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The Ubiquitous Wrap

What is the first thing that jumps at you when you see a newborn picture? The cute baby of course and then there is the blanket, right?!

Hospitals use the same style today as they did when my kids were born 34 and 27 years ago! It was time to dig into the backstory when my friend sent me a picture of a colleague's newborn baby, swaddled in decades of familiarity.

YES! Every new baby is swaddled in blankets supplied by a single company. Uninterrupted since the 1950s!

It's a white or off-white blanket, made of flannel with gender neutral blue and pink stripes. You know exactly what I am talking about, don't you?

They are called "Kuddle-Up" blankets, manufactured by Medline in Mundelein Illinois. They sell 1.5M blankets of this specific style every year. The company makes other patterns too but this striped version is used all over the world because at a wholesale rate of $2.50, it is less expensive than the other patterns.

That's a lot of babies and a ton of identical newbie photos. We are genetically 99% the same and we begin our lives by being swaddled in the same cloth - what an affirmation of our similarities!

Think of this: multiple generations have used the same style, perhaps even the very same blanket. I still have one preserved to pass on to Neil and Josh's kids some day. It is a precious family heirloom.

Medline was started in 1910 to make butcher aprons. They moved on to surgical gowns for which the owner, A. J. Mills, settled on the jade green color because it absorbs light. He also moved the tie in patient gowns from the back to the side. When you are in the hospital, thank him for preserving your dignity.

I am sure newborn knit caps have a similar story. I have preserved one of those too.

Here are mine swaddled in the ubiquitous blanket, Neil with my Dad on the left and Josh with Tarun on the right. If you still have one from from your kid's infancy, hang on to it. It’s not just a piece of cloth, it tells and will continue to tell our stories through generations.

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