The Complete Guide to Baby Bibs: Everything You Need to Know

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There is a lot more to bibs than one might first imagine. There are bibs that serve different functions, bibs for different ages, and even some safety tips you should know about bibs. As new parents, you want what is best for your baby. When it comes to baby gear, you want to be well-informed!

And if you are asking yourself questions like “Are bibs safe for newborns?” or “Which bibs are the best for my child?” you have come to the right place!

Related Article: High Chair Ready

Why do we even use bibs?

Bibs are a staple in the world of baby products, but why?

The most obvious use for bibs is that they keep messy eaters clean (or at least cleaner)! They also help protect your baby’s skin and clothing from excessive drool, spit-up, or other residues. Some people may give their baby a bib when bottle feeding or during mealtime to decrease the mess. Bibs can also be used when your baby is teething (which often creates a lot of drool). Some parents use smock bibs for arts and crafts.

There really are more reasons to use bibs than you might have first guessed.

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Different Types of Bibs

Did you know there are several categories of bibs? Some bibs are meant for catching baby drool while others are meant for when your little one starts with solids. There are bibs out there that cover just your baby’s neck, and some that are like a second shirt!

So let’s do a nice overview of the different kinds of bibs so you can find the best bib for your baby or toddler.

Drool Bibs

Drool bibs are perfect for newborns and some older babies that are still dealing with lots of saliva, or a bit of spit-up.

Did you know that drool bibs come in different shapes? Some are triangular in shape, and these bibs are often referred to as “bandana bibs”. Other drool bibs are the typical squares that have been around forever.

They are made of soft, comfortable material and can function as bibs or burp cloths.

Most of these bibs are designed for newborns but can be worn until your toddler is 3 years old.

Feeding Bibs/ Standard Bibs

Feeding bibs are probably what most people think of when they hear the word “baby bib”. They are used once your baby starts eating solid foods. The extra fabric helps keep clothes a little cleaner and can even catch the food your baby doesn’t get in their mouth.

A feeding bib can be made of different materials like silicone, polyester, or cotton. There are different ways the bib can be secured, too. Some bibs use snaps while others use velcro.

Feeding bibs sometimes have a pocket in the front for catching stray food your little one may drop. And your baby will be dropping a lot of food, so this is a nice feature!

The pocket in the front is actually what sets feeding bibs apart from drool bibs. If there isn’t a pocket, it’s probably not meant for feeding.

Smock Bibs

If your baby tends to get really messy, or you are a neat freak, the smock bib might be your best friend!

Smock bibs are amazing because they basically function as a second shirt. They have long sleeves and cover your child’s entire front.

These long-sleeved bibs are great for when you are eating especially messy foods, or when your child is wearing especially nice clothes that you don’t want to get dirty.

Smock bibs are most often used for babies and toddlers while eating, but they can double as craft shirts. With these bibs, your baby’s clothes will not get messy!

Disposable Bibs

When I think of disposable bibs, I think of those restaurants in the 90s that used to supply them for kids! I haven’t seen that in years, though!

But you can buy your own disposable bibs if you are eating out at restaurants or don’t have an easy way to clean your bib. They aren’t necessary, but they might come in handy if you are out and about often. 

Baby Eating with Baby Bib

Safety Features to Consider

Material: The US Consumer Product and Safety Commission (CPSC) requires that bibs undergo testing for lead content and phthalates. If the bib contains these materials, it could be harmful to the baby. The US CPSC also tests for the flammability of both cloth and silicone bibs.

Small Parts: Some bibs may have small parts like buttons or snaps. Be sure to always supervise your baby when they are wearing their bib so that these parts don’t pose a choking hazard.

Strings: Long strings on a bib can present a strangulation hazard. Most bibs are now made with snaps or velcro, but tie bibs used to be more common. If your baby does use a bib with strings, be sure to tie it so that your baby cannot play with the string.

