What is a Baby Blanket?

Ken Black
Ken Black
Doctor with a baby
Doctor with a baby

While choosing a baby blanket may not seem like a very difficult job, there are things that make a baby blanket unique. Without these unique properties, any blanket would do. There are conveniences and other improvements designed into baby blankets that make them especially suited for babies, particularly newborns.

First, a baby blanket is usually made of the softest cotton or synthetic materials. These materials help protect a baby's delicate skin. Newborn babies can often receive scratches from materials that most people would not consider to be very abrasive at all. Finding a soft baby blanket will help keep the baby's skin in good condition.

Also, because a baby's immune system is still under development, it may react harshly to perceived threats that really are not threats at all. This is the reason why babies have more allergies and tend to "grow out" of them. Baby products, in general, are designed to cope with this. A baby blanket is usually hypo-allergenic to reduce the risk of a bad reaction from the material. While such a blanket will not cut down all allergic reactions in all children, it will cut down on the majority of them.

A good baby blanket will be breathable. In many cases, keeping the baby warm is only one of the primary purposes of a baby blanket. The other purpose is to keep the baby swaddled tightly. Traditional blankets, which are not designed for swaddling, may quickly make the baby overheated. Nearly all babies will act better when swaddled, as it gives them a feeling of security, much like they may have experienced in the womb. Some baby blankets also have a covering at the top for the head, which helps keep the baby from losing heat from the one location on the body where most heat is lost.

If used properly, a baby blanket may become one of the most well used baby products a new parent will ever have. However, like nearly anything else around babies, there are some hazards all parents should avoid. First, baby blankets should never be placed loosely over a baby. This poses a suffocation risk. Second, when swaddling with a baby blanket it is important to remember not to swaddle the baby too tightly. This could cut off circulation or even break bones. However, these injuries are very rare and baby blankets are considered a very safe and necessary addition to any new nursery.

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Discussion Comments


Some kids really get attached to their blankets. I made a quilt big enough for my granddaughter to grow into. Many of the fabrics that I used for the quilt were taken from clothes that she had outgrown.

I gave it to her when she was about three. She has had such fun talking about the squares that used to be one of her dresses. It is fairly thin - doesn't have much padding in the middle. she's eight now and still uses it at night and wraps up in it when watching TV.


When my first daughter was young, we swaddled her in a small blanket that wrapped around her and just fit. She was a sensitive little one and swaddling really helped. I also knitted a fairly large blanket for my first-born. I wasn't a great knitter, so it took me most of my pregnancy to finish it.

My second daughter used it and my two granddaughters used it too. It was made from very soft yarn and was tightly knit. It still looks good as new - hasn't stretched out of shape or pulled apart. Maybe a baby in the next generation will use it.


I don't know if you can have too many baby blankets when your kids are little. I always had several of them around so I knew I would always have at least one that was clean.

I had my favorite ones though, and they were the ones that got used most often. Once my kids got a little bit older, they all had their favorites too.

The first baby blanket I received at a shower was a generic Winnie the Pooh baby blanket. For some reason, this was my favorite. I don't know if it was because it was so soft or I loved Winnie the Pooh, but we got a lot of wear out of it.

I didn't have much of a problem with my kids getting too attached to their blankets. We have a grandson who is having a hard time giving up his baby blanket.

I know he won't go to school with it, but that time is getting closer and he still wants that blanket with him a lot.


When my kids were babies, I had different baby blankets for different purposes. I received two beautiful crocheted baby blankets from two different aunts, that were really special to me.

These were a little bigger and had more bulk than some of the other baby blankets, so were perfect for warmth and for snuggling at home.

If I wanted to wrap them in a tighter swaddle, I would use a thinner baby blanket that didn't have as much elasticity to it.

A crochet baby blanket is a special gift because you know how much time and effort went in making it. There are also a lot of soft, beautiful baby yarns to choose from.


When children grow out of their baby blankets, they are still really drawn to them. Once my daughter got too tall for the blanket to cover her anymore, she started walking around with it for comfort.

