Your safest bet for baby's bedding is more natural than you think.
We discovered a study* that examines Crib Death (often mistakenly called Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS) and its causes.
According to Sprott's study, there is, indeed, evidence as to causes of this horrible heart-breaking occurence.
"The cause of cot death (often erroneously termed Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS) has been elucidated as being due to extremely toxic ‘nerve’ gases generated by fungal activity on chemicals frequently present in cot mattresses and in certain other bedding commonly used in baby bedding."
Specifically, these are fire retardant chemicals, plus synthetic materials that...uh..."naturally" (?) off-gas chemicals. Yuk.
Sprotts's first estimation of accidental poisoning was in 1986. He suggested that one or more gasses were generated by "microbiological activities on chemicals in the baby's cot."
We suggest the chemicals mentioned are the chemicals used to treat the baby's bedding by the manufacturers.
At this time, Sprotts wasn't able to identify the specific gasses.
That came in 1989.
"In 1989 B.A. Richardson of Britain  independently came to the same conclusion, but in addition was able to identify the gases as the hydrides and/or lower alkyl derivates of phosphorus (P), arsenic (As) and antimony (Sb). He also identified a common fungus, Scopulariopsis brevicaulis, as being probably the principal organism with that capability to be found in babies’ mattresses and other bedding."
Further studies and tests showed that wrapping a mattress, to contain the gasses, did decrease the instances of Crib Death. So that was a step in the right direction....
WOW! It's scary to think that as a parent, you'd need to protect your baby from her own bed! Further time, fear & investment into a wrapper. Yikes.
What if infants were to sleep on a completely clean, natural bed...with a natural fire retardant....with no chemicals, fungus or "microbiological activities"? No side effects, no off-gassing....no gasses "to be contained" in the first place?
Some sheepskins, as the article further notes, can be treated with arsenic...however, ours Happy Lamb Fleeces are not. (And actually, there's no "skin" involved...it's fleece.)
Knowing the source...indeed, knowing our sources and how they operate their businesses are key components to making sure the bedding your beloved little one sleeps on is part of the our values based work ethic.
We know the shepherds. We've met a few of the sheep.
That's part of our commitment to making sure you've got the safest, purest bedding for your baby...and your whole family. We know what's going into the wool because we chose the shepherds for their sustainable methods in caring for and nurturing their sheep.
That's only part of it. There's also the incredible magic-like qualities that wool carries naturally: improved & deeper sleep, an ability to keep you & your family dry, safe & warm throughout the year.
If you're just getting started in incorporating natural materials into the nursery, consider these ideas:
Investing in an all wool crib mattress is our number one suggestion when it comes to creating a safe organic nursery. Just skip the chemicals altogether.
Say you have a conventional mattress and buying a replacement just isn't an option. You can still create a safe, all natural surface (& barrier) for your baby to rest on.
Last Note: Mythbusting the Bumper
Just one more second for an educational moment.
There's a misconception that (all) baby bumpers lead to SIDS. It's not the bumpers themselves but the reduction in air flow which is just enough to trap more of those toxic gases inside where baby is sleeping. The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a warning against baby bumpers in 2011. That's how bumpers came to get a bad wrap.
The point we're trying to make here is about those toxic gasses in the first place. When materials are used that don't release toxic gasses at all, then the whole bed is safe and breatheable for baby. Even bumpers.
Baby bumpers, when it's made with organic cotton and breatheable wool materials... on an organic mattress with wool bedding is perfectly safe. After all, not all bedding ...or bumpers... are created equally.
All right, we've been plenty clear about safe bedding for baby....but just to be sure, we'll be sharing more this summer about fire retardant chemicals and possibly more about baby bedding & safety.
Here's to sweet dreams for everyone!
*Note: An additional article was written based on this same study. It was published under another bedding company's site that offers their own solution of a gel-based mattress with an organic cotton cover and the additional option of a polythene mattress wrap. While we prefer our methods, we're very grateful for more information on this topic.
UNmake your bed.
What?! YES! Serving up the why and how you’ll freshen & clean your organic wool bedding effectively, naturally ...and perhaps...lazily. Enjoy!
Who would have thought that unmaking your bed would actually air it out and freshen it?
