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How Many Blankets Does a Baby Really Need?

By Alexandra Ulmer

What's the difference between a swaddle and a receiving blanket? Whether you're building your baby registry or packing a hosptial go bag, getting prepared on the baby blanket front can be overwhelming. Here we're breaking down key information on the number of blankets your baby really needs. This can vary depending on several factors, including the climate, the baby’s age, and personal preferences. Here's a general guideline that can be helpful for new parents to ensure they are adequately prepared without over-purchasing.

Our Basic Recommendations:

Swaddling Blankets: 2-3

  • These are used for swaddling newborns and are typically lightweight and breathable. Having a few on hand allows for regular washing and rotation. 
  • Babies are typically swaddled for about two to three months, depending on their development and comfort. Monitoring for signs of rolling over and increased activity will help determine the right time to stop swaddling and transition to other sleep options. 

Receiving Blankets: 1-2

  • What is a receiving blanket anyway? Traditionally these smaller blankets are used to "receive" new babies into the world. 
  • These versatile blankets are useful for swaddling, as burp cloths, or as a light cover. They can also double as a clean surface for diaper changes.

Sleep Sacks/Wearable Blankets: 2-3

  • Sleep sacks are a safer alternative to loose blankets for sleeping, helping to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Crib Blankets: 1-2

  • These should be used cautiously, primarily for older babies or as a cover when the baby is not sleeping in the crib. For young infants, using a fitted sheet and a sleep sack is recommended.

Stroller or Car Seat Blankets: 1-2

  • These are often slightly heavier and used for warmth when out and about. Read more about how AU Baby blankets make getting out and about with your baby easier.

Factors to Consider:

  • Climate: In colder climates, you might need a few extra warm blankets, while in warmer climates, lightweight blankets will suffice. AU Baby blankets are naturally temperature regulating and sweat wicking, making them the perfect choice for year-round comfort.
  • Growth and Development: As babies grow, their needs change. Newborns may use more swaddling blankets, while older babies might transition to sleep sacks.

Expert Recommendations:

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): Emphasizes the importance of safe sleep practices, recommending sleep sacks over loose blankets to prevent suffocation risks under the age of 12 months. However, using a loose blanket is safe under adult supervision. For example in the common (and cozy) practice known as contact napping. 

To sum things up, having a mix of 4-8 blankets, including swaddling blankets, receiving blankets, sleep sacks, and a few warmer options, is generally sufficient. This range allows for adequate rotation and ensures you have the right type of blanket for various needs and situations. Can you use your AU Baby blanket as a receiving blanket, crib blanket AND stroller/car seat blanket? The answer is YES. Our blankets are designed with ease of use in mind and come with built-in benefits for every stage of your baby's journey. 


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