What is a receiving blanket for?

Updated March 23, 2017

A receiving blanket is typically for a newborn. The blanket can be placed around the baby for warmth and used for swaddling. It can also be thrown over a parent's shoulder while the baby is being burped or tossed on the floor so that the baby will have a clean place to be changed. Receiving blankets are typically fairly small, about 1 square yard.

Hospitals and Receiving Blankets

Babies are kept warm and snug inside the womb. Hospitals use receiving blankets to wrap newborns snugly to lessen the shock of their new, open environment.

Receiving Blankets as Gifts

Because receiving blankets are versatile baby items, they are common gifts for new parents. Many come in the standard baby colours of pink and blue. Green and yellow are popular for those who don't yet know the gender of the expected baby. They can be rolled and tied with ribbon for an attractive presentation. Some people pin several rolled blankets together as arms and legs to make a baby shape.

Receiving Blankets as Keepsakes

Some parents choose to use receiving blankets as keepsakes for their children. In some cases, they keep the blankets used at the hospital. They may also choose to have a special blanket embroidered with the baby's name and date of birth.

Layering Your Baby

Smaller newborns and premature infants in particular have difficulty regulating their body temperature. An important aspect of the receiving blanket is that it is generally made of thin material so you can wrap the baby in as many layers as necessary and add or subtract layers as the environment demands.

How to Swaddle

Probably the most common use of the receiving blanket is to wrap it around the baby. This is called "swaddling." One way to swaddle a baby is to place the blanket on a flat surface and fold 1 corner down to make a small triangle. Place the baby on the blanket so that her head rests just above the folded corner, and then fold the opposite corner over the baby's legs. Fold the right side of the blanket over the baby, tucking it under the left arm. Finally, pull the left side snug and wrap it around and under the baby's right side. Most newborns sleep better when swaddled. As long as it's not too hot, it can be helpful to lay a flat receiving blanket over the swaddled baby and tuck both sides under to hold the swaddle in place longer.

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About the Author

Katie Hamm has been a writer since 2007. She holds a B.S. in business administration from Bowling Green State University.