So the key to a good baby blanket is the texture. Softness is obviously a good choice when it comes to making blankies for wee little ones, but another thing I like to think about when I choose a pattern is what kind of textures are involved. Take this most recent one I made for my new cousin on the way:
I specifically chose this pattern because it involved both seed stitch and garter stitch, which are both bumpier in texture, but contrasting enough to be interesting to knit. The other thing I did for this blanket was use chunky yarn, worsted weight yarn double-stranded, and large needles to not only make it go faster, but also to make the textures more defined. I just loved rubbing my hands over the squares once this blanket was together to feel the differences of the stitches under my palm.
When this little boy gets older, he’s going to love feeling this blankie with his little hands too.

PS> I forgot to mention that this little beauty came almost entirely from all stash yarn. I only had to buy 2 little skeins of the variegated color to make enough multi-colored squares and do the border (technically, I would have only needed one, but since it was the yarn I used double-stranded, well, you get the picture). This makes the sixth blanket in a row that used mostly all stash yarn.