baby with blanket

What kind of blankets do babies need?

With so many different options available for various types of baby blankets, it is sometimes difficult to know how to differentiate amongst them all! Baby blankets come in all shapes, sizes, colours, and fabrics. That is not to mention all the personal touches available that make them unique- some blankets come adorned with stuffed animals or exciting patterns or countless other details that make them special. You can even get any blanket personalized specifically for your baby! For example, you could purchase a baby receiving blanket with a name embroidered on it. There are so many ways to make your baby’s blankets personal and unique, but before you do, it is important to know what types of baby blankets are out there, how they differ from each other, and what they are used for.

Above all else when it comes to baby blankets, it is important to be aware of the uses of each type and to pair each blanket with its correct use. First of all, there are four main types of baby blankets. These include receiving blankets, security blankets, swaddling blankets, and crib blankets. When buying a blanket for a baby or as a gift, it is important to remember the unique needs of the baby and that each needs to be met with a unique response. Not only is the function and size of the baby blanket important to keep in mind, but you should also remember that familiar and comfortable item will begin to hold a lot of significance to your baby,

Picking out blankets for babies is always a lot of fun! From all the adorable designs to the soft to the touch materials, it’s hard not to cuddle with them yourself. Without any research, most will think a blanket is just a blanket. As long as it’s warm and big enough to wrap a baby in, what else do you need to worry about? There are multiple types of baby blankets. While all will bring comfort to your child, different types have different functions. Here is a basic guide for the types of blankets for babies.

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Types Of Baby Blankets

Receiving Blanket

The most versatile and multifunctional of the four main types of baby blankets is the receiving blanket. These simple and lightweight blankets typically measure about one square yard and serve many purposes. There are many uses for a baby receiving blanket. The blanket can be used to lay baby down on the floor or unfamiliar surface, to provide a buffer between baby and the outside world, to swaddle, catch spit-up and drool, and pretty much any other uses you could think of!

baby with blanket

Security Blanket

Parents should consider purchasing their new infant a security blanket because they provide a form of comfort for the baby. They are typically made of soft plush or fleece and sometimes have a stuffed animal attached, yet they should still be durable, as children tend to hold on to them and take them everywhere far into the toddler age. Since these tend to be the blankets that people hold on to throughout their lives as a memory of childhood, you should consider purchasing personalized baby security blankets, so they are that much more special when the baby grows up.

Swaddling Blanket

Swaddling blankets are similar to security blankets in that they help provide comfort, calm, and relaxation for the baby by keeping him enveloped. However, they differ because they come with attachments that do up and make it easy to swaddle a baby. There are some swaddling blankets that remain wrapped around the top half of the baby while the bottom is undone for diaper changes. A soft newborn swaddle blanket will keep the baby soft and cozy while they sleep.

Crib Blanket

The last blankets to look for are baby blankets for a crib, and there are many types of these available, including crib sheets, blankets and crib bedding sets. Baby blankets have come a long way, so be sure to choose crib bedding based first on comfort and safety and second on the style. With the wide range available today, there is no need to sacrifice any of these characteristics. Keep in mind, though, and you should never use a blanket in a crib with a sleeping baby.

Fleece Blankets

Fleece blankets are becoming more popular to use as baby blankets. Their soft and warm texture makes them the perfect blanket to use on your baby to ward off chilly nights. Some fleece blankets are trimmed with silky edging, perfect for the baby to rub against his chubby cheeks. Other fleece blankets have stitched edges. You may sometimes see “stroller blankets” pop up if you’re searching for fleece blankets.

Crocheted Blankets

Don’t be surprised if a kind relative or friend bestows a handmade, crocheted baby blanket on you. There are many soft yarns that make wonderful baby blankets. However, if the yarn that was used is a bit rougher than you like, you may want to use this blanket primarily as a nursery decoration. Keep in mind that crocheted blankets may be best used as decoration for the first several months of a baby’s life, as tiny fingers and toes can get caught in the openings of the stitches.

Quilts

You don’t have to stick to blankets to keep your child warm. There are many lovely baby quilts available for your child to use, and many of these are designed to match your baby’s nursery theme.

