What Is a Receiving Blanket For?

By Kathryn Rateliff Barr
Swaddling keeps the blanket around your baby when she sleeps.
Swaddling keeps the blanket around your baby when she sleeps.

When you open gifts at a baby shower, don’t be surprised if you end up with a stack of receiving blankets. The versatile, lightweight cloths can serve many purposes besides wrapping your little one up with when the room is cool. Although your baby can quickly outgrow the blanket size, you will want to have plenty of these close at hand.

Swaddling

A receiving blanket is the perfect size for bundling a newborn and feels soft and comforting on your baby's tender skin. Open the blanket up in a diamond shape and turn down the top corner. Place your baby face-up with her head just above the turned-down corner. Wrap the right corner across her body with the arm on that side at her stomach. Then tuck the corner between her arm and her body. Bring the bottom corner up over her feet as far as it will reach, tucking the point into the fold. Finish by wrapping the left corner over the baby and tucking that point into the fold at the back of the babies neck. Only your baby’s head is visible above the blanket edge. Be aware though, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you not swaddle a baby while sleeping after 2 months of age.

Soft towels

Receiving blankets make great burp towels to protect your clothes when you burp the baby after a feeding. Wipe up spit-up milk, or clean food off your child’s face as he grows older. Additionally, keep a receiving blanket close during baths so you can quickly reach for it when baby gets chilly.

Travel

A receiving blanket can easily be used by nursing mothers when breastfeeding in public or if your formula fed baby is easily distracted when drinking her bottle. Just throw the half folded blanket over your shoulder and you and your child can retain some privacy. Toss a receiving blanket over the car seat or stroller to keep the sun from hurting your baby’s eyes.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.