Baby in Sheep’s Clothing or How to use Wool Diapers

Recently, we have been faced with an issue of very serious importance. If it is not resolved, I think I might very well go crazy from lack of sleep. This problem is: Night Diapering.

Very recently, Jonah has begun Peeing at night. Not just the typical soggy diaper to be changed when he wakes for his nightly nursing session. Oh no, that is just peeing…. this is Peeing (note the capital P.) I don’t mind moonlit diaper changes, and they have become part of our nightly routine that Jonah has come to expect. The problem arose last month sometime, when Jonah began waking up screaming every two or three hours. I’d go into his room and scoop him up for some comfort and cuddles, only to find that he is soaked in ammonia-smelling, warm, soggy pajamas. Not only have his pajamas fallen victim to the relentless urine, but also his blanket and sheets. And so, every few hours, I am pulling myself out of the sleepy mindset of my warm cozy bed, and stripping a screaming baby, a soaked diaper, and smelly bedding. It is quite an interruption, needless to say, and seems to be very upsetting to Jonah.

I began reserving our pocket diapers (diapers that have an opening that can be stuffed with various absorbent materials) for night-time use only. I would put three inserts (cotton “pads”) into the diapers, which is two more than I normally use with them during the day. This seemed to work for a couple days, and then we were right back to the soggy, screaming, sleepy, wet mess that we were in at the beginning. I even tried disposables, out of desperation, only to find out that they leaked much worse and even more frequently. I tried sizing up, sizing down, adjusting the fit, adjusting the velcro… all of it yielded the same results. What really boggles me is that these leaks occur within two or three hours. Not six or even four hours, as most diapers will last during the night. Finally, I decided that it was time to bring out the big guns. It was time to admit it. Jonah is what we would call a heavy wetter at night, and that can only be stopped by one thing: Wool.

Yes, I said wool. The stuff your sweaters are made of. Wool has natural antibacterial properties, and so it is very sanitary to use as a diaper cover. It also becomes extremely water resistant when treated properly. This is one reason why wool is used to make so many long winter coats.

I had stayed away from wool diaper covers for so long because frankly, they are scary. To begin with, they aren’t cheap. You could spend anywhere from $30-$80 or more on a good quality wool cover. This alone isn’t enough to scare me. The big thing is, you have to treat it. Wash it by hand, lanolize it… doing this yourself when you have no idea what you are doing, can be pretty scary considering what you paid for this garment. With our tight budget, there is little room for error. But, with our situation growing damper and damper, I decided that the only way to learn how to use wool was by doing it.

After a lot of looking around, internet searches, and anxiety over purchasing the right cover for Jonah, I decided on a Disani all natural wool cover from Green Mountain Diapers. I chose this particular cover because it has long cuffs around the thighs, and a high rise top that can be folded down. These features ensure a great fit on just about any shaped baby, and they also give me reassurance that there will be no leaks from the sides or top during the night. It seemed perfect for our situation.<

The day that the order came in, I was excited as well as nervous. Finally, a wool cover of my very own. It looked so fresh, and felt so soft. How did I ever use any other fabric. Then I realized, I had to figure out how to treat Jonah’s wonderful new piece of clothing. I read the tag on the cover. It said “Do not soak” Then I read the label on the Lanolin and Wool Shampoo. It said “Soak overnight.” Hm. Now what? After some putzing around on the internet, I finally felt comfortable enough with what to do.

I filled my bathroom sink with warm water and added about a half ounce of the wool shampoo. Then I added two ounces of the Wool Cure, which is basically pure lanolin (yes, the same stuff you put on your boobs if you’re breastfeeding!) I mixed it around a bit, and gently submersed the wool cover. Then I retired to the bedroom to read a magazine for about a half hour. I went into the bathroom. The first thing I noticed was the odd smell. I think it was the way that wool reacts to lanolin. It didn’t smell terrible, but not like roses either.

I pulled the plug in the sink and allowed the water to drain through the cover. I gently pushed the water out of the garment without wringing it (I didn’t want to distort the fabric) I then took two towels and placed them on the floor, one on top of the other. I placed the cover on one end of the towels and folded them over, pressing them down on top of the cover in order to soak up any excess water. Then, I laid the cover out to dry over night.

We have used the cover several nights so far without any leaks. I have been using a pinned prefold with an extra hemp insert underneath it, and change it when Jonah wakes for his nightly nursing session. We haven’t had any midnight or early morning surprises, and I’m pleased to say that my laundry basket has not been overfilled with crib sheets and baby pajamas since we started using this cover.

If anyone is having any issues with night time leaking and their cloth diapers, I would highly recommend wool as the solution. It might seem like a splurge, but when you consider the relief it gives you knowing that you won’t have to strip and sanitize everything in the middle of the night, I think it is a necessity.

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