What Is a Baby Receiving Blanket? Why Do New Parents Need It?

One of the most beautiful moments a parent can experience is when they hold their newborn in their arms for the very first time. It is a lovely moment that any words wouldn’t do any justice.

But have you ever thought about the blanket the newborn is cozily wrapped in? Why do caregivers choose the blanket? What is a receiving blanket?

A baby receiving blanket is a cozy blanket used to hand the baby over to you. It is wrapped around the newborn to keep them warm and comfortable. But what purpose does it serve?

How can parents choose the right receiving blanket? Do you need it? I have put together this guide to answer all of your questions about a baby’s receiving blanket. Let’s get started!

What Is a Baby Receiving Blanket? Why Do New Parents Need It?

What is a receiving blanket?

When your due date is coming nearer, and you are about to become a new parent, you come to know a lot of new things. Many of us didn’t know what is a receiving blanket? Thus, this article.

When your newborn arrives, they are not used to the environment outside. So when they meet the world for the first time, they need to stay warm and maintain a healthy body temperature. That’s when the baby receiving blanket comes to the rescue. 

A receiving blanket is a warm blanket used to wrap a newborn baby before doctors and caregivers handle the baby to the new parents. Usually, this is a really soft blanket made from cotton, plush, or flannel. This is a staple item sold in hospitals and named because the baby is “received” by the parents for the first time.

Baby receiving blankets hold a sentimental value too. After all, your baby comes into your arms while they are wrapped in that soft blanket. It is the baby’s first cloth. 

What is the origin of receiving blankets?

A receiving blanket is the first thing you wear when you come to this world. It embraces you in warmth and a lot of love. But where did this idea come from?

Since when have humans used a baby receiving blanket? Let’s know a little about the history of these blankets.

Folklores and word of mouth say people have been using baby receiving blankets for ages. If parents couldn’t provide a receiving blanket, caregivers always have a receiving blanket to wrap the newborn baby. 

If you have seen a nativity anywhere, you would’ve seen Jesus wrapped in a blanket in Virgin Mary’s arms. According to the second book of Luke’s Gospel, after Jesus’s birth in the stable, Mary wrapped Jesus.

However, it could also be due to a lack of proper clothes in the surroundings. But this isn’t the first researched use of a receiving blanket; there are older references. 

Anthropologists had researched and determined that even before Christ, humans used things to keep their newborns warm, primarily fur. 

What Is a Baby Receiving Blanket? Why Do New Parents Need It?

How should parents use the receiving blanket?

We all know how to use blankets, but you need to be extra careful when it comes to your baby. Sure there are no complicated instructions, but there are some things to keep in mind while using receiving blankets. Here are some tips pediatricians would like you to know while using receiving blankets.

  • When you wrap the blanket around your baby, make sure to avoid going around their head or neck.
  • During the baby’s first year of life, do not cover them with the receiving blanket.
  • Always be sure you take the blanket out of the kid’s crib when you are not there. Please don’t keep it in the crib at all; cribs and blankets are ingredients for disaster. 
  • Do not swaddle the baby in a heavy blanket; it can prove fatal.
  • When the baby starts to roll over on their own, you need to stop swaddling.

These days, parents have been buying baby receiving blankets for home too. It is a common notion that blankets should be heavy and warm, but this doesn’t hold when it comes to baby blankets.

If you are planning on buying a receiving blanket, go for a light one. I would suggest a blanket made from cotton as it would be suitable to swaddle the baby.

What are baby receiving blankets used for?

Yes, baby receiving blankets are sentimental, but they serve many applications too. It’s not just a cloth you use once and treasure for the rest of your life without using it. It can add value to you and your baby’s life by using it.

Spread for baby 

Your baby wants to explore the world from their first day. So you want to put your baby down or lay them down so they can play sometime.

But before you do that, you need a soft and comfortable surface. What better option than a plush receiving blanket.

Baby receiving blankets are soft and comfortable to carry anywhere you go. You can lay them down anywhere, and you will have a comfortable place. When you want to play with your baby, put them down for a nap, or have a safe place, spread the baby’s receiving blanket

Changing blanket

A newborn baby needs a diaper change at least 8 to 10 times a day, if not more. If you are a new parent, you can get overwhelmed by this number, but there is a little more to it.

If you will diaper the baby ten times a day, that also means you have to put the baby down that many times. You can not just lay them on any cold or rough surface, right? 

If you are thinking of buying a changing blanket, wait a minute. A receiving blanket provides the same comfort, warmth, and is convenient to carry. If you need a changing blanket for home or traveling purposes, the receiving blanket will be perfect.

Baby’s burp cloth

Burp cloths are a part of the essential newborn kit. There are baby bibs and burp cloths for a baby in the market, and you might have bought some already.

You need them to protect the baby’s clothes sometimes and to put the cloth over your shoulder while burping your baby. Your baby’s receiving blanket can serve the same purpose. 

Babies puke and spit up often during the first months; usually, a few of your burp cloths get spoiled, or you have to do laundry frequently. If you don’t want to buy another burp cloth or are running low due to laundry, put your receiving blanket to use. And it might be the best burp cloth you might have ever used!

