The 8 Best Baby Blankets of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
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Our overall winner was the NTBAY Jersey Cotton Quilted Baby Blanket for its incredibly soft, sweatshirt-like feel, and for its durability and great value.
Baby blankets are one of the most popular gifts for new arrivals. They’re useful for many purposes—tummy time, an extra layer for warmth in the stroller, to use while feeding — and there’s a nostalgic quality to them, as well. Some of us even hold on to our favorite blanket for decades after childhood.
Given the popularity and versatility of baby blankets, we put 22 to the test for new parents and gift-givers. Please note: Baby blankets should never be used in a crib or sleeping space for children under one year. “Babies under a year old should never sleep with a loose blanket and no blankets rolled into a makeshift sleep positioner," pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp, founder of Happiest Baby tells PEOPLE. "In short, there should be no blankets in your baby’s sleep space whatsoever! But that doesn’t mean baby blankets are useless." He notes that a soft and cozy baby blanket is perfect to lay on the floor for tummy time and that a lightweight, breathable blanket can be draped over you and your little one while nursing. "And in cold weather, a warm blanket can be snugly tucked around your baby in the stroller," he notes.
Out of the nearly two dozen blankets our testers evaluated, we named nine winners. Read on for more on our favorites.
NTBAY Jersey Cotton Quilted Baby Blanket
Incredibly soft material
Great price for a blanket that’s built to last
Specific washing instructions
We found this quilted cotton blanket to be very soft — almost like sweatshirt material. One of our testers' infant child liked to grab the edge and "gum" it, and enjoyed holding it in his hands and playfully scrunching it up.
Though we had some concerns that the material would become rougher when washed, the opposite proved to be true — in fact, the material actually got softer after laundering. While we did follow the instructions exactly (machine-wash cold, gentle cycle, tumble-dry at a low temperature), we also expect the blanket to hold up if you wash it the way most new parents would: in a large load of laundry without fussing over settings.
“In the avalanche of baby blankets you get, it's nice to have a thicker option that can grow with him,” one tester said of the blanket, which she used during tummy time and in her carrier for chilly walks outside. “I plan to use this for a long time, simply because it has been so durable and is a nice, thicker blanket.”
And the price is the icing on the cake — around $15 for a blanket you're sure to use for years to come is an excellent value in our book.
Price at time of publish: $14.99
Size: 30 x 40 inches | Colors: 10 | Material: Cotton jersey
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Sweet Acorn Knit Baby Blanket
High-end look and fee
A great baby gift that would photograph well
Not as soft as chenille if that’s your preferred blanket fabric
Your baby will be newborn photoshoot-ready with this knit blanket perfect for gifting. “This would make a great baby gift and is definitely photo-ready for cute newborn images with its knit construction,” says our tester. “Looks high end.”
A medium-weight blanket with a decent amount of stretch, we thought it would be a great option for tucking around a baby in a stroller on chilly days. We also appreciated that it's 100% organic cotton to give you a bit of peace of mind about what is touching your little one's skin. Considering the sweater-like material and solid construction, we found this blanket to be a great value.
While the blanket did wash well in testing, it’s worth noting that the care label says to reshape and lay flat to dry — not the most realistic chore for a new parent. However, one of our testers did not have a drying rack accessible so she draped the blanket over a laundry basket to dry, “and it seemed to retain its shape just fine!”
Price at time of publish: $38
Size: 30 x 40 inches | Colors: 6 | Material: 100% organic cotton
Burt’s Bees Baby Reversible Blanket
Both affordable and versatile
Our tester found it to be a bit of an odd size
We tested this breathable blanket with an organic cotton shell and polyester fill in various scenarios: On the couch while the baby lounged, on the floor for playtime, and over a stroller for use during outings. Overall, we found it to be a bit of an unusual size that might be best suited for use as a quilted play mat rather than taking it on the go where it might not properly provide enough coverage for your baby's stroller or to use for taller toddlers.
Overall, we found that this blanket is well-made, soft, not too heavy, and durable. The quality of the blanket remained in tact after washing, too.
