Baby Receiving Blanket vs Swaddle Blanket — Which Is Best?

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You have 10 million items on your baby registry and now you’re trying to decide between getting a receiving blanket or a swaddle blanket – which is best?

image shows a baby in a blanket

Although both swaddle blankets and receiving blankets can help you out as a new parent, there is no need to spend your money on both.

To help you out a bit more, we’re going to look at the similarities and differences between both of these blankets, while deciding which one may be best for you!

Note: Some links may be affiliate links. That means I may make a commission if you use my links to purchase, at no extra added cost to you! I only recommend products that I personally love and believe in. Full disclaimer here.

What is a receiving blanket?

A quick fun fact to start with- the receiving blanket got its name originally because it was made for literally receiving babies right after a mother first gives birth.

Since they provide such a comfortable and warm feeling, these blankets are designed to give your baby the same warmth and comfort as when they were in your womb.

A receiving blanket like this is a soft blanket that can be used for many years of your sweet baby’s life. Made of cotton, muslin, or flannel, a receiving blanket is normally square or rectangular in shape. They also can vary in size.

When ordering these blankets, you will often find them in packs of 2 or 4.

image shows a baby on a blanket

What is a swaddle blanket?

A swaddle blanket like this one, which is somewhat similar to a receiving blanket, is designed to secure around the baby with its wings.

These wings normally have closures or snaps to ensure it holds in place. Since it is made solely for the ability to secure your baby in the blanket, its ability is definitely limited.

Although it can be used in the same way initially, a swaddle blanket is not nearly as versatile as a receiving blanket.

Receiving Blanket vs Swaddle Blanket — Which one is better?

Since you cannot use a swaddle blanket in as many ways as you can use a receiving blanket, I think it is safe to say that a receiving blanket is your best choice to invest in.

Although there is nothing wrong with getting a swaddle blanket (I mean, I used them too for the sake of convenience), a receiving blanket will ultimately give you more bang for your buck in the long run.

I always suggest parents start off with a few receiving blankets, like this pack of muslin receiving blankets.

Another reason to have multiple of these blankets is so that you can rotate them around easily when one needs to be washed (which will probably be quite often between poop, pee, and of course, baby spit-up).

image shows a swaddled baby

Why You Need a Receiving Blanket

As mentioned earlier, a receiving blanket gives your baby the feeling of still being nestled inside your womb — their absolute comfort zone. Since your baby has spent around 9 months (give or take some) in there, this provides another level of comfort while adjusting to his or her new life outside of the womb.

Not only will it keep your baby comfortable, but this blanket can also be a helpful accessory to keep within your diaper baby. When you have a receiving blanket with you, you also have a burp cloth, nursing cover, and changing pad cover — all in one.

I’m telling you, the options are endless. You can even make your own receiving blanket! My aunt has always chosen to knit one as a gift for my children using a knitting machine.

10 Ways You Can Use a Receiving Blanket

To give you a bit of perspective of all the uses a receiving blanket can have (which is quite a lot), here are a few of the possibilities below:

  1. Swaddling your baby

I’m sure you are probably thinking, “Well, if I need to swaddle my baby, shouldn’t I have an actual swaddling blanket?” Possibly, but you can easily use a receiving blanket to swaddle your baby.

Check out this super helpful video below by RegisteredNurseRN to see how she swaddles her baby using a muslin blanket!

The only real difference between a swaddle blanket and a receiving blanket is that one has secure velcro to enclose your baby, while the other acts as an actual blanket. In this case, the receiving blanket doubles as a snug comfortable swaddle. So, there really is no need for you to have both unless you want to of course.

  1. Use it as a burp cloth

A receiving blanket can also act as a burp cloth, neat huh? Since it is typically a pretty thin blanket, you won’t have to worry about having a bulky blanket on your shoulder.

You also won’t have to worry about remembering to grab a burp cloth when packing your diaper bag. I will say, however, it doesn’t absorb as well as a muslin burp cloth. So if you do have a baby that’s prone to spitting up often, maybe grab a pack of these.

  1. Grocery cart seat cover

Being able to avoid germs is always a win, right? Use a larger receiving blanket like this one comes in quite handy to cover up shopping carts when you have to run to the store with your little one. Just remember to throw it in the washer when you get back home!

  1. Cloth wipe

Have you ever accidentally run out of baby wipes? If not, I can tell you that you seriously want to make sure you never do (yuck!). But, if you have a receiving blanket on hand, you don’t really have to worry about this happening. It can act like a wipe whenever you need one.

Simply dampen the blanket and wipe away. Plus, since it’s already super soft it’ll make for a soft comfortable wipe.

Just be sure to have some plastic diaper sacks on hand in case there’s any poop involved.

  1. Nursing cover

When you have to nurse in public, but may not have the right shirt or cover, you can throw a receiving blanket like this over you to give you and your baby some deserved privacy.

