The preparation period for your baby’s arrival can be a very stressful period. You’ve probably already done some research and discovered so many baby products on the market. Even something as simple as a blanket comes in endless variations – receiving blanket, muslin, swaddle, burp cloths.
If you are still unsure which one you need and why, check out the next sections for a thorough explanation.
In the Post
- What Is A Receiving Blanket?
- Will New Moms Get the Receiving Blanket from The Hospital for Free?
- How Does It Compare with A Swaddle, Muslin, Burp Cloth?
- How to Use It?
- Other Uses
- How Many Do You Need?
- Which Material Is Safe for Babies?
- Can You Make Your Own Receiving Blanket?
- Safety Tips for Using Receiving Blankets
- To Sum Up
What Is A Receiving Blanket?
When you prepare for your baby’s arrival, receiving blankets are the most common gifts you will perhaps receive from your friends and family.
The receiving blanket is a thin and soft material, sometimes made of plush, cotton, or flannel, measuring 30 inches by 30 inches.
This is an extremely versatile and useful accessory that will prove useful for different tasks. It is a standard baby item whose name derives from the fact that it is initially used to wrap the newborn bundle of joy immediately after their birth, right before the baby is received by their mom.
Is It Necessary?
In some terms, yes, a blanket is necessary to wrap your newborn baby. However, choosing the traditional receiving blanket or another one is a matter of choice. What is truly important is to keep your baby warm!
Will New Moms Get the Receiving Blanket from The Hospital for Free?
Hospitals often wrap your baby in a receiving blanket when they are born and, officially, you do not have to give it back to them.
The receiving blanket is a common item on all baby registry lists, so you still need to make sure that you have as many as possible. Your baby will surely need frequent changing!
Even more important, your infant must always have fresh clothing and blankets. If you have some at home, it’s still not a bad idea to take the hospital receiving blanket with you since it never hurts to have a spare one.
Most moms also choose to keep their baby’s receiving blanket as a memory.
How Does It Compare with A Swaddle, Muslin, Burp Cloth?
A muslin is a loose cloth blanket, just like a receiving blanket, so there are no significant differences between the two items.
The term “muslin” means a loose cotton-weaving that is highly breathable, and it is a bit larger than receiving blankets. The receiving blanket often refers only to the cloth you wrap around your baby as soon as they are born.
Swaddle blankets, as the name suggests, are cloth swaddles. Some more modern designs come with zippers, Velcro, or button snap design.
These are often associated with a safe method of swaddling, as the loose cloth swaddling is associated with a high risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and hip dysplasia.
Burp cloths are used to protect you and your baby against spills or spit-ups. The only difference is that burp cloths are smaller, so there is less coverage.
During the first months of life, the receiving blanket is a soft surface for your bundle of joy to rest against, especially since it can take a while until they burp.
How to Use It?
Receiving blankets can be used for a long time, not only for newborn babies. Once the baby doesn’t need swaddling anymore, you can use these baby items for about anything related to baby care.
The common use is to wrap your baby in the receiving blanket and keep them warm. The soft material is non-irritant, wrapping your infant in a secure, warm hug. If you want to swaddle your baby with a receiving blanket, you should follow a few simple steps.
- Place the blanket on your baby changing tabletop and fold the top side so it resembles a diamond.
- Place your baby in the middle of the blanket, so that their head is above the blanket.
- Put the baby’s right arm close to their body and place the left edge of the receiving blanket, tucking it underneath the left arm.
- Then, lift the bottom side of the blanket, placing it under the left shoulder. Do not straighten your baby’s legs, keep them in the natural position.
The right end of the blanket should wrap around the baby’s other shoulder and loosely tuck it in around their neck. Do not make the swaddle tight – just snug. If you can insert 2-3 fingers between the blanket and the chest, it is the right fit.
You can use the receiving blankets instead of burp cloths because they are soft and have wider coverage than standard burp cloths.
Receiving blankets can be used on the changing table, protecting your baby from the cold, hard surface. It can even become your best friend when you need to use public restrooms to change your infant.
Another use is as a mat during playtime due to its soft surface so you can place your baby on the receiving blanket.
If you want to cover up while nursing in public, you can cover yourself with the receiving blanket. Once your baby grows, there are a few other uses:
- Covering the car seat or the stroller
- Clean up the food spills
- Sleep with a familiar, snuggly blanket at night
- Play pretend with their toys
- Play peekaboo
Once your baby grows up, there is no need for a receiving blanket, but this does not mean that you need to discard it. You can keep it as a memory, or turn it into different items, such as quilts, pillowcase, or a stuffed toy. These can be kept as long as you wish.
