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Ever Notice That All Those Newborn Pictures on Facebook Seem to Show the Same Blanket? Here's Why

"It is truly a classic."

It is quite possibly the most photographed cloth pattern within the last 50 years, but it wasn't made by a runway fashion designer.

The white flannel accented with a band of blue and pink stripes is the iconic garb of a brand new human being.

Millions of newborns worldwide are swaddled in a Kuddle-Up blanket each year. (Photo credit: Shutterstock) Millions of newborns worldwide are swaddled in a Kuddle-Up blanket each year. (Photo credit: Shutterstock)

Lisa Selin Davis wrote in a post for Quartz that these receiving blankets have been in hospitals for decades and gave a history about how they got started.

If you were born in a hospital in the early 1950s or earlier, you were likely received in a "dull beige cloth," according to Davis. But the company Medline, which was founded in 1910, went through several iterations to jazz up baby's first blanket that decade.

“[The company's founder A.L. Mills] asked the women in the office what they would do differently to spice it up a little bit,” Jim Abrams, chief operating officer for Medline, told Davis.

Hospitals use the blankets to help clean newborns and to wrap them up. (Photo credit: Shutterstock) Hospitals use the blankets to help clean newborns and to wrap them up. (Photo credit: Shutterstock)

The blanket with pink and blue stripes that has become ubiquitous with hospital births was born as Medline's first Kuddle-Up product.  

"It is truly a classic," Davis wrote.

Davis wrote that the timing of the blanket being released coincided with an uptick in hospital births, and it has stuck around ever since.

She learned that the company now sells more than 1.5 million blankets in this pattern per year, not including the other patterns it has since come out with. Since its creation more than 60 years, ago, Kuddle-Up blankets, which are manufactured in Pakistan, are sold globally.

"The Kuddle-Up blanket was entwined with the institutionalization of childbirth," Davis wrote. "Just as we began to standardize the process of birth, we began to standardize the post-partum experience, too, such that the newborn photo in the Kuddle-Up blanket is, at this point, an instant signifier. Thousands of new parents, and even grandparents, were themselves swaddled in such a blanket when they were born; that same pattern spans generations."

Photo credit: Shutterstock Photo credit: Shutterstock

Davis isn't the only one who has wondered about the history of the popular blanket either. A few years ago, NPR featured the blanket and learned from the company's president that Medline estimated its sales of the Kuddle-Up blanket to top 25 million since the 1980s alone. When purchased wholesale, the blanket sells for $2.50 each.

Front page image via Shutterstock.

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