As winter approaches, we receive many inquiries about which wool items are the most important as parents prepare their children’s wardrobes for fall and winter. Browsing through the many different options for wool underwear layers, outerwear, socks, hats, sleep sacks, and blankets, to name a few, can be overwhelming, so we have put together a list of favorite, essential winter woolen items that we hope will be helpful as you pull woolens out of storage and decide what new items will be needed for the snowy days ahead. We compiled this list based on what we use for our little ones at home as well as feedback from our customers.
Wool or Wool/Silk Baby Hat
If you purchase only one woolen item for your baby for winter time, a good quality hat or bonnet is one of the best investments you can make. It is so important for babies to have their heads covered, especially during the first few weeks and months of life. Young babies have not yet fully developed their ability to regular their own body temperature and have no way of telling us when they feel too hot or too cold. A great deal of warmth is lost through a baby’s head. In many cultures throughout the world, it is common for infants to have their heads covered most of the time, both indoors and outdoors, well into their first year of life. A breathable hat or bonnet made from natural fibers is an excellent way to ensure that your baby stays comfortable and warm.
The Engel Organic Wool Fleece Baby Hat is one of our favorite all-around winter hats. Wool fleece is probably the softest wool you’ll find, so it’s lovely for a newborn, and the hat is nice and thick for outdoor wear as well. This hat will be large on a newborn, but a baby born in the fall or winter is likely to be able to wear it for two winter seasons. Once your baby grows into it, the fit is snug, covers the ears nicely, and it has nice soft ties to help keep it in place when needed. The Disana organic merino wool knitted bonnet is another lovely mid-weight option that is great for babies and is available in smaller sizes.
For a lighter option, a nice lightweight bonnet made from wool or wool/silk is also lovely for an infant. Living Crafts makes a beautiful bonnet available in organic cotton or a wool/silk blend, and Cosilana’s popular baby bonnet is available in organic cotton, pure wool, wool/silk, and a machine washable wool/silk/cotton blend.
For babies who have wool sensitivities, a pure silk hat is an excellent choice that has some of the same temperature regulating properties of wool.
Wool tights are an indispensable winter item in our family, particularly for the youngest family members who aren’t yet walking. Feet are another crucial body part to keep warm for young babies, and while socks are necessary and an obvious choice for keeping little feet warm, they are rather notorious for being kicked off and magically disappearing into the depths of the washing machine.
A warm pair of tights keep not just little feet warm, but also ankles, legs, lower backs, and tummies! Tights for babies are simply brilliant. Pure wool tights are doubly wonderful because they require washing so infrequently. Just like wool socks, as long as you allow them to air out between uses, you can go weeks, even months at a time, without laundering your baby’s wool tights.
One of the greatest things about wool tights is that they keep baby’s ankles and legs covered any time baby is lifted up. Pants tend to ride up the legs, and so baby’s legs are frequently exposed to the elements any time baby is lifted in or out of the stroller or car seat, and also when baby is worn in a carrier or sling with legs dangling down. If your baby is wearing a pair of wool tights, your baby’s legs will always stay warm, regardless of how high baby’s trousers ride up.
The wool tights found in our store have nice high waistbands and generally are spacious enough to accommodate cloth diapers, even wool covers.
For an even softer texture without compromising warmth, tights are also available in a wool/cotton blend, and for babies with wool sensitivities, tights in pure organic cotton.
Woolen Base Layer: A Baby Bodysuit
A woolen underwear layer for babies and children is essential for families in any region with cold winter weather. These single layer, lightweight garments are breathable and soft and are snug fitting to be worn on their own in mild weather or layered underneath regular clothing on the colder days.
Woolen underwear is available in the form of a bodysuit, shirt, or a pair of leggings, and while all options are wonderful for babies and children, in our opinion, a bodysuit is the most ideal option for an infant. This is once again due to the fact that babies are lifted up so frequently that shirts and pants inevitably ride up, exposing baby’s skin to the cold outdoor air. A warm bodysuit underwear layer solves this problem, keeping baby’s mid-section warm underneath regular clothing. We often dress our baby in a long sleeved shirt or sweater layered over a wool or wool/silk bodysuit.
For cloth diapering families, it is important to note that most wool bodysuits available in our store DO fit over a wool soaker. When in doubt, sizing up is always a good option, but generally speaking, European manufacturers are sure to leave room in the diaper area for a bodysuit to be easily snapped over a thick wool soaker. A wool or wool/silk bodysuit is excellent in this regard because it adds yet another layer of absorbent wool to help keep baby dry in the case of leaks.
Underwear layers are available in pure wool, a wool/silk blend for some added softness, and even a wool/silk cotton blend for a machine-washable option.
Wool Baby Sweater
I had to update this post to include a wool baby sweater because just a month into the autumn season here in Colorado, we have pulled out the wool knitted baby sweater more than any other apparel item we own (other than the wool hats, of course!). For babies, a warm wool sweater is the perfect solution to a chilly day and provides just enough warmth for outings in the car or walks in the baby carrier without over-dressing baby. On a crisp October day, we typically dress our baby in a wool/silk bodysuit layered underneath our favorite knitted wool sweater and a warm pair of wool leggings or cotton pants. I love the wool sweater because it can quickly go on and off over any outfit, and it’s trim-fitting enough to be kept on in the car seat, keeping baby cozy when a thicker jacket needs to be removed.
A few of our other favorite wool sweaters are the Disana Organic Knitted Sweater and the Engel Organic Wool Fleece baby sweater.
Wool Bunting for Outdoors
A wool bunting is often more appropriate for an infant than a jacket, since the bunting keeps baby warm from head to toe without exposing any skin. Buntings are available in soft organic wool fleece or wind resistant, boiled (felted) organic wool lined with organic cotton.
For something a little lighter that can be worn indoors or outdoors, a pair of wool overalls or a wool romper is also nice to have on hand for a baby. The organic knitted wool overalls from Disana are wonderful for this purpose and can be worn indoors on their own or outdoors with a warm jacket or sweater. The organic knitted wool romper with optional feet from Reiff Strick is another excellent choice that has the added benefit of foot coverage when needed.
Wool Sleep Sack
Most parents become quickly aware of their newborn baby’s need for warmth to stay comfortable, particularly while sleeping. It can be challenging to keep babies warm while sleeping, especially if they are asleep alone in a bassinet or crib. As babies become older and begin exploring the world around them, they often pull blankets over their faces or kick them off entirely. A wool sleep sack helps tremendously and is an item that can be used beyond the first year as well.
Wool sleep sacks come in all shapes, sizes, and varying degrees of warmth, so the decision will depend primarily on your baby’s age and how low the temperatures go at night in your home. While any wool sleep sack will keep your baby warm and will help regulate your baby’s temperature while sleeping, the warmest options are the long sleeved wool fleece and knitted wool sleep sacks from Reiff Strick, followed by the sleeveless wool fleece sleep sacks from Reiff Strick and the boiled wool sleep sacks from Disana.
For a mid-weight option the Disana Knitted Wool Sleep Sack is lovely, and for a lighter weight option, the Engel Organic Wool Terry Sleep Sack is another favorite in our home.
What have been some of your most treasured woolen items for your baby during winter time?