As a new parent, you’re likely overwhelmed with all the baby products flooding the market. Receiving blankets and swaddle, two commonly used items, might seem similar at first glance but they serve different purposes in your newborn’s early months.
You’ve probably seen receiving blankets – those soft cotton squares often found in every new mom’s diaper bag. They’re the jack-of-all-trades in baby territory, handy for burp cloths, nursing covers or even impromptu table covers when visiting a friend’s house. Their perfect size and breathable material make them a versatile must-have.
Swaddles are more specific in their purpose – they’re designed to mimic the snugness of your womb, providing a comforting sense of security that can soothe your baby’s startle reflex (also known as moro reflex) and promote better sleep quality. Traditionally rectangular shaped with stretchier fabric than receiving blankets, swaddles come highly recommended by American Academy of Pediatrics especially for newborn days as it lowers risk of SIDS – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Stick around as we explore the world of swaddles and receiving blankets, breaking down the whats, why’s, and whens, so you can get back to the real fun – like spending time with your baby.
What is a receiving blanket?
Receiving blankets are typically squares of thin blanket material, often made from soft cotton or breathable fabrics. They’re versatile baby products that serve a variety of purposes. From burp cloths to nursing covers, stroller covers to diaper changes – these simple joys are a must-have in every new mom’s diaper bag. The common size of receiving blankets is 30 inches by 30 inches.
What is a swaddle blanket?
Swaddling blankets or sleep sacks on the other hand are designed specifically for swaddling – wrapping your newborn baby snugly to mimic the warmth and security of the womb. This helps calm your little one’s startle reflex (also known as Moro reflex), promoting better sleep during those early months. They are smaller blankets and can be made with winged sides, closures, or snaps to secure the sides around your baby.
Receiving Blanket Vs Swaddle
The key difference between receiving blankets and swaddles lies in their design and purpose.
Receiving blankets are versatile multi-taskers every new mom needs. Often made from warmer materials like flannel or thicker cotton, they’re perfect for everything from tummy time to diaper changes. You’ll see them serving as stroller covers or even impromptu table covers in public restrooms!
On the other hand, swaddling blankets usually come with Velcro or snap closures that help keep your bundle secure throughout naps or overnight sleep.
Pros and Cons for New Parents: Types of Baby Blankets Decoded
Receiving Blanket (the baby’s first type of blanket):
- Multipurpose Magic: For first-time parents wondering about the variety of tasks a single blanket can perform, the receiving blanket is a champ. It’s not just your baby’s first blanket but can act as a stroller cover, burp cloth, and in those unexpected poop explosions, even a makeshift changing pad.
- Materials Galore: From breathable organic cotton to softer materials designed for baby’s sensitive skin, these blankets offer a spectrum for personal preference.
- Baby Shower Favorite: Its versatile nature makes it a great way to impress at any baby shower.
- Fit for All Climate: With lighter materials for warmer climates and thicker material options for colder ones, there’s a receiving blanket for every weather.
- Standard Size Issues: While they come in different sizes, not all are large enough for a snug swaddle, especially as the baby grows.
- Safety: Loose blankets in cribs have an associated risk of suffocation if not managed properly.
Swaddling Blanket (including traditional swaddle blankets and modern blankets):
- Designed for Comfort: New mothers often find that the swaddling blanket, especially ones made of soft material like muslin swaddles, can soothe even the fussiest babies.
- Beyond Traditional: From the traditional swaddle blanket with blue stripes we see in the delivery room to swaddle sleep sacks, there are options aplenty.
- Sensitive to Baby’s Needs: Made with materials gentle on a baby’s skin, many good swaddles now also come in organic cotton. They’re also breathable, ensuring comfort.
- Skill Enhancer: Swaddles are not just for comfort. They help reduce the startle reflex, aiding in motor skills development.
- Confinement Concerns: As babies grow and develop motor skills, the main purpose of a tight swaddle might not suit all. Some babies prefer a bit more freedom.
- Size Matters: Just like other types of blankets, swaddles come in different sizes. What works in the baby’s first year might not be the best option as they grow.
- Maintenance: While most are washing machine friendly, the more specific types, like swaddle sleep sacks, may need extra care.
Swaddling vs. Receiving Blankets: Multipurpose Item?
Can you use a receiving blanket to swaddle? The answer is yes. If you’re tight on budget or simply prefer less clutter, it’s actually possible and quite easy to use your favorite receiving blankets as swaddles. They’re usually of perfect size and stretchy fabric that allows for a snug fit around your baby’s body without risking hip dysplasia.
Can your baby sleep with a receiving blanket? Yes, as long as your baby can still be safely swaddled and you are doing safe sleep practices.