I can totally understand the attraction. Those things are so soft that I wish they made them in adult sizes!

My daughter likes to press it to her cheek while sucking her thumb. Sometimes, she wraps it around her shoulders and wears it as a cloak.

She has allergies to certain fabrics, but I don’t have to worry about that with the baby blanket. I let her cover her shoulders with it at night so it is all that touches her face, and I cover the rest of her body with a different blanket.


I went with my pregnant friend to a baby supply store. She was eight months along, and she knew it was time to pick up things she needed that she hadn’t gotten at her baby shower.

We found some of the most unique baby blankets I have ever seen. She ended up buying one with baby rabbits on it and squeakers inside of it. In the stomach area of each bunny was a squeaker that the baby could press to hear the noise.

She was at first concerned about the safety of such a blanket. She asked the lady at the counter if her baby might possibly pull or chew a squeaker out of the blanket, but she assured her that the material was much to substantial for a baby to destroy.


When I was little, I stayed at a daycare that also cared for infants. I remember looking at them in their cribs, and most of them tended to kick their blankets off and sleep bare.

I once reached through the slats in a crib and felt of a baby blanket. It felt like those velvety ones people use in wintertime to keep super warm. No wonder the babies kicked them off! I’m cold-natured, and I always overheat under those types of blankets.

I told my mother about the blankets at the daycare, and she donated my old baby blankets to them. She didn’t want to tell them how to do their job, but she hoped that the availability of actual baby blankets would entice them to use them instead.


I have never had any dealings with babies, so I did not know what swaddling was until reading this article. I wonder if most mothers know that wrapping a baby securely might make him happier. Has anyone noticed if your baby cries less when swaddled in a baby blanket?

Every one of my friends with crying babies just walked them around and bounced them up and down to try and stop the wailing. I don’t think I have ever seen them use a baby blanket to try and stop the noise.

I guess all anyone in this world wants is to feel secure. If a blanket could do it for a baby, then that sure would save my friends a lot of grief and energy.


Each time I have given birth my mother has provided us with some really beautiful knit baby blankets as keepsakes. While I can understand why some people would like designer baby blankets, I really prefer something from the family that has a real story behind it.

When my daughter was born, the pink baby blanket my mother made was really gorgeous. I am not sure where she found the yarn she worked with but it was the softest thing ever. I am sure that when the baby is done with the blanket we'll keep it for years to come, just like we did with our son's blankets.


I think one of the best things you can buy for a new mother are a few handmade baby blankets. If you go to something like a farmer's market there is a good chance you'll be able to find high quality baby blankets there that are affordable and come in a huge number of designs.

Whenever I go to a baby shower I really like the embroidered baby blankets because they show that you have put the time in to find a really customized gift. Usually if you go to the farmer's market a week or so in advance, you can get the baby blankets of your choice embroidered for a small extra fee.


@EdRick - I scoffed at those swaddling wraps, but then a friend of mine has one and it looks so easy. Now I'm all jealous that I didn't have one!

One thing that you really have to be careful of, though, with any baby blanket but especially when you are swaddling, is to keep the baby from getting overheated. Fleece baby blankets over fleece sleepers are going to be way too much unless your house is positively Arctic!

Even newborns only need, at most, a smide more wrapping or clothing than adults. The problem with overheating is that it increases the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Keep baby cool!

And if you put baby in the crib with a blanket, make sure to follow the "feet to foot" rule. The blanket must be tucked in on three sides and baby's feet should be touching the bottom of the crib. That way, baby can't pull the blanket up over the face.


When my son was born ten years ago, we made due with a cotton baby blanket for swaddling. It took practice, and my wife never quite got the hang of it at all.

But baby technology has really improved! For my newborn daughter, we got one of those velcro swaddling wraps. I know a lot of people say that they're unnecessary, a blanket is all you need, but my wife and I love ours. *So* much easier to use and harder for baby to get out of.

If you're an origami expert with a quiescent baby, by all means, just use a blanket. If you're all thumbs with a wriggly little guy or gal, a swaddling wrap can really make life easier.

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      Doctor with a baby