After the birth of my first child, I had never heard of a swaddle blanket. By the time my child was a year old, I had about twenty of them, and I needed them all.
Once you have given birth to your first child, you are going to realize that you can’t have enough swaddle blankets. You might think that a swaddle was a pretty cloth, used to present your baby to family and friends.
The confusion comes from the fact that swaddle blankets can be used as recieving blankets, but very finely embroidered or fancy lace or fake fur simply can’t handle throw up and other stains that babies leave on swaddles.Swaddles Comfort Fussy Babies
A swaddle blanket is intended to wrap your newborn tightly to give it a sense of safety and security.
You can do the same thing with a receiving blanket, but it must be big enough to reach from the baby’s feet, up to its neck.
Swaddling blankets are a must for an anxious fussy baby. A tight swaddle imitates the feeling of being back in your womb and can soothe newborns.
You are about to discover a swaddling blanket’s real function and how useful it would be to me in the coming weeks. They are a godsend when it comes to putting a cranky infant to sleep.
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What Is A Swaddle Blanket?
A swaddle is a blanket that is designed specifically to wrap your newborn up in a snug bundle.
Swaddle blankets have mutated somewhat in the last few decades. They are now offered in all kinds of different styles, including a sack style with flaps that binds the arms to the chest of the child
After you place your newborn inside of the sack, the two flaps of fabric are folded across the baby’s chest and fastened with velcro to make it even tighter.
Swaddling Blanket Vs. Receiving Blanket
The biggest difference between a swaddling blanket and a receiving blanket is that receiving blankets are always rectangular or square whereas swaddles can be sacks and bags with velcro wings or zippers.
However, a square receiving blanket can also double as a swaddling blanket. In fact, that is what all young mothers before “baby gear” such as swaddling sacks and sleep sacks became a newborn need.
Swaddling Blankets With The Best Feel
Swaddling blankets that have the best feel tend to be thin and soft, but with a slight sense of weight. The swaddling blankets that will likely be given to you when you come out of the hospital are an example of very thin flannel, with a soft texture.
The soft cotton flannel swaddle is probably the most versatile, as it is thick enough to catch your baby’s spit or other accidents, and is easy to wash.Thin flannel cotton creates a firm yet soft swaddle that allows you to safely lay your baby down on a bed.
Unlike a loosely placed regular blanket, the tightly hand-wrapped swaddle minimizes your baby’s startle reflex. It makes it difficult for your baby to flail and roll, and possibly fall off the bed.
Cool And Comforting Muslin Blankets
Muslin blankets also have a nice feel on your baby’s skin and are quite easy to wash. They double as receiving blankets as they come with so many pretty prints.
Muslin blankets are great for summer, because the fabric is a loose weave. It keeps your baby cool, but still tightly wrapped for security.
How Many Swaddles Do You Need For A Newborn?
In the end, try to buy nine traditional swaddling blankets that you can throw in the wash. You can also purchase:
- 1 cotton sack style swaddle with flaps with velcro straps
- 2 zip up cotton bag style swaddle
- 2 muslin blankets with patterns that doubled as receiving blankets
On top of that, consider getting a bamboo receiving blanket. Bamboo swaddles are expensive, lightweight baby wraps. They let your infant’s skin breathe and are liquid-proof.
In the end, I used the square cotton flannel ones the most, as they were the most versatile and easy to just throw in the wash.
I used the muslin blankets quite often during hot and humid days. So many muslin blankets have gorgeous patterns on them too.
Muslin blankets were very helpful when I took the baby out for walks. I swaddled the baby in one and then draped the other over the baby carriage to provide protection from the sun.
Swaddle sacks are best for situations when you want to completely immobilize a child, for travel or sleep. They restrain the baby’s arms so that when your sleeping baby wakes up, it won’t flail and hurt itself.
The newborn is so neatly wrapped up in a swaddle sack, that they are nicknamed “baby burritos.”
Swaddle sacks are great, especially if there is a chill in the air. Warm swaddle blankets designed for cold weather have a thin layer of brushed fleece inside of them.
