You might ask; “Why use lambskin or sheepskin to make soft toys?” My factories went as far as saying; “It’s very difficult to do this animal design using lambskin/sheepskin, it can’t be done, use plush fabric (polyester).” In fact, most soft toys - and some baby clothing - are made using polyester, a man-made fibre, which is cheaper and easier to use.
As a mum, I wanted natural fibres around my baby’s skin.
Babies have delicate and developing skin needing natural fibres that breathe, insulate and help to regulate their body temperature. Click to Tweet
For thousands of years mothers have wrapped their babies in sheepskin/lambskin (fur and leather) or wool to keep them warm, dry and happy. Sheep were among the first animals to be domesticated in Ancient Mesopotamia between 11,000 and 9,000 years ago. Humans learnt to spin wool around 3,500 years ago.
Wool fibres have evolved over centuries to keep sheep healthy and insulated against the elements; cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold. Sheep can withstand all weather conditions from snow to heat because their fur acts as a natural insulator.
The fibres contained in fleece and wool are natural insulators that can both absorb and desorb moisture.
Meaning that fleece and wool fibres “breathe”; either by drawing perspiration away from your body through the fibre and releasing the moisture into the air to help you cool down, or by trapping air in the fibres when it’s cold to create an insulating layer to help you stay warm.
Hence, fleece and wool fibres regulate your body’s temperature by reducing extremes in hot or cold weather, and acts as a natural thermostat. Click to Tweet
Babies are still learning to regulate their body temperature; and using a natural fibre that insulates by warming and cooling their body will support and keep them comfortable and happy.
The therapeutic properties contained in fleece and wool; reduces stress and colic, and ensures a more restful, longer and better sleep, which means that babies eat better, gain weight, and are happier and more balanced.
Some studies conducted in the UK with preterm and low birth weight babies found that babies grew faster, rested less fretfully, lost less body heat and were more contented when lying on lambs-wool, while older babies cried less and slept more!
Even for adults, studies repeatedly showed that we have a better night's rest if we use a woollen under-blanket. One study by the University of Sydney showed that wool made even more of a difference in hot weather, not just cold weather. The study showed that adults had a better, longer and more restful sleep on wool.
Sheepskin against the body activates the blood circulation and the immune system supporting the relaxation and regeneration of the whole body. Click to Tweet
Sheepskin is gentle on your skin because it contains lanolin, a basic substance that is found in human skin, and
A recent study presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress found that babies who sleep on animal fur such as sheepskin in the first three months have a decreased risk of asthma, and they experience less incidence of hay fever and wheezing by the time they are 10 years of age. The theory is based on the beneficial microscopic organisms contained in animal fur that help to bolster a baby's immune system.
As a mother, my intuition told me that my baby’s skin was still developing and would be sensitive to man-made fibre. I made certain to only put natural fibres such as cotton and wool on her body and around her. As a result, my daughter grew up with no allergies, very healthy and beautiful skin.
My motivation for developing our Flat Friends® Soft Toys was to create a baby comforter that used a natural fibre with many benefits. Sheepskin/lambskin fleece/fur/wool has tactile and therapeutic properties with so many benefits that it was the perfect choice. I developed my first sheepskin soft toy in 1996, and found that many babies became attached to their Flat Friend® and loving the animal our Flat Friend® represents.
Since researching to write this article, I purchased a sheepskin under blanket, wool doona, wool pillows and my husband and I have had a much more restful and comfortable sleep each night. The other night said to each other, “what a difference sheepskin and wool has made, we feel comfortably happy, like we are being nurtured.”