Well it’s true. All you need do is pull the covers waaaay back. Opening it up so as much of the insides of your wool covers, including comforter and topper or mattress, are exposed.
Why? So the moisture you gave off while sleeping has a chance to dissipate. Moisture collects in the wool fibers and wicks it away from your body, while regulating your temperature. It’s the beauty of wool, really. So, unmaking your bed is a little like “letting it breathe”...so the moisture in the wool fibers dries.
Let the sunshine in...by putting your bedding outside
Placing your wool bedding in the sun a few times per year is an excellent way to refresh and cleanse your bedding using the benefits of the sun. Sunning does quite a bit for your bedding. It will naturally deodorize, bleach, disinfect, and revitalize your bedding.
Try it once, on a sunny day, for a few hours. Flip it and let it sun outside for another few hours. See how you and your family like it. Then schedule more accordingly. Consider mid-Spring (right about now), the beginning of Summer and perhaps the end of Summer too. See what you think.
Just a friendly reminder to wash all exterior organic cotton casings and sheets for Spring.
Protection for your bedding from everyday use is a good thing. Kind of like an insurance policy for your wool bedding...especially if you have kids.
A few examples:
- Place your comforter inside a duvet cover
- Put your pillow inside a zippered pillow cover and then into a pillow case
- For mattress toppers, we recommend a layered system of first a moisture barrier topped with a thin absorbent cotton blanket and topped with a fitted sheet
Plus, care instructions
Do you need another copy of the care instructions for your bedding? Email a request and we’ll send it ASAP. (Consider bookmarking our FAQ page for emergency cleaning options...just in case)
If you have additional questions about cleaning, sunning and refreshing your bedding, send them and we'll answer those right away too.
We think so. And we're not alone. Here's a bit of the "why" behind choosing natural wool for better rest.
A lower heart rate = deeper state of relaxation
A study at Polytechnic University of Wales did a study on skin temperature, and the temperature and humidity of the air next to the skin while people slept under several kinds of comforters.
This study showed that those people who slept under wool comforters, had lower heart rates and they stayed lower for the duration of those sleeps. A lowered heart rate indicates a deeply relaxed state.
On feathers & fillers
The same study compared feather-filled and synthetic-filled comforters had no effect on lowering the heart rates in the sleepers. No diminished quality of sleep, but no improved quality either.
Wool regulates your body temp and insulates accordingly
It's built to breathe, wick, regulate and insulate.
Imagine woolly sheep on a rainy chilly pasture. They're outside grazing, sleeping and playing even in the rain and cold. Wool breathes, wicks, regulates and insulates these lovely animals. Wool does the same for us when we safely shear, card, and clean their wool in warmer times and create comforters from those fibers.
Natural wool fleece fibers are tightly crimped, and air between the fibers actually the retains warmth between the fibers when needed. It also automatically absorbs moisture away from the skin when we begin to perspire in sleep. It does this before we even know we're too warm or perspiring.
Before you shy away with idea of heavy and scratchy wool...
Our watchwords for wool are: Clean, soft, fluffy. The wool we source from local sheep and our century-old local mill is the cleanest and softest wool we've found. We're incredibly lucky to have them all so close
"The guiding principle of earlier years, “the thicker and heavier the duvet, the better the level of thermal insulation”, has been disproved by tests at Hohenstein..." (Hohenstein Institute tests textiles of all kinds relating to clothing and bedding physiology.)
It's what's inside that counts
If you stuffed one of our comforter casings with linen or corduroy, it would be heavier than wool, but probably not as warm.
You could also put synthetic filler into a casing, but you'd be missing out on all the additional benefits of using natural wool. Plus, you'd be breathing in any synthetic chemicals used to create and pretreat those fillers as well.
Soft fluffy wool is the magic ingredient here.
It's simply built to regulate body temperatures, wick moisture away and insulate as needed. Simply. Easily. Naturally.
A matter of preference
Some folks do prefer a heavier or lighter-weight comforter without much regard to insulation or warmth generated. It's the weight, not the warmth, for them.
We understand that. At Holy Lamb Organics we develop our comforter products with fluffy natural clean wool in different weights to account for preferences.
There are different amounts of wool in each of our comforter products. That said, most customers choose our
Perfect Comfort Comforter temperature weight.
