Over the course of your pregnancy and preparation period for your newborn baby, you’ve probably come to realize there are a lot more baby products on the market than you realized. Swaddles, receiving blankets, bibs, burp cloths, newborn towels, onesies, footed pajamas—the list goes on. For the first few months of your infant’s life, keeping them warm and helping their body to maintain a normal temperature is essential, so many parents stock up on blankets, but there are so many kinds to choose from.
A receiving blanket is one of the most common coverings that parents acquire as gifts or when getting ready for the baby’s arrival. Made from thin, soft material—often cotton, flannel or plush—and typically about 30 inches by 30 inches, a receiving blanket is an extremely versatile accessory that you’ll find yourself using for almost everything. This staple baby item originally got its name from the custom of wrapping a newborn child in this type of covering immediately after birth, before he or she was “received” by the mother for the first time.
The Many Uses of a Receiving Blanket
Provide Warmth or Play Area for Baby
The most obvious, and common, use for a receiving blanket is to wrap your child up and keep him or her warm. These soft coverings provide a baby with security and heat while the thinness of the material allows for some air flow to prevent from overheating. Receiving blankets are easy to bring with you everywhere and can be laid on the ground to provide your baby with a quick, safe place to lie and play.
Substitute Changing Mat
Receiving blankets are one of the most useful items you can buy and are available in an assortment of fabrics and designs for both boys and girls. When you and your baby are on the go, you can quickly convert this comfy blanket into a convenient changing area for him or her. No need to purchase a travel changing mat—receiving blankets provide cushioning and comfort to lay baby on anytime and perform a quick diaper change.
While you’ve probably thought about or already purchased burp cloths designed to throw over your shoulder when burping your baby after a feeding, receiving blankets can serve the same purpose. Babies spit up a lot in the few first months, so you may find yourself going through burp cloths often. Receiving blankets are the perfect replacement when you’re low on cloths, and most are designed to be machine-wash friendly. If you’re venturing out with your newborn, there’s no need to load up the diaper bag with too many extra items. Throw a receiving blanket in the bag and let it double as a burp cloth while you’re out and about.
The Difference Between a Swaddle Blanket and Receiving Blankets
Sometimes receiving blankets are used to swaddle babies, but there is a major difference between this type of covering and a swaddle blanket. While receiving blankets are designed in a square or rectangular shape, swaddle blankets are created in a smaller shape with two winged sides to more easily swaddle your newborn. Swaddling is a long-standing practice of securely wrapping a baby to provide comfort and security. Receiving blankets are an excellent purchase because the shape is more versatile and can be adapted for a variety of uses while swaddle blankets are made specifically for swaddling.
Ideas for Repurposing Receiving Blankets
Once your baby has outgrown his or her receiving blankets and you find yourself with a collection of blankets with no purpose, try converting them into new items. Many parents will save a baby’s first blanket as a token of their infant’s first few months of life, but there are tons of other ways you can repurpose a receiving blanket into a useful item.
Create a Quilt
Instead of simply saving your baby’s receiving blankets as a commemorative item, you can patch together differently patterned blankets to create a beautiful new quilt. As your baby grows, he or she will eventually leave the crib behind for a big kid bed. Sewing together old receiving blankets is a great way to create a cozy first comforter for your child.
Sew Blankets into Pillows
For the crafty parent, receiving blankets can provide the perfect material for new pillows. Cut the blankets to your desired pillow size, purchase some stuffing from your local craft store and sew them together. If you have a lot of leftover receiving blankets, you can even create matching throw pillows to go with your child’s new quilt.
Check out these ideas for even more inspiration on how to reuse old receiving blankets!