Types Of Baby Blankets

baby laying on a blanket

Did you know that there are at least 11 different types of baby blankets? Some are designed for a particular purpose and others are made in a variety of materials and styles to suit you. You will inevitably end up with a favourite blanket, and your baby probably will too! Let’s look at the different types to help you make sense of the many blankets on offer for your baby.

Thermal blankets

Thermal blankets are designed to keep your baby warm, yet are light enough to travel with and use even on a cooler summer day. They are made from lightweight, thermal material and wash easily in your machine. You will find them in lots of different colours and designs. Some are even organic, but most are still affordable and easy to find in stores and online.

Receiving blankets

A receiving blanket is likely to be the first kind of blanket your baby is wrapped up in at the hospital or at home. They are thin and useful for swaddling. Many babies like to be swaddled because it makes them feel safe and secure. It is common to be gifted with receiving blankets at a baby shower or when your baby is born.

They come in all kinds of designs and tend to be on the small side, so your baby will probably grow out of them before long. Receiving blankets are regularly made from cotton or flannel.

Security blankets

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A security blanket can be any blanket that your baby becomes attached to and likes to fall asleep with. Sometimes they are marketed specifically as security blankets and other times they are just a regular blanket that a baby takes a liking to. They tend to be made from fleece or plush materials. In addition, there are mini security blankets with snuggly animals attached to them that are popular with babies. They are worth looking out for.

Babies may feel more secure sleeping at night, nap time or when they are somewhere new when they have a security blanket. Babies will select their own comfort blanket or toy in time and you will have no trouble knowing which one it is, they will tell you!

Swaddling blanket

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Swaddling is a traditional practice of snugly wrapping your baby in a blanket or muslin to comfort them while they sleep. So long as you do it safely it can be a good way to calm your baby and many parents swear by it. Swaddling blankets come in many forms. You can use a simple muslin or receiving blanket, or invest in a special sleep sack or blanket. Mostly specially labelled swaddling blankets are made from breathable materials to avoid baby overheating.

Crib blanket

As you might have guessed a crib blanket is crib-sized. They are designed to fit a generic crib and so they come in standard sizes. Parents use them as blankets and even to lay down on the floor for babies to lie on. Furthermore, they catch any dribble or spit up, plus they protect your baby from the ground. Choose comfort and safety over style here, as you want to be sure the blanket you choose does the job properly.

Sleep sack/wearable blanket

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A sleep sack or wearable blanket is a popular choice for many parents. They are like mini sleeping bags for your baby. They usually have a reverse zip, a popper and holes for your baby’s head and arms. Sleep sacks come in a huge range of styles, although safety must be the main priority when choosing one. Research each one with care and follow the size guide. A well fitted sleep sack will keep your baby warm without the risk of suffocation.

The benefit to a sleep sack or wearable blanket is that your little one stays warm all night because they cannot wiggle their way out of it. A regular blanket can come loose and leave your baby chilly.

Crocheted blanket

A crocheted blanket is a common baby gift to receive from a family friend or relative. They are usually homemade with lots of love added in! Some yarn is softer than others and you may find the item you receive is too rough to use as a blanket. In this case, a crocheted blanket makes a lovely nursery decoration. Watch out for tiny fingers that may get caught in blanket holes in the beginning too.

Crocheted blankets can be tough to wash and thye do not always retain their shape when they dry out. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them, it’s just something to be aware of.

Cotton blankets

Cotton blankets are popular because they are soft and gentle against a baby’s skin. They wash and dry well which is useful for anyone caring for a new baby. Many people use cotton blankets for swaddling, as well as everything else. You will find most cotton blankets are quite thin which means they are useful for layering. They are versatile and come in all kinds of colours, patterns and sizes.

Fleece blankets

Fleece blankets can be on the thinner side like a cotton or thermal blanket, but you can also find thicker ones. Micro fleece is the softest fleece material and babies will like the feel of the material. It is not advised that babies sleep with full fleece blankets in case they overheat. However you may find sleep sacks or suits made from fleece that are safe to use. Fleece blankets are especially useful in the stroller or in other outdoor environments to keep your baby warm.

Flannel blankets

Flannel blankets are a good choice for many families. They are versatile and wash well. However, flannel is not typically that breathable. You may prefer a different material for a sleeping blanket so your baby does not overheat. Flannel blankets are great for snuggles with you, stroller walks and more. They are soft and cosy which makes flannel a popular material.


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Quilts are another lovely homemade style of blanket you may be given for your baby. Of course, you can buy them in stores too. There are traditional handsewn, stuffed quilts as well as ones made from muslin cloths that make a nice alternative. Quilts do a good job of keeping babies warm and also make excellent play mats. You can lie one down on the floor and use it for your baby to stretch out on. They make attractive nursery decorations as well.

baby wrapped up in a blanket

How do you choose a baby blanket?

First of all, you will probably be given quite a few baby blankets by friends and family so it is a good idea to wait and see what shows up. This isn’t to say you have to use the ones you are gifted, but you may get given exactly what you need. If you are choosing yourself to buy or add a blanket to a gift registry here are some things to consider:

  • Season – the time of year your baby will be born and the temperature where you live.
  • Material – is cotton, muslin, fleece or flannel right for you? There might be a particular material your baby just doesn’t feel comfortable with.
  • Use – will you use the blanket in the crib, on the road or in the car seat? This will affect the size, material and design of the blanket/s you choose

What’s the difference between a baby blanket and a receiving blanket?

Some would say there isn’t much of a difference between a baby blanket and a receiving blanket. There is a lot of crossover between the materials and purpose of both types. That being said, you may find that baby blankets are larger than receiving blankets and are made from a wider variety of materials.

How many blankets do you need for a newborn?

A newborn technically only needs a few blankets, although it is helpful to have some spare blankets on hand to help with the laundry. In reality, many parents like to have several different types of blankets for different purposes. For example, you may like to have a swaddling blanket for sleeping, a fleece blanket to use on stroller walks, a small receiving blanket for the car and so on. Experiment with each set up and see what works for you and your baby.

What kind of blanket is best for a newborn?

Cotton blankets are the easiest choice for a newborn. They are breathable, wash well and can easily be layered to warm or cool your baby down. That being said, there are times, such as when your baby is outside, that you may choose a blanket made from a thicker, cosier material.

What’s a good size for a baby blanket?

There is no one fits all answer to this question because there are different purposes for each type of blanket. For example, you will want a crib or stroller blanket to be larger than a receiving blanket. Your baby should have their arms and head completely free from covers at all times, including when they are sleeping. Choose a blanket that can be wrapped or is small enough to make sure your baby stays safe.

Conclusion – Types of baby blankets

There are at least 11 choices of baby blanket to choose from and it is not easy to pick just one option. Bear in mind that you can always make a change and shift your style as you figure out the blanket size, material and purpose that you like.