Price at time of publish: $17.68
Size: 30 x 40 inches | Colors: 10 | Material: 100% organic jersey shell, 100% polyester fill
Emerson and Friends Wild and Free Luxury Bamboo Baby Blanket
Soft, stretchy material without bulk
The price point is on the higher side for a baby blanket
For this chic printed bamboo blanket, one of our testers used it with her 6-month-old daughter while she was in her stroller. “She was happy to be wrapped in this blanket,” says the tester. “At no point did she look uncomfortable and kick it off.”
The material is interesting — almost like a stretchy T-shirt — albeit very soft with a nice weight that doesn't feel too heavy or bulky. After multiple washes, it remained soft and stretchy with no pilling. Additionally, we found this blanket to be very easy to layer under a footmuff, in a car seat, or a stroller.
While we did consider the price to be on the higher end of the spectrum for what you get, it's overall very durable and high-quality.
Price at time of publish: $44
Colors: 1 | Material: Bamboo
Pottery Barn Kids Meredith Oversized Muslin Baby Blanket
A great size for use through the baby and toddler stages
Very durable and well-constructed
Expensive (though worth its value over time)
This blanket is undoubtedly an investment, though it will grow with your child. While we found that it was too oversized to use as a stroller blanket, it was great to lay out on floor for playtime for both infants and younger kids. After age 1, you could also use it as a blanket in your little one's crib or as a bedspread or quilt when it comes time for their "big kid" bed.
“My daughter sits on it for a good portion of the day and her siblings come to visit her on the blanket too, so it gets a lot of wear!” says our tester. “We launder it often and it washes beautifully… just as soft as when we got it.”
Price at time of publish: $75
Size: 47 x 47 inches | Colors: 1 | Material: 100% organic cotton muslin
aden + anais Dream Blanket
Best for Nursing
Boasts breathable cotton material while still being fluffy
Natural material is not as soft to the touch as some polyester blankets
On the pricey side
Here’s another blanket that’s a good choice for laying on the floor for tummy time or playtime. The two layers of cotton muslin also make it a great choice for nursing as the material is cozy but breathable.
However, it’s not as soft to the touch as other blankets made out of synthetic materials, like polyester, but we like that the cotton is breathable while still being somewhat heavier in weight. (This blanket is substantially thicker than the very popular aden + anais swaddle blankets, which are also a great choice for draping over a shoulder while nursing.)
Finally, this blanket washed well, looking just as good as it did when we first received it.
Price at time of publish: $41.97
Size: 47.24 x 47.24 inches | Colors: 22 | Material: 100% cotton muslin
Brooklinen Stars Baby Blanket
A versatile choice that will be useful for years
A higher price point for a baby blanket
This is another great option for a blanket that will grow with your child, from a stroller blanket for babies and toddlers to a throw blanket for older children. It’s a generous size, too — not too heavy, with quality stitching and muslin cotton that maintains its integrity after laundering. It also has fun fringe trim which your child will enjoy playing with (just keep a close eye here as shedding threads could pose a hazard).
We think this blanket would work well outside as well, as a place to sit in the grass at a park. Essentially, versatility is the theme here – says our tester, “there’s lots of room to tuck around a baby in a stroller, throw over the carpet for them to play on, and even use as a throw blanket for movie night as they get older.
The price point is on the higher side, “but it will last for years,” adds our tester. “I could see this as a staple throw we use on the couch and on chillier nights when an extra blanket is needed in the toddler or big-kid bed, long after the baby years.”
Price at time of publish: $49.30
Size: 31 x 55 inches | Colors: 1 | Material: 100% long staple cotton
Hudson Baby Unisex Baby and Toddler Hooded Animal Blanket
Extremely soft material
Very cute for photo ops
Some babies and toddlers may not enjoy the hood
A fun, snuggly piece, but not the best fit for a toddler bed, given the hood
Our tester’s 10-month-old baby girl used this blanket while snuggling on the couch and at bedtime. “She wasn't too crazy about the hood being on after about 10 minutes, but the blanket is super soft and we'll definitely keep using it, especially throughout the winter,” they explain. “I have a feeling that we'll have it for a long time. It's a good one to keep through the toddler years.”