Sleep Sacks

If your baby is too young for you to place a blanket in her crib safely, you can still keep her warm by putting her in a sleep sack. Sleep sacks are blankets that are sewn closed at the bottom and sides, with holes for your baby’s arms and neck. The asleep sack will keep your child warm without the risk of suffocation. You can find them at:

What is a receiving blanket?  

As noted above, the name receiving blanket comes from the fact that this item is usually the first blanket used to wrap up newborns so that their parents can officially “receive” their newest family member. (Of course, let’s not forget who just did the work to deliver this package, am I right?)

These blankets are typically made from a relatively thin, soft flannel cotton material and measure 30 by 40 inches. Although the hospital version is the most recognizable, they come in a variety of patterns and colours to suit your style.

While you can certainly make do without receiving blankets — or only with the one or two that happened to come home from the hospital with you (don’t worry, we won’t tell) — they are a useful item to stock at home as well.

They’re usually inexpensive and sold in multi-packs for less than $10. Having 4 to 6 receiving blankets on hand can be useful, as explained below.

What makes a receiving blanket different than a swaddling blanket?  

While these types of blankets may be used interchangeably, especially with newborns, each has a specific design that’s suited to its general purpose.

Receiving blankets are made to withstand heavy use and laundering, work for a variety of temperature conditions, and usually sized a little smaller for wrapping up those fresh-from-the-womb little ones.

Meanwhile, swaddling blankets are made to stretch to tightly wrap babies of varying size, come in several materials for different temperature conditions, and may have features like velcro or specially designed shapes or flaps to facilitate swaddle wrapping.

While it’s perfectly acceptable to use each type of blanket for swaddling or just snuggling, some of these features may make one preferable over the other for your intended use. Swaddling blankets are a specialty item designed with one purpose in mind while receiving blankets are a multipurpose item.

Why all this emphasis on swaddling? A swaddled newborn is called trusted Source and falls asleep. They aren’t startling themselves with their arms waving in random motion, and they are used to a snug fit before birth.

You can use a receiving blanket to swaddle, and it’s as simple as mastering the fold. Check out a how-to video here.

We have the best range of baby nursery blankets to keep your baby just right day and night. 

What can you do with receiving blankets?  

So clearly they’re great for that first baby photo op, but before you add them to the registry, you want to be sure they’re useful for more than that. They are!

When your baby is young, receiving blankets are good for the following:

  • Swaddling. They may even be used in the hospital to wrap wiggly newborns snugly. Once you get the steps down, it’s a simple way to calm and cuddle your new arrival.
  • Wrapping baby up after a bath. The soft material is gentle on the skin and helps retain body heat after a bath.
  • Stroller cover to temporarily block sun or rain. Keep one in the stroller basket in case you need to add some extra shade or protect your little one from a rain shower.
  • Breastfeeding cover-ups. Their small size makes them easy to pop in the diaper bag for a little privacy when nursing on the go. As a bonus, they work well for cleaning up any dribbles or spit-up.
  • Diaper changing mats. Whether you’re using the not-so-sanitary changing table in a public restroom or want to protect your friend’s bed from any diaper mess during a play date, they make it easy to establish a clean changing space.
  • Playmats. You probably have plenty of spaces for your baby to play at home, but receiving blankets are an easy to carry option for when you’re visiting friends or hitting the park.
  • Oversized burp cloths for particularly messy eaters. Yeah, some babies have such amazing projectile spit-up skills that these seem like a reasonable size for burp cloths!
  • Providing security as a lovey. What’s better for a security item than a blankie they’ve had literally since they were born?

When the baby gets a bit older, you want them to be able to stretch out their arms and discover their fingers and surroundings. You might also use receiving blankets for the following:

  • Making them into sentimental mementos options like quilts, stuffed toys, or pillows. If you’re not crafty, get someone else to stitch something up for you.
  • Room decorations like banners or garlands. Even non-crafty types can cut unused blankets into shapes or strips to tie together for room decor.
  • Cleaning rags all around the house. They’re good for more than just baby messes.
  • Aprons or drop cloths when doing art projects. Kids don’t stop being as messy as they grow. Whether you’re catching finger paints or glitter, they’re easy to wash after creative messes.
  • Furniture covers or mess catchers when kids are sick. Next time someone has a stomach bug, set up the couch with a receiving blanket shield to make inevitable cleanups a little easier.
  • Donation to animal shelters. They’re not just for human babies! They can make shelter cages cozier and easier to clean.
  • Keeping in the car for spills or emergencies. When the few Starbucks napkins you had stuffed into your purse just won’t cut it, bust out the blanket!

