Baby in Wool

A guide to natural and gentle baby care by Ruskovilla

BABY IN WOOL A guide to natural and gentle baby care

• 1 • Es t. 1981

New life, a little baby, a little star The world awaits you near and far With guidance and loving care That will keep you safe and happy there

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The cover features a silk wool newborn set and a women’s silk short-sleeved shirt and underwear < The picture shows a swaddling cloth and children’s sleeveless silk wool shirt

Warmth and closeness are the best you can offer to your baby As you are reading this text, you are most likely either expecting a baby or are already a parent or grandparent. You are also interested in offering your baby the best start to life by choosing pure, natural fibres that support your baby’s development. Congratulations! We have collected all the experience and know-how accumulated here at Ruskovilla over the past 40 years on natural and gentle baby care into this Baby in Wool guide. For us, it means settling down into an unhurried existence when you strive to do things simply and harmoniously. The focus is on the close interaction between you and the baby, and the aim is to live in balance with our natural surroundings.

Wishing you warmth and love for your life-long journey!

From all of us at Ruskovilla

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When it all begins Babies are born at just the right time, whether their parents have been fully prepared or not. A comforting thought for expecting parents is: a new baby is more than capable of letting you know their needs, as long as you stop and listen. Parental instinct and common sense go a long way. Each baby is different. Even if you have previously cared for children, the love and affection you feel for your own child is an entirely new kind of feeling that helps you to get through even the more difficult moments. There is something sacred about the moment of birth when everything seems to come to a standstill. A newborn is simultaneously helpless and completely prepared to face the world. The parents’ task is to take good care of their precious treasure. A newborn makes their way from the nice dark 37 degrees Celsius womb to the twenty-or-so-degrees room temperature. As such, in addition to skin-to-skin contact the baby will need clothes that support both their undeveloped temperature regulation. Natural fibres from animals, such as wool, silk wool, and silk, are all fantastic for keeping the baby warm in cold weather and cool in warm weather. They also absorb moisture, such as sweat, from the skin without feeling wet. More information about breathable natural fibres can be found on page 13.

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A silk bonnet, silk body, and a large soft toy rabbit

Protecting the head is important Is there anything more intoxicating than the smell of a newborn baby? Contact with another person’s warm skin is important intimacy for a baby, and it should be offered as much as possible. In addition to baby’s parents, grandparents and siblings are all important caregivers and can provide that much-needed intimacy too. At first, you should trust in your own way of parenting, and occasionally go against common norms and advice if it feels right for you and your child. With a newborn and even older baby you can, in good conscience, stay in the baby bubble and enjoy a calm, low-stimulus environment in peace. This way it is also easier to stop and enjoy the company of a happy baby, and to strengthen your unique bond. It is always good to keep the baby warm: if all baby’s energy goes towards keeping warm, none will be left for growth and development. Most heat leaves the body through the baby’s relatively large head, so various woollen bonnets and caps are more than just cute accessories. A bonnet also protects the baby’s fontanel, which is still open. If a bonnet reaches down to cover baby’s ears, it also reduces some of the noise from the surrounding environment, which soothes and calms the baby. Our luxurious, hand-made silk bonnets with subtle decorative patterns gently and soothingly massage baby’s head. Headwear made from natural fibres is breathable and never feels too hot.

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A nursing top, sand coloured short-sleeved nappy pants and a woollen body

Milk helps babies grow

For the first few months, milk is the driving force behind baby’s growth and development. Every baby grows and develops at their own pace, but some average growth figures for the first year can be found in a table on page 34. Regardless of the method, baby’s mealtime is much more than just feeding: it is an opportunity to create a bond through eye contact and soothing touch. Skin contact lowers baby’s blood pressure, reduces post-birth stress and increases oxytocin levels. Feeding is usually easier when the baby is rested and relaxed. Weight gain and alertness indicate that the baby is getting enough nutrition. A newborn baby feeds around 8-12 times per day. After the first few days, breastfeeding should no longer hurt, so consult a specialist if you still feel pain while breastfeeding. Nowadays there are lots of tops for nursing mothers. It is essential to choose a top that is both practical and comfortable. It is also important for the top to be easy to clean. Woollen chest warmers worn under the clothes are a great way to ward off chest infections during winter months, as are Ruskovilla’s nursing tops, which have a double layer of wool to protect the chest. Choosing washable and reusable nursing pads is good for the environment. When choosing and using reusable products, remember that the hazardous chemicals in textiles, cosmetics and detergents, such as dyes and finishing agents, can easily end up in baby’s mouth.

