While everyone knows that babies need bibs, not everyone knows which bibs to use and when. Some parents-to-be aren’t even sure of how essential bibs are. I’ve pulled together this post to share all the critical things that you need to know when it comes to Baby Bibs. I’ll go over all the types of baby bibs and how they are used and stored. Then I will share some of the best baby bibs on the market today. When you finish this article you will be an expert on baby bibs and know all that there is to know!
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Types of Baby Bibs
First, let’s start off with outlining the various types of bibs and their primary purpose. You’ll likely work your way through at least a couple of types of these bibs with your baby as they get older.
1. Newborn Bibs
Newborn bibs are designed specifically for babies under 6 months in age. They are extra small in size and designed to fit around a newborn’s small neck. Typically they are made with soft, extra-absorbent fabric. They’re designed for soaking up spit-up or catching any milk/formula that may spill out during a bottle or breastfeeding session.
2. Teething or Drooling Bibs
Teething bibs are designed exactly for what they sound like they were designed for: catching drool when a baby is teething. Any parent who has had a teething baby knows that teething can mean a constant stream of drool out of baby’s mouth and onto their clothes. These bibs are designed to help keep baby dry and comfortable by catching and absorbing all of that drool.
3. Feeding Bibs
As baby gets older and moves from milk / formula on to eating solids, feeding bibs come into play. These come in a variety of styles, but instead of being soft and absorbent, they are typically waterproof or water resistant and made to stand up to stains and all of the mess that comes with the introduction of solid food. A very common option are silicone based bibs because they are stain resistant and super easy to clean.
4. Smock Bibs
Not everyone uses smock bibs, but they sure can help with keeping baby clean during feeding time. Smock bibs are bibs available in short or long-sleeved options that are designed to cover baby’s upper half. They can be used for mealtimes and also for messy activities like painting. They are water resistant and often designed to be thrown into the washer for an easy clean-up.
When to Use Baby Bibs
Baby bibs can be used from essentially the time baby is born (or at least week 1) up until they are able to feed themselves without making a huge mess. As mentioned above, the type of bib will change over this time. With a bottle or breastfed baby, you would use a newborn bib at feeding time. This serves to keep baby dry and catch any spit-up. By catching with the bib, you keep baby clean and have to change them less. In my personal opinion this is more important with bottlefeeding. When breastfeeding you can often use a burp rag or spare blanket to wipe up any mess. Bottle feeding tends to have a bit more spillage in my experience.
When baby begins teething or if you notice excessive drool is getting their clothes wet, it’s likely a good idea to purchase some teething bibs. They can help catch the excess drool and keep baby nice and dry (at least for a bit longer). Baby can wear these bibs essentially the whole time that they are awake and supervised. You may need to change out the drool covered bib multiple times a day. It’s not uncommon to soak completely through these for an actively teething baby. It’s a good idea to pack multiple if you are going out for the day.
As your child grows and begins to eat solid foods, you can then add feeding bibs into the mix. In my opinion, these are an absolute must-have. When first introducing solids, quite frankly more food usually ends up on baby than in baby. I recommend the silicone variety with a spill pocket at the bottom to catch all of the food that will inevitably be dropped.
Baby Bibs Sizing
One thing you may not know about bibs is that they usually come in a variety of sizes. The soft newborn style bibs and teething bibs both typically follow clothing sizes. These are commonly delineated by ages – newborn, 0-3 months, 3-6 months, etc. They may also be sized in extra-small (xs), small (s), medium (m), and large (l). In that scenario, I would recommend measuring baby’s neck and comparing to the sizing guide for that bib to identify the correct size to purchase. Additionally, some bibs do expand to accommodate a variety of neck sizes. Feeding bibs are usually larger sized and have multiple holes or attachments to allow expansion as baby grows into a toddler.
Folding & Storing Baby Bibs
The optimal storage of bibs depends on the type. You’ll want to have newborn and teething bibs available in the rooms where you feed and/or change baby. Likely in your bedroom or your baby’s nursery. You can fold or roll soft cloth bibs and store in a dresser drawer. You can also hang on a hook if you have one available in the closet or on the back of a door.
For feeding bibs, a genius idea that I heard is to stick a 3M removable hook onto the back of the highchair. You can then hang clean feeding bibs from this hook to have ready to go at feeding time. We did this, and I absolutely loved having the bibs handy.
Which Baby Bibs are Best?
Of course the exact baby bib that is best for you and your baby will come down to personal preference, but I’ve pulled together this list of several great options for all the styles and stages of baby bibs as a place for you to get started.
