After twenty-four years of having babies almost constantly in diapers I find myself in the unique for me position of having an almost diaper-less home. I say almost because I have a four month old granddaughter that visits regularly. In any case we know diapers around here.
When my first child was born in 1982 it was so uncool to be using cloth diapers. I didn't care. Admittedly, I was more concerned with the effects of disposables on my budget than the environment at that point. The old fashioned, cotton flannel diapers worked fine, although you had to be careful of leaks. The plastic pants got crunchy after a few months and it was frustrating to be constantly buying new ones. Still it was a small price to pay compared to the chunk of cash my friends were putting out on throw-aways.
At some point, and I honestly don't know which child it happened with, fitted diapers were marketed. Not sure who the first brilliant mind was to think of that but I am so glad they did. It wasn't too long before I was making the fitted diapers myself, saving even more money and being even happier with the lack of leaks. Added bonus was the fact that they were so cute! The covers were getting better but I still wasn't thrilled with them.
I am not sure when it was that I decided to try a wool cover but I did. I loved it from the very first day.
Wool Diaper Covers Have Incredible Benefits
Wool is a sustainable choice. We have raised sheep. Trust me, they love getting that wool removed in the summer. It is thick, hot, and smelly and in order to keep sheep at their healthiest all that wool has to come off. So, other than the occasional nick with the shears it is entirely cruelty free to shear sheep...at least to the animal. The human on the other hand...lets just say that there is nothing fun about cuddling a sheep that weighs as much as you do.
Anyway, there are other benefits besides sustainability.
1. The lanolin, a natural oil, makes it waterproof.
2. It wicks moisture away from you baby.
3. Wool is naturally antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antimicrobial.
4. Because of the antibacterial qualities the wool does not need to be washed that much; a few hours drying time and it is ready to go.
5. Warm in winter and cool in summer because it breathes. That means less likelihood of diaper rash.
6. These diaper covers are durable. With care they will last through several children.
One of the biggest arguments against the wool covers that I have heard is the initial expense of them. This is true, they are often $35.00 or more each. However, you only need three or four of them at most. Plus, when you are done with the wool diaper covers you can sell them on eBay for almost as much as you bought them for. They retain their value really well. You can also ask for them as baby shower gifts.
If you want to try them, and save some money you can generally find organic wool diaper covers you may also want to search organic wool soakers, they are the same thing on eBay for a little less than you can buy them for elsewhere. If you don't care for them you can always put them back up on eBay and recoup most, if not all of your cash.
Homemade Wool Diaper Covers
If you knit, crochet, or sew you can also make them. It is much cheaper to make them than buy them and there are free patterns all over the Internet. One of my favorite wool diaper covers was one that I had made from a merino wool sweater that I got at the thrift shop for $3.00. Longies, by the way, are diaper covers that have long legs, great for cold winters.
Here are some sites with instructions if you want to give it a try-
8. Wool Longies
Organic wool diaper covers are easy to maintain but here are some tips to get you started:
1.Use lanolin about twice a month in the rinse water to keep them waterproof
2. Use a mild soap and hand wash
3.If you are making them from sweaters be sure to get 100 percent wool and wash it in hot water before cutting.
4. Allow a soaker to air dry after changing the baby. It does not need to be washed every time.
5. Use organic wool yarn for organic covers but if it is dyed check the source of the dyes. Not all dyes are organic.