Additional benefits of wool in the bedroom
You may feel more able to relax in a clean room on a clean bed.
While wool bedding won't prevent dust or get out the vacuum cleaner for you,
wool is anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and dust mites can't survive in wool bedding.
So if you're allergic to mites, or just a little freaked out at the thought of them, you'll definitely breathe deeper and sleep easier with wool filled and organic cotton cased pillows, comforters and even a mattress.
Natural wool bedding lowers heart rates, promoting deeper rest and states of relaxation so your sleep is the best you can get. You'll love falling asleep in your beautiful bed, and you'll awaken with the full benefits a deep restorative sleep will bring.
It's mighty exciting our 15th year in business coinciding with the Year of the Sheep! We took a look around this month and found that sheep, rams and lambs are indeed, everywhere. In literature, Chinese astrology and tradition, in ancient civilizations, religion, the media...even in our dreams. Let's hold a birthday candle to....The Sheep!
The Year of the Sheep
In the Chinese Astrology Calendar, we’re approaching the Year of the Sheep, or sometimes Ram. Specifically, 2015 is the Year of the Green Wooden Sheep.
Travel China Guide notes, “People under the sign of the sheep are tender, polite, filial, clever, and kind-hearted. They have special sensitivity to art and beauty, faith in a certain religion and a special fondness for quiet living. They are wise, gentle and compassionate and can cope with business cautiously and circumspectly.”
References in Religion
Lambs, rams and sheep are mentioned frequently throughout pastures of religion and mythology.
In the Bible, Christ is known as the “lamb of God”, and Jesus is also referred to as a Shepherd, with his followers as being a “flock.” There’s the story of the Lion & the Lamb, the Sacrificial Lamb and more.
Per, the website ThinkDifferentlyAboutSheep.com, “In Judaism in accordance with the mandate of the Torah...a lamb, known as the Paschal Lamb, was sacrificed on the eve of the Passover".
In Masonic culture, lambs signify innocence and purity. And folks, there’s plenty more on the topic.
There's a popular story in Buddhist tradition where Buddha carries and injured lamb behind a flock and shepherd as well. We won't give away what happens, but you can read it here.
Even in Islaamic culture, sheep and lambs have an important part to play in the Festival of Sacrifice, commemorating the Prophet Ibrahim.
This is definitely not an exhaustive list but proves a point that these beautiful animals are easy to find in traditions and cultures around the world. Let's move on.
Rams were symbols of power and virility in ancient Sumeria and Egypt. These were polytheistic times, when people believed in many Gods. More than one of these gods appeared with the head of a ram.
One was known as Khnum, originally the god of the source of the Nile and believed to have created all the other hundreds of gods and goddesses in Egyptian times.
Again, plenty to work with in this category, but we have more examples to share...so...Onward!
Lambs in Lit
George Orwell’s Animal Farm is one longstanding classic, which included Sheep in its cast of characters.
In this story, it was the flock, rather than an individual sheep, that was a character. Almost as an updated version of a Greek Chorus, the flock even breaks into chants or phrases as a group. Per Gradesaver.com, “The Sheep--true to the typical symbolic meaning of “sheep”--represent those people who have little understanding of their situation and thus are willing to follow their government blindly.”
Not very complimentary to sheep --or to people either. But the flock stands as a group that’s loyal and willing to follow a leader. It's also a group that can change its mind to follow another leader.
In the smash whimsical story of Babe!, the character called Old Ewe (played by Evelyn Krape) befriends the orphaned wee pig and exhibits characteristics of gregariousness, nurturing, protectiveness and loyalty. She also reinforces the importance of manners in the young pig.
A nod also goes to the Greek mythological story of Jason & the Argonauts. Whether you’ve seen the 1963 film or the 2000 release, Jason is in search of …..wait for it….
The Golden Fleece!
This is THE most coveted gift of the Gods and it's a requirement to get it in order for Jason to secure the throne of Iolcus in Thessaly.
One word for this Fleece-as-a-Prize story: Epic.
If a lamb appears in your dream, it’s said to represent love, warmth and gentleness.
AWWW! (Doesn’t that just make you want to take a nap right now?)
