Receiving blankets are an essential element of baby care that can be used in so many ways.
Douglas Adams, author of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, declared that the towel was the single most useful item that a hitchhiker could carry. Well, the receiving blanket is the parenting equivalent of a ‘towel’.
Here are twenty-five ways to use receiving blankets:
As a Blanket. Receiving blankets are light weight which makes them excellent to help regulate your baby’s temperature during nap time. Whether they are in their bassinet or in their car seat you can tuck one or more receiving blankets around your infant. Feel the back of the neck and if your baby is still cold you can add another lightweight receiving blanket, or if they are too hot then you can remove a layer easily.
To Swaddle a Baby. Newborns are used to being held tightly within their mother’s tummy and feel more secure when wrapped in a swaddle. They are calmer and often sleep better when swaddled. A receiving blanket can be used to create a swaddle while the baby is still small enough (usually the first two to three months depending on the size of the blanket).
Cover for Mattress. If you’re co-sleeping with your baby then you may find they tend to get a bit sweaty. You can place a receiving blanket under them and then switch to a fresh, dry receiving blanket when the first one gets sweaty. If you are prone to leaking breast milk then using a receiving blanket will also help protect your sheets. Another benefit to letting baby sleep on a receiving blanket is when it comes time to switch sides (whether your shoulder is getting sore or it’s time to switch breasts), you can just slide the blanket to the side with your sleeping baby on it and there is less chance they will wake up.
Blanket for Co-Sleeping Mamas. When you are co-sleeping you don’t want to pull your covers up too high or else they will cover your baby’s face. Since baby is at breast level this means your shoulders will be uncovered. Placing a flannel receiving blanket over your shoulder (but making sure it doesn’t cover your baby) is a great way to help keep your shoulder and chest warm.
Security Blanket. Over time your child may become attached to a favorite receiving blanket and carry their ‘blankie’ with them to bed and wherever they go.
Liner for Bassinet or Baby Bouncer. Newborns are known for their poop explosions and using a receiving blanket to line your bassinet or baby bouncer can make clean up easier. Most bassinets and bouncers are designed with removable covers, but it’s far easier to throw a receiving blanket in the wash than to deal with removing the cover.
Nursing Cover. You can easily use a receiving blanket as a nursing cover. Some babies prefer to eat in privacy and are more focused on feeding if you remove external distractions. Sensory deprivation also often helps lull the baby to sleep as they feed.
Nursing ‘Pillow’. When you go out with a newborn there is so much stuff to carry. Understandably you’ll want to leave your nursing pillow at home. You can bunch or roll up two or three receiving blankets and use them to help prop up your newborn to breast level so you don’t have to rely on your arm and shoulder muscles exclusively.
Burp Cloth. You can drape a receiving blanket over your shoulder when burping your baby to help keep your clothing clean from spit-up. You can also use a receiving blanket to mop up spilled formula or leaking breast milk.
Side-Lying Breastfeeding. You can roll up one or two receiving blankets (one inside the other) and place the roll along your baby’s back to help position them at the optimum angle for breastfeeding.
Cover for High Chair. Feeding a baby or toddler is not a tidy event. Sometimes you may feel like you get more food on the floor and chair than in their mouth. If you have a fabric cover for your high chair, or if your toddler is using a regular chair with a cushion, then you can use a receiving blanket as a food cover to help protect your chair cushion.
Games. You can play lots of fun games with babies and toddlers using a receiving blanket. Babies love it when you play ‘peek-a-boo’ hiding your face with the receiving blanket. Toddlers love wrapping up their dollies with them. They also make excellent capes.
Play Mat. A receiving blanket can instantly become a mat for tummy time. You can roll up another receiving blanket to use as a tummy pillow. Or, if you’re out if the house and are not too sure about the cleanliness of the floor your child wants to play on, then you can lay down a receiving blanket.
To Help Position a Newborn in a Car Seat. Newborns are so tiny that they can easily slump or not fit properly into an infant car seat. You can use rolled up receiving blankets to make sure they are positioned correctly and safely in the infant car seat. See this tutorial for a demonstration.
Change Pad. If you need to change your baby when you’re out then no doubt you don’t want them to touch the surface of the baby change tables provided in most restrooms. A receiving blanket or two can make a cushy change pad. You can also use a receiving blanket as a cover for your change table at home during the winter months since the surface can get cold.
Sun visor for car or stroller. Drape a receiving blanket over an infant car seat or your stroller and you can instantly block out the sun’s rays and protect your baby’s eyes.
Towel. Puddles are child magnets. If you’re out for a walk and a puddle beckons to your child then you can use a receiving blanket as a towel to dry them off.
Car Seat Cover During the Summer. If you drape a receiving blanket over your infant car seat when you park your car, then when you come back you can take it off and it will have absorbed a lot of the sun’s heat leaving the car seat cooler than it would have been otherwise.
Bib. If you forget your child’s bib at home then you can tuck a receiving blanket into their shirt and make a bib.
Emergency Diaper. If the unthinkable happens and you have no diapers left in your diaper bag, you can fashion a makeshift cloth diaper out of a receiving blanket. This will do until you can get home or get to the store to buy more diapers.
Emergency Cover for Vomit. If you’re running errands and your child suddenly comes down with the flu or a bad case of motion sickness, a receiving blanket can help protect your car seat or stroller while you’re racing home.
Gift Wrap. Receiving blankets come in so many adorable colors and designs. You can easily use one as wrapping paper to wrap up a gift for a baby shower.
Diaper Cakes. A diaper cake can make a gorgeous and well received baby shower gift. Receiving blankets can be used in their construction.
Reusable Wet Wipes. You can cut your receiving blankets into squares and finish the edges to create a stash of reusable wet wipes.
Cleaning Rags. After you’re child has outgrown the need for receiving blankets then you can tear them up and use them as cleaning rags.
Featured Image: Baby Girl, Public Domain Image from Pixabay