Why Use Lambskin or Sheepskin?
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 knew that 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.
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.
What are the benefits of using sheepskin/lambskin?
The fibres contained in fleece and wool are natural insulators that can both absorb and desorb moisture.
This means that fleece and wool fibres “breathe”; either by drawing perspiration away from your body through the fibre and into the air helping you cool down, or by trapping air in the fibres when it’s cold to create an insulating layer and helping you stay warm.
Fleece and wool fibres regulate your body’s temperature by reducing extremes in hot or cold weather, and acts as a natural thermostat.
Babies are still learning to regulate their body temperature—this feature in fleece and wool fibres provides comfort by regulating their body temperature which;
- keeps them comfortable
- allows them to sleep better
- reduces their irritability, and therefore
- contributes to their wellbeing.
Fleece and wool has a soothing, swaddling effect on babies that can result in;
- a more restful, longer and better sleep
- reducing stress and colic
- improving weight gain, and
- resulting in a happier and more balanced baby.
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 body.
Sheepskin is gentle on your skin because it contains lanolin, a basic substance that is found in human skin, and
- is hypoallergenic
- is resistant to flame and static electricity
- has therapeutic properties that helps to heal sensitive or inflamed skin or rashes, and
- reduces the risk of asthma in babies.
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 only put natural fibres such as cotton and wool on and around my baby. As a result, my daughter grew up with no allergies and very healthy and beautiful skin.
Using a natural fibre with many benefits for babies was my motivation for developing our Flat Friends® Soft Toys using Lambskin and Sheepskin. I wanted a soft toy that would nurture, comfort and benefit my baby and found that sheepskin/lambskin fleece/fur/wool has so many amazing benefits with its tactile and therapeutic properties that it was the perfect choice.