It's no joke that sheep are on our minds throughout each day. It's no coincidence that our 15th year lands smack in the middle of the Year of the Sheep.
- The wool bedding we make for your home symbolizes and imbues love, warmth and gentleness.
- The care and preparation in the design and our sustainable work philosophies represent the loyalty and protectiveness we hold toward our precious resources. And toward making an excellent product for you and your loved ones.
So, here’s to the Year of the Sheep!
And here's to You! Our flock of friends and family! Please help us to celebrate and blow out all the candles in this, our 15th year.
Sheep are symbols of the simple goodness we bring to life when we have the desire and affection to do good for others and to be good ourselves. --Unknown
Maximize your time and budget with these double-duty holiday ideas.
Everyone wants to make the most of this time of year. Days are shorter, there's plenty of cooking, visiting, baking and shopping to enjoy.
Here are a couple of ideas that will stretch your budget, resources, time and even space!
Consider our bedding as a wrap...and as a gift.
Think about it. Many of our bedding pieces are designed to carry other pieces of bedding. That's just their nature.
The most obvious are duvet covers and pillowcases. They're basically large pockets, right? So, at this point, your presents are already halfway wrapped!
Our duvet covers already function as a wrapper for...yes, duvets or comforters.
Other things to slip into a duvet cover could be:
- Framed art pieces or posters
- Larger boxes, bulky gifts
- Board games
- Kitchen appliances or computer electronics (think griddles, cast iron pans or even printers)
A new set of sheets is definitely a great gift in itself. And, if you have a few additional gifts, consider pulling the pillow cases aside, placing the rest of the sheet set in the bottom of a case, and tucking those additional presents in on top.
What could those be?
Bunch the top of the case opening together and secure with a beautiful simple piece of ribbon. Let it be easy to untie, too.
Simple. Beautiful. Sustainable.
Let your imagination take you. And let this simple tip save you some time, effort, money and even space.
Remember, there's no paper, tape, wasted paper scraps or even space in storing awkward, easy-to-rip-and-wrinkle rolls. You're shopping for a present that acts as a wrap.
You can roll, wrap, tuck and tie blankets, sheets and duvet covers around just about any other present. And if you make it a game...you might even have some fun.
A bit of simple ribbon will secure a closure and your loved ones will still be able to delight in "opening" their gifts.
Thinking of you this busy season,
Willow and the Team at Holy Lamb Organics
The winter is all about bundling up in magic and reflection. Keeping close can also include keeping small local businesses close, keeping resources and materials close, and ultimately keeping community close.
Shopping small businesses for gifts and for food throughout the season has a major impact on the immediate community’s economy and the people who work there. Part of your support in dollars reinforces the business practices and choices each small business makes.
Here at Holy Lamb Organics, part of our commitment to sustainable practices in every step, is that we absolutely manufacture right here in the USA. Since we began, this is how we choose daily to conduct our business.
One step further - or closer! - we also consider many things when we spend our dollars on resources like raw natural wool, and the mill we work with. One aspect we review is how far a resource is located from us prior to beginning to work with them.
Transporting resources has a cost beyond dollars...there are also emissions, the use of fossil fuels and other things to account for. We look for vendors with like-minded business practices and we minimize the global costs, and our eco-footprint as well.
Don’t forget to ReKindle!
Making something more from what was already there. This happens between people during winter holidays. It happens here too.
Our ReKindle Program is one more way we make good on our Zero Waste Philosophy. It’s actually a way that we keep local artists close too! Here’s how it works:
There are many pieces of fabric, batting and fleece that are “left-over cuts” just by making our larger items like comforters, toppers and even pillows. One of the uses for these special pieces is to create new products from them, many designed and built by local artists.
A few ReKindled gift ideas
There really is something for everyone in this program.
- Your newest family members may enjoy a squishy soft woolen ball or a toasty-soft pair of baby booties.
- Your faithful, furry companion will love a special warm pet bed of her very own. (BTW, it’s a bed that dust mites cannot survive in.)
- A mom-to-be will appreciate all natural, so soft nursing pads and a supportive body pillow.
Or give a few extra special touches to your own home if you’re hosting:
- A neck roll for extra support on the guest bed (more gift tips here).
- Wool cushions and poufs make instant extra seating room for visiting (or napping) after a big meal.