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Swaddling soothes newborns Newborns are still developing their limb control and have lots of jerky reflexes which can disturb sleep. A traditional method of calming the baby is to wrap them tightly in a swaddling cloth to simulate being in the womb.



Lay the baby on its back on a swaddle cloth, top edge of the cloth above shoulders.

Set the baby’s hand on its chest and turn the top right-hand edge of the swaddle cloth briskly over the baby’s right shoulder diagonally towards the lower left-hand edge.



Straighten the swaddle cloth’s hem, and turn it on top of the baby.

Fold the cloth’s left edge through the baby’s back onto the tummy side. Straighten the pleats carefully, so that they don’t press the baby’s back.

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It is well worth choosing a swaddling cloth made of a breathable natural fibre to prevent sweating. A swaddled baby should be put to bed on his or her side, alternating between the two sides. Use a light, breathable blanket. Newborns can be swaddled around the clock, while older babies can be swaddled for breastfeeding and sleep. Several studies show that a swaddled baby is more easily soothed and sleeps better and for longer.



Now set the baby’s other hand on its chest.

Lift the left edge of the swaddle cloth over baby’s left shoulder diagonally towards the lower right-hand edge.



Take the cloth’s right edge to the backside and thread the last corner into the previous fold.

Correctly swaddled baby is a brisk package. Swaddle cloth provides the baby with a womb-like peaceful sense.

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A silk body and underwear

Every natural fibre serves its own purpose For thousands of years, nature has carried out her own product development on natural fibres, so each fibre has slightly different properties and applications. All the fibres used by Ruskovilla are certified organic, which means that their positive impact on the well being of the planet, animals, and people is highlighted at every stage of production.

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Organic merino wool • Keeps warm in the cold due to its curly structure • Breaths well and can absorb moisture up to 40% of its weight without feeling wet against skin • Works especially well as the main material for outdoor clothing during the colder months and in nappy pants due to its excellent absorbency capacity Organic silk wool • Thinner and softer than regular merino wool • Breaths well and adjusts to body temperature • Suitable as a year-around underwear material and on its own during warmer months Organic silk • The most luxurious underwear material suited also for those with a very sensitive skin • Breaths well and keeps cool when warm • Suitable as a year-around underwear material and on its own during warmer months Organic cotton • Cool plant-based fibre • Breaths well, is very abrasion-resistant and can be washed even in high temperatures • Works well in waddle clothes, bedding and as a middle nappy fabric

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A silk body and bonnet containing the Reconnecting Nature® extract.

Immunity is created in contact with others In recent years, increasing attention has been paid to good immunity, which is built in large part during the first weeks and months of a baby’s life. It can be difficult to have enough contact with nature and the microbial flora that builds immunity, in an urban environment. Studies show that exposure to rich biodiversity is connected to lower levels of autoimmune diseases such as allergy, asthma and type 1 diabetes. Good sources of microbial flora are the baby’s own mother during pregnancy and birth, and skin contact with family once the baby is born. Immunity can also be strengthened with clothes. The Reconnecting Nature® extract contains natural microbes found in forests. It is a Finnish innovation developed based on the ADELE research project carried out at universities. Studies showed that when the microbe extract, created by the Finnish company Uute Scientific, is in direct contact with the skin, it helps to support the body’s own microbial flora. We are the first in the world to introduce silk wool bodies and bonnets containing this wonderful extract to the markets. The best effects are achieved by using the products as much as possible and for long periods.

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A woollen outdoor set

Dress babies in sufficient clothing Babies who spend a lot of time lying down and crawling on the floor are more exposed to cold than adults or older children. If a baby is wearing breathable natural fibres, it is luckily very hard to overdress them. When outside, an easy way to check whether a baby has enough clothes on is by checking the neck: it should feel warm, but not sweaty. Natural fibres feels pleasant against the skin and provides the baby with even warmth and moisture protection. The most popular material for baby clothing is cotton, which is considered to be hygienic as it can be washed at high temperatures. But it is a rather cold fibre and doesn’t necessarily provide sufficient warmth on its own. Therefore, in addition to this, it is worth favoring other fibers, such as merino wool. It is incredibly smooth, it can be used directly against the skin and it provides comfortable warmth due to its curly structure. In the late autumn, winter, and early spring, wool is the best option when dressing babies. Other times of the year silk and silk wool against the skin provide a soft and warm baselayer. In the summer heat, babies feel comfortable dressed only in silk or silk wool. Head, fingers and toes, which can easily get cold is important to protect with sufficiently thick socks, fold over sleeves, and bonnets to keep the whole body wonderfully warm.