Best Newborn Bibs
The newborn baby bib is probably what you first think of when you picture a baby bib. They have the traditional “bib” shape and typically have a long end that comes up around the back of baby’s neck. I do try to avoid velcro on baby bibs at all costs because it sticks to EVERYTHING when you put it in the washer. Here are a couple of my favorite traditional Newborn Baby Bibs:
These Waterproof Terry cloth Baby bibs with Snaps are made from soft terry cloth. I love the snaps and they really do keep baby try. They come in some adorable patterns and in a multi-pack of six. Overall, these bibs are simple, but serve their purpose effectively, at a budget friendly price. They wash easily, although you should avoid high temperatures with these as they can shrink in very hot water.
These 100% Muslin Cotton bibs have a simple snap closure and are just a classic traditional bib. They are machine washable, comfortable for baby and can be expanded as there are two snaps. They are a simple yet effective traditional baby bib.
Best Baby Bandana Bibs
I personally really like the bandana style of baby bibs. They are unique because of their shape. Unlike traditional bibs which are rounded, bandana bibs are in the shape of a triangle and are typically very soft and absorbent. They come together behind the neck either using velcro or a snap. As I stated above, I personally prefer bibs that snap if they need to go into the washer. This is because velcro tends to stick to anything and everything when you wash it, which can destroy soft baby clothes. So the advice there warrants repeating. Here are a couple of my favorite Bandana Bibs Options:
These Parker Baby and Co. bandana bibs come in a variety of super stylish pattern options. The front of the bibs are made from 100% soft organic cotton, and the backs of the bibs are 100% polyester for additional absorbency. The bibs have a nickel snap closure and are adjustable in size from 3 months up to 24 months.
Another great bandana bib option are these Muslin Baby Bibs. What I like most about them is that they provide additional coverage compared to many bandana bibs as they are simply a bit larger than many other bandana bibs. They’re also 100% made from cotton, with an expandable snap closure. They will fit most babies from newborns up until 36 months. These bibs are super soft, and unlike some muslin products, these hold up well in the washer and don’t shrink!
Best Teething/Drool Bibs
These Nuby Reversible 100% Natural Cotton Muslin 3 Pack Teething Bib are ideal for teething babies. They feature a teething corner at the bottom. Which provides multiple textures for a teething baby to chomp on. It’s basically a teether built right into the bib. They’re also made from 100% soft muslin cotton to absorb moisture and help keep baby nice and dry.
I absolutely love Burt’s Bees baby clothing, blankets and bibs because they are so soft and durable. They’re truly well-made, and everything I have purchase by them has held up well through many washes (a critical requirement for bibs by the way). The other thing that’s special about these bibs is that they provide so much coverage and fabric for soaking up all that teething baby drool. They cover the shoulder and extend all the way down to baby’s lap. They’re made from 100% cotton and have an absorbent terry towel backing. They also slip right over baby’s head, so no fussy with velcro or snaps with these.
Best Baby/Toddler Feeding Bibs
You are looking for much different features in a feeding bib than you are with a newborn or teething bib. Here you are looking for a bib that is super easy to clean and minimizes the food mess as much as possible. I highly recommend looking for waterproof options that can easily be washed in the sink or wiped down. There are some bibs that contain cloth that are water resistant, and these always began to smell after using for awhile. I’d go for 100% silicone if possible. I also prefer bibs that have a food catcher at the bottom to reduce the amount of food on the floor, in baby’s lap and in the high chair. Here are a few of my favorite feeding bibs that I would highly recommend:
These 100% silicone feeding bibs by Simka Rose are awesome. I personally love the hilarious quotes like “eaters gonna eat”, but they come in a variety of style options. They include a food catcher at the bottom, and an adjustable neckband to grow with your child. They are fully waterproof and even dishwasher safe for super easy cleanup after mealtime.
These PandaEar Silicone bibs are sold in a 3 pack and their main selling point is that are super affordable (while still meeting all of my above criteria). They are waterproof, soft and expandable to fit multiple neck sizes. They have sturdy food catcher for catching stray food. Overall they are good quality and provide great value.
FAQs about Baby Bibs
Bibs are safe when used as intended and following general safety rules. Babies should only wear bibs while awake and under adult supervision. You should also inspect bibs each time before putting on baby to ensure they are intact and that there are no loose threads or parts.
Ultimately, it is up to you to decide if they are absolutely necessary. My general answer is yes. They help keep baby dry, prevent messes and generally make life with a baby easier (and more pleasant for baby too). They will also overall reduce the amount of laundry you need to do.
No. Babies should never wear a bib while unattended, including while sleeping.
Babies should never wear a bib while unattended, including while in a car seat unattended. If someone is next to baby in the back, then baby can use a bib over top of their seatbelt and restraints (NEVER under as that is not safe).
The absolute number that you need will depend on your baby, your routine and how frequently you like to do laundry. For newborn and teething bibs, a typical range I would suggest is starting with at least 10, and then increasing from there if you find that you are running out of bibs. For feeding bibs, you can usually get away with fewer. I would recommend starting with 2-3 and increasing if needed.
Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed this post, you may also want to check out my post on the Best Baby Bottles for Breastfed Babies.