What Is A Receiving Blanket (VS Swaddle) And 12 Reasons You’ll Use One

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As you’re gearing up to welcome your little one to this world, you’ve probably come across an oddity. Baby blankets. And there’s one in particular whose name obscures its function. So you’ve probably asked the question: What is a receiving blanket, and what do you use receiving blankets for? So today we’ll cover this blanket’s many uses (as well as the difference between a receiving blanket and a swaddle blanket.) 

What Is A Receiving Blanket?

A receiving blanket is a small, soft flannel blanket that’s perfect to wrap up and tuck in a little newborn without leaving too much loose fabric. They usually come in fun color options that lets parent coordinate their baby’s “look”. The cotton flannel is a perfect thickness – not too warm and not too cool for your tiny baby, plus  they’re fairly absorbent – giving receiving blankets plenty of uses. 

Receiving blankets are usually about 30” x “30” in size, but can be as large as 36” x 36”. 

What is a receiving blanket vs swaddle
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What Are Receiving Blankets Used For?

  1. In the first few weeks of life, receiving blankets are perfect for bundling your little one up. They’re not too hot and not too cool, and won’t leave any loose fabric. 
  2. They’re also a nice way to cover your little one while enjoying some skin to skin or feeding because they’re soft and gentle. 
  3. Flannel receiving blankets are also fairly absorbent, making them an easy option to wipe up any spit up after feeding. 
  4. Receiving blankets are also great to cover your baby during long car rides, as they’re not too bulky or heavy. 
  5. The fact that receiving blankets are fairly opaque make them a nice option for a sun shield while your little one naps in their car seat or stroller. 

Receiving Blanket VS Swaddle Blanket

A typical swaddle blanket is generally much larger, and is made of a very fine muslin cotton. Swaddle blankets are great for actually swaddling babies as the light and stretchy material keeps them wrapped up longer. 

Receiving blankets are thicker than swaddle blankets (as they’re flannel, not muslin) and generally smaller in size. Receiving blankets are not generally used for swaddling beyond the first few days of your baby’s life, but rather to cover your little one up with something soft, cozy, but still breathable. 

While you’re figuring out receiving blankets vs swaddles, have a look at:
Baby Blanket Size. An Easy Guide To 4 Most Common Dimensions

How Many Swaddles Do I Need

Our Favorite Receiving Blankets

Hudson Baby Receiving Blankets

$16 for 4-pack.

This is such an adorable unisex set of receiving blankets – especially for a winter baby.

Maybe it’s my inner-Canadian, but I would absolutely love wrapping my little one in a super-cozy buffalo check flannel.

Gerber Baby Receiving Blankets

$22.50 for 4-pack (6 pattern options.)

First of all, you can’t go wrong with Gerber Baby. Secondly, we love all of the pattern options, including gender-neutral ones that would make a perfect accessory to any nursery.

Hospital Receiving Blankets

$24 for 6-pack.

While this teal-pink striped pattern may seem a bit plain compared to all the options out there – this is the exact type of receiving blanket that most hospitals use right at birth, so it’s a bit nostalgic.

This receiving blanket is a bit bigger than typical – 30″x40″, making it a nice swaddle for the first few days of your baby’s life as well.

How Many Receiving Blankets Do I need?

If you’re wondering about how many receiving blankets to buy, start with one or two packs and figure it out from there. 

The answer to this kind of depends on several factors, like how often you plan on doing laundry, and if you’ll be using them in multiple ways. 

For example, if you’ll only be using receiving blankets to cover your sleepy baby on car rides and stroller walks, they’ll likely not need frequent changing. However, some parents use theirs in place of burp cloths, bibs, and tummy time mats outside – those parents should obviously stock up. 

Also see: How Many Swaddles Do I Need

Other Uses For Receiving Blankets

  1. Tummy time mat: the soft flannel makes for a gentle cushion for your baby
  2. Sun shade: receiving blankets are fairly opaque and will protect your little one’s eyes while they nap in the car seat or stroller 
  3. Burp cloth: it’s an absorbent multitasker! 
  4. Breastfeeding cover: A receiving blanket is a perfect size and thickness to give you a little privacy when you need it. 
  5. On-the-go change station: give your little one a warm and cozy cushion on the go. 
  6. A soothing sweetie: as your little one grows up, they might appreciate having a comforting blankie to settle down with. 
  7. A keepsake for mom: As your little one grows up, you can’t keep everything, but a cute little blanket is just the right size to snuggle with for a little baby nostalgia. 

Do I Really Need A Receiving Blanket?

So now that you understand what is a receiving blanket, what they are used for, and how they compare to a swaddle, the next question is – do you actually need one

It’s a fair question. There are tons of “baby essentials,” especially baby blankets, so why can’t there be just a “one blanket to rule them all” sort of solution? 

If you’re on a minimalist quest to have as little as possible, then I suppose you could consider skipping the receiving blanket, but otherwise I’d actually recommend getting a pack. 

Why? Mostly because receiving blankets have the perfect thickness to tuck your baby in and make sure that they’re not too hot and not too cold while out and about. They’re also on the affordable side of baby essentials, so even if you don’t use them as much as you thought, it’s not like wasting money on an overpriced baby swing. (Which, by the way, is also essential!) 

What About A Swaddle Blanket?

While we’re discussing which blankets are absolutely essential, we’ll remind you that we’re firm believers in the power of the swaddle. Swaddling can be done with a traditional muslin swaddle blanket, or a more modern and easy-to-use swaddle wrap option. Either way, don’t skimp out on one if you want to actually get a few hours of sleep during the night. 

What is a receiving blanket?

Final Thoughts On Receiving Blankets

If you’re still wondering what is a receiving blanket and what will I use it for – rest assured that this cozy little cloth will serve you and your little one plenty. So go ahead and find a cute set!


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