Archive for the ‘dressing your baby’ Category

Wool, a mother’s perspective.

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

When my first daughter was born, I got some handmade woollen hand-me downs, gorgeous tiny knitted cardigans and precious booties. They were made of the softest yarn in pastel colours with intricate lacy patterns. They were stunningly beautiful... and I despised them. I found them outrageous. They embodied everything that was wrong with parenting these days! I was, of course, extremely young and extremely foolish.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated their beauty and the fact that they had been made with love, but I bemoaned their lack of practicality. Hand wash only! For a baby! As if new parents had time for that. To me, Hand Wash Only was a dreaded label that should be avoided at all costs. I grew up in a tropical climate so there was never a wool culture in my home. My mother was a power professional who always had her suits dry-cleaned. The few delicates that escaped her strict “no hand-wash garments” policy piled up at the bottom of the dirty clothes hamper for weeks on end. Once they reached a critical mass, mum would grudgingly fish them out and scrub them with a vengeance. Thinking back, they would have probably fared better in the machine.

In my early twenties I left home to study in Ireland, a move for which neither my mind nor my wardrobe were prepared. Just before I left, my wise mother bought me an under-shirt, the first I’d ever owned. It was a gorgeously soft blend of merino wool and silk and it was machine washable! Oh, how I loved that shirt. And yet, it never occurred to me to buy more woollen clothes, maybe because I was a broke college student and I weighed any purchase against how many Tesco Value ramen I would be able to afford with that money. Had I been a little wiser I would have saved myself more than one nasty cold.

It wasn't until after I became a mother that I started to learn the importance of surrounding and dressing ourselves with natural materials. I did a lot of online research and was lucky to meet a few like-minded mothers who taught me more than I ever thought I could possibly learn. One lesson in particular stands out in my mind. My friend and I were having lunch with our toddlers and her 8-month-old baby. Dessert was fresh mango and the baby ate it with gusto. And by “ate it” I mean poked it, squished it and rubbed it all over her face, with the yellow juices running down her arm and chin onto her white knitted cardigan. Seeing this, I joked to my friend “I hope that cardigan isn't hand wash only”. She looked at me with genuine puzzlement: “Yes, it is. Why?” I was aghast. Wasn't it obvious? “Isn't it… too much of a hassle?” I asked. “Not at all!” she answered nonchalantly. “I'm staying at my mum’s tonight and she doesn't have proper wool detergent but baby shampoo works in a pinch. I'll just give it a rinse in the sink while the girls are having their bath, it’ll be dry by tomorrow”.

That was it? Could it really be so simple? If you grew up wearing wool you’re probably laughing at me right now, but it really took a while to wrap my head around the fact that hand-washing didn't need to be a huge affair. I started researching and began to understand. Wool is antibacterial! Wool repels stains! No scrubbing your knuckles raw, you just need to let it soak in soapy water and rub stains gently. It dries super fast. And some wool is even machine washable!

After this eye-opening experience, I tentatively ordered my daughter’s first pair of woollen pyjamas… and I fell in love. Caring for them was as easy as everybody promised it would be, and never again did I need to worry that my baby was too hot or too cold at night. No more icy hands, no more sweaty foreheads thanks to wool’s property of thermoregulation, which I believe is a fancy word for “mama, don’t fret”. By the time my son was born I was a convert… and I found myself wishing I hadn’t returned those handknit woolies that I used to hate so much. They were pink and purple and frilly… but I would have put them on him anyway, and he would have been happy.

Lorena Díaz García. ( A Cambridge Baby customer)

What to dress your child in in Spring

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Spring is on its way, with its magical variety of sunshine and showers. Children love being able to bound around unencumbered by bulky winter coats, but they still need protection from chilly moments. Over thousands of years another little creature, the lamb,  has evolved the perfect clothing for jumping around in spring.  Wool. The unique structure of wool fibres mean they are able to help the body stay warm when its cold and keep cool when its hot. Here are Cambridge Baby's tips for dressing your child/baby in spring.

The Base Layer and Top

Merino vest

 A  brightly coloured merino vest  is perfect for spring. It can be worn as a top when its warm and under a  jumper at  chillier moments. It's thermoregulating properties help keep your child's body at a constant, comfortable temperature as they change activities. It's antibacterial and dirt resistant properties mean it doesn't need to  be  washed everyday - wear then hang to air and brush off any spills.

They're not totally food proof though so, if your child is a particularly messy eater, or wipes lots of  yucky things on  their sleeves,  I'd recommend wearing a bib/napkin - muslin squares make good bibs - and opting for a short sleeved vest, or rolling sleeves up at meal times.  Most merino wool vests and tops though are now machine-washable at 30C and above including those in the photos.

Outer Layer

Layering is the key to Spring dressing.   A natural wool fleece that can be easily taken off when it gets warm is useful all year round in a  variable climate like the UK, and is light and not bulky. The best thing about wool as that its breathable so you don't overheat in the same way. By the time its warm enough for your child to want to take off the fleece it will probably be warm enough for them just to be in a Merino vest top.  These  wool fleece jackets with a hood (below) are great for keeping the head warm too - and really useful after swimming.

 

On less changeable days, a light jumper is just the thing. I love the Relax jumpers for their lovely colours and light knit and these Disana ones are a wardrobe staple for so many families.

