What Is A Receiving Blanket? Everything A New Parent Needs To Know

Why read: Wondering what is a receiving blanket and if you need one for swaddling your baby? All the answers on receiving blankets vs swaddles and more.

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If you’re a first-time mom you might not be quite sure what a receiving blanket is.

Your head is full of questions like:

Would your baby need a receiving blanket? or
What is a receiving blanket used for? or
How is a receiving blanket different from a swaddle blanket? etc, etc. 

But don’t worry! 

After reading this article you’ll have all those questions answered. And you’ll feel more comfortable knowing what you’ll need when your baby arrives. 

baby wrapped in a hospital receiving blanket

What Is A Receiving Blanket?

A receiving blanket is a soft thin piece of fabric used to swaddle a newborn baby

It is usually made of flannel, cotton, or muslin. Nurses use it to wrap the baby up for the first meet-up with you.

Also called the Kuddle-Up blanket, the iconic receiving blanket used in American hospitals is white with blue and pink stripes. This design for receiving blankets has been used for newborn babies in hospitals for over 50 years now. The pink and blue stripes make it gender-neutral and loved by new parents. 

But you don’t need to stick to this design onlyReceiving blankets come in a variety of prints and patterns. You can choose the one that fits into your nursery decor.

These blankets are typically sold in multipacks. And believe me, you’ll love them right away.

They are so comfy and functional that you will want to buy more and more.

Not surprisingly,  a receiving blanket is one of the most common gifts that a new mom gets even long before the delivery.

Why Is It Called a Receiving Blanket?

Yes, you’ve guessed correctly! 

We call it a receiving blanket because it’s the first cloth wrapped around your baby when you “receive” your bundle of joy after birth.

The little munchkin with teeny-tiny hands, swaddled tightly, what a blessing! 

No wonder the pictures of newborn babies wrapped in a receiving blanket and held by the over-the-moon-happy mom are the cutest and most popular on social media. 

mom holding newborn baby wrapped in a receiving blanket


What Size Is A Receiving Blanket? 

The hospital receiving blankets are rectangles 30×40 inches in size.

Square receiving blankets are also very popular and come in different sizes from 24×24 inches all the way up to the big ones of 44×44 inches. 

For newborn care, opt for the smaller size. It’ll make swaddling your tiny little one way easier.  

What Are Receiving Blankets Used for? 

The main purpose of a receiving blanket is, of course, swaddling the baby.

Swaddling recreates the snuggly environment of the mom’s womb, hence helping the baby sleep better and for longer stretches. Plus when swaddled babies don’t wiggle their arms and legs and startle themselves awake. 

But unlike the swaddle blankets with wings, which can be used only for swaddling the baby, receiving blankets are multifunctional and can serve you in many different ways when caring for your little one. 

Use your receiving blankets: 

  • For covering up when breastfeeding: Due to its small size, a receiving blanket is easy to carry around in your diaper bag. It will provide you with the privacy you need when nursing in public. 

  • For wrapping baby up after giving a bath: As receiving blankets are made of soft materials like cotton, muslin, or flannel, they keep the baby cozy after a warm bath.

  • As a carseat or stroller cover: Keep a receiving blanket in the stroller pocket or next to the carseat and it can serve as a cover from the sun or unexpected rain. 

  • As a mat for changing the diapers: Receiving blankets make it easy to make any not so comfy and clean area into a well-fitted diaper changing table. Cover up the changing boards in public toilets or even the area at home. You will keep it neat and clean without causing extra work for you. 
  • As a burp cloth: With a baby who has frequent spit-ups, a regular burp cloth might not provide enough coverage. Receiving blankets act like an oversized burp cloth, and you are all neat and clean. Bonus: you have less laundry too.  

  • As a play area/mat: Your baby will have numerous spaces to play at home, but when visiting friends and family, you can take your receiving blankets and let them serve as a mat for your baby to play on the ground. 

  • For Playing Peek-a-boo: You can use a receiving blanket for some fun playtime with your baby. Check out these 5 fun ideas for how to play with a blanket

  • As a blanket for a picnic: I always have one extra receiving blanket from my pack in the car for an unplanned picnic. When on a ride with your baby, it’s a good destresser from an overwhelming day to hop on a quick riverside picnic. The receiving blanket comes in handy!  

baby lying on a receiving blanket for diaper change


How To Repurpose Your Receiving Blankets

And even after giving your receiving blankets so much use, you can squeeze more life out of them once the baby outgrows them.

There are lots of interesting ways you can repurpose your receiving blankets. Here are some ideas: 

  • Use the receiving blanket as a cleaning rug.
  • Make it into a stuffed toy and keep it as a warm memory.
  • Turn the receiving blanket into an apron for kid’s school art projects.
  • Sew a pillow cover. Receiving blankets carry a special memory of your child, so you can turn it into a pillow to have in your room for nostalgic moments. 
  • Donate to an animal shelter, as receiving blankets can be cozy for puppies as well. Or use it as a blanket for your own puppy if you have one. 
  • Decorate your room by cutting it into small little shapes and figures. 
  • Use a tent-at-home: As a kid, it’s always fun to make secret tents at home using chairs and small blankets. A bunch of receiving blankets can be perfect for this!                           
  • You can easily use receiving blankets forever; just give way to your creativity.


