Receiving Blanket vs Swaddling Blanket

(Last Updated On: August 2, 2018)

For most folks, worrying about baby related technicalities is only necessary when pregnant or when assisting a baby shower. Once the need arises however, you will be bombarded with so much information, most of it contradictory. Being a parent or guardian is not an easy task but it is a fulfilling one and with time and experience, knowing all the different baby lexico will come easier to you.

Most first time parents would never imagine that there are many varieties of blankets for example.

The famous debate between receiving and swaddling blankets is a long one but I feel like it has been made complicated for no real reason.

Read my post on the best receiving blankets!

Receiving Blanket VS Swaddling Blanket

Receiving blanket

A receiving blanket is a standard, almost always rectangular blanket whose main goal is keeping the baby warm. Room temperature is usually still too cold for newborns. Therefore they will require blankets and hats to keep warmer during the first couple of months.

Receiving blankets come in an infinite amount of imprinted designs and are made from a variety of materials such as cotton, fleece, polyester, and flannel.

They can easily be used to swaddle infants as well but have no added aid attached so you will have to perfect the technique on your own.

Swaddling blanket

Swaddling blankets are those that are specifically designed for swaddling of course. They can come in many diverse shapes: rectangular, segmented, pouch-shaped, circular, etc.

Swaddling blankets also tend to be made of more luxurious materials but can also be elaborated with simple materials like receiving blankets. A swaddling blanket will have guided areas or parts that will help parents swaddle their infant appropriately.

This “guided area” can be velcro, designated arm or leg pouches, straps, and more.

What are the benefits of swaddling?

baby blue swaddle vs blanket

Babies grow in a reduced area while in the womb. Though it is not known if they feel “cramped”, it is a fact that they grow accustomed to sleeping a certain way while inside the womb, which swaddling can help mimic.

It is said that swaddled babies will sleep easier than non-swaddled babies thanks to the familiarity of being cramped.

When done correctly, swaddling can help keep the baby on their back throughout the night and this reduces the chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. A well rested baby means a happier baby so if swaddling aids your child in sleeping, it is a good option.

Swaddling can also be a way to self soothe a baby and though research is lacking, it is also thought to help with colics. Also, if breastfeeding, swaddling can keep flailing arms still.

Swaddling should be avoided once the baby is exhibits better limb control or has the ability to roll to avoid a dangerous situation where they do roll over and their limbs are held down.

How to swaddle your infant

There are many ways to swaddle an infant and the best technique to use depends entirely on you and your baby. Some methods will not be secure or tight enough and will lead to limbs coming out.

It is a matter of trial and error until you find one that is comfortable for your baby. Feel free to ask a nurse at your hospital while you are there about swaddling techniques if you wish.

The standard way is laying a blanket down, one pointy end up, like a diamond.

Next you fold that pointy end down about six inches. Lay the baby’s head on that folded line. You then wrap the right side of the blanket over the baby’s shoulder in a diagonal motion. Secure it by tucking it in underneath the baby’s left side.

Take the bottom flap and fold it upwards, usually to their tummy.

Take the left side of the blanket and in a diagonal motion, fold it over the baby and wrap it underneath as well. You should now have a happily swaddled baby in your arms.


Choosing to swaddle is a personal choice and choosing to swaddle with a swaddling blanket or a receiving blanket is also a personal choice.

At the end, whatever works for you and your baby is the best option to choose. Being able to fully comprehend that each baby is different and not everything will work is the key to parental liberty.

You should only focus on what is best for your family and stop the comparison!

It is safe to say, no matter which blanket you go for at the end, it is wise to acquire at least three! Between spit ups and feedings, you will need a backup blanket and that backup blanket will need another backup.

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