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Fleece overalls and a woollen balaclava

No need for Goretex in the pram New parents often spend lots of time thinking about what baby clothing and equipment to buy. With regard to the wellbeing of the environment and the parents’ bank balance, it is worth taking a step back. At the beginning you need very little and plenty can be acquired along the way. If you do choose to buy new, favour products that are durable and recyclable. No single choice is likely to cause long-term harm to the baby, even if contradictory advice and guidance may feel that way. For example, there is no need for a separate waterproof or windproof layer for babies in prams, so parents only need to buy such clothing around the baby’s first birthday. One lovely way to keep a baby warm outdoors is by dressing them in fleece overalls made from 100% organic merino wool. In cool weather, overalls with fold over sleeves and legs, and later on mittens and booties made from the same material, are worn over other woollen layers. This organic merino wool fleece contains no plastic and is so breathable that it can be used almost year-round, for example in a car seat when heading out to run errands.

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Body suit, underwear and socks made from merino wool, and a sleeping sheep toy

Support the wellbeing of your baby’s skin Skin is baby’s largest and most important sensory organ. After birth, it communicates important information, such as temperature, pressure, touch, and pain from the world outside of the womb. The baby’s first fully functional sense is touch and the emotional language recognised by babies is created through touching. Skin contact and warmth create a feeling of calm and wellbeing for the baby. That is why safe contact inside a parent’s shirt wearing just a nappy, and stroking whenever possible, are vital for babies. Whatever you put against a baby’s skin contributes heavily towards the development of the baby’s sense of security. A baby’s skin is also very thin, just a fraction of the thickness of an adult’s skin, and the bidirectional pumps in the pores of the skin secrete sweat and absorb particles on the skin into the body. Increased skin irritation is surprisingly often caused by various chemicals against the skin, such as strong detergents or lotions. Always choose unscented, clean, and organic alternatives where possible. Dressing a baby in responsibly produced clothes also gives parents peace of mind. Investing in classic and high-quality baby clothing is also sensible from a financial standpoint. Their price in relation to their durability is ultimately rather affordable, as they can be passed down to younger siblings and cousins. They also have a good resale value if you think about selling them.

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A silk wool newborn set, honey-coloured sheepskin, and fleece baby blanket

Sleep serves a purpose

Newborns may sleep up to 16–20 hours per day. A regular sleep-wake cycle, which means longer periods of sleep at night, starts to develop during the baby’s first months. The function of sleep is to allow the baby’s mind to process what has been learnt while awake and promote new skills. Babies can sleep little or irregularly, or the most inconvenient time for the rest of the family. In such cases, it is important to calm down both the baby and the parents. Calming movements, speech, or humming can work for babies, and you can soothe yourself with accepting self-talk. Remember not to be hard on yourself: you can’t always be an exemplary textbook parent, and an average performance is completely fine. One third of babies suffer from mild to severe colic during their first three months. Baby massage and by changing the mother’s diet can relive colic. If the birth was difficult, or delivery was by caesarean section, the baby may have an irregular posture or muscle stiffness which can cause restlessness. In such cases, relieve can be found from osteopathy, zone therapy or baby massage. By dressing the baby to sleep in breathable natural fibres, you can ensure good sleep without sweating or feeling cold. Clean natural fibres do not shed on the skin or into the airways. Many parents also put their babies down to sleep on sheepskin as a German study indicated that it might protect the child against subsequent development of allergies and asthma.

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A sleeveless sleep sack, fleece baby blanket, and sand-coloured woollen shirt for women

A sleep sack reduces restlessness Sometimes babies just will not sleep. The most common reasons for disrupted sleep are stomach complaints, colds, growth spurts or teething. Especially with babies who are learning to move around, nights can be rather action packed. Parents should remain calm when possible as there is no need to react to every little noise or sound. One of the long-used natural methods for quieter nights and longer sleep is to use a sleep sack made from natural fibre. In a sleep sack, the baby does not wake up to getting cold caused by a shifted blanket. Sleep sacks are also good for co-sleeping. Another reason to encourage good sleep for your baby is because rest is one of the most important ways for the mother to recover from pregnancy and birth. Make use of your partner’s, grandparents’ or other family friends’ time and resources if possible. Merino wool warmers can be used to help alleviate various cramps in the pelvic area and stiff shoulders from breastfeeding.