Swaddle blanket

When your baby comes into the world, they need a warm snuggle. It helps mimic the temperature and feeling of a mother’s womb that the baby is used to, and it helps them adjust.

The best thing about a swaddle blanket is that it is warm, soft, yet thin. What else can you swaddle your baby with? Yes, a receiving blanket.  

You can use your precious receiving blanket to keep the baby warm even after you take them home. So if you are yet to buy a swaddle blanket or it is in the laundry bag, you can always use the plush receiving blanket.

Stroller shade

When your little one arrives, no one is as excited as you. You want to shower them with your love and always stay close to them, right? A stroller is always a good option to take your baby with you everywhere you go.

But your newborn is still sensitive, and when you go out, they are exposed to sun, dust, or a cold breeze. You have to protect them from everything adverse, and a receiving blanket comes to your help again. 

I have seen many mothers with their strollers covered with the baby’s receiving blanket in the park. The blanket is thin, and if it is made from cotton, it will be an excellent stroller shade. You can take your baby with you while they are still comfortable.

How to choose the right receiving blanket?

Receiving blankets are one of the most popular baby shower gifts loved ones prefer to give new mothers. They make an excellent post-delivery gift too. So if you are looking to buy baby receiving blankets for your baby or your loved ones, you can find some that suit you.

Receiving blankets come in a variety of options. There are baby receiving blankets for boys, receiving blankets for girls, with different fabrics, patterns, and styles. You can get a blanket that goes with your nursery or any accessory.

It depends on your preference and how you want to use the blanket. But always consider the patterns, materials, and size of the receiving blanket. 

To help you choose the right blanket, I have some more tips below.

  • Before buying the blanket, check if the fabric is child friendly. Your baby’s skin is sensitive, so you can go for cotton to be safe.
  • If you want to buy a blanket on the heavier side, go for breathable fabric, so no matter what happens, there is no chance of suffocation, and everything is airy.
  • Avoid buying blankets that are too thick. It doesn’t need to be extra warm as it might be uncomfortable for the baby.
  • Don’t choose blankets with fur. First, it is a little too thick, and second, the fur may come loose and enter your baby’s mouth or nose. It can be hazardous.
  • Steer away from blankets with beads, tassels, or ribbons. Tassels and ribbons may tangle a baby, and there is a chance they can ingest the beads too. 
  • Synthetic fabrics are a big no-no. Not only they aren’t warm, but they also trap bacteria leading to rashes.

What should a suitable labor bag have?

Your baby needs all your care and warmth to feel comfortable during their first few months. The receiving blanket helps you with that immediately after the baby is born.

Baby’s receiving blankets are an essential part of the baby’s hospital bag, and similarly, there are some more things every parent absolutely needs in their hospital bag for delivery. Let’s take a look at them. 

Baby’s receiving blanket

Many hospitals have their own receiving blankets they provide you at a nominal fee. But it is your choice if you would like to use yours; after all, you would want to have your baby’s first memories in something you chose.

I would advise you to pack a couple of receiving blankets for the baby because these blankets are multipurpose. If you want to pack less, it is a good option.

As mentioned above, receiving blankets can double as swaddle blankets, burp cloths, and changing blankets.

Swaddle blanket

Swaddle blankets are warm blankets used to provide baby the comfort and familiarity of their mother’s womb. It keeps the baby’s arms tucked, so the baby doesn’t just wake themselves up startled. It soothes and comforts them.

When you have your baby in your arms, you’d want to gradually introduce them to the world; that is the purpose of a swaddle blanket. So make sure you put one in your bag.

And if you need extra, the receiving blanket will do the job. Looking for tips on swaddling your baby? Here is everything you need to know about swaddling.

The coming home outfit

I know your baby looks like a cute little burrito wrapped in the receiving blanket, but you would still need to change the baby into clothes. The baby’s very first outfit, yay! It will be the outfit you will remember forever, and you can keep it as a keepsake later.

This will be your baby’s take home outfit, and this is what your baby will wear on the way home from the hospital. So pick the outfit with that in mind.

Also, always consider the weather. If it’s going to be a cold month, you need to buy a warm outfit and some layers. Socks, a cap, and mittens may also help.

During summers, you can get away without the layers. And if the outfit is still not warm enough, you can always use the baby’s receiving blanket.

Extra warmth

No matter what the weather is, it is always a good idea to pack a pair of socks, mittens, and a cap in the baby’s hospital bag. It can be cold inside the hospital; you would want to be ready for anything that comes.

But while buying and putting on socks and mittens for your newborn, always ensure the elastic or string isn’t too tight. Better go for something that may be loose rather than risking any harm.

Burp cloths

As I’ve mentioned above, burp cloths are small fabrics used to protect clothing from baby spit-ups. There are many cute burp cloths available that can be useful for you in the hospital and home. They come in the form of baby bibs, big handkerchief, and other fabrics.

