A baby blanket is a popular gift for little ones as it keeps them comfortable and cozy. However, with so many choices available in the market, it could be confusing to pick the right one—soft, made of safe material, and correct size. Too big and too small blankets are not so comfortable for your babies. Also, it is essential to keep some safety measures in mind when covering your baby with a blanket.
Before we get to the right blanket size for your little one, did you know that a blanket is not recommended for babies upto the age of 12 months? It is because infants in this age group are at a high risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). In fact, babies between one and three months of age are at high risk of suffocation (1).
Keep reading this post to know more about when babies can sleep in a blanket, the ideal materials, and the types of baby blankets.
When Can Babies Sleep With A Blanket?
To safely introduce a blanket, your little one must fulfill two main criteria (1):
- The baby is one-year-old
- The baby is able to roll over and has complete control of its head
Introducing a pillow to your baby should also be done at the same time when you introduce a blanket to them.
Why Is It Important To Pick The Right Size Blanket For Your Baby?
A smaller blanket can make the baby feel cold in the middle of the night, and a larger than the required size blanket has its risks.
- You should not use large, loose blankets near your baby. There is a chance that your baby can pull the blanket over their face and get suffocated (2).
- Having a large blanket for your baby also impedes their movements and causes them to wriggle underneath the sheets (3).
Basic Blanket Safety Rules You Must Follow For Your Baby
While using a blanket may seem like a routine thing for adults, it comes with dos and don’ts when using it for a baby.
Here are some basic blanket rules that you must follow for your baby:
- Always use the right blanket size for your baby, ensuring the blanket is not too big.
- Use natural blanket materials such as organic cotton as they are gentle and more breathable (3).
- Use fitted blankets that are not loose or come off easily—to avoid your baby pulling them over their heads during their sleep (4).
- Avoid soft bedding, mattresses, or blankets during zero to 12 months of your baby’s life.
- Always tuck in your baby’s blanket, not higher than their shoulders (5).
- Newborns and infants less than one year of age must never use blankets since it increases the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and suffocation (6).
What Is The Best Size For A Baby Blanket?
There are blanket size charts easily available, but since every baby is different, there can’t be a one-size-fits-all blanket for babies of a certain age.
The best size for your baby’s blanket should be:
- Big enough to cover them well but not too big to cause them to wriggle under it.
- Your baby should be able to use it for a few months.
- It shouldn’t be too big that it is difficult to roll or carry during travel.
Each type of blanket has a particular size and dimensions to serve its purpose. For example, swaddling blankets are square, while crib blankets should fit snuggly when tucked under the crib mattress (7).
The Ideal Material For Baby Blankets
Finding the perfect blanket for your baby includes understanding the best material.
- Use natural, breathable materials that allow airflow and your baby to lose heat when their body cools down (3).
- A cellular cotton blanket is an ideal choice for your baby as it keeps your baby warm and allows airflow to regulate their body temperature. And with the holes in it by design, it is safe even if your baby accidentally pulls it over their face (3).
- At the same time, one must avoid fleece and sheepskin blankets as they cause your baby’s body to heat up.
- The ideal material for baby blankets in cold weather is soft-wool cashmere or angora wool. Use a thin blanket in summers and a slightly thicker one for the winter. Avoid synthetic and rough materials such as polyester for your baby’s blanket.
Even with an ideal material blanket for your baby, try not to fold it as it counts as two blankets, which can heat your baby‘s body. The blanket you choose must be able to maintain an ambient temperature for your baby—giving them a good night’s sleep and keeping them safe at the same time.
Types of Baby Blankets
There are different blanket types available in the market today, and each one has a specific purpose, apart from keeping your baby warm and safe.
1. Swaddle Blanket
New borns love to be swaddled as it mimics the warmth and tightness of their mother’s womb. A swaddle blanket is usually square-shaped and requires a diamond shape technique to swaddle the baby(7). Take care while wrapping your baby such that their hips and legs are free to move.
2. Preemie Blanket
Premature babies need additional love, care, and time to catch up with their full-term counterparts. Blankets are essential for these babies because they keep them warm and regulate their body temperature. These blankets come in different sizes for small and large preemie babies and can be used in a pram or stroller, bassinet, and crib.
3. Receiving Blanket
It is a multifunctional blanket. A receiving blanket is lightweight, simple in design, and can be used for various functions such as swaddling your baby, laying your baby down on the floor at home or on an unfamiliar surface, catching spit or drool, and feeding.
4. Crib Blanket
As the name goes, these blankets are used to keep your baby warm in a crib. They are functional and come in many different patterns, designs, and materials. However, while picking the right crib blanket for your little one, consider your baby’s age and size, the weather in your place, and the crib’s size.
5. Security Blanket
These blankets are smaller than receiving blankets and are helpful to bring your baby home from the hospital or carry around in the house. They are made of thin material, which is durable and easy to wash.
6. Multi-Use Blanket
Multi-use blankets make for the perfect gift for a baby or a mother-to-be. They are versatile and can be used as receiving blankets, pram, bassinet blankets, travel blankets, or as the need may be. They come in various sizes and can be used even as the little one grows.
7. Afghan Blanket
These blankets come in colorful designs and a variety of sizes. These blankets are safe for babies who are able to hold their heads with no risk of suffocation and are a great choice for toddlers.
8. Newborn Baby Blankets
Ideal for newborns, these come in a standard 30×30 inches size.
DIY Baby Blanket
It is easy and quick to make a comfortable baby blanket for your little one or as a gift to soon-to-be parents. All you need to make a baby blanket are:
- Two pieces of your choice of baby blanket material
- A color-coordinated thread to stitch the blanket pieces
- Sewing machine
Steps to make the blanket:
- Straighten up the two cloth pieces with an iron and make sure the pieces are of the same size.
- Place one piece on top of the other and use pins to hold them in place.
- Using the pins as a guideline, stitch the sides with a thread and needle or take the help of a sewing machine.
- Leave around 7-8 inches of the blanket unsewn and cut off the four corners without cutting the thread.
- Turn the blanket inside out and use a crochet stick to poke out the corners.
- Use a decorative stitch to finish the opening of the blanket.
- Use zig-zag stitches at random places along the blanket to maintain its shape when washed.
Your home-made, comfortable baby blanket is ready.
Parents wish to keep their baby warm and cozy. It is essential to find the best blanket of the right size and material to do so. Do not overlook the importance of the appropriate blanket for your little one’s safety. If you wish to make a blanket for your little one, you can try it too.
2. Helping Babies Sleep Safely, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (September 30)
3. Feet to Foot and tuck me in with blankets under my arms, Safe Sleep Scotland
4. Safe Sleeping: 11 Tips, Raising Children Australia
5. Safe Sleep for Babies, Pregnancy Birth & Baby
6. Weighted Blankets, Children’s MD (Feb 2015)
7. Trisha Korioth, Practise Safe Swaddling to Protect Baby’s Hips, American Academy of Pediatrics (September 2011)