I can’t tell you how many times I used an extra blanket to provide shade for my nursing baby (if we were outside) or simply to cover up. Plus, if you roll it up, it can make a nice head/neck support pillow for the baby to get a nice deep latch!

  1. Floor mat

Whether you go on a picnic or a friend’s house, lay your receiving blanket on the ground to keep a barrier between your baby and the floor. You won’t have to worry about what germs the floor has, your baby eating first or grass, or any unwanted particulars coming in contact with your baby.

Though keep in mind these blankets are very thin, so traveling with a portable play mat like this affordable one could also come in handy.

  1. Car seat or stroller cover

During car rides or stroller walks, your baby may prefer to have a cover to reduce the brightness of the sun during those warm summer months Drape your blanket on top of the seat to help with this.

Just make sure you don’t leave your baby alone in their seat with a loose blanket dangling above. This could pose a risk if the blanket blew down onto their face or if they accidentally yank it down and are unable to get it off of their face.

  1. Changing mat

You can also use your blanket as a changing mat in restaurants, stores, or even the back of your car. With the receiving blanket, you won’t have to worry about germs or making a mess.

If your diaper bag didn’t come with a changing pad (but try to get one like the KeaBabies original diaper backpack that does), your receiving blanket will work wonders.

Even if a changing station is available, you can still put your blanket down as a barrier (because let’s be honest- changing stations aren’t always in the cleanest areas).

  1. Warmth

Since its ultimate goal is to provide a nesting area for your baby, a receiving blanket can tremendously help your baby stay warm (I mean, duh. It is a blanket!). You can use it as a swaddle, or even just an extra layer for your baby during walks, draper over your baby wrap or carrier, and more!

  1. Motor skills enhancement

Motor skills are a development you definitely want to see in your growing baby. For example, around the age of 5 months old, your baby should be attempting to grab objects within reach.

Your receiving blanket can make an excellent toy for this! Simply tie a toy or rattle like this at one of the corners and dangle it close enough to the baby for them to try and reach for!

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image shows a sleeping pink baby

Top 5 Best Receiving Blankets:

It wouldn’t do you any good for me to tell you about all these blankets, without giving you some options to choose from.

Here are our top 5 picks of the best receiving blankets, in order from lowest to highest price.

  1. Spasilk Receiving Blankets 

Coming in a pack of four, this is your best option for getting a receiving blanket while on a tight budget. It’s made from 100% cotton flannel and is also an Amazon top pick! 

  1. Carter’s 7 Pack Flannel Receiving Blankets 

This pack of receiving blankets gives you plenty.With its neutral blank and white designs, it can also fit with any occasion (if you like to match).These blankets are organic and made out of 100% cotton.

  1. Burt’s Bees Cotton Receiving Blankets 

This organic cotton set comes in a pack with two blankets.But, with over 400 5-star ratings, they’re definitely worth snagging. Burt’s Bees is known for their ultra-soft, gentle, and comfortable baby clothes too (check em’ out here)!

  1. Parker Baby Receiving Blankets (used as swaddle blankets)

Even though these are considered swaddling blankets online, they don’t have any velcro secures and buttons like classic swaddle blankets have.

However, some brands have created swaddle-specific blankets (similar to a receiving blanket) with a soft, sleek, and stretchy fabric that is PERFECT for swaddling a baby and that’s exactly what Parker Baby has done here.They come in a pack of three and are made from 100% muslin cotton.

  1. Aden + Anais Receiving Blankets

Although these are a bit pricey, this four-pack comes in many different colors and patterns. They are made from muslin cotton and have over 2,000 5-star ratings.

image shows a baby wrapped in a citrus blanket

Receiving Blanket or Swaddle Blanket FAQ:

Q: How do I know if I should get a receiving blanket or swaddle blanket?

I recommend getting a receiving blanket like this so that you can use it for many years past your baby’s newborn stage. But, if you are only looking for something to swaddle your baby in, you could get a swaddle blanket like this.

Q: Are swaddle blankets good or bad?

Swaddle blankets definitely are not bad, they just don’t give you as many uses as a receiving blanket can.

Q: Can I still swaddle with a receiving blanket?

You can still swaddle your baby with a receiving blanket, which is why we think this is the best choice. As you can see, both of these blankets serve a purpose.

Some have more use than others, however, whichever you decide to stock your baby’s nursery with, whether a receiving blanket, swaddle blanket, or both — you’re bound to get great use out of them!

image shows a swaddled baby receiving blanket in black and white

Receiving Blanket vs Swaddle Blanket Battle in Conclusion

Even though swaddle blankets get the swaddling job done, you can get more bang for your buck to invest in a few receiving blankets.

With a receiving blanket, you will be able to use it for so many other things, rather than just swaddling your newborn. For example, you can use them for warmth, shopping cart covers, and changing stations.

But, with a swaddle blanket, you will be pretty limited to only swaddle the baby. By purchasing a few receiving blankets, you will find they come in handy for a variety of purposes, for many years down the road too.

If you have them, which one do you prefer?

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