We’d love to be a partner and resource for your holiday gifts this year and beyond.
Here’s to a close & cozy season for all of us!
How woolen bedding can make your family holidays happier.
Got guests coming to town for holidays? If you’re putting up friends and family in a guest room, we have a way to make their sleep as deep and restful as can be.
After all, being away from one’s own bed and bedtime routine can upset sleep cycles.
Then, add the excitement and, honestly, stress, of the holiday season. And, voila, you may experience levels of crankiness due to missed sleep that “un-joll-ify” the holidays for everyone.
Consider introducing natural wool bedding pieces to your guest room.
Wool is a great temperature-control fiber. It wicks away moisture and keeps your body’s temperature regulated throughout sleep. Not too cold and yes….
Even if they “sleep hot”
If your guests tend to “sleep hot” or are always “running on the warm side,” don’t worry.
Wool bedding has come a long way from the regulation heavy scratchy military issue blanket.
There are different lofts and thicknesses of a wool comforter. Our wool batting, for example, is a fluffy, airy, light bat that’s soft to touch and encased in organic cotton sateen.
Smooth to touch. Deep to sleep. Even for babies.
Yes. Better sleep.
According to the Handbook of Natural Fibres, Volume 1 by Ryszard M. Kozlowski, studies show that “...when sleeping under a wool quilt, the heart rate will be statistically lower for the whole sleep period, providing a more rested condition.” (page 192).
We also found that two scientific studies (one from the Polytechnic Institute of Wales, and another from the Hohenstein Institute in Germany) actually do back up the claim about better sleep under wool. More on that right here- see "Is it true that wool comforters lower your heart rate while you sleep.
Really? Better quality of sleep all because of the wool batting?
Dry, safe & warm
You’ve probably heard us say it before, but these few benefits still bear repeating.
- Naturally flame resistant and doesn’t melt or drip. In fact, per the Kozlowski source mentioned above, wool actually “emits less smoke and toxic gases than any other commonly used fibre.”
- Dust mite and mildew resistant. This is due to the wicking away & temperature control elements) Dust mites and mildew need moisture to thrive and spread and wool is a drying fiber.) Excellent for those loved one’s who suffer allergies or asthma.
Add wool over time
Adding a natural bedding doesn’t have to blast your budget. Just incorporate a piece or two at a time until you’re satisfied with your set up.
- Maybe you’ll start by replacing a couple of pillows.
- Or perhaps you’ve got someone with severe arthritis or who is suffering from fibromyalgia?
Consider a woolen fleece to gently hold those joints and cushion painful pressure points.
- Add a comfy throw to the bed for on-hand coziness and warmth.
- Gift Tip: Wrap up an identical extra wool blanket and send it home with your guest as a memento of this visit. Cozy memories they can be warmed by ...even when they get back home.
Sleeping at your house, in your natural guest bed may be some of the best sleep they’ll have outside of their own at-home bed.
It’s easier for everyone to enjoy the season, and each other, when all are resting well.
Hi All! Willow here.
Lots is going on with Fall and Back to School, but I’m also feeling reflective - and a bit stunned - that Holy Lamb Organics is turning 15 next year! I don’t think I’ve shared this story with you yet of how this company came to be.
Let’s go back to the year 2000…
It was a brand new century...I was 20. I was just out of college and not sure what I was going to do with my degree. Frankly, I didn’t have much time to figure it out as I was also working three jobs.
A fateful trip to the camping store
One day I was planning a trip with my best friend - a backpacking trip to the Redwoods in Northern California -
I decided to gear up & go get a couple of things...I saw some pillows in the corner of this big camping store...and thought, how luxurious! to bring a pillow on a backpacking trip? Right? So I went over and took a closer look.
And it was….
This little travel pillow had its stitching coming undone, and the synthetic fill was kind of... pouring out of it. I thought to myself, “This pillow kinda sucks even though it’d be really cool to take, this pillow sucks.”
But I bought the sad little shoddy-made pillow anyway. I asked for a discount and knew I could make a better one.
And I knew IMMEDIATELY how I would make it better and what I would use for materials.
“I’d put organic cotton on the outside and I’d use wool on the inside.” Knew it right away. No question.