The soft fleece material is extra comfy, and the blanket held up well in the wash.
“It’s super cute for photos, too. My little baby looks like a little teddy bear,” adds our tester. With a great value for the price (just $11!) — and the smiles it brings parents and caregivers — this one is a no-brainer.
Price at time of publish: $10.99
Size: 30 x 40 inches | Colors/prints: 12 | Material: 100% polyester
Things to Consider
Comfort is key with a baby blanket — using a super soft material that isn't took bulky or heavy is key so baby can be cozy and soothed.
“I’m a fan of 100% organic materials for babies, which is super soft on a baby’s delicate skin,” says pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block. Adds Cara Dumaplin of Taking Cara Babies, “When looking for a blanket, keep in mind that new skin can be irritated by harsh dyes and chemicals. I recommend a washable blanket made of organic cotton or muslin. We also want to avoid fabrics and yarns that shed, threads that can easily unravel, and blankets with tassels." In other words, prioritize durability so that the blanket stays in tact and can also be used time and time again.
Babies under a year old should not use a blanket in their crib, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. When you are using a blanket with your little one, regardless of their age, consider the added elements that could pose potential danger. “You’ll want to make sure that your little one’s blanket is free of any would-be choking or strangulation hazards, like loose ribbons or buttons,” says Dr. Karp.
Our winners came in a range of price points. 100% organic cotton tends to raise the price point, as does the larger size of some blankets. If those are priorities for you or for your gift-giving, be prepared to spend more. Our picks for the best splurge, knit, and nursing blankets are all 100% organic cotton.
How We Tested
Our testers unpacked, washed, and inspected each baby blanket for any damage. Then, they used each blanket regularly for one week, laundering as instructed, noting any shrinking, fading, or pilling of the materials. Testers gave each blanket a 1-5 rating on its comfort, ease of use, durability, and—only after learning the price—value. The scoring system, as well as testers’ commentary on each individual blanket, were factored into deciding the winners.
Frequently Asked Questions
If they can’t be used in a crib, what are safe uses for baby blankets?
“Although seeing a baby cuddled up in a soft, cozy blanket is an image many think of, the truth is that The American Academy of Pediatrics does NOT recommend using a loose blanket in the crib until babies are at least a year old,” Dumaplin tells PEOPLE. Instead, baby blankets can be used “on the floor for play or tummy time activities, over little legs in the stroller to protect skin from the sun or wind, or as a nursing cover if you prefer a bit of privacy."
Dumaplin notes that some blankets are simply keepsakes with baby’s name embroidered on them, so while they make for a great gift, it’s more of a decoration or something to be saved rather than used.
How many blankets does a baby need?
“I recommend having 4-6 blankets,” says Dumaplin. “Maybe one thicker, bigger one to lay down on the floor for play time, a couple smaller muslin ones to use as a quick cover, and then one or two warmer receiving blankets to cover baby on those wintery days when the stroller needs additional warmth.”
Adds content creator and mother of three, Ariana Christie, “The limit does NOT exist! Before our babies were born, I thought, 'We must have way too many blankets!' (we had an entire drawer full), but I quickly realized that you can never have enough blankets. Between using them for spit up, clean up, comfort, nursing, and swaddling, you can never have enough!”
What’s the best blanket for a newborn?
Pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp suggests caregivers consider a swaddle-style blanket: “Swaddling is proven to help calm crying and prolong sleep. A swaddle blanket should be light and breathable, ideally made of cotton or muslin, and measure at least 44 inches by 44 inches. Swaddling a baby in a baby blanket that’s too big, too small, or too heavy can easily lead to unsafe unwrapping and/or overheating.”
Adds Christie of her own babies, “it was important to learn to swaddle properly for safety. The nurses at the hospital taught us how to properly swaddle and we got it down to an art! Having a good quality blanket with a little bit of stretch is my favorite to swaddle with.”
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