What Is a Receiving Blanket?

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, security blankets, 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 new parents stock up on baby blankets throughout the first year, but there are so many kinds to choose from.


A receiving blanket is one of the most common coverings that parents may acquire as a baby shower gift 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 Baby Receiving Blanket

Graphic of babies and moms with text: As blanket, As changing mat, To Provide Warmth or as a Play Area

Provide Warmth or Play Area for Baby

The most obvious, and common, use for a receiving blanket is to wrap your little one up and keep him or her warm. These soft cover ups provide a baby with security and heat while the thinness of the material allows for some air flow to prevent 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 for tummy time, all without needing a play mat.  Receiving blankets are perfect for blocking the wind on a stroller ride or keeping the baby warm in their car seat.

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 the baby on anytime and perform a quick diaper change in any public restroom.

Burp Cloth

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, making cleanup a breeze. 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 swaddling 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.

quilting embroidery

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 flannel receiving blankets is a great way to create a cozy first comforter for your child that they can use as a keepsake for years to come.

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 DIY throw pillows to go with your child’s new quilt.


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