In my opinion, it’s best to avoid bibs that have strings altogether. There are so many other, safer options available.

Old Bibs: The US CPSC warns parents to stay away from old bibs that may have cracked or peeled vinyl. The broken-down vinyl may contain lead, which is a known hazard. If your baby were to eat the lead, it might cause health problems. The commission recommends throwing away any old bibs that are in poor condition.

If you're looking for more safety issues around eating, check out my post on when it's safe for your baby to use a high chair. 

Things to Consider When Getting a Bib

Material: The most common types of bibs are cloth bibs, plastic bibs, and silicone bibs. Each material has pros and cons that should be considered. The cloth bibs are ideal for newborns that primarily use them to keep their clothes dry from drool and spit up. Silicone bibs are becoming more popular for feeding time, and smock bibs are usually made out of plastic.

Fastener: Some bibs have a velcro closure, while others have adjustable snaps or buttons. Some bibs have buttons or snaps that effectively make the bib different sizes. They “grow” with your baby as they get older, rather than needing a new bib each time your child grows.

As mentioned above, you should generally avoid bibs that use long strings that tie together in the back.

Cleaning Options: There are different ways to keep bibs clean. Some cloth bibs can be thrown in the washing machine for easy cleanup. The silicone bibs can be wiped down with a damp cloth, or even put in the top rack of your dishwasher. These easy cleaning options are definitely an important thing to consider when choosing what type of bib you want for your child.

Effectiveness: Obviously the bib that you choose must do what you want it to do. If you are looking for mealtime bibs, it’s important that the bib helps catch food. If you are shopping for dribble bibs or drool bibs, you want the bib to keep your baby’s clothes dry. You need the right bib for the right job. So it’s important to know what you want the bib to do so that you can get the best bib for your little one.

Best Baby Bibs

Best Newborn Bib (For Drool and Dribble)

These cute newborn bibs come in solid colors that are great for all babies. With so many different colors, you can pick a bib to match your baby’s outfit for the day. They are made of soft material and are 100% cotton. These bibs are a good option because they can be used in different ways. You can use them as a bib (of course!) and a washcloth, or even as a spit-up rag. The snap closure has two sizes so that your baby can wear them for a long time! They are also machine washable, and they come in a pack of ten so you always have extra bibs.

Best Silicone Bibs

Silicone bibs are a great option for when your baby starts eating baby food. The food-grade silicone is easy to clean with a wet rag, or even in the dishwasher. It also has a great front pocket that catches food that doesn’t quite make it into baby’s mouth. I also like them because they easily transition from baby bibs to toddler bibs. In fact, these bibs can be used from 6 months to 6 years, because there are four different sizes on the neck strap. The best part is that they have a lifetime warranty. If you aren’t happy with the bib, they will replace it for you!

Best Plastic Bib

This lightweight bib is perfect for kids who might be resistant to other bibs. It comes in two sizes and has a ton of really fun designs that might be motivating to your child. The velcro and sleeve combination makes it easier for you to keep your baby or toddler in their bib. It features a big pocket for catching spills and is waterproof. These larger bibs cover most of your baby or toddler’s chest, ensuring your child’s clothes stay nice and clean! It’s machine washable and has a sleek design when you need to pack it up and put it in the diaper bag.

Best Smock Bib

These long-sleeved bibs are super cute and cover your baby’s chest fully. It is basically like your child is wearing a second shirt! These adorable bibs come in patterns like dinosaurs, flowers, and outer space, or in several solid colors. These quality baby bibs are made to be comfy and safe. They are machine washable, but can also be cleaned easily with a wet rag.

As you can see, there are tons of options when it comes to buying a good bib. The perfect baby bib depends on what you want from the bib. You might need several bibs throughout your baby’s life to fulfill all of their needs. Hopefully, you have gained a better understanding of which bib is best for your little one right now!


Product Safety: New Zealand

US Consumer Product Safety Commission


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