I LOVE muslin blankets. I have roughly a million of them and I stash them in every room of the house as well as in my car, diaper bag, grandma’s house, and under the stroller. Why do I want a muslin blanket always within arm’s reach? Why, you ask? Oh, let me count the ways!
1. Blanket: Muslin is just one of those wonderful materials. Its soft, its forgiving, it offers warmth but also breathability. It has just a tiny bit of natural stretch. Its the kind of material you could curl up with. As a blanket, I find muslin light and gentle. Its weightlessness makes it great for covering up a sleeping babe without disturbing her and it packs up super small, so shoving a 4’x4′ blanket in the diaper bag isn’t a fight.
2. Swaddler: Muslin is breathable but insulating, soft as can be and has just a little bit of stretch – not because there is any elastic in it but rather due to the open weave structure. This makes it perfect for swaddling. The purpose of swaddling is to keep baby from thrashing around and waking herself up and therefore to help her feel safe and secure. Swaddling with heavy fabrics doesn’t work well on two levels: 1) it’s too hot, and 2) babies have this amazing ability to wriggle free! When I reach for a swaddling blanket, winter or summer, I’m going for my muslin blankets (there are double layered varieties for deep freeze swaddling too!). Comfy, cozy, swaddled perfection!
3. Sun shade: Since muslin is so breathable it makes a wonderful sun shade. Dare I say better than products made entirely for that purpose? Muslin blankets (as long as they are reasonably sized) are ideal sun shades for strollers, car seats, travel cots as well as any time you’re out in the sun. I’ve been known to tie those babies up between two patio chairs and situate the baby seat right in the blissfully shady spot I created. Drape them over a stroller or carseat or roll the window up with a corner stuck in it and tie the other corner to the seatbelt to create an impromptu sun shade in the car. That’s right folks, muslin is so thin and durable that you can actually tie the corners to things… just think of all the possibilities (doll baby sling for my 4-year old, no problem)!
4. Puke Rag, er… Burp Cloth: I seem to make cute kids. Cute, very pukey kids. My kiddos can ‘spit up’ (if that’s what you wanna call it) a lot of milk, fast and with a good deal of velocity. If you have ever had or held a pukey kid you will appreciate the sheer wicking power of muslin cloth as much as you’ll appreciate the embarrassment that accompanies your darling yakking all over an unsuspecting baby snuggler. Muslin blankets are awesome puke rags.
5. Nursing Cover: My favourite nursing cover because its so easy and versatile. For casual situations where I don’t really care all that much if my boob hangs out I can just heave it over baby and hope for the best. If its windy or if I’m somewhere where I feel the need to cover up more carefully I can tie it behind my neck or tuck it under a bra strap to hold it in place. I love that the muslin is super light and doesn’t cause me or baby to overheat while nursing and I love that its super absorbent so I can soak up any wayward milk or spit up without having to get out another towel.
6. Change Pad: Ever get into a grimy public bathroom put your diaper bag down and start digging through with one hand while using your other hand to balance baby on your leg, which is suspended mid air only to realize that you forgot to put the change pad back in diaper bag after cleaning it yesterday… crap! Oh, no worries, your trusty muslin blanket will do the trick. Because there is no way in h-e-double hockey stick I’m putting my kid on that germ infested hard plastic koala care platform without a barrier!
7. Play Mat: When you end up somewhere unexpected (like you bump into a friend on your walk and decide to let your older two enjoy the play structure for a few minutes) and baby is tipping herself out of your arms because she wants to get down too, you can toss your generously sized muslin blanket down as ground cover so she won’t be able to eat the grass and who-knows-what-else while enjoying her freedom.
8. Bassinet/Moses Basket/Playpen Sheet: I don’t know about you, but my hanging bassinet was made on the other side of the pond and there was not a fitted sheet this side of the Atlantic that I could get to fit that thing. Furthermore, I have a bassinet, playpen, and moses basket and expecting my husband to figure out which sheet goes to which in addition to stuffing cloth diapers with the appropriate liner was just too much to ask. Luckily, muslin blankets make excellent sheets. Toss one on and tuck it in around the mattress. Use a safety pin on the back side if you’re worried about it coming loose. Voila! Problem solved, hubby happy.
9. Pool Towel: You would not believe how absorbent muslin is. I tested this very attribute of my beloved textile the last time I took the kids to the pool and forgot the towels (no, it wasn’t the only time I’ve pulled that move). Yup, muslin works pretty much as well as a terry towel. Granted it isn’t quite as thick so by the time we got to the hair it was saturated but it sure beat using my shirt.
10. Lovie: Remember those blankets with the satin edge that we all snuggled with as kids. Muslin is the new satin-edged baby blanket. They’re great for snuggling (and playing with) on long car rides and we always pack one for each kid in our carry-on luggage when we fly. These things are ultra durable… I swear they get softer every time I wash them and after 4 years and 3 babies ours are still going strong.
11. Diaper: Am I the only person whose child has embarrassed her with a blow out poopy diaper in public when I have no more spares in my bag? Please tell me I’m not! Well, muslin blanket to the rescue! Not sure we looked chic but I worked some origami mama magic, tied that blanket on and home we went. The muslin saved the car seat from the pee-pee that was guaranteed to occur (and did) on the way home.
So there you have it. 11 reasons why muslin blankets are my number one all time favourite baby gear item! I’m willing to bet you have some other uses for the amazing muslin blanket. If you’ve found another use for a muslin blanket please comment and share!