Monthly Archives: October 2012

Woolens for Babies During Wintertime

It’s Woolen Season! In this article: 

  • The Benefits of Woolen Underwear for Babies & Children
  • Which woolens are best for underwear?
  • What other wool garments are good for babies for winter?

As the cooler months approach, wool is flying off of our shelves faster than we can keep up with it.  And it’s no wonder- wool is nature’s perfect fiber to bundle up your baby for the winter months.  Wool booties, wool hats, wool sweaters, wool leggings, wool overalls, wool mittens, wool blankets, wool diaper covers… and a well-kept secret, wool underwear. There is no better way to keep your baby at a perfect, consistent temperature while playing outside in the cold and snow, going for walks, hiking and camping, riding in the stroller, sleeping…and just about anywhere!

Woolen Underwear for Babies & Children: The BenefitsWhile there’s nothing like a cozy wool sweater, hat, or jacket for playing outside in chilly weather, it can be easy to overlook the tremendous benefits of how your child is dressed underneath her regular clothing.  It’s incredible how much extra warmth is provided by a simple, single-knit wool shirt or pair of leggings.

  • Wool is breathable.  Unlike a synthetic long underwear for winter, a high quality wool base layer still allow your child’s skin to breathe, keeping them from overheating or sweating.  This is excellent for newborn babies who are unable to regulate their internal temperature or let us know when they feel too hot or too cold. This also makes wool excellent for sleeping- babies sleep comfortably in wool, as their skin can breathe and they are not exposed to synthetic materials, which are not breathable and can easily cause overheating.
  • Wool is temperature-regulating:   Woolen underwear are wonderful for those crisp fall days when the weather could turn any way the wind blows.  If the day is warmer than expected, the temperature regulating properties of wool will prevent your child from overheating.    A lovely single-knit wool shirt or leggings are perfect for use on their own as well when the weather warms up a bit.  For very chilly days, a snug layer of wool or wool/silk blend will keep your child insulated underneath regular clothing.
  • Wool is very absorbent:  Wool can absorb up to 40% of its weight In moisture before it will begin to feel wet.  This is extremely beneficial for an underwear layer because if your child is very active and begins to sweat,  the wool will absorb the moisture but will take some time to feel damp, thus keeping your baby feeling warm and dry.   Even when wool becomes wet, since it regulates temperature very well, it does not feel cold.
  • Wool is self-cleansing:  Wool has naturally antibacterial properties, so it does not need to be cleaned frequently.  The lanolin that is naturally found in sheep’s wool helps to remove odors as the wool becomes damp.  This is beneficial for underwear layers because your child can wear them again and again, through sweat, urine, and dirt, and you will not need to wash it frequently!

Which woolens are best for underwear?

Single-knit Organic Merino Wool.  A single-knit, pure, 100% organic merino wool shirt and leggings is excellent for underwear during winter, and it is also perfect on its own for spring, fall, and even for summer camping trips!  Our son wears his pure wool shirt from Engel year-round, and his favorite time to wear it is for summer hiking an camping trips.

Wool/Silk Blends (Single-Knit).  A wool/silk blendis also a lovely choice because these garments have not only the beneficial properties of wool, but also the benefits of silk.  This lightweight, breathable, temperature-regulating fabric  makes an excellent combination with pure organic wool.  This blend keeps your child warm and cozy without overheating, it is easy to clean, and most importantly, these natural fibers are safe for your baby.

Photo courtesy of Living Crafts

Choosing garments that are single-knit as opposed to thicker, double-knit  garments enable you to dress your baby in other clothing over the wool.    You can also dress your baby in a single-knit garment on its own, but they are thin, so while they are wonderful for moderate weather, if the weather is quite cold, it is ideal to add an extra layer over the woolen layer or to dress your baby in a double-knit or thicker, felted wool garment.

What other wool garments are good for babies for winter?

Wool pajamas.  Investing in a high quality pair of footed wool pajamas will allow your child to sleep comfortably year round.  Wool terry pajamas are excellent for the cooler months of the year, as they are slightly thicker without being too hot, and you can still layer a single-knit layer of wool underneath them or add a thick pair of wool socks for the coldest nights.  If your baby does not like sleep sacks and still kicks the blankets off, wool pajamas will keep your baby at just the right temperature without any blankets at all.   For the warmer months, a single-knit pair of wool/silk pajamas is ideal.

photo courtesy of Engel Natur

Boiled Wool Outerwear.  Boiled wool is the warmest wool we have found, making it ideal for outdoor wear during the colder months of the year.  Boiled wool is essentially felted wool.   Water, heat, and friction are used to break up the wool’s structure, resulting in felted wool that is half the original size of the wool in all directions.  During this process, thousands of tiny air bubbles are trapped in the material, which forms an entirely natural barrier against both hot and cold temperatures, keeping your baby’s temperature constant even in very cold temperatures.

Photo courtesy of Disana

Boiled wool is soft and light, so it is very comfortable for your child to wear.  Boiled wool protects your child against the cold, is almost entirely windproof, and like all wool garments, helps balance hot and cold temperatures.   The result is a fabric that keeps your baby warm and dry while allowing your baby’s skin to breathe.