There’s so much you need when you’re expecting, and new mothers will often find themselves overwhelmed with just how much stuff they seem to end up with from well-meaning family and friends.
The truth is though, you’ll find yourself coming back to the same few things over and over and over, and one of the tools that every mom needs is a receiving blanket.
What is a Receiving Blanket?
A receiving blanket is a blanket you’ll expect to be using so much of in the first few weeks of your baby’s life.
Named because they’re the first blanket that baby will be wrapped in, so mom receives baby whilst they’re wrapped in it, and they’re just a one-stop awesome little helper who’s going to be on hand all the time, whether you’re feeding, changing or just snuggling at the end of the day.
Trust us, you’ll want a good few of these hanging around because you’re gonna use them for everything.
What can a receiving blanket be used for?
After a few weeks, you’ll soon grow to love your receiving blanket as much as the baby does. It’s such a versatile tool that you can use for almost everything, including:
Keeping Baby Comfortable
The main use of a receiving blanket is to keep baby warm and comfy, especially considering that they’re designed specifically for baby’s needs. That’s why they’re made of light and lightweight fabric that’s soft on the skin, not too hot but easily layered, keeping them warm when it’s cold but not overheating when it’s warm, and not restricting those little movements, either.
Giving Baby Somewhere to Lie
Because you can bring the blanket with you absolutely everywhere, it’s a versatile tool when you need somewhere for baby to rest on, lie on for a quick and safe nap, or even to give them somewhere to play and see the world from.
A Changing Mat
If you’re caught out and need an impromptu changing mat, then your receiving blanket can perform admirable double duty. Thick enough to be cushioned no matter where you’re lying it down, it means you don’t have to worry about taking that changing mat absolutely everywhere you go.
A Burp or Cleaning Cloth
I’m sure you’ve already got a burp cloth, but again, sometimes we don’t have everything we need when we need it, and if baby gets a little grumpy and needs a feed when you’re out and about, tossing your receiving blanket over your shoulder can do just the job.
Basically, because they’re designed to be clean, versatile and easy to wash, you can use your receiving blanket for almost anything. Just remember to give it a good wash once you’re done, and maybe switch to a spare every now and then.
Why are They Called Receiving Blankets?
The name is simple, and it comes from the practice of wrapping a baby in a blanket like this when they are first born before they’re handed to mom for the first time. So this would be the blanket that mom would ‘receive’ her baby in for the first time.
Is a Swaddle Blanket a Receiving Blanket?
No. They’re two very different things. Whilst you can use a receiving blanket to swaddle a baby, which means to wrap them up securely and tightly, so they feel safe and comfortable, a swaddling blanket is designed specifically for this purpose.
The difference is obvious if you look at both swaddling and receiving blankets, side by side. Receiving blankets are normally square or rectangular, whilst swaddling blankets are normally triangular, with two large ‘wings’ that can be wrapped around and tucked into themselves.
My Baby is Outgrowing Their Receiving Blankets, What Now?
It’s a sad truth that babies grow fast, and you’re soon going to find that your versatile blanket is used less and less.
But this is great because there’s so much you can do with them.
First off, most moms will keep their babies first blanket, because the memories you’re going to have of all the times it’s used and all the things you’ve done are going to be saccharine sweet.
But let’s say you’ve got multiple blankets, and you’re not going to keep them all. What then? Well, ignoring the obvious answer of handing them down or giving them to charity, you could always turn it into a project. For example, we know a few moms who’ve turned their pile of blankies into patchwork quilts, or a set of scatter cushions that decorate rooms.
You’re gonna be using your receiving blankets for everything in the first few weeks, but the baby will quickly outgrow them, and that brings a whole host of new questions.
In the meantime, now you know the answer to the question ‘what is a receiving blanket,’ so you can tell all your friends and family how amazingly useful they would be, especially if they’re looking to pick up something for the birth.
What did you do with your baby’s old receiving blankets, and do you have any funny stories involving them? We’d love to hear about them, so make sure you let us know in the comments below.