So how many baby blankets do you need?

Although the number of blankets you’ll need depends on all the factors discussed below, here’s a quick overview:

If you have your laundry facilities and do laundry several times a week, you’ll probably want at least:

  • Four swaddle blankets (these could be muslin blankets or wearable blankets)
  • One warm blanket (warm weather) or 2-4 warm blankets (cold weather)
  • 2-4 thick blankets for tummy time
  • 1-2 blankets for changing pads
  • 1-2 blankets for nursing covers and arm support while feeding
  • Additional blankets for burp cloths, if your baby spits up a lot.
  • A special blanket set for a newborn photo prop

Many moms find that they regularly use at least 10-12 baby blankets.

If you do laundry every day, you will need fewer blankets. If you do laundry less frequently or send your laundry out, you may need twice as many.

You won’t know exactly how many blankets you need until your baby is a few weeks old and you know their personality and habits, these guidelines can help you decide how many to buy before your baby arrives.

How often do you do laundry?

How often you do or plan to do, laundry has a huge impact on how many baby blankets you need. If you do laundry every day, then you’ll need far fewer blankets than if you do laundry once a week!

Many people in larger cities send their washing to a laundry service, which also increases the number of blankets you need.

If you visit a laundromat, or have coin-operated laundry in an apartment building, instead of laundry within your home, this will also up your blanket requirement!

If you want to do laundry every time your baby spits up or has a leak, you’d need a minimum of two blankets of each type: one for Baby to use and one in the wash.

This isn’t realistic, though! Quite honestly, it also isn’t realistic to expect to wash and dry a blanket before your baby needs a fresh one. I’m not exaggerating when I say my baby pooped 10+ times some days as a newborn! Although they didn’t get all leak, even a fresh diaper can leak on a tiny newborn bum.

If you do laundry in your home regularly, try starting with four of each type of blanket you intend to use.

For example, you might want, four muslin blankets for swaddling, four plush blankets for tummy time, four blankets for use in the car or stroller, and four blankets to use as changing pads or burp cloths.

If you do laundry less frequently, you may need more than four of each type of blanket, especially swaddle blankets.

My Baby Nursery has a wide range of baby cot nursery blankets to choose from. 

What is the weather like where you live?

If you live in Hawaii, your blanket needs will be very different than if you live in Alaska! Knowing the normal weather where you live at the time of year when your baby will be born can help you decide how many blankets, and what kind of blankets, you need.

If you live somewhere warm, you may only need one thick, plush or Minky blanket for bundling up when you go to doctor’s appointments. However, you may want more light muslin blankets to help protect your baby’s skin when you’re outside. Even trips through the parking lot into a store can be harsh on a newborn’s sensitive skin.

If you live somewhere cold or your baby will be born during a colder time of year, you may need multiple warm blankets for the car or stroller.

There are various different types of baby blankets on the market. Whilst I’m not in a position to personally advise which blankets are best for new babies, I would say that it is important to look at the materials, weight and construction of any blanket you intend to buy and to pair this alongside how and when you intend to use it. For example whilst a bulky fleece blanket may not be suitable for a newborn baby or use as a crib blanket, lots of mums like to use them out and about in prams to protect baby from extremely cold weather. Newborn babies are less able to moderate their body temperatures in the first few weeks of life, so it is your job to do this (it is best to layer lightweight blankets and add or remove clothing, and please bear in mind that folding a blanket will double its heat keeping capacity). Older babies can moderate their temperature so you may prefer to swaddle or layer up with baby blankets at this stage. I hope you find this blog post useful and wish you the very best of luck with your new arrivals.

Ultimately, when purchasing blankets for your baby or as a gift for a mother-to-be, keep in mind the purpose they will serve and shop accordingly. With the wide array available today, there is no reason you can not have exactly what you want!

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