The Story Behind Woolen Diaper Covers!
AN ALTERNATIVE THAT PROMOTES YOUR BABY’S HEALTH
By Jeannette Almstrøm, Founder of LANACare
New and better things – diaper covers!
When I gave birth to my second child over thirty years ago, I was given a present that struck me as quite odd. I had one year earlier moved from Sweden to Denmark, and, as a nurse at that time, had no knowledge of anything other than disposable diapers. We were all so engrossed in the “use-and-throw-away” mentality.
The gift I received was a woolen panty, knitted by my grandmotherly neighbor, for my baby. It was made of natural wool, with the lanolin still preserved in the wool fibers. This is what was used in “the olden days”, before plastic was discovered. It was to be used as a cover over the traditional cotton diapers, which were used as the inner layer closest to the baby.
My neighbor told me that the woolen diaper cover was a guarantee that my baby would never get a red bottom or irritated skin. I never need worry that my baby would lie wet and chilled – the risk was nonexistent with wool. She told me that as the wool absorbs moisture, warmth is created. Plus, the natural wool removes any smell of urine. The lanolin neutralizes the ammonia in the urine, and as a result, the odor of urine disappears. She instructed me that when I changed my baby’s diaper, to simply hang the woolen panty over the radiator. It sounded so simple…
Still skeptical, I bought a dozen cotton diapers and began my experimentation. It would prove to be my first step along the path away from plastic and synthetic materials. It became evident to me, immediately, that this little unpretencious woolen panty was to hold all that it had promised and even more.
My baby thrived in his woolen diaper cover. No red bottom, no odor, no signs that he felt wet or cold. On our walks during the long, cold Danish winters, I never had a worry that my child felt chilled, lying in a wet diaper. This little panty became my guarantee for well-being.
Soon I knitted several more diaper covers on my own. A heavier type – for nighttime, or for occasions when I knew a long period of time would pass before I could change his diaper. During the time my baby was in diapers, I never needed to wake him up at night to change him. And he never woke me! He slept straight through the night. What reason would I have to wake him when I knew that he slept warm and cozily, and showed all signs of that?
When my third child was born, my second “woolen diaper baby”, I once again experienced the same fantastic qualities of the wool. I was learning the wisdom of my elderly neighbor first-hand. No red bottom, no nighttime changes, no ear infections, no antibiotics – and a baby in diapers no longer than two years.
What is it that makes the woolen diaper covers so unique? They are knitted with natural wool – wool that has not gone through any harsh chemical treatments. (It is often these chemicals which people react to when they believe that they are allergic to wool.) The natural lanolin is therefore retained in the wool fibers. The urine is wicked from the cotton diaper to the woolen cover, which neutralizes the ammonia in the urine. It is the ammonia which causes a baby’s bottom to become red. The wool absorbs the wetness and gives off warmth.
Typically, three diaper covers are all that are needed. It’s important to remember that even if the woolen cover feels wet, that it is not uncomfortable for your baby, since it doesn’t feel cold. When it’s time to change, take the diaper cover and place over a radiator or mild heat source, such as on top of a running dryer, NEVER in a dryer. Dry heat is important, as the wool can absorb up to 40% of its own weight in wetness without feeling wet. The cotton diapers can be washed in your washer.
When the woolen diaper cover has been used for about one week, you can begin to notice the smell of urine. That is the sign that the lanolin has been used up and it’s time to give your wool a new dose of lanolin, for it to once again work optimally. Wash your woolen cover gently by hand in lukewarm water with 1/4 of a cup of lanolin soap. Swoosh gently and let it soak for 15 minutes. Rinse in lukewarm water. Roll it up in a towel and press the excess water out. Give the diaper cover a quick, brisk shake, stretch it to shape and place it to dry, preferably over a mild heat source.
When the lanolin in the wool comes in contact with urine, a chemical reaction occurs, which creates lanolin-soap. This has an antibacterial effect, making the wool self-cleaning, as it is worn by your baby.
Why is this little panty such an important alternative to disposable diapers?
- It breathes.
- It gives warmth – the warmth of well-being.
- No irritated skin.
- No ear infections (according to grandmothers’ wisdom and my experience).
- No urine odor.
- Easy to use.
It’s so important to surround your baby with a natural material! A pure material that hasn’t gone through any chemical treatment. A diaper cover that can be passed on to your next baby. An alternative that puts your baby’s health and comfort in the center. A raw material that we can use year after year, without killing or affecting the sheep’s quality of life. An alternative diaper that doesn’t destroy the balance within our bodies or that of our Earth.
I hear repeatedly that woolen diaper babies are calm and content babies. Also, that they typically are in diapers no longer than 2 years. I have my own theory on this. When a baby – or toddler – begins to react to the feeling of wetness, not merely cold, a signal is sent to his or her natural time clock, to want to be rid of the diaper. When a baby, since birth, has not been exposed to the temperature fluctuations of warmth and cold, as with disposable diapers, but instead has been surrounded with a constant warmth, the body is given optimal conditions to grow and mature, with a result of earlier bladder control.
I’ve had numerous questions and interest from mothers in regards to my woolen diaper covers. Since I’ve learned that natural wool diaper covers are the best diaper you can use for your baby, I want to pass along the wisdom that was once passed down to me – for the health of our babies and the health of our Earth.
LANACare Organic Wool Products