13 uses for receiving blankets

I took a plan trip with a 3 month old baby last week, meeting connecting flights in both directions.  Along the way, I picked up a couple of new uses for the ever-present receiving blanket.

  1. As a teething toy – Tie a knot in one corner of the blanket to give baby something to hold and chew.
  2. As a nursing cover – Most receiving blankets aren’t quite big enough to make a really good nursing cover, but remember that knot you tied in the corner?  Catch that corner over the baby’s head and you’ll find that the rest of the blanket covers the business areas rather handily.  The pocket formed by the knot makes it harder for baby to surprise you and bystanders by tugging the blanket loose.
  3. As a changing pad – Lay blanket down before you change baby to protect the surface beneath.
  4. For playing/lying on the floor or other questionable surfaces – Many receiving blankets are printed only on one side, so they have a “right” side and a “wrong” side.  Just place blanket wrong side down to give baby a clean surface to lie or play.  Re-use as many times as desired, always placing wrong side down.  In between uses, I like to fold mine carefully to keep the wrong side from touching the right side.
  5. A play surface for legos, etc – Spread the blanket on your play surface for quieter play.  Clean up is a snap: just gather all 4 corners
  6. To cover an infant seat – Drape over an infant seat to give baby a private area for napping or unwinding.  If your baby becomes used to this, it becomes a portable bedroom and baby always feels right at home no matter where you are.
  7. To catch people jumping from a burning building – Stretch the 4 corners between 4 strong people and…well, maybe not…
  8. To wrap a baby gift – Use a receiving blanket and a bit of ribbon to wrap baby gifts, or to pad and decorate a basket of baby goodies.  Cute and useful!
  9. As a burp rag – Handy, and it does the job.
  10. Make a quilt – If standard issue receiving blankets are too small for your taste, cut 2 or 3 into squares and assemble into a simple quilt that is more to your taste.
  11. As an emergency cloth diaper – Most receiving blankets are flannel, the perfect fabric for cloth diapers.  Just fold yours into the right size & shape and lay inside a waterproof cover.  It’ll do in a pinch.
  12. As a lap cover – Did the baby manage to ruin your clothes?  Drape a blanket over your lap to hide the damage until you can change.  If it’s going to be a while, try tying the blanket around your waist or wrapping it loosely around the baby and letting it drape strategically over the problem area.  With a baby in your arms, nobody will give your fashion choices a second thought.
  13. Adjustable blankets for baby – Add or remove lightweight receiving blankets to keep baby comfortable in varying temperatures.

I’m sure you can add to the list.  What else do you do with receiving blankets?


  1. Shopping cart covers….place one down on the seat and drape it over the “backrest” and place another like a napkin across their lap and over the handle of the basket. Also, with a little modification (adding a means to secure the blanket) you can use it as a teething guard on the crib rail. They are also great as a fabric protector “drape” for the glider/rocker/recliner (place one over the backrest or the arm rest to protect against wear & tear on the furniture (as an added bonus, if your blankets match the theme you have picked for your nursery, your furniture now matches the theme better!)

  2. Wrap around hot or otherwise uncomfortable seat belts in the car. And, of course, the obvious: tear up for cleaning rags.

  3. Another I forgot to put on the list:
    Use a blanket like a soft seat belt to secure a wiggly or unstable toddler to a chair when a highchair is unavailable or impractical. This is especially helpful with restaurant booster seats that perch on top of a regular chair.
    We’ve also used it on occasion when teaching a toddler to sit in her own chair for short periods during church.

  4. I am an over producer. Even with nursing pads I tend to leak right through. I have been know to use the blanket as a shall to cover up the spot on my shirt many times.No one thinks twice about a momma with a young babe and a blanket over her shoulder and across the chest.

  5. Makes a great headwrap for me….

  6. dog/cat blanket once baby has outgrown them. use to wipe wet paws…you know?

    line along floor by bathtub if you have rowdy children in the bath…helps to sop up puddles.


  7. I don’t need them any more, but I did see a neat idea at a Craft Show today. A young mom had sewn velcro attachers to a blanket and had it attached to the handle of the infant car seat. While not necessary, it is a cool way to keep the blanket attached to the seat, so that it stays over the baby.

  8. Wow! What a bunch of creative ideas! It’s so wonderful to benefit from so many clever mamas. 🙂

  9. We’ve moved past the baby stage and you’ve given me new ideas for the ones that remain.
    cut up, padded and sewn into pot holders
    sew a piece of fabric on one edge or a ribbon and you’ve got an adult size apron

  10. Thanks for the great ideas, we have another suggestion, which is “baby” slings for baby dolls! Our boys and girls love to have Mama wrap one around them for their favourite teddy or baby. 😀

    Once or twice I wrapped baby in one toga style when the unforeseen happened and clothes were soiled, and Mama forgot a spare set. 😉

    They also make nice veils for play time/dress up. 🙂

    I too have cut them up and made my own fitted cloth diapers, using Rita’s Rump Pocket free pattern.

    Wonderful blog! What a blessing!

  11. Cindy in GA says:

    They’re great for peek-a-boo, doll blankets, and especially sunshade when draped over the front of a stroller.

  12. I would always fold one half and place under the sheet in the crib.

  13. They can be used as a makeshift bib, and definately as a protective liner of the car seat or cot when you have a sicky baby, they can also be used in an emergency as a wrap skirt for a 4 yr old who just didn’t get the idea of sqatting to use the outside toilet at all…

  14. I was going to say what Lisa said about using them for reusable wipes. I’ve also heard of women cutting them and sewing the layers into reusable nursing pads and feminine pads. On one lady’s blog who lives on a banana farm in Hawaii, I read that she uses them as toilet paper! She leaves a basket of clean ones on the back of the toilet and then the familly throws them in a diaper pail next to the potty.

  15. I used the excess ones I received and cut them into 8×8 in squares, doubled them, sewed around the edges and now use them as my wipes with my cloth diapers (I always carry a squirt bottle of water). The flannel is perfect and they can always double as a tissue, or post-meal clean up as needed.

  16. Great list!

    Our youngest just turned two and we have no real need for them for their intended purpose any longer. However, I keep a couple in the van for whatever situation may arrive (changing pad, putting down on dirty floors or the ground).

    Another way we use them is for blanket time for our 2 year old. She does appx. 45 minutes of blanket time while the older two are doing some of their school work. She sits on the blanket in front of the “baby” book shelf with a few toys and plays/read books until it’s time for her to get up. Although, for her, it has to be a specific blanket!!!

  17. I use them:
    1) rolled up on the sides of a newborn’s head in the carseat to keep their heads from flopping,
    2) rolled up and under the heads of smaller babies when they’re sitting up in their Boppy so that they can look around better,
    3) folded in half and placed under baby while we side-lie nurse on mama-daddy bed (to help keep the sheets clean from spit-up or diaper wet-throughs),
    and only rarely for their intended purpose of making baby burritos. With our second, they are primarily burp rags.

  18. Those are fun! love all of those practical uses, but for number 7 we use that technique for other use, putting small balls inside the blanket four holding corners, making the balls jump up and down is a very fun game for toddlers 🙂

  19. Such a useful list! I was just talking to a new mom last night and she was commenting on receiving 22 blankets as baby gifts.

  20. Put them in the dress-up pile for capes.

  21. After 10 kids one can get quite a store of receiving blankets! I have given away tons over the years but I still seem to have them coming out my ears. 🙂 This is a good list. 🙂

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