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Short nappy pants, silk body, silk bonnet, short sleeved unisex silk wool shirt and wool blanket and pillow

Reusable nappies grow with your baby During their first day, baby will usually wet one nappy. On the second, they will wet two, and so on. From around one week old, baby will wet at least 5-6 nappies per day. Babies under six weeks should also poop every day. Breathable, reusable nappies are an affordable and eco-friendly way to care for your baby. Natural fibres do not smother baby’s bottom and reusable nappies do not contain any fragrances or other allergenic materials. There is also some indications that babies and toddlers who use reusable nappies become potty-trained more quickly than babies who use disposable nappies. Above all, everyday logistics and the family’s own values dictate which kind of nappies to use. Nor does the choice have to be an absolute either-or-setup. Disposable nappies for one child can easily produce up to 1,500kg of poorly degradable plastic waste. By using reusable nappies during the day, and by choosing the most eco friendly disposable nappies for night time, you can easily halve this amount. Ruskovilla’s organic merino wool cloth nappies have superior absorption and have been a firm favourite since 1981. They are designed to grow with your baby from a newborn to toddler.

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Simple: just wool and cotton

At couple of months old, dirty nappies no longer reliably indicate whether the baby is getting enough nutrition. Older babies may pee less frequently but in larger quantities. Older babies also poop very individually: some may go many times per day while others might only poop once a week. Reusable nappies have two parts: an absorbent inner layer and a moisture-proof outer layer. A cotton nappy cloth is placed against the baby’s bottom; instructions on how to fold the cloth are given on the next double-page spread. Next, a flannel or woollen middle nappy is used to increase absorption and aid longer sleep for newborns. Older babies always need a middle nappy. The same nappy clothes and middle nappies can be used from newborn to toddler. You can also dress the baby in cotton pants to keep the nappy in place. The outermost layer is breathable merino wool, which binds in moisture and neutralises unpleasant odors. Nappy pants are available with short or long legs and sit nice and high to keep the baby’s developing organs warm.

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To get you started, we recommend: • 24 cotton nappies (triangle fold) • 9 flannel or woollen middle nappies for night time and outdoors • Two long and two short pairs of nappy pants • Wool detergent, gall soap, wool conditioner As the baby grows: • The same cotton nappies (rectangle fold) • Another 15 flannel or woollen middle nappies (a middle nappy is always needed as the baby grows) • 4 pairs of larger nappy pants • Pants or body suits to keep the nappy bundle in place. Always hand-wash nappy pants before use. Always wash cotton nappies twice in the washing machine before use, so that they achieve optimum absorption.

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Rectangular Nappy with an Unfolded End for Small Babies Rectangular nappy with an unfolded end up to 6 months How to fold nappies

1–3. First fold the nappy cloth in half and then into thirds

4–5. Open the upper end corners of the nappy at the length around 20 cm. This way the part of the nappy remaining under the bottom will be thinner

6. Fold the nappy into the right size. You will find the size suitable for your baby. The nappy stays in place if tight cotton underpants are worn on the nappy. On top, put on woollen nappy pants, either short-legged or long-legged

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Rectangular Nappy (”Stick Nappy”) Rectangular nappy once the baby begins to move around

1. First fold the nappy into quarters

2. Then fold the nappy into a rectangle approx. 35-40 cm long and 10-13 cm wide

3. For better absorption, insert a middle flannel nappy inside the rectangular nappy


4. The nappy stays in place if tight cotton underpants are worn on top of the nappy

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Wash and care of cloth nappies is surprisingly easy

Cloth nappies: 1. Before washing, store dirty cotton nappies separately from other laundry in a plastic bucket with a lid, filled halfway with cold water. To prevent odors and bacteria, add a dash of vinegar or a few drops of antibacterial tea tree oil. 2. Open wet nappies before putting them in the bucket, and wash nappies with poop in them using a hand-held shower. You can compost the rice paper which helps to remove the poop, or put it in the biowaste. 3. Cloth nappies and cotton pants can be washed at 60°. Put them in an 80-90° program every third wash. You can pre-wash nappies that have poo in them on a pre-wash program. 4. Don not use fabric conditioner as it may irritate the baby’s skin. The nappies can be dried in the tumble dryer, but a machine load of nappies can also fit on a single clothes horse. 5. Whenever you empty the bucket of nappies, wash out the bucket using a cleaning agent and hot water. Woolen nappy pants: 1. Stain-free woolen pants can be washed a couple of times a month, and they can be aired to remove the smell of pee. 2. Poop stains should be dealth with using stain detergent immediately and then the pants are washed by hand in warm water by gently squeezing using a wool detergent or olive oil soap. 3. After thorough washing, squeeze the pants between terry towels and lay flat to dry in a well-ventilated area well away from radiators. 4. To maintain absorption and softness, treat the woollen pants with Sonett wool care. Instructions: Dissolve 1-2 tbsp of wool care into a dash of hot water. Add lukewarm water in the container until you have one litre. Place damp, clean woollen pants into the mixture, swirl them around, and then carefully squeeze them. After treatment, dry the pants as discribed above.