Receiving blankets can be used for swaddling babies that cannot get out of the swaddle or roll over in their sleep.
How Do You Swaddle With A Receiving Blanket?
To do this, lay the blanket in a diamond shape then fold down the top corner. Place your baby on their back so that the top of the fabric is at shoulder level. Bring one corner over the body and tuck under the opposite arm, do the same with the other side. Then just pull up the bottom corner and you’ve got yourself a cozy little burrito!
A helpful video can definitely guide you through these steps if it’s your first time doing it. Just remember: practice makes perfect! And soon enough, those adorable patterns will be wrapping around your tiny bundle of joy like a second skin.
How many receiving blankets do you need?
The ideal number of receiving blankets varies based on individual needs and frequency of laundry. However, for most parents, having 4-6 receiving blankets on hand is sufficient.
This allows for a rotation between uses, especially given the unexpected messes babies can create, while also ensuring there’s always a clean one available between washes.
Best Receiving Blankets and Swaddles
Parents love that these are great quality for the price, and beyond swaddling the baby, they have so many uses. Even after being washed daily for a month, they are still soft.
Soft and lightweight, these are very affordable. For the price, you can have several on hand!
This blanket combines traditionally soft muslin with bamboo for a luxurious feeling receiving blanket. These also make excellent swaddle blankets! This mom swears by these blankets even after two years of constant use.
Swaddle blankets take the guesswork out of swaddling your baby. The simple designs help you swaddle your baby quickly or change their diaper.
They even come with a harness slot that fits most car seats and carriers. That means you won’t have to unwrap them to transfer them to the car or stroller.
Do I Really Need Both Swaddle and Receiving Blankets?
While both swaddle and receiving blankets offer warmth and comfort for babies, they serve different primary functions. A swaddle blanket is designed specifically to wrap babies snugly, mimicking the womb’s tight embrace, aiding in soothing and longer sleep.
On the other hand, receiving blankets are versatile multipurpose items, usable as burp cloths, stroller covers, and makeshift changing pads. Many new parents find value in having both for their distinct uses.
However, personal preference, budget, and baby’s comfort play a role in the decision.
You might not even need to decide receiving blanket vs. swaddle because you might get both! Each blanket does the job of keeping your baby warm and snuggly, that’s what matters!
Other Uses for Receiving Blankets
Save this to your baby board for later!
Wondering what to do with all the baby blankets you have? Receiving blankets are useful way past the newborn stage. Once your baby no longer needs to be swaddled, you can use these blankets for just about anything related to your baby’s care!
1. Burp Cloth – You can use receiving blankets as burp cloths. They offer more coverage than traditional small burp cloths so more of your clothing is protected against spills and spit-up. In the early months, when burping can take a while, the blanket provides a soft and safe surface for your baby to rest against.
2. Changing table cover- If you’re out with your baby and need to change them in a public restroom, a receiving blanket can be your best friend. The blanket can serve as a barrier between the changing table surface and your baby.
3. Tummy time blanket- The receiving blanket can also double as a mat or safe place for your baby to be on his or her stomach and explore and roll.
5. Nursing cover- If you prefer to cover up while nursing in public, the receiving blanket can double as a cover while breastfeeding.
6. Car Seat cover and blanket- Receiving blankets make great covers to go over the car seat while you’re transitioning from the car to an indoor place. They can also be used as a cover over a stroller if your baby happens to fall asleep while out and about.
7. Feeding/Meal Time- When your baby gets older and starts eating food, the receiving blanket can be used to clean up spills on the table. Just in case a regular size bib won’t do the job or your child’s outfit needs more protection, a receiving blanket can come in handy.
8. Playmat- When you’re outside or over a relative or friend’s house and want a clean soft surface for your baby to play on, a receiving blanket will do the job!
9. Cuddling and nighttime routine- Once your baby is going to sleep with a consistent bedtime routine, they may need a familiar blanket to fall asleep with.
10. Playing- Toddlers love to play pretend. They mimic the behaviors they see around them, so they may use the blankets they had as a baby to play with their own dolls and toys!
11. Memory/Keepsake- If you can sew or know someone who can make a quilt out of your old receiving blankets this is a wonderful way to keep your baby’s blankets as a keepsake.
Which is Better, Receiving Blanket or Swaddle?
A good idea might be to have both at hand initially until you figure out what suits your little one best. Many new moms recommend having several types of each available due to inevitable diaper changes, spit-ups, and other surprises that come with a newborn!
Whether it’s the multipurpose receiving blanket or the snug-fit swaddle that becomes your favorite baby product will depend on you and your baby.
Both have their benefits and uses which make them essential items in any new parent’s arsenal.
Don’t stress too much about making the “right” choice – as long as your baby is safe and comfortable, you’re doing a great job!