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When the baby is under a year old, a blanket in the crib won't be needed or even recommended. But it's a good idea to have a few soft blankets on hand for when the mom-to-be will take her little one out of the house.
Whether at the mall or in a restaurant, the little one will appreciate the softness of a baby blanket when sleeping in the stroller or baby carrier. A blanket will help her feel secure and snuggly when out in strange and unknown surroundings.
It's safe to have a blanket on the baby as long as you are right there by her and able to monitor if the blanket gets too close to her nose or gets tangled.
So a great gift for the new mommy on her shower day is a nice soft blankie that she can take everywhere the baby goes. It may even become her 'lovey' down the road when she is older and she'll want to take it everywhere!