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The size chart will help you to find the right size BABIES 50 60 70 80 Approx. Age 0-2 mth 2-4 mth 6-8 mth 12 mth Neck – wrist 23 27 31 35 Waist circumference 45 47 49 51 Inside leg 15 20 25 30 Head circumference 33-37 37-41 41-45 45-49 Washing and care are part of the ecology of a garment

Care instruction

Wool & Silk wool


Organic cotton


By hand or with a hand- wash program 30°C.

By hand or with a hand- wash program 30°C.

Machine wash 40-60°C


Sonett Washing liquid for Wool and Silk or olive oil soap. Use gall soap for stains. Airing extends washing intervals. It is recommended to treat woollens that need to be washed often with Sonett Wool Conditioner

Sonett Washing liquid for Wool and Silk. Use gall soap for stains. Airing extends washing intervals.

Preferably use a biodegradable deter gent. Use gall soap for stains.

Drying Storing

• Protect wool from moths and beetles • When clothing is not being used, store it in a sealed bag. • Soft spin • Do not tumble dry • Shape whilst damp

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Sheep wool fleeces • Air and shake outdoors weekly. • Brush now and then, so that wool fibers remain elastic. Use a coarse steel comb or brush. • Stains can be rinsed away under running water. • If washing of the entire fleece is necessary, it can be machine-washed with a wool-wash program (30°C) and with Sonett washing liquid. Light spin. • You can stretch the fleece into shape after wash. • Hang the fleece to dry from two edges, preferably outdoors. • Do not hang close to a heat source or in direct sunlight. • As the fleeces hair is wool, it slightly curls when washed. • When the cotton cover needs washing, open the fastener and shake the husks out into a suitable container. • Wash the cover in a washing machine (40-60°C). • Refill the clean cover with the husks. • The husks do not need washing as they do not gather moisture or odors. • Old dirty husks can be disposed as biowaste. • You can acquire new husks from Ruskovilla. Millet husk pillow • Use covered with a pillow case.

Care instructions are always marked also on the Ruskovilla products and/or packages.

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A checklist of what to buy for your baby Babies do not need mountains of stuff around them; care and attachment are the most important things. Only a few simple, classic pieces of clothing are needed at the start too, and you can add to these later on as necessary for your own family. We have made a list of Ruskovilla’s baby products here to help you to decide.

Indoor wear and undergarments

Organic Merino Wool Body long sleeve

Organic Silk

Body long sleeve 60, 70 ja 80 cm Long underpants 60 ja 70 cm Balaclava bonnet 2 sizes

60, 70, 80 ja 90 cm Rompers with feet 60 ja 70 cm

Organic Silk Wool

Newborn set 50 cm Baby shirt


Silk cap 4 colors ja 4 sizes

50, 60 ja 70 cm Body long sleeve 50, 60, 70 ja 80 cm Long underpants 60 ja 70 cm Balaclava bonnet 3 sizes

Continues >

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Middle layers Organic Merino Wool Overall, off-white 50, 60, 70 ja 80 cm

Organic Wool Fleece First mittens 0-1 yr Booties 0-1 yr Overall with hood 50/60 ja 70/80

Overall, red 60 ja 70 cm Overall, green 60 ja 70 cm Balaclava bonnet 2 sizes First mittens without thumb Socks 3 sizes

Bedding Organic Merino Wool Sleeping sack without sleeves 0–1 v

Organic Cotton

Swaddle cloth 80 x 120 cm

For Baby Care

Sleeping sack with sleeves 50, 70 ja 90 cm Baby blanket 70 x 90 cm

Baby blanket wool fleece Baby blanket merino wool Millet husk pillow

Sheepskin rug white Sheepskin rug honey

Cloth nappy accessories Organic Merino Wool Long nappy pants 4 sizes Short nappy pants 60 ja 80 cm Woollen middle nappy 12 x 32 cm

Organic Cotton

Cotton nappy 85 x 85 cm Flannel middle nappy 40 x 40 cm Rice paper Diaper fastener

For Mothers Organic Merino Wool Nursing shirt

Organic Merino Wool and Silk Breast warmers Organic Cotton Nursing pads

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RUSKOVILLA OY +358 3 871 460 Kinnarintie 32 16200 Artjärvi, Finland

Photos: Kristiina Hemminki, Print: MP-Paino Oy Lahti 2021

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