baby lying down wearing onesie holding matching print blanket

Types of Baby Blankets: A Guide for Parents

By: Brooke Hamilton

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Babies spend the majority of their first few months asleep (between 16 and 17 hours per day!). But during all this dozing, their little bodies are working quite hard. Studies show that these early days of sleep lay the groundwork for cognitive development and physical growth.


Naturally, you’ll want to keep baby cozy during those very productive naps, but following safe sleep guidelines while also choosing the right size and fabric for bedding can easily become overwhelming. There are several types of baby blankets on the market, each with a different purpose and target age group—some work best for swaddling infants, some are made for toddlers, while others can easily double as burp cloths and stroller covers. So, how do you know which to choose?


Fortunately, we’ve got you covered with this blanket breakdown.

Understanding the Different Materials in Baby Blankets

When you are swaddling your little one or tucking in your toddler at night, it’s important to think about what your baby’s blanket is made of.


We believe the best baby blanket material that meets these criteria is viscose from bamboo. Made by spinning bamboo pulp into fibers, viscose from bamboo is silky-soft, naturally sweat-wicking, and filled with micro-gaps, which help keep your newborn baby cool in hot weather or warm in cold weather. It also stretches with babies as they grow, yet won’t shrink in the wash—meaning you’ll get longer use from blankets made from this flexible material. Free from flame retardants and other harsh chemicals, viscose from bamboo is also gentle on baby’s skin.


Other baby blanket materials may include:


  • Organic cotton – When grown without pesticides, cotton is eco-friendly and gentle on sensitive skin. It’s also naturally absorbent and can help with regulating body heat. However, organic cotton is not as soft as viscose from bamboo. It may contain flame retardants and other harsh chemicals and also can shrink in the wash.


  • Wool – This material is naturally hypoallergenic and breathable, which may help regulate body temperature and prevent overheating. However, many wool blends can still be irritating to baby’s skin simply as a result of texture. Plus, wool is built to circulate heat, so while it’s breathable, it might still cause sweating or keep your baby a little too warm.


  • Polyester and fleece – These baby blankets can be incredibly soft, but they aren’t very breathable and trap heat easily. 


Swaddle Blankets: For Comfort and Security

Swaddles  are typically on the larger end (around 44” x 44”) and are, as the name describes, used to swaddle your baby. Swaddling is recommended for babies who can’t roll over or aren’t showing signs of starting to roll over. Choosing a lightweight swaddle made from a stretchy fabric like viscose from bamboo will keep your baby comfortable and snug while still allowing movement for her to wiggle comfortably. Plus, as your baby grows, you can use this swaddling blanket as a stroller blanket or comfort item or lay it on the floor for tummy time. If you have concerns about swaddling, you can opt for an alternative, like a  sleep sack

Receiving Blankets: Versatile and Essential

Receiving blankets have long been a nursery staple, and for good reason! These versatile blankets have a variety of uses for babies at all stages of growth.


While they can be used as swaddles, they also remain useful long after baby outgrows swaddling. For instance, you might use a receiving blanket as:


  • A burp cloth

  • A post-bathtime wrap

  • An on-the-go play mat

  • A nursing cover

  • A car seat cover

  • A stroller cover in harsh weather


Receiving blankets are typically on the smaller end (35” x 35” and up). They’re also lightweight and built to last through many washes. Some are even used to clean up messes and come in packs of several for this reason—you can never have too many on hand.


For that added personalization (as well as to disguise messes), choosing a fun pattern for your receiving blanket is the way to go. Consider one that matches your nursery, stroller, diaper bag, or one of baby’s outfits.


This can also help your baby feel at home when you’re on the go—set up your receiving blanket as a play mat, stroller cover, or changing pad for added convenience.

Crib Blankets: Helping Your Baby Sleep Safely

So, when can babies sleep with a blanket? While it can be tough to refrain from making baby’s crib a little cozier and adding those adorable stuffed animals, you’ll be happy to learn that it’s safe to do so after 12 months (or 18 months if you want to play it extra safe).


Crib blankets are the largest type of baby blanket—sometimes as big as 60” x 60.” They can be tucked around baby’s mattress like a sheet or used like a traditional loose blanket.


When selecting a crib blanket:


  • Choose a soft, breathable natural fabric to keep baby’s temperature in check without skimping on coziness.


  • Look out for irritants in the fabric. Chemicals like chlorine-containing bleaches, zinc, and sulfate may cause irritation while baby sleeps.


Pair the lightweight blanket with a fitted crib sheet made from natural fabric to keep your little one comfortable and cool during sleep.

Get Cozy with Blankets from Posh Peanut

Whether you’re hunting for that perfect swaddle, a beautiful receiving blanket (or two), or a big-kid crib blanket, Posh Peanut has you covered.


Posh Peanut blankets come in several sizes and textures, such as quilted, ruffled, and plush. Multi-layers mean they’re slightly weighted for extra comfort. And yes, they’re even machine washable!


Made from our signature Päpook® viscose from bamboo fabric , our baby blankets are also breathable, perfect for any season, and free from harsh chemicals and dyes. They are super stretchy, so you can use them as your baby grows, and you can keep them year after year. Even better? They come in endless adorable colors and prints (including special collaboration prints) and are reversible. So, really, it’s like you get two blankets in one!


No matter your baby’s age or sleep needs, you’re guaranteed to find something in Posh Peanut’s collection that will help them sleep tight.



Sources: 

1. American Academy of Pediatrics. Sleep. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/default.aspx

2. National Library of Medicine. Infant sleep and its relation with cognition and growth: a narrative review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5440010/ 

3. Utah State University. Bamboo You Can Wear. https://extension.usu.edu/archive/bamboo-you-can-wear

4. Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. What Is the Deal with Organic Baby Clothing? https://cyber.harvard.edu/cyberlaw_winter10/What_Is_the_Deal_With_Organic_Baby_Clothing

5. University of Miami Ohio. The Essential Guide to Choosing the Right Material for Baby Clothes. https://sites.miamioh.edu/nicho121research/2023/02/the-essential-guide-to-choosing-the-right-material-for-baby-clothes/

6. UC Davis Children’s Hospital. How to Properly Swaddle a Baby. https://health.ucdavis.edu/children/patient-education/safe-sleep/how-to-safely-swaddle-baby

7. Healthline. What is a Receiving Blanket — and Do You Need One? https://www.healthline.com/health/baby/what-is-a-receiving-blanket#uses

8. Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Crib Safety & Bedtime. https://www.chp.edu/injury-prevention/teachers-and-parents/safety-handbook/when-your-baby-is-home/crib

9. Sleep Foundation. When Can a Baby Sleep with a Blanket? https://www.sleepfoundation.org/baby-sleep/when-can-baby-sleep-with-blanket