I highly recommend owning at least one flap style swaddle blanket with velcro tabs for those times when you need to wrap up your baby quickly. As a nursing new mom you light have to run to the bathroom quite frequently, and that leaves little time to struggle with fitting an infant into a sack with a zipper.
How Many Swaddles Can You Afford?
Most hospitals will allow a new mom like you to leave with at least two thin cotton swaddles, which adds to your collection. Stores sell traditional swaddles in packs of three or four and tend to be less than $15.00.
Muslin swaddles can be a little more expensive as most have prints and lacy details woven into them, but try to get at least one to double as a receiving blanket.
Having a few lightweight baby blankets is a must if you live in a humid climate. It allows you to wrap your newborns in a way that imitates the feel of being in-utero, without overheating them.
In the winter your baby can wear warm baby clothes and still be bundled in a soft wrap that lulls them to sleep.
Swaddles with velcro flaps and sacks with zippers are best at restraining your baby’s movements. They tend to be the most expensive of all, ranging from $40 to over $100.
Ask for Swaddle Blankets on Your Baby Registry
One of the best ways to obtain swaddle sacks and baby blankets is to have a baby shower.
On the invitation to the baby shower, indicate the location of your registry. A shower registry is simply a list of the items you would like to receive that are kept at a store specializing in baby gear.
On the registry, you can indicate such items as traditional swaddles, receiving blankets, and regular baby blankets.
Other Uses for Swaddle Blankets
In a way, you can never have too many swaddles as they can be used for so many different purposes.
Aside from using the swaddle for wrapping babies, you can also use them in the following ways.
It’s a fact of life that healthy babies spit up. The cotton swaddles can also double as burp cloths. Simply throw the swaddle cloth over your shoulders and burp the baby.
A swaddle blanket can be draped over your breast to conceal what you are doing while you are breastfeeding in public.
If all of your baby sheets are soiled, you can easily spread a larger swaddle out across the crib mattress to make a makeshift baby bed sheet.
Pretty muslin or bamboo swaddles can be used as a baby backdrop for taking your child’s photos or selfies for Instagram or Facebook.
Repurposing Swaddle Blankets
Inevitably it will be time to stop swaddling your baby. You can either regift or swaddle blankets or repurpose them.
Bibs and Cloths
Swaddle blankets that are in rough shape make great bibs and washcloths for when your baby gets older and goes through that messy eating phase.
Cut up cotton squares can be used as bibs that can be placed across the baby’s chest. Swaddles can also be used as wipes for cleaning up messy high chairs.
Make Pillow Covers or A Quilt
It seems like my baby became a toddler in no time. I remember asking myself, “What do I do with all of these receiving blankets?”
Some muslin baby covers are too beautiful to give away. I actually developed a sentimental attachment to a muslin blanket that I used as a receiving baby blanket. I made it into a memento by making it into a pillow slip.
If you have twenty or more swaddling blankets that are in good shape, you can also make them into a patchwork quilt.
How Many Swaddles Do You Need For A Newborn?
In my opinion, you can never have too many swaddle blankets. They are the most versatile baby accessory around, and your baby will never grow out of them.
How many swaddles do you need? Some moms have about thirty on hand, especially if they have a baby with infant gastroesophageal reflux, which makes them burp up more often.
How much laundry are you prepared to do? If you are a person who reduces, reuses and recycles then you can get away with owning fewer receiving blankets and more of the practical traditional cotton swaddles.
I found the sack style swaddles to be useful for carrying the baby, but not as practical as velcro swaddles when it came to loosening and tightening it to fit the baby’s torso.
How many muslin blankets you have about how badly you want to show off your newborn to others, as the babies look so adorable wrapped up like a burrito in the gorgeous fabric.
I personally could have done with a few more, as they were so useful. I have even been able to repurpose one into a pillow and gift some of my prettier used muslin ones to new moms.
The number of swaddles that you finally own may also have a lot to do with how often you do laundry and what your budget is for baby gear, and also how easy-going your child is after birth. Some infants just seem to need the comfort of a swaddle, more than others.