There are several things to consider when deciding what you’re going to use to swaddle or cover your little one with. Some of the things you need to think about are fairly obvious, while others may not have occurred to you.
First of all, you want to consider the warmth the blanket will provide for baby. Of course, this is the main reason to use a blanket at all, so chances are you’ve probably considered this. Keep in mind the climate where you live. If you live in a particularly warm climate, you probably don’t need many thick blankets. If, on the other hand, you live where the winters are long and cold, you’re going to want something substantial to wrap baby up in.
Contrary to popular belief, babies don’t need many more layers than we as adults do. In most cases, your baby will only need one more layer than you do. This extra layer makes up for the fact that babies don’t have much fat serving as insulation yet, and don’t move around to keep her body temperature up.
When selecting a blanket for baby, perhaps the most important concern of all is safety. All too often, parents with newborns don’t really consider safety hazards when it comes to baby blankets. Blankets just aren’t viewed as potential safety threats, but they should be.
Most commercially produced baby blankets are fine, as they take into consideration the most up to date safety regulations and concerns, but here are some things to avoid:
- Blankets should not have ribbons or other strips of cloth overhanging the edges. If ribbons overhand edges at all, it shouldn’t be by more than an inch or two, as longer ribbons can present a choking hazard.
- Blankets, especially knit blankets, should not have large holes in them. Babies can get their arms, legs, or even their heads caught in larger holes. If you go with a knit blanket, it’s best to buy one that is fairly tightly knit.
- Avoid quilts or other soft, heavy blankets. These are suspected of contributing to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also called crib death).
In addition to finding blankets that are safe and warm, consider buying blankets made of breathable materials. Babies can easily overheat if their blankets do not allow air in and moisture out.
Your baby will likely be spending a lot of her time with her favorite blankets. Babies tend to become very attached to their favorite blankets, so it’s best to only offer them blankets which are safe, even during the daytime.