Already your mind is conjuring up images of your precious little one lying cozily in the stroller, protected from the blustery wind. Alternatively, you smile as you flit past scenes of baby contentedly swaddled, resting peacefully in the beautiful crib. Perhaps your happy scene is of baby just cuddling against a blanket in mom’s loving embrace.
When most people picture a newborn in their minds, the baby is wrapped in a blanket. That’s because blankets are an essential part of every layette—light ones, heavy ones, nighttime ones, and special ones that turn out to be keepsakes. It’s the baby’s first wardrobe so you want it as pretty as can be. Baby blankets therefore come in a variety of colors and materials, such as lace, plaids and sophisticated cottons. These tips on selecting baby blankets will ensure that the child in your life is perfectly covered.
What kinds of blankets do I need for my baby?
If you’ve never had a baby, you might think that blankets are interchangeable. But most parents prefer to have several styles of blankets to serve a variety of purposes. When selecting baby blankets, consider all of the ways in which you’ll use them: as a light covering during the day, to block out the cold on outings, on the floor as a play area, and to keep baby warm and comfortable at night.
Receiving blankets are one of the most useful blankets you can stock your nursery with. Your baby will be wrapped and swaddled for the first two months of his life. They can be used as burp cloths, to protect surfaces and baby when changing your little one on the go, and as a day-to-day chill chaser. Look for receiving blankets made of a light- or medium-weight material that’s versatile enough to go from spit-up cleaner to washing machine to snuggled against your baby during naptime.
For those times when you need a heavier covering, consider fleece baby blankets. These blankets are perfect for covering baby while taking a walk in the stroller, as added warmth during car rides, and to cushion baby when it’s time for playing on the floor. When selecting a heavier blanket, choose one that’s large enough to comfortably cover your baby and his surroundings and that’s machine washable. As with all baby blankets, perform a “touch test.” Place it on your cheek to make sure it’s soft enough to be against baby’s delicate skin.
Since most baby experts recommend against putting heavy blankets in the crib with infants, a sleep sack that acts as a wearable blanket is a good option. Select a sleep sac with a zipper that makes middle-of-the-night diaper changes easy for you and less disruptive for your baby.
Are swaddle blankets really more effective than regular blankets?
For new parents attempting to master all of the different skills related to their infant, baby swaddling blankets can be a lifesaver. Most babies tend to sleep better and feel more secure when they’re swaddled tightly, giving them a feeling similar to what they experienced in the womb. When swaddling your baby, you need to make sure that there’s no loose material that could cover baby’s face and pose a suffocation hazard. You also want to ensure that your swaddle stays put. The solution to both of those issues is to purchase a blanket specifically designed to swaddle your baby. When selecting a baby swaddling blanket, look for material that won’t overheat your baby and that won’t shrink when you wash it.
When you want unique baby blankets
In addition to the everyday blankets that babies need, it’s nice to have some special options too. Baby quilts are typically used not only as a blanket but also as a decoration. To truly make it special, consider personalized baby blankets. These will be a treasured part of your nursery now and your child’s favorite as he or she grows. Remember that most kids chose one cozy blanket they love best as their security blanket and stay attached to it into their toddler years. Buy something you’ll be able to replace after that gets worn. Cozy chenille and velvet blankets are very popular.
The Bottom Line
Ensure that your nursery is stocked with blankets in a variety of weights and styles to accommodate all of baby’s needs. Consider a swaddle blanket to help your baby sleep better and feel more secure. And when you want a special item, a personalized baby blanket allows you add your child’s name and select the colors and style of the blanket.
Our Mom Expert
Caron Webber, 37, is the mother of five children, ages 2 to 12.
“I considered myself an expert swaddler after having three kids, but special swaddling blankets were the new, hot thing when I was pregnant with my fourth child, and they seemed to be everywhere. I broke down and bought one just to see if it really was easier than using a regular blanket. I was astonished at the difference; it stayed put all night and was a breeze to fasten together. Needless to say, I added a couple more swaddling blankets to my collection so I always had a clean one on hand.