Receiving Blanket Vs Swaddle: What’s the Difference & Which Is Better

Receiving Blanket Vs Swaddle

Seasoned moms have preferences when it comes to all things baby. So it shouldn’t come as a shock to learn that there are clear preferences in the debate of receiving blanket vs swaddle blanket, depending upon who you ask.

It’s easy to confuse a swaddle blanket for receiving blanket or think that they are the same thing. However, they are not.

A swaddle blanket is used for swaddling a baby to keep a baby warm and to keep movement restricted, while a receiving blanket is a thin baby blanket that can be used as a swaddle blanket, among other things.

This article will make the distinction clear between swaddle blankets and receiving blankets and give you enough information so that you, too, will be able to take a side in the receiving blanket vs swaddle blankets debate.

What Are Swaddle Blankets?

One of the main differences between swaddling blankets and receiving blankets is the material used and the size of the baby blanket.

Swaddle blankets are usually made of stretchy material so that you can manipulate them with ease over a baby to keep the baby warm.

How big is a swaddle blanket?

A standard-sized swaddling blanket measures about 47″ x 47″, which is definitely big enough to wrap a newborn baby in.

They are much bigger than receiving blankets and can be used throughout your baby’s infancy, regardless of how fast your baby grows.

What is a swaddle blanket made from? 

The two most common materials for blankets of this type are cotton and muslin. A muslin blanket is great in warmer climates, as it still offers some warmth but is lighter weight and is a breathable material.

Parents concerned with a baby overheating prefer the option of a muslin blanket to swaddle their baby. Muslin is an excellent material to work with when it comes to babies.

What is a swaddle used for?

The main use for this type of blanket is to swaddle. They are so big that they are not convenient to store in a diaper bag. They can, however, be used as a blanket once your child reaches an age where they can have a blanket in their crib or toddler bed. Toddlers often sleep better when it’s used for this purpose, as it’s a familiar blanket they’ve used since they arrived.

They are also sometimes used as a play mat for babies to sit on with toys, as a stroller cover, car seat cover, or nursing cover.

Receiving Blanket Vs Swaddle, swaddle blankets, baby blankets

What is a Receiving Blanket?

Receiving blankets can swaddle a baby, but they also have many other uses for a new mother. They are much smaller than a standard swaddle blanket and work best as a swaddle for a newborn baby or a very young infant.

How big is a Receiving Blanket?

The standard receiving blanket is only 30″ x 30″. It is much smaller than a swaddle blanket.

Receiving blankets work well to swaddle a newborn or very young infant. When you’re comparing a receiving blanket vs a swaddle, you should consider that your baby will quickly outgrow a receiving blanket when it comes to just swaddling.

What material is a receiving blanket made from?

The two most common materials for receiving blankets are soft cotton and flannel. There is very little give to the material, and they are usually a thin blanket but thicker and warmer than a muslin swaddle blanket.

What is a Receiving blanket used for?

The uses of the receiving blanket are nearly endless. That’s one of the major attractions of receiving blankets. Because they are small, they can be folded or rolled up and kept in a diaper bag or even a purse for the on-the-go mom, and they are used for so many things that even swaddle blanket fans usually also have a receiving blanket (or several) on hand.

Receiving blankets make excellent burp cloths, and any mom who has ever needed a burp cloth and didn’t have one on hand can tell you that that’s a major plus of a receiving blanket.

A burp cloth is used to shield your clothes or body from the spit-up when you burp a baby.

Even if you have plenty of burp cloths, there are many other uses for a receiving blanket. Some of these uses include a nursing cover, general blanket, changing table cover, crib sheet cover, and tummy time for little ones at the newborn and young infant stages.

The soft material is gentle on a baby’s sensitive skin, and the multipurpose functions of the receiving blanket make it a hit with parents.

The Swaddle Sleep Sack

The swaddle sleep sack is another competitor that throws its hat in the ring in the receiving blanket vs swaddle debate. These are excellent swaddle blankets because they turn your little one into a baby burrito and keep your baby boy or girl swaddled tight for as long as you need.

This wearable blanket is often thicker than a swaddle blanket or receiving blanket and usually comes with adjustable velcro so that you can adjust the size as needed. Some sacks restrict the entire body (except for the head), including the baby’s feet, and some simply hold the arms and upper body down.

