What is a receiving blanket?


Congratulations mom! As an expecting mother, you are likely planning to pick out your new baby essentials. For a new mom, shopping for a newborn can be an exciting yet confusing experience. So if your search has you wondering “What’s a receiving blanket,” you have come to the right place for all the best answers.


Receiving blankets are among the most versatile baby products that new parents should have! They also make great baby shower gifts, so be sure to add some to your baby registry.


Here we’ll answer all your questions about baby receiving blankets. So, keep reading to learn more.


What are receiving blankets?


A receiving blanket is a light baby blanket with many uses! They are generally made of breathable soft material. They will help keep your baby warm and cozy. Most babies will be wrapped in a receiving blanket shortly after birth.


You have probably seen many pictures of babies swaddled in receiving blankets on the maternity ward. These blankets typically have pink and blue stripes or cute baby designs.


Many parents share pictures of their newborn baby swaddled in their first receiving blanket just after being born.


But keep reading for many more ways you can use receiving blankets.


Why is it called a receiving blanket?


Do you wonder why it’s called a “receiving blanket”?


After birth, babies are wrapped in receiving blankets. It’s the first blanket that the baby gets bundled up in, and that’s how families first “receive” their little ones!


baby swaddled

What are receiving blankets used for?


When babies are first born, they are swaddled, covered, or wrapped in a receiving blanket to keep them warm. This is important since newborns can’t regulate their own body temperature.


This humble baby-sized cloth has many uses beyond functioning as a simple baby blanket. It is actually an incredibly useful item that will last you well beyond your baby’s first year.


Here are some unconventional uses for a receiving blanket that you might not have thought of:


Oversized burp cloth: Throw over your shoulder to burp your baby


Emergency bib: Wipe away any milk that slides down baby’s face and into its neck!


Drool blanket: Use it to wipe your baby’s drool face clean.


Washable changing pad: It will easily function as a changing pad for diaper changes. At home, you can place it on your bed, sofa, rug, or play mat for a quick diaper change. While out running errands, I’ve definitely changed some diapers on a baby blanket in the back of my SUV’s trunk space!


Nursing cover: If you are breastfeeding in public and feel compelled to cover-up, your baby’s favorite soft blanket can help with that.


Car Seat Cover: Let your baby sleep in peace. Just drape your receiving blanket over the car seat to provide a private sleeping environment for your infant.


Stroller Cover: Hang it over the stroller for an instant sun shade to block out those harsh sun rays.


Bassinet stroller liner: If you are using a bassinet stroller like the Uppababy one, consider laying this down before you lay your baby into the bassinet. It’s much easier to wash than the bassinet liner. And take my advice the white liner that the bassinet comes with will be prone to getting dirty


Swaddle – A receiving blanket can function as a swaddle blanket. Wrap your little one up like a burrito! It reminds them of being in the womb and helps them sleep better.


Makeshift hat: If you find yourself outside in cold weather you can cover your baby’s head to help keep him warm. Just use the blanket until you get home and can put on his beanie.


Security blanket – You know, that item your child has to have to sleep? Their favorite receiving blanket might just become their lovey


How many receiving blankets do I need?


You will probably want 5-10 baby blankets for your little one. I do laundry once a week, so I like to have plenty of clean blankets to last me through the week.


You definitely want whatever you are putting on your baby’s skin to be clean and fresh. And you don’t want to be doing laundry all the time. That’s why it’s nice to have at least one for every day of the week.


Because the blankets are used to help clean up drool and milk, you will find that you will use more than one on some days.


Also, they end up scattered around in handy places. There’s usually one on the couch, by her bassinet and in my diaper bag for when we go out.


You will also want a combination of different types of baby blankets and different fabrics. I discuss fabric selection later in the post.


If ten blankets sounds like too many, keep in mind that you will be able to reuse your firstborn’s old receiving blankets for your 2nd child (and maybe beyond that even!


Can you use receiving blankets to swaddle?


Yes! As mentioned above receiving blankets can also make great swaddling blankets. The material and type of receiving blanket you purchase will determine whether it’s good for swaddling.


The hospital receiving blankets are thick and sturdy and make for a good swaddling blanket. Thou honestly they aren’t very soft, so I don’t recommend taking them home from the hospital.


Quilted, knitted, and plush baby blankets are usually too thick and bulky for swaddling.


Fabric choices


Receiving blankets can be made from different materials. They are typically made of soft fabrics including cotton, polyester, and bamboo. Flannel, muslin, and jersey knit are all examples of cotton fabrics.


When picking out baby blankets, take into account the weather where you live. I recommend using a thin blanket during the summer.


Muslin is thin cotton. A muslin blanket makes for a great lightweight summer blanket.


Lighter fabrics like cotton and muslin are also great for clean-ups. They are also good to travel with because they fold up easily and fit in your purse or diaper bag.


Quilted, knitted, and plush baby blankets are thicker blankets. They provide a nice extra layer of warmth for the baby. They are best used during the colder months or if you keep it cold inside your home. They are not as convenient for travel or carrying in your diaper bag due to their bulky nature.


newborn baby swaddled

Safe sleep considerations


According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should keep loose blankets and other soft bedding like pillows, bumper pads, and soft toys out of your baby’s sleep area. You can consider a sleep sack (wearable blanket) if you are worried about your baby being cold at night.


Here are the safe sleep recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. These safety tips help reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and infant death from strangulation or suffocation. I know it’s awful to think about, but as moms we need to be informed on the latest recommendations to keep our little ones safe.




Congratulations on your little one. Picking out sweet blankets is one of the simple joys of pregnancy.


For expecting moms out there, it’s a good idea to stock up on plenty of receiving blankets. A comfortable blanket will be just what you need for your baby’s arrival and will last you well beyond your baby’s first year.


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