When buying a blanket for a baby, whether it's for your own child or as a gift for a new parent, there are several different options to consider. There are various types of baby blankets, each with a specific function. Think about what you need out of a blanket to choose the one that's right for you.
When sold specifically for this purpose, security blankets are soft -- often plush or fleece -- and often have a stuffed animal attached. Security blankets are not designed to wrap a baby in or cover him with, but rather as a symbolic form of comfort. A security blanket should be durable, as a baby often holds onto it well into his toddler stage. However, a child may become attached to any blanket and use it for security or comfort.
A receiving blanket is a simple and lightweight, and measures about one square yard. The blanket is multifunctional and can be used for swaddling, to catch drool or spit up, to lay a baby down on top of on the floor or anything else you can think of. Because receiving blankets have many purposes, they're very useful and most parents find it helpful to have a large supply of them on hand.
Many people suggest that keeping a baby swaddled helps him stay calm and relaxed. Swaddling blankets, as the name suggests, are specifically designed to swaddle a baby with. Swaddling blankets come with fastenings that make it quicker and easier to swaddle a baby in compared with a receiving blanket. Some varieties of these blankets let you change a diaper and keep the baby's top half wrapped up.
Sleep sacks are a relatively new concept. It's a wearable blanket that lets a baby be fully covered while sleeping without using a traditional blanket. Babies under 12 months old have an increased risk of dying as a result of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) if you use regular blankets in their cribs because they can get tangled in the bedding and pull it over their faces. Therefore, sleep sacks are a safe alternative if it's too cold for the child to sleep with no blanket.