I’ve spoken a little about using prefolds in my cloth diaper system. It is time to talk about the other part of my system: Diaper Covers. It can be the most difficult thing to look up on the internet for people who cloth diaper. I can’t tell you how many sites I visited that had those cutesy little covers meant just to cover up the generic disposable diaper. Don’t get me wrong, they were very cute, but not really what I was looking for.
In the cloth diaper world, a diaper cover is used to keep the wetness contained in the diaper instead of on you, your furniture or the floor. When my mother diapered me, they used rubber or polyester pants which as we know, don’t breath and leads to a lot of diaper rashes. Ultimately, you do want something to contain the mess, but is also breathable. There are many options, but I’m only talk about a few. I’ve used all of the ones I’m going to explain.
Number one is a 100% to 80% wool diaper cover. Wool is great as it make for a very breathable cover thus less diaper rashes or moisture related problems. It wicks the moisture away while the wool and lanolin supposedly convert the urine salts into some kind soap. I think what actually happens is that the lanolin partially emulsifies the urine. Lanolin does have that property, which is why it is lovely in lotions. You can go days without washing a wool diaper cover just let it dry sufficiently before putting it on again. Of course, if you baby messes the wool cover, it should be washed. Which is a downside to wool covers in my opinion; handwashing. Unless you want to felt the cover, you have to handwash. A wool diaper cover does NOT need to be felted; I discovered this a bit late. After washing you also need to lanolize the cover as washing often takes the lanolin out and that is a big component to having great wool covers. I made my wool covers out of wool sweaters I found at the Goodwill Store. I used a free pattern floating online that was a type of short pants. Let me tell you, this may be a good idea for an older baby, but not a newborn, which is what I tried this on. I also had some crocheted into a wrap, but they were big and by the time Rockbiter was big enough use them, I had abandoned this method. Rockbiter kept messing each of the covers, so I was having to wash them daily and I did NOT have enough, so had to wait until they dried. I love being able to toss things into the washer and let it do the work, so having to so constantly handwash greatly influenced my decision to drop this type of diaper cover. I was a mom of four boys, homeschooling, teaching Children’s Church and Sunday and trying to keep up with housework. So what I thought was a really neat and time saving method turned on me. Don’t get me wrong, I still like wool diaper covers but I don’t have the time for them. Maybe if it was on first or second child or if I had more time to fuss with them, or just had the time to make a ton more covers for those wash days, but I don’t and did not.
1. You should use a wool cover that is 100% to 80% wool. The softer the better.
2. Wool covers need to be lanolized. That is the lanolin that was removed to process the wool is put back into the wool by you. I haven’t gone into how, there are many sites that have that information.
3. Wool covers do NOT need to be felted. They are still quite useful and more pliable not felted. Wool holds onto a lot of water. Though eventually, they will tend to felt after longterm use.
4. Wool covers do not need to be washed every day unless they are pooped on. I went go up to five days once. Just air out.
5. Wool covers should be handwashed, using a mild soap. Please know that wool does need to be treated gently and you should research how exactly to wash wool, especially if you are trying to avoid felting. Remember that wool holds A LOT of moisture and thus needs a very long time to dry after being handwashed.
There are a lot of patterns online for wool longies ( a type of cover that doubles as pants), skirties (yup, this one is a skirt cover) and shorties. Most seem to be for knitters, which does help me, I haven’t figured out how to use two needles. There are some free patterns out there for an underwear/short type of cover and some for wraps. If you chose to go this route, you are choosing a top of the line type of cover. Wool Jersey is one of the most expensive fabrics and of course premade diaper covers can be quite expensive as well. That is why I used wool sweaters. Many people who use wool diaper covers are very satisfied with this system. I encourage you to give it a try.
As a side note, moths do like to eat wool. Try keeping your unused covers in a cotton pillowcase to keep them from being moth meals.