I love a multi-use item, especially for traveling with baby! The amount of stuff required when traveling with baby can be overwhelming, so the more multi-use items you can bring to help reduce the load the better!
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One of our favourite multi-use items is the Aden & Anais muslin cotton blankets.
You know those products that you finally just buy, and then wonder why you waited so long? These blankets are one of mine. I recall last July when Prince George was photographed swaddled in an Aden & Anais muslin cotton blanket. They became all the rage and you couldn’t even find the specific blanket pattern that he was swaddled in. I think this may have been the beginning of my obsession with these blankets. I started picking them up every time I saw them when out shopping. I’d look at them on Amazon, add them to my cart, and then remove them. I just couldn’t justify the price for a blanket!
We planned our first family vacation to Barcelona in October when our baby was 3 months old, too early for baby to wear sunscreen. I finally broke down and just bought the blankets. I wanted something light and airy that I could use to cover baby on sunny days either when in the carrier or for extra protection over the stroller. We often used them as a blanket on cooler mornings then to block sun from entering the stroller on warm afternoons.
Six months later and we are still using them on our vacations. We typically bring two with us, one in our carry-on luggage and an extra in our packed luggage. On our most recent vacation we found even more uses for these blankets. Here is a list of the uses we’ve come up with:
1. Extra shade for stroller: Sometimes the stroller canopy just doesn’t cut it. Even at home I’ve used this blanket for extra shade on my stroller while out for walks.
2. Cover arms/legs in intense heat: On a recent vacation to New Mexico, we visited the White Sands National Monument. It was spectacularly beautiful, but the sun was intense! In fact, I had already got a sun burn earlier that morning. Given it was the first day on vacation, we were not going to risk baby getting burned. This blanket was perfect for keeping her covered, but still airy enough to keep either of us from getting too hot.
3. Crib side cover when in hotel room: Sharing a room with baby on vacation can be a bit tricky, especially if you don’t have a balcony or something to escape to while baby is falling asleep. One of our tricks is to cover up the side of the crib with a blanket so baby can’t see us. That usually helps baby fall asleep without getting excited because we are still in the same room.
4. Sun shade in rental car: I don’t know about other babies, but ours sure isn’t pleased if the sun is in her eyes. This was helpful to keep her quiet and happy while driving!
5. Warmth: Obviously no explanation needed, but you never know when the plane might be chilly or you have a cool morning! It’s nice to have a light blanket that doesn’t take up too much space in your bag!
6. Cover for chair if feeding baby in hotel room: Our baby can be a little messy while eating in her travel high chair and this helps ensure the chair in the hotel room isn’t covered in food when we check out!
7. Swaddling: Another obvious one, but these blankets are a great size for swaddling!
8. Sitting baby down on floor at airport: While hanging out at the airport before your flight takes off or during a long layover, it’s nice for baby to be able to stretch out! These blankets are great to put down on the floor for baby to roll around on.
9. Nursing cover: These blankets make a wonderful nursing cover since they are so light and airy!
Update (November 2015): Several trips later and now with a new baby, I can still attest to how useful these blankets are! On our most recent trip, these blankets doubled as a scarf to keep our toddler warm! So there’s number 10!
Update (September 2018): These blankets seemed so expensive at the time, but when our son arrived we didn’t hesitate to buy a boy set for him. He’s now 3 yrs old and loves to bring his robot blanket on all our trips. It’s perfect as a lightweight blanket in the Kidco PeaPod and it’s a must on the airplane!
Note: Baby Can Travel did not receive any free products or payment to write this post. All Aden and Anais blankets pictured were purchased by us.