So, from there I decided I was going to start a business. And I was going to make pillows. Wool on the inside, organic cotton on the outside. From the start. Just as you see it today.
Business plan born while backpacking
So me and my best friend went on the backpacking trip. We hiked into the Redwoods and ended up at the beach. And during that time, there was a lot of time to think, and go inside and get clear.
I dreamed up the business plan on the seven day trip and came back with a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do.
So I got started right away...by buying a school bus
I bought a little... well, big... school bus and started the business in there and ran it from 2000-2005 right in the bus
I started with a basic travel pillow and a backpacking pillow with a stuff sack. I was still so inspired to make something better than what was currently available. Something natural and well-made with quality materials. It still drives me today: to make something better.
So I just started making them. And selling them to our local food co-op, which is a huge part of our community, The Olympia Food Co-op. They were my first customer.
Developing more wool & organic cotton products
So with a base in travel pillows, after awhile, I developed bed pillows...then expanded into comforters, then toppers and then on with our baby products. Later we added organic mattresses so we could provide for all of our customers organic bedding needs.
14 years? How did THAT happen?
And, now, what seems like a flash later, 14 years have gone by and we’re still developing wool and organic cotton products. I’m so proud of my team, our story, our practices and our products. It’s inspiring to still want to make something better. There’s still a fire in me for that. So stay tuned….there’s definitely more to come.
Thanks for reading our story. If you have questions or would like to reply, please share them in the comments section below.
Welcome friends! Look who's blogging now!
With our updated website, we decided we wanted to share more frequently and directly about natural and organic bedding. A blog is our chosen medium.
We've worked hard to make good decisions for the last 14+ years, not only about what we make, but who we work with, how sheep and crops are treated (or not!), and more, to make exceptionally safe, gentle bedding we can all be proud of...and sleep well on!
So, part of the blog will share how we've come to decisions in business, what we do day to day, and we'll answer questions. All in an effort to reach out to you.
We're "Raising the Baaaa"!
There's just so much to share.
You're invited, literally and digitally, to join us here at The Little Bit, our 100+ year old headquarters. We're making traditional, breathable, natural wool and organic cotton bedding that can be recycled back to the earth. And that's just the start.
So, Welcome. We're glad you're here.
Our doors, ears and hearts are open to your feedback about the new site, the blog, specific questions. We'd love to hear from you.
This is where you'll be hearing from us.
Holy Lamb Organics shares about what's behind our choice in using our organic cotton fabric.
We don’t make the cotton, but we use it, which, in turn, supports how it's grown and made.
We choose organic because we support how it's made, and who it's made by. Small eco-minded farmers.
First, a little about conventional cotton
Most conventional cotton seeds are actually GMO seeds. It’s amazing that even the seeds get treated with pesticides or fungicides, before they ever hit the dirt.
Once in the ground, that’s when the real “treatment begins.” Synthetic fertilizers, multiple applications of herbicides: first by treating the soil to inhibit weed germination and then multiple times after to attempt to kill the weeds that DO grow. And they do grow.
Where does it all go?
The thing is, the soil is where the nutrients are. Minerals and rich soil content that will grow the cotton that will ultimately be really close to our skin...we wear it, use it and sleep on it ...in some way...daily.
Uh. We haven’t even gotten to pesticides or the insecticides yet (those ARE two different products). To review:
Herbicides are for the weeds…
Pesticides are for pests…
Insecticides are for the insects - both the harmful and the beneficial ones.
Again, spraying, oftentimes from the air, and then again - with some regularity - to address insects and even rodents harmful to the crop.
Little Known Facts
Fact: Conventional cotton crops are the fourth most heavily sprayed crops, behind soybean, corn and wheat.
Fact: Each set of Queen size conventional cotton sheets takes just about 1.25 lbs of pesticide, herbicide and insecticide to create.
Not many people know even this much about the conventional crop of cotton. Believe us, we haven't even scratched the surface of information here yet.
One more concept before we go
Let’s’ just touch a theory that “there is no they”...
There is no “throwing away” because there is no “away”.
When we spray from an airplane, drip poison into the soil, and even chemically harvest (oh yes) the cotton from the plant, WHO are we spraying, dripping and chemically imbuing? Ourselves.
We are “they.”