t forget to leave a comment down below!