A receiving blanket is a soft, lightweight blanket which is used to wrap a baby. There are a number of uses for these blankets, and many new mothers like to keep a stack around the house for various tasks. They are often given as gifts at baby showers or parties to celebrate a new mother, and they are readily available from stores which stock baby supplies. They can also be handmade, for people who enjoy sewing projects and want to create a personalized present for a new mother.
These blankets are large enough to wrap a baby securely without being cumbersome. They are often used for swaddling new infants. In addition to being an ancient tradition, swaddling also appears to be beneficial for babies, as it can help calm them down. Receiving blankets can also be draped across a baby in a stroller for warmth, used for quick layers in baby bedding, spread on a surface for a quick diaper change, folded over the shoulder for burping, or used to cover a baby while breastfeeding for privacy. Many new mothers come up with other creative uses for the blanket, turning it into an excellent all-purpose item.
Depending on the design, a receiving blanket may be square or rectangular. Many are reversible, and some have one side which is extra soft for the baby's skin, and another side made from a moisture-resistant material to prevent leakage during burping and diaper changes. Bright colors are commonly used, since babies seem to respond to and enjoy brightly colored objects in their environment, although more toned down pastel versions are also available.
When selecting a receiving blanket, people may want to remember that babies have very sensitive skin. If a blanket feels rough and scratchy to an adult, it will feel even more unpleasant for the baby. Some parents also prefer to use natural fibers like untreated cotton, linen, and silk with their babies, because they are concerned about synthetic fibers or chemicals around their babies. For someone who tends to buy organic and use natural products, an unbleached, undyed cotton blanket might be a good choice. Buyers may also want to think about color choice: some parents don't care what color baby presents are, while others would prefer to receive (or avoid) gendered colors like pink and blue.
While gifts of new and handmade receiving blankets are often appreciated by new parents, parents can also get receiving blankets used from consignment stores if they find that their supplies are not ample enough. Baby consignment stores are often a great source for high quality, low cost baby supplies which have been gently used, and new parents can start a rolling account by bringing in items they no longer use such as a carseat which has become too small so that they can generate store credit for buying items they need.