If your baby turns into a tiny chef or artist, you can make the blanket into an apron. Also, it can be used as a table cover when they eat or they start painting. The blanket will easily absorb the spills, diminishing the mess you need to clean afterward.
Although most moms do not want to use their baby’s first blanket for cleaning purposes, you can clean any spill-ups or messes if you don’t mind.
How Many Do You Need?
Having as much help as possible will surely be appreciated as a new mom. You should have at least 3-4 receiving blankets so you can easily replace them when they get dirty.
You could keep one as a backup, and another one to use when the other one needs washing. A high-quality receiving blanket can be easily washed without losing its softness.
Which Material Is Safe for Babies?
Whether you choose to make your own or to buy one, you must choose the right fabrics for your little one. One of the most common choices is cotton because it is absorbent, breathable, and soft on their skin.
The best type is organic cotton fabric because it is grown without using fertilizers or harmful chemicals.
This is important because newborns have sensitive skin and might suffer from allergies or other skin conditions that become worse when they have contact with harsh materials or synthetic fabrics.
Cotton jersey knit
This is because of its wearability. It is a great choice if you choose to make your own receiving blanket because it is easy to work with even if you are a beginner.
The fabric is highly stretchable, so the jersey might have curly edges after you wash it. To make it look more interesting, you can leave its edges unhemmed.
Often used for hats, blankets, swaddles, and garments, bamboo rayon is derived from bamboo plants but has a very soft, durable structure. It is ideal for sensitive skin and regulates body temperature.
This is a soft fabric made of polyester that has a plush feel, which recommends it for plush toys and cozy blankets. However, it is not as breathable as other fabrics, so it is best to avoid using it for newborn babies.
You can make, however, other types of blankets for your baby to use when they grow.
is soft and it has the main advantage that it dries very quickly after being washed. It is a popular material for outerwear and blankets, resists staining, and is easy to wash.
Finally, gauze is a cotton fabric that is airy, light, and highly breathable. Many muslins are made of gauze, especially double gauze.
The quality of gauze apparel depends on the dye used, prints, and the manufacturer, so make sure you read the fine print when you buy these items.
Can You Make Your Own Receiving Blanket?
Making your own baby blankets is a breeze. All you need is a bit of time, some fabric, and thread. You can make the blanket by hand, but it is significantly quicker if you have a basic sewing machine. In addition to this, you can also decorate the blanket to your liking.
After you choose the right fabrics, you can simply make your own. This will not only be unique, but you also know the quality of the blanket. You will need some scissors, straight pins, thread, and fabric.
Firstly, preshrink your fabric. It is mandatory to use a detergent that is safe for babies, otherwise, it can cause irritations.
Trim the selvages and then cut the fabric into a rectangle. Stitch around the edges; if you already have a serger, select the rolled hem setting and you’re done.
If you do not own a serger, make a narrow hem by turning ¼ inches to the other side and then once more to enclose the raw edge.
Pin them in place and, if you wish, you can miter the corners. Sew the hem in place, but make sure that you cover all the raw edges because they could fray due to frequent washing.
Use decorative stitches for a beautiful finish
A square blanket requires about 1 ¼ yard of fabric or a 45 inches material
You can use the material scraps to beautify other baby items
If you need a serger for more work with fabric, check this one out on Amazon.
Safety Tips for Using Receiving Blankets
As discussed in the sections above, it is important to avoid swaddling your baby in the receiving blankets. These should not be left in the crib because the baby might suffocate by pressing their nose and mouth into the blanket.
If you do swaddle your baby, keep it loose so that they can move their hips. Also, insert 2-3 fingers between the blanket and their chest to make sure it is not too tight.
When using the receiving blanket, never wrap it around the head, neck, and face. If you put your little one to sleep, always place them on their back as it is the safest position.
You should not use the receiving blanket to swaddle anymore when the baby is able to roll. Most babies start to roll at about 4 months old, and this can cause the blanket to slide over and cover their face.
Finally, when using the receiving blanket to cover the baby in the stroller or car seat, check the baby regularly so that they do not overheat. Also, babies might pull the blanket on their face, so constant supervision is mandatory.
To Sum Up
All in all, receiving blankets are most likely the first baby items you use as a new mom. You should be aware of the risks regarding swaddling your baby with the receiving blanket, but they can be extremely useful.
If you want to be on the safe side, it’s best to use swaddle blankets and keep the receiving blankets for other purposes.