If it seems all your friends are having babies at the same time, or you just like to look at babies on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you might have noticed they all appear to be wrapped in the same white blanket with blue and pink stripes. It’s called the Kuddle-Up blanket, and it’s made by hospital supplier Medline, a company founded by A.L. Mills in 1910.
In the early 1950s, receiving blankets were usually made from dull beige cloth. Mills, ever the innovator, wanted to do for blankets what he had done for scrubs. “He asked the women in the office what they would do differently to spice it up a little bit,” says Abrams. They went through a number of iterations and finally settled on the blue- and pink-striped version because, as you might have suspected, it’s good for both girls and boys. The pattern is strangely appealing—before I knew that 99% of newborns are wrapped in identical blankets, I thought it was handsome. It never appears dated or cutesy or Disney. It is truly a classic.
Clearly, many people agree. Sixty years later, Medline sells 1.5 million Kuddle-Up blankets in Candy Stripe every year (the other patterns, with elephants or ducks, are less pervasive). At the HealthAlliance Hospital in Kingston, NY, for instance, the housekeeping staff buys 3,100 100% cotton blankets a year, and often uses four to five of them for each newborn.
But few people realized how ubiquitous the blanket was until social media gave parents a platform for showing off their newborns even before they leave the hospital. It’s very possible that three or four generations of families have been swaddled in a striped Kuddle-Up. Read the history of the blanket and see some adorable newborns in an article at Quartz. -Thanks, Daniel Kim!
(Image credit: Bonnie U. Gruenberg)