By John Dodge
CHICAGO (CBS) — Just about every time a newborn baby is photographed, the new arrival seems to be carefully cocooned in the same blanket.READ MORE: 3 Killed, 24 Wounded In Weekend Shootings Across Chicago
It’s called the Kuddle Up–a flannel blanket with both pink and blue stripes in the center. It was designed by a Mundelein, Ill., company called Medline.
When the blanket was created in the 1950s, the company was called A.L Mills. It has since morphed into a multibillion company selling a variety of medical products.
Medline sells 1.5 million Kuddle-Up blankets in Candy Stripe worldwide every year, according to Lisa Selin Davis, who wrote a fascinating history of the baby blanket.
The ubiquitous use of the Candy Stripe is obviously not new, as the blanket has been in use for 60 years. However, Facebook and Instagram have changed the game: Every proud mama and poppa are posting photos of their cute, cuddly little creatures.
The A.L. Mills company got its start in Chicago in the early 1900s, selling smocks to the hog butchers of the world in Chicago’s Stockyards.READ MORE: Man, Woman Shot On Kedzie Avenue In East Garfield Park
The baby blanket was not Mills’ first innovation. The company created the first colored surgical uniform (it was green), to help reduce eye strain during procedures.
The blankets were the subject of an NPR story in 2011.
Adovcate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville has stocked the blankets for years.
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“They are the right size and they are gender neutral,” maternity ward manager Donna Clark told NPR. “So we don’t get a dad saying you are putting my little boy in pink or my little girl in blue.”