Views:66 Author:Site Editor Publish Time: 2019-02-12 Origin:Site
One of the most traditional and beautiful items a newborn can receive is a baby blanket. It’s no wonder mothers, grandmothers, aunts and other loved ones think of the item as a go-to as a baby shower or birth gift. After all, a baby blanket is often more than just a cover to keep your little one warm. Handmade blankets can become family heirlooms that a child will cherish for years to come.
“Blankets are helpful adjuncts to clothes or toys, and babies are often wrapped in blankets to keep them cozy over the first few months of life,” says Dr. Danelle Fisher, FAAP and chief of Pediatrics at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California.
That said, before making or gifting a blanket, it’s wise to consider the various types and average sizes of blankets, as they can be used for a variety of purposes — from receiving to serving as a lovie/security blanket to swaddling. You’ll also want to take certain safety rules of thumb into consideration.
Here are blanket must-knows for parents or loved ones looking to help keep a L.O. snuggly and safe.
Following the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)’s guidance on blanket safety is key for keeping a little one safe. A baby should be placed on his or her back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet. Soft bedding, like crib bumpers, blankets, pillows, and soft toys should not be used in the crib. The crib should be bare.
“Parents must ensure there are absolutely no loose blankets in [a baby’s] crib,” says Dr. Gina Posner, pediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. “You don't want anything that can be pulled over the face, potentially suffocating the baby.”
Fisher notes that the best blanket materials will depend on what kind of blanket you’re looking to make or buy. Taking a child’s age into consideration is a factor here, as well.
“Blankets for newborns should be made of fabric that is easy to wrap around into a swaddle,” she says. “Often blankets made of cotton muslin swaddle are better than blankets made of fleece. Fleece blankets may end up making the baby too hot, so beware of using them over strollers or in cars, where infants can overheat.”
Another material that can work for any type of blanket is soft, washable, breathable cotton, which is unlikely to irritate a baby’s sensitive skin.
The practice of swaddling, or wrapping a light blanket snuggly around a baby, is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to help calm a crying baby.
Fisher agrees that newborns require specific blankets for this purpose.
“Newborns need blankets for warmth and also to help them sleep through the reactions of their nervous system, which manifest as the startle or Moro reflex, where their arms suddenly move out to the sides and then around,” she says.
A thin and lightweight material, like cotton muslin, is ideal for a swaddle blanket. Sizes can vary, as they’re often meant to fit babies of different sizes. Popular Ziggy Baby Muslin Swaddle Blankets are 48-by-48 inches, while other companies, like SwaddleMe, offer a 40-by-40 size.
Just be sure the blanket is large enough. Having enough material to work with to ensure you get the swaddle just right might make the process easier.
“When they are infants, a thin, big swaddle blanket is best,” Posner says.
Receiving blankets are thin blankets, usually sold in a pack of two or four, that can be used for a variety of tasks related to early infancy. They’re usually smaller than standard swaddling blankets, typically ranging in size from a small 18-inch square to a larger 36-inch square. That said, your little one might outgrow a smaller receiving blanket rather quickly, but it might serve as a lovie/security blanket down the road.
When you're traveling with your baby, stroller blankets and activity blankets are essential items. A thick activity blanket can be used to provide a cushioned, clean surface for your baby to crawl and play. And the same blanket can double as a stroller or car seat cover during the chillier months! Multi-use blankets might measure in at roughly 30-40 inches.
Multi-use blankets may also serve as a lovie for a toddler.
“Toddlers often use blankets for comfort objects,” Fisher says. “Blankets for toddlers should be small enough for the toddler to easily manipulate, so they don't have the danger of suffocation.”