They will keep you and your baby’s clothes clean, and you won’t need to change immediately. Even if you forget burp cloths, you can use the receiving blanket.

A nursing pillow

There is a lot to be done in the hospital even after the caregivers hand your baby to you. A fair amount of time may go into documentation, checkup, and whatnot. Remember, you can be in the hospital for a while, and you may start breastfeeding the baby during that time.

If you have to breastfeed the baby in the hospital, you need a little more support. Carry a nursing pillow in your car in case you have to breastfeed the newborn. These pillows are specially designed to prop your baby’s head and support you while nursing.

Even if you don’t think you’ll need it in the hospital, it is better to carry more than less here.


You are excited to hold your new baby, and you must have prepared everything your newborn needs. So after the hospital staff hands you your newborn, you have to make sure everything is ready; the first step is a diaper. In most hospitals, the caregivers diaper the baby before they hand them to you, but if that doesn’t happen, you can diaper them yourself. 

If you forget, the stores inside hospitals always have diapers in stock for you to buy. Or you can call the hospital before asking if diapers would be available? If not, you will need to carry enough diapers to last you a while. 

Baby wipes

Baby wipes are a lifesaver. They are gentle, super easy to use, and multipurpose. They have many uses; you can use them to clean while diapering, wipe the baby’s spit ups, clean up yourself, to name a few.

Always have them with you in the hospital and every place after.

Tip: Always go for unscented wipes for your baby’s sensitive skin. Fragrance in any product that comes in your baby’s contact is neer a good idea as they are potential allergens. 

How to repurpose?

No matter how bad you want to keep your little one wrapped up in your arms, they are going to grow up, and that is a beautiful thing. As your baby grows up, they need bigger clothes and bigger blankets.

That means your baby’s receiving blanket is not going to be used as much. Here are ways you can repurpose your baby’s receiving blanket.

1. Turn it into a quilt

You could use all the receiving blankets and sew them together to make a quilt. This will be a warm quilt when your baby is out of the crib and transferring into a bed. It’ll be familiar to your baby but also a whole new quilt that is warm and made with love.

2. Make new pillows

Some blankets are too cute to be stored away to be taken out to reminisce your childhood memories. You can do something better and useful to them.

Sew those receiving blankets into a pillow form so that it acts as a pillow cover, and you can fill it with polyfill and you close it. Voila! You have a cute pillow for your baby that they can keep close every time they sleep.

3. A beach spread

Who doesn’t like a fun beach day? I’m sure your baby does too! But you need a beach mat to sit on the warm sand and bask in the sunlight while your baby plays.

You can have the comfort of the mat with your receiving blankets. Use it over a mat, or you can combine them and use it instead of a beach spread. This way, your baby will have a soft and safe surface to have fun while there is some sun.


Now that we have covered all you need to know about receiving blankets let get to some frequently asked questions. 

How are receiving blankets and swaddle blankets different?

The main difference between a swaddle blanket and a receiving blanket is their size. Usually, the swaddle blankets are larger than the receiving blanket.

Also, while cotton receiving blanket is the norm, swaddle blankets are made of a more stretchable fabric to wrap it around the baby. It may have velcro or anything else to keep the wrap in place. 

And the overall purpose of both these blankets is different.

Is it okay that my baby keeps their receiving blanket with them always?

Yes, It is perfectly normal for babies to keep their receiving blankets close to them. It has been there since their first introduction to the world, and you must have used it to swaddle and care for the baby. Therefore, the blanket provides comfort to them and holds a special place for them. 

Is it safe to use the hospital’s receiving blanket?

Absolutely! A hospital receiving blanket is made with as much care as any of the other ones.

It is your choice to choose if you want to use the hospital’s blanket or if you want to buy your own. But know that one blanket won’t be enough for the baby; you’ll need more.


A receiving blanket is a warm blanket used to wrap a newborn baby before doctors and caregivers handle the baby to the new parents.

What are baby receiving blankets used for?

Spread for baby 

Changing blanket

Baby’s burp cloth

Swaddle blanket

Stroller shade

How to choose the right receiving blanket?

Check if the fabric is child friendly. 

Go for a breathable and airy warm blanket.

Avoid buying blankets with fur or embellishments.

What should a baby’s hospital bag have?

Baby’s receiving blanket

Swaddle blanket

The coming home outfit

Extra warmth

Burp cloths

A nursing pillow


Baby wipes

How to repurpose?

Use all the receiving blankets and sew them together to make a quilt. 

Sew receiving blankets into a pillow cover and fill it with polyfill.

Use it over a mat or use it instead of a beach spread. 

Hope you got the answer to all your questions after reading this article. A baby’s receiving blanket isn’t just an introductory cloth for your newborn; it can serve many other purposes. It keeps your baby safe, comfortable, and secure. Go through all these tips to find the right blanket for your baby and share them with other new parents.

What Is a Baby Receiving Blanket? Why Do New Parents Need It?

Liked this article? Make sure you read these articles on your hospital bag checklist, how to repurpose baby blankets, and packing a baby’s diaper bag.  

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