Are Sheepskin Products Good for Babies? A Guide for New Parents
Natural sheepskin products are a great investment for your newborn baby. They also make a great gift for new additions to your extended family. Naturally you are going to want to ensure that whatever you buy is not only comfortable for baby, but safe too.
Read on for more information about sheepskin products for babies, including the benefits of natural wool, how to choose the right sized sheepskin rug and how to keep your baby's sheepskin rug clean.
Is sheepskin safe for babies?
Sheepskin (and its younger sibling, lambskin) is made of 100% pure wool, and is one of nature's wonder products. It's no surprise that human beings have been using it in homes, and on bodies, for generations. Nor that there are so many wool based baby products available to parents these days.
Traditional lambs wool - and increasingly super fine merino wool - are used to make baby clothes, sleep sacks and bedding. Pure sheepskin is used for floor rugs, car seat covers and cosy liners for baby strollers. Pure sheepskin or lambskin rugs also make a soft, clean and comfortable base for baby's play time.
Being 100% pure wool, sheepskin is hypoallergenic, flame retardant and anti-bacterial. It even keeps itself clean! Lanolin (a thin waxy coating on the fibres) repels water, dust and dirt and inhibits the growth of allergens.
Make sure you do your research and purchase top quality sheepskin for baby. Look for the New Zealand Woolmark seal, that way you'll know you are purchasing pastorally farmed sheepskin with no added nasties.
Is sheepskin breathable?
Yes, sheepskin is breathable. Of all the amazing properties of wool this must be one of the best. Without getting too technical, it all comes down to the hollow fibres of the wool itself, which enable air to flow freely and to regulate body temperature - keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer.
Being breathable means sheepskin can be used all year round. And it can put the mind of some parents - who may be hesitant to use sheepskin products on their baby because they are worried about it being too warm and leading to skin rashes - to rest.
Being a naturally antimicrobial environment, sheepskin can actually help to calm and soothe inflamed skin. What's more, wool's hypoallergenic properties can be beneficial if your child has asthma. As I said - nature's wonder product!
Is it OK for babies to sleep on sheepskin?
Placing your baby down for naps can be a double edged sword. There's the welcome break and rest for yourselves and there's the worry about how long they will sleep and whether they are sleeping safely. I remember it well!
Sheepskin or lambskin makes for a great bedding underlay, providing a soft and comfortable base for sleeping all year around. Pure sheepskin draws moisture away from your sleeping baby, helping to keep their temperature consistent and encouraging longer sleep times.
If you plan to use your sheepskin products in your baby's cot or crib it is recommended that you use short wool sheepskin (not long wool) and that you cover it with a sheet when your baby is lying down or sleeping. It's also important to rotate your sheepskin underlay regularly.
Always make sure you follow the safe sleeping practices recommended by your local childcare researchers. If you have any questions, they should be your first port of call.
Can I put sheepskin in a bassinet?
Precious newborns spend a lot of time sleeping. And as a new parent, we spend a lot of time focused on when, how and how long they are sleeping! Naturally we want a healthy, safe and comfortable sleeping environment, so we can put them down for a nap without feeling worried.
In New Zealand, our baby guru's Plunket NZ, recommend using short wool (not long wool) sheepskin as a base layer in a bassinet with a sheet placed over the top of it. Make sure you rotate your sheepskin underlay regularly as well.
We encourage you to do your own research and follow the safe sleeping practices recommended by your local health professionals.
What is the best size for a sheepskin baby rug?
There are some practical considerations when choosing your rug, such as:
- the size of your baby
- whether your baby is moving about (rolling or crawling)
- how portable you want it to be (do you want to be able to throw it in the car and take it to Grandma's?).
Usually, sheepskin rugs for babies are about 80 - 85 cm in length. Being a natural product actual sizes will vary. As your baby gets older they will be able to roll over, crawl, walk - so keep in mind the lambskin rug that you purchase for them now may not always fit as their needs change.
How do you clean a sheepskin baby rug?
If there's one thing we know about caring for a baby, it's that mess is pretty much guaranteed! Understandably, you might be concerned about how sheepskin will hold up in these circumstances, but rest assured it's up to the task.
When the inevitable happens, the best thing is immediate action. Try to spot clean the specific area straight away. Do this by first shaking off any surface liquid, then gently blotting whatever is remaining with a clean towel. Don't splash water or any other liquid directly onto the mark -it will only spread the stain further.
Take the time to soak up as much of the liquid as you can. Often this alone will be enough. If, however, a stubborn mark remains then try using a carpet stain remover. Both wet and dry carpet stain removers are readily available in most supermarkets and work well on sheepskin.
Strictly speaking, sheepskin rugs are machine washable. If you have a large spill or your sheepskin is looking a bit worse for wear, you might want to throw it in the washing machine. A word of warning though - while the sheepskin itself will love a good wash and will come up looking even more soft and beautiful, the backing will not. Sheepskin is backed by a natural leather pelt which, when it gets wet and then dries, can become cracked and misshapen.
Finally, when it comes to drying your sheepskin rug, air drying is best. Don't put it in dryer! For best results hang out of direct sunlight or lay flat on a towel in the shade until it is completely dry.
There are many benefits to using sheepskin product for your newborn baby - it's soft, totally natural, breathable and hypo allergenic allergenic for a start. And easy to clean! What could be more perfect for your precious bundle?