They have winged sides that connect to the main body of the swaddle and are usually made of the perfect material: cotton. Sometimes they are also made of fleece.

These are great for a new mom in a public restroom trying to keep a baby from wiggling around too much. Due to the quick ease of these products, you can hinder your little one’s arms quickly to get the diaper changed in no time.

Swaddling with these is great for newborn days and even beyond, but they don’t grow with a baby, and once your little one has outgrown it, these are baby products that have no other use.

Why Swaddle a Baby?

There are many reasons why it’s recommended to swaddle your baby.

It is not advised that you put a newborn baby in a crib with anything loose, including bedding until they are over one year old. This is to cut down the risk of suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Receiving blankets and swaddles are beneficial for safe sleep because they can help your child stay warm while also keeping your little one on its back, in the safest position for infant sleep.

Once born, the hospital will tightly swaddle your newborn in their first blanket, which is usually a receiving blanket. They will also show you how to do this. If you’ve ever rolled a burrito, you’ve already got the right idea.

If you still can’t figure it out after being shown, have patience and look up a helpful video online. 

Receiving Blanket Vs Swaddle, baby blankets

Better Sleep

Many babies sleep better and longer when you swaddle them. This is because they are kept warm, and newborns have trouble regulating their own body temperature, especially in the days immediately following birth, and due to the very active startle reflex.

The startle reflex is when a baby’s arms and legs jerk any time they start to wake up or hear a noise. In the early months, this reflex is very strong, and then, as they get a bit older, they start to adjust and get used to their environment and nervous system, and they calm down.

Being swaddled gives comfort and helps suppress the reflex that makes them jerk awake.

How many receiving blankets do I need?

If you only plan to use receiving blankets for swaddling, you will only need a few. It might be a good idea to get a few cotton receiving blankets and a few flannel receiving blankets. This way, the flannel is available for use on cooler nights.

If you plan to do more than wrap baby’s arms and legs up with receiving blankets, then it’s wise to have a few more on hand. Five to seven receiving blankets is a good number to start with.

You’ll quickly discover that you or your baby have favorite receiving blankets based on print, brand, or material, so starting with used or old ones is also perfectly fine.

How many swaddle blankets do I need?

If you are planning to use these exclusively for swaddling, then you can prepare for the birth of your newborn by having three to four of these on hand to wrap your little one.

When it comes to how many swaddles you need, it really depends on preference. Some babies love to be swaddled, while others don’t tolerate swaddling well.

These, along with receiving blankets, are great and often inexpensive baby items to put on your baby registry in preparation for your baby shower.

When to Stop Swaddling

Whether you plan to use receiving blankets or swaddling blankets, you need to know when the practice of using these blankets to wrap your baby and restrict movements are no longer safe for the baby.

The longest you’ll be able to swaddle a baby with a blanket is about six months. However, receiving blankets and swaddles are often considered unsafe sleep practices once a little one is aware and in control of their movements.

Once a little one actively tries to get out of the blanket you’ve swaddled them in, it’s time to stop using them. Continuing past the point that they are actively and intentionally moving risks suffocation.

The Verdict

To help you decide which of these baby products is best for you, let’s give a little recap before declaring a winner.

The Receiving Blanket vs Swaddle Recap

The most significant difference between receiving blankets and swaddles is the size of the blankets and the material used to make them. A receiving blanket is smaller, nearly half the size, and is typically a thicker material that offers more warmth.

A receiving blanket is also multipurpose and small enough to fit in any bag you would store baby items. You can use them as burp rags to prevent a mess, a small barrier between your little one and the floor for tummy time, a crib sheet or changing table cover, and much more.

On the other hand, Swaddle blankets are usually much larger than a receiving blanket and are made from lighter materials, like lightweight cotton and muslin. Because they are large, they can grow with your child and be used for the entire time you plan to swaddle your baby.

Other uses are more limited than that multi-function tool called a receiving blanket, but there are still a few other uses. It can be used as a baby blanket after your little one is old enough to sleep with a blanket in the crib or bed. They can also be used as car seat covers, as a cover for your stroller, or to cover you when nursing in public if you choose to do so.

Which is the Winner?

To really know which item you prefer for your baby, you should try both. Ask a mom friend to lend you one of each, and give them a shot. However, based on what other moms typically say, if you’re going to commit to swaddling your baby until you can no longer safely do so, then a swaddle blanket is the better option.

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