 Bottoms

Our woolly leggings are warm enough for chilly days but light and breathable enough that your child won't overheat when it gets warmer. These really do seem to be dirt repellent and are tough enough to wear climbing trees etc.Merino Wool Leggings

 

For warmer days or for children who like looser trousers the wool terry ones are fantastic - they even have elastic at the ankles that you can adjust.

If your child likes wearing leggings these wool silk ones are naturally breathable. Perfect for spring weather or to layer under other trousers on Spring ski trips.

 

Heads 

The sun can already be quite strong in spring time. An organic cotton sun hat that stays on will  protect your little ones face from the sun and make them more comfortable.  If you choose a sunhat with natural UV resistance, you know that your child's skin is getting extra protection too, all without harmful chemicals.

 

 If you have tips to share for Spring dressing, do let us know.

 

Nappy Instructions for Disana Cloth Nappies

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

It's easy to use Disana cloth Nappies!   This may look like a lot of steps, but we've broken it down to make it easy to follow.  Once you have got the hang of it you'll be able to do it super-fast.

Step 1

To use the Disana nappy is very simple. Spread out the knitted nappy on the changing mat. Fold the narrow front part back to the ties. Now place the brushed cotton liner or silk liner on top of the nappy.

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How Merino Wool Helps Your Family Sleep Well

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Most comfy baby pyjamas in organic Merino wool and silk blend

My two young children sleep in merino wool pyjamas, and I love sleeping in my Merino wool vest - I think it's the most comfortable night wear there is.  Merino wool's comfort is quite literally a gift from nature, so  I thought I'd tell you a bit more about the properties of this amazing sheep's wool.

Merino wool is 20,000 times bendier than cotton

Merino wool is so soft and stretchy that it hugs you in a really gentle way - and this is because merino wool fibres can bend up to 20,000 times more and can be extended 5 times further than cotton!  This makes it way more comfy to sleep in than cotton as it moves with your body and is still soft on your skin – cotton bedclothes tend to get scrunched up around you. It's fibres bend so easily they don’t scratch, preventing the itchiness traditionally associated with wool. (more…)

Safe Swaddling

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Swaddling can work wonders to calm babies and prevent them waking and scaring themselves when they fling their arms around. It  worked miracles with my little girl when she was tiny. Merino swaddling blankets are gorgeously soft. They also have the added advantage, that merino helps babies regulate their body temperature and wicks away moisture.

On a  recent programme on Radio 4 Paediatric orthopaedic surgeon Professor Nicholas Clarke highlighted how important it is to swaddle babies correctly, with their hips and legs free to move. Research shows that swaddling babies legs tightly to alter their natural hips open position can increase the risk of hip dysplasia and dislocation.

The Cocooi Swaddling Blanket in Merino Wool is specially designed with a pouch for the legs to allow them to move freely and for you to do a quick nappy change if necessary.

There is even a video to show you how to swaddle correctly. The key thing is to allow room for the hips to move.

Cocooi Swaddling Blanket in Merino Wool

Why is wool good for you?

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Organic Merino Wool Baby Blanket by DisanaYou've probably noticed we use expresssions such as "breathable" and "regulates body temperature" a lot at Cambridge Baby.  Wool is naturally an amazingly clever fibre and here you can find out how and why.

I'm going to explain how wool can
  • breathe, absorbing water vapour from the body and releasing it into the atmosphere
  • dynamically respond to the environment
  • help regulate temperature
  • clean itself (oh yes!), and
  • repel rain (think: sheep).

The magic of wool

The magic of wool lies in its structure. Wool consists of three layers.
  • The inner layer or core is keratin, a moisture-loving protein that all animal hair has. It is designed to maintain a stable body temperature - to keep the body at a comfortable and stable temperature. Think how useful this is to babies, athletes and your own day-to-day living.
  • The second layer is a scaly covering. The overlapping scales are tiny, but as they rub against each other they push off the dirt. So it is self-cleaning, as anyone who's put their baby in wool knows.
  • A wool fibre's third layer, the top layer, is a filmy skin which keeps the rain out. Wool is quite water-resistant, as duffel-coat wearers and sheep can testify.
It gets even more amazing.

Wool breathes for youOrganic Merino Wool Hat by Disana

Now, the two outer layers of the wool fibre have tiny pores which allow moisture to pass through to the keratin core.  The keratin core can absorb this moisture.  So, if the temperature increases or the wearer becomes more active and begins to sweat, the moisture is wicked from the skin through the outer layers of the wool fibre into the central core. Then, your natural body heat then wicks it out towards the surface, where it is released into the atmosphere. In this way, it helps you and your baby maintain a stable temperature and keeps you and your baby dry and comfortable by absorbing and releasing sweat.

And wool is dynamic

Wool even does this breathing process "dynamically", which means it does it more when needed, and less when not needed.   It responds to the environment around it and does what's needed to the best of its ability. It's just the best thing, don't you think? No man-made fibre can equal this.

Looking after your woolOrganic Wool and Silk Baby Bodysuit

To keep these abilities, wool does need to be looked after. But with 99% of washing machines now having a wool cycle, this is quite easy. Just use a liquid detergent for wool, or a drop of your own shampoo, and set the temperature on your wool cycle to 30C and dry away from direct heat. Because wool is self-cleaning, wool clothes that haven't been treated can be hung out on the line and "aired" and will start cleaning and de-smelling themselves. In the next blog articles, I'll explain more of the wonders of wool: how wool is also naturally antibacterial, how it absorbs water without feeling wet, why it's stretchy and easy to wear, why it's fire-resistant and more.