Wonderful Wool

My first introduction to wool was through cloth diapers.  In looking for a solution to the overnight diaper I discovered wool.  I was nervous at first that it’d be a lot of work but was pleasantly surprised.  I purchased Disana Wool covers and felted them down a bit and they were amazing!  No more nighttime leaks, soft and a breathable bum.  They also were easy to wash and were durable.

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My next wool purchase has been my favourite so far.  My newborn son didn’t sleep.  He was up every hour.  I was a zombie and desperate for a solution, any solution no matter the cost.  I thought that perhaps his mattress wasn’t the most cozy and comfortable, he preferred to sleep right next to me in bed but that didn’t work for me, I couldn’t sleep because I was afraid I’d roll on him and I toss and turn at night.  So I bought a Snugglewool blanket.  It was lovely.  So soft and cuddly and breathable for a summer baby.  It wasn’t a miracle solution but my son did sleep better and longer on it.  He’s now 19 months and LOVES his Snugglewool.  He calls it his “bee” and won’t sleep without it.  As soon as he has his blanket his thumb goes in his mouth.  It’s over a year old, has been washed many times in the washing machine and holds up great.  It’s got the matted wool look but that’s how he likes it, though you can brush it to make it fluffy again.  It’s definitely something I’ll purchase for my next baby.  (If you’re in Canada just email to get a shipping rate)

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I purchased a Snugglewool mattress pad for our bed because my husband has back problems.  It was lovely but eventually we got a new bed.  Our playroom used to be in the back addition which has no basement under it.  The floor was super cold.  You could feel it coming up through the floor just sitting on it.  So I took the Snugglewool pad and put it down on the floor.  I couldn’t believe the difference it made.  You couldn’t feel the cold floor at all.  It was amazing.  Now that the playroom is in the main area of the house, the Snugglewool “carpet” is in my daughter’s room.  I just put a non-slip carpet mat underneath it and the best thing is, I can just pick it up and wash it when needed. If you do a floor bed for your baby and you’re worried about the cold floor, I highly recommend a snuggle wool pad for your baby’s bed or even as a carpet or wool under the mattress to allow it to breath to prevent the growth of mold in the mattress.

My next wool investment was sleep sacks.  I’ve always struggled with dressing my kids for sleeping in the spring and fall when the days might be warm but the temperature drops at night.  It would frustrate me because I felt like I either dressed them too warm and they were sweating or too cold and uncomfortable.  Since wool regulates the body temperature, it keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer so I purchased wool sleep sacks.  It was an expensive purchase, but you only need one and it fits from 3 months to 2 years.  For something my child wears to bed 9 months of the year, it was a worthwhile investment and it still looks like new more than a year later.  Again, machine washable.

Woolino 4 Season Baby Sleep Bag, Merino Wool Sleep Sack, 2mo-2yrs, Beige

One of my latest wool purchases is Merino wool pajamas. We live in an old, drafty house.  My daughter’s room has been completely renovated so is warm but my son’s room hasn’t and is drafty.  We have a furnace but the ducts don’t blow any heat upstairs so the rooms have baseboard heaters.  If you’ve ever used electric heat, you’ll know – it’s EXPENSIVE.  Even with programmable thermostats.  I was putting my kids in fleece sleepers but I wasn’t comfortable with that.  Not only do they not breath and can overheat you, they’re treated with flame retardants (as per the labels on the sleepers themselves state).

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You can also read on the tag that it is treated with flame retardants but mine was too faded to photograph.

Wool is warm, breathable and naturally flame resistant.  I thought if I invested in a pair of wool pajamas for each of them I could turn down the heat in their rooms and save money in the long run.  Because wool doesn’t hold body odors they can wear their pj’s for a week before washing and so really only need one pair.  They’re soooo soft.  Pumpkin 1 loves hers and says they’re cozy.  They can also be worn under clothing for warmth when playing outdoors.

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My latest wool purchase was for me and my husband.  We had a polyester blanket on our bed.  I keep our room cool because of the baseboard heaters and we recently put a skylight in which seems to create a draft.  The polyester blanket left me pulling up the blanket, then kicking it off, then pulling it up, then kicking it off all night, not very restful.  Wool blankets or duvets aren’t cheap though.  I finally found a lovely vintage queen size one on Kijiji for $25.  I did have to pay $20 to have it shipped to me but still, I got a lovely, like new wool blanket for our queen sized bed for only $45.  Now I’m cozy all night.  I find that our quilt can be overheating, I believe the fill is most likely polyester, but with just a sheet and the wool blanket I’m perfect most nights except the coldest.  (yea, we still need a bedskirt for our new bed, but since few people ever see our bedroom, meh)

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So, what’s so great about wool?  Wool is a wonderful fiber.  It regulates the body temperature and is breathable so it’s warm in winter and cool in summer.  It’s naturally water resistant, repelling moisture vapour through its fibres which makes it resistant to rot, mould and mildew and is self cleaning when it comes to urine and sweat.  A hundred years ago George Mallory climbed Mount Everest in a woolen tweed jacket.

Wool is easy to clean because dirt sits on the surface and can be brushed off, thus needing little washing.  It dries quickly and is flame resistant.  It also doesn’t attract dust mites.  Merino wool’s naturally durable.  Studies have shown that merino wool fibers can be bent up to 30,000 times without breaking. This means that clothes made from merino wool will stand up to repeated washings without looking old and worn out.  Wool is also a sustainable resource and biodegradable.

Wool is a wonderful choice for babies for many of these reasons.  Infants aren’t able to regulate their body temperature well.  Dressing them in wool helps to create a cocoon around the baby, keeping baby at a comfortable temperature and aiding in a restful sleep.  Overheating is one of the causes of SIDS, so keeping your baby at a comfortable temperature is important.  Wool is also static free so it doesn’t attract dust particles and lint which is great for allergy sufferers.  Wool is also flame resistant, something important for children’s sleepwear.  And forget the scratchy wool of the past, Merino wool is silky soft, or for an even softer option for a newborn, you can get wool and silk blend clothing.

What does this have to do with learning?  Being comfortable is important to be able to focus.  When you’re cold a lot more energy is exerted into trying to keep warm.  Also being cold can inhibit fine motor skills.  I know when I’m cold I just want to curl up and don’t feel like doing any work.  It can even make it hard to concentrate and think effectively.  Dressing your children to be comfortable allows them to move and play and learn and focus without distractions.  Children don’t always realize when they’re cold so it’s up to us to keep an eye on them.  Being too hot is also detrimental to learning.  It makes one feel agitated and grumpy which a homeschooling parent will know doesn’t make for effective learning and is just all around not fun.

It’s also important that a child’s temperature is regulated when sleeping so that they can get a restful sleep.  Overheating due to polyester clothing or getting cold by kicking off blankets disrupts the child’s sleep cycles and we all know how important sleep is for development and learning.

My hope is to purchase more wool clothing in the future and maybe try my hand at knitting or crocheting some sweaters.  I’d also like to get my children wool long underwear or undershirts to wear daily so I can keep the heat lower.  You’d only need two pairs as you can let them air out every other day and wash once a week.  And maybe I’ll find some more vintage wool blankets for the kid’s beds.

Do you or your children wear wool?  What is your experience?

References:

http://www.thewoolcompany.co.uk/benefits-of-wool.html

http://www.simplymerino.com/about-merino-wool.html

http://www.whywaldorfworks.org/03_NewsEvents/documents/WhydoesWaldorfeducationtalkaboutwarmthsomuch.pdf

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