How Do You Swaddle Your Baby Using A Receiving Blanket? 

The shape and size of receiving blankets make it easy to wrap around the baby. Newborns are used to cozy environments that remind them of life in the womb. So you can use a receiving blanket to recreate the coziness and keep the baby calm in the first couple of months after birth. 

To wrap your baby in a receiving blanket, you will need to:

  • Spread out the blanket in a diamond shape on a  flat surface – the floor or the bed.
  • Fold the top corner of the blanket several inches inwards,
  • Place the baby on its back on the receiving blanket so that the head is above the fold at the top,
  • Hold the baby’s arm down straight at its side, wrap that side of the blanket across the body,
  • Lift the baby’s left arm so that the blanket can go under it,
  • Draw the bottom corner of the blanket straight up and fold up till it reaches the baby’s neck,
  • Hold the baby’s left arm and fold the right side of the receiving blanket across her body. 

In the end, your baby will look like a cozy burrito wrapped in its receiving blanket. 

Try wrapping up a baby doll or a stuffed animal toy before you swaddle your child. Babies like to move and kick, so keep patient even if you don’t manage to swaddle with the first try. Don’t you worry; mastery comes with practice.


Receiving Blanket Vs Swaddle

Swaddling a fussy baby isn’t easy!

Especially when you’re a first-time mom and not quite sure what you’re doing. 

Some babies hate being swaddled and fight big time. So you’ll need some practice to master the art of swaddling with a receiving blanket. 

To make things easier for yourself you can use a swaddle blanket with velcro wings instead.

The wings easily attach to the sides of the swaddle making the whole process a breeze. 

Unlike receiving blankets, which are multifunctional and can be used for so many different purposes, swaddles with wings are designed the way that they can be used only for swaddling. 

You can try both types to see which one you prefer. Or use them interchangeably.




Receiving Blanket Vs Muslin

Both muslin swaddles and receiving blankets are loose cloth blankets. The main difference is the fabric they are made of. 

Muslin swaddles are thinner than cotton receiving blankets so those are better for warmer climates. In hot summer weather, you still want to swaddle your baby but it’s important to not let your baby overheat. 

Hence, use muslin swaddles when it’s hot. Those are soft and soothing for baby skin and the material’s breathability let’s baby sleep without sweating. 


How Many Receiving Blankets Do I Need?

It depends on your washing routine but generally, a pack of 4 or 7 is a good starting point. 

Depending on the hospital you’ll be delivering in you might receive a couple of receiving blankets to take home too. 

My son loved being swaddled and I loved using receiving blankets with him. But with my daughter, I could hardly ever use one. She was so active and fussy every single time so I switched to the velcro swaddle and after a month or so started to use sleep sacks with her.

The good thing I could use the receiving blankets I had for all of the above-mentioned purposes. I still have a couple in the car, a couple in my diaper bag, a couple at grandma’s house for all types of emergencies. 

So it’s all individual and depends on the baby.

But  I wouldn’t stock up on too many receiving blankets in the beginning. You can buy or register for a pack and then see if you need more when your little one arrives. 

Also do consider that you’ll be swaddling your baby for only 2 months. 


At What Age Do You Stop Using Receiving Blankets?

While swaddling is very beneficial for the newborn stage, it’s important to not go overboard with it. 

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that swaddling is stopped when the baby is 2 months old or with the first sign of rolling. If the swaddled baby rolls over it may raise the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). 

To make the transition out of the swaddle easier for your baby, start using a sleep sack instead. I have a special love for sleep sacks and have all the information for you on why use a sleep sack for your baby

Also, check out why I love and recommend Nested Bean weighted sleep sack


Best Receiving Blankets

Before you register for or purchase receiving blankets take into account the season when your baby will be born. For colder months, you’d want to have thicker cotton or fleece ones, while muslin is a better choice for warmer summertime. 

Here are some options for you to choose from: 




  • This  Personalized Newborn Receiving Blanket is a perfect gift for a baby shower. This fleece blanket is best to be used in colder months. It is soft and lightweight and is slightly larger than usual receiving blankets with the size 36″x36″.

fleece receiving blanket

  • And finally my favorite thin and breathable aden + anais muslin blankets. These are large (44″x44″) and extremely versatile blankets that I’ve used with both of my babies and continue to have in my diaper bag. They are perfect for California’s cool evenings but light enough for hot days as well.

muslin receiving blanket

One Last Thing

I hope I’ve answered all your lingering questions on receiving blankets but if you have more feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll get back to you with more info. 

Your Turn

Please share your experience with receiving blankets for other moms to read. Any tips or life hacks when swaddling your baby? 





What Is A Receiving Blanket? Everything A New Parent Needs To Know

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