Many moons ago, I happened to be visiting a friend in Canada when she went into labor. She had a home birth planned, but my plan was to be on a plane before the baby made an appearance.
As it happened, she delivered her third baby boy a little early. While I didn't witness the actual momentous occasion (I sat at her kitchen table trying to concentrate on a crossword puzzle), I do remember the midwives calling out for me to put a bunch of towels in the dryer, which I dutifully did.
That was my contribution to the birth. A few towels in the dryer.
I never knew what they did with those warm towels -- I just figured they were important based on the urgency of the request.
More recently, while shopping for the Peanut, I noticed 'receiving blankets' everywhere I went. For some reason they reminded me of those towels I tossed into that dryer all of those years ago.
Receiving blankets often make their appearance at baby showers as gifts. I even bought a pack of them myself when I first started swooning over small items for the Peanut.
And then after I washed and folded them, I thought: 'What in the world do you use these things for?!' Apparently the original use was to 'receive' a baby at the hospital after delivery (probably the same thing those warm towels were used for in Canada.)
But beyond that... what do you do with these things? Most receiving blankets I've
seen are too tiny to actually swaddle a baby.
However, in the whole six weeks I've been a mama, I've discovered a myriad of uses for what I assumed were useless blankets.
So, if you're on the receiving end of too many receiving blankets, fear not. You'll find a use for them! Here are some ideas:
1. If they are big enough, you can actually swaddle the baby! I received one flannel blanket from my mother-in-law in South Africa that is huge. It's perfect for snuggling the baby after a bath.
2. Use them as a portable changing mat. So far, I've only changed the Peanut in one public restroom (yeesh). You can bet your bottom (and your baby's) that I didn't put him straight down on that changing table. I put a receiving blanket under him and then that thing went straight into the wash as soon as we got home.
3. Use at home with your changing mat. I don't know about you, but my little Peanut made a mess with the first few changes at home. (Operator error had a lot to do with it.) And the little changing table attached to the Pack 'n Play was frigid. It was just easier at first to throw a receiving blanket on the pad and then wash that if it got wet or dirty. Plus it was a little cozier for the Peanut.
4. Keep a few in the car. They're useful to wipe up messes, or to use as a changing mat in the car when the public restrooms are too scary (see #2).
5. Use as burp cloths or to pass the baby off to other people who visit (who knows what germs are on people -- hand them a receiving cloth to use a barrier!)
6. Fold the smaller ones into cloth diapers. I haven't tried this yet, but I figure in a pinch, they are about the same size as my flat diapers and I could use them as back-ups, or even as an extra layer overnight.
7. Use as small towels or washcloths. After mine start to deteriorate, I'll probably go ahead and cut them up and then zig-zag the edges to prevent fraying, and use them as smaller washcloths.
So you see, receiving receiving blankets isn't so useless after all.