Do Babies Need Bibs?

baby in a high chair wearing a bib

Some parents use bibs for their newborn baby straight away, others wait until they start solids, and some don’t use them at all. So what is the right option for you?

In this article, let’s look at whether babies really need bibs, so you can make an informed decision which is best for you and your little one.

What are baby bibs used for?

A baby bib is designed to protect an infant’s skin and clothing from any food or liquid spills. Meal times can be very messy and frustrating for parents when food and milk seem to go all over the place, especially when it’s over a clean sleepsuit fresh from the tumble drier. Therefore a bib is a useful product to stop (or at least reduce) the amount of mess that can go over baby during a feed or at mealtime. For newborns you can get burp cloths or cloth bibs, and then you can transition to plastic or silicone one’s when they’re a little bigger.

Do newborn need baby bibs?

It’s really a personal choice, but they certainly help to make things less messy and less stressful. Even from the get-go, around 4 in 10 newborn babies have reflux which can cause them to bring up milk onto their clothing.  If you use bibs for your baby, you won’t need to change their clothes as often. This can also make things cheaper for you, especially if you can’t remove food stains from their clothing, forcing you to buy new sleep suits and other items. For newborns you can get bibs which are a smaller size, specifically designed for infants under 6 months old.

Furthermore, bibs are also very easy to wash. You can wipe down silicone and plastic bibs under the tap, and just toss fabric bibs in the washing machine quite easily.

Do breastfed babies need bibs?

It’s probably a good idea to get bibs even if you are just breastfeeding. For newborns, they will likely bring up bits of milk on to their clothing, so some drool bibs can certainly help make things a little less messy!

Are drool bibs necessary?

It’s up to you really, but for most parents drool bibs certainly help. In addition to keeping regurgitated milk off their clothes, they can also help when your baby is teething, to stop drool going on to their clothes, and to make it easier to wipe their mouths.

If you don’t think they are a necessary purchase, you can always use a muslin cloth. They are not quite as effective, but they do have one advantage. If you place one on your shoulder, they can stop bits of drool and milk falling on to your clothes when you’re burping your baby or carrying them from one place to another.

How long do baby bibs last?

Some bibs can be used for months, or even years if you look after them properly. For children up to 6 months old, you only need drool bibs as they won’t be on solids until after this time. Beyond 6 months, you’ll need something which can tackle pieces of dropped food.

Watch as more food ends up on the bib and the floor, than in your baby’s mouth!

When can your baby stop using a bib?

It varies but it seems must toddlers stop using them aged around 2. If your little one finishes earlier or a bit later, that’s fine too.

How many bibs do newborns need?

It’s easy to go overboard when it comes to buying baby accessories, especially for first time parents. You’ll be tempted to stock up on nappies, dummies and muslin cloths. As for bibs, it depends how often you want to wash them. On this website, they mention that 10 cloth bibs or burp cloths are ideal, as they absorb spilt milk and baby puke. You can also use these for later on when your infant starts teething so there clothing doesn’t get covered in drool! But your requirements might be different.

When you’re ordering some cloth bibs, you might want to order some plastic or silicone ones as well. Feeding your baby with baby food may seem a long way off, but 6 months passes quickly, and you might as well prepare for this stage now (before you’re too sleep deprived!). The advantage of silicone bibs is that they are very easy to clean straight after a meal. No washing machine required.

Where do you keep baby bibs?

If you don’t have many bibs, you may find your drying rack is the best place for storing them. You’ll be using bibs very frequently throughout the day, as well as washing and drying them. That being said, if you want your kitchen to be a little tidier, you can store bibs in a cupboard, along with other baby accessories such as food tins, medicine and dummies.

Looking for some alternative suggestions? Here are some other creative ideas, which can save you a bit of space:

  1. Hang them up on the inside of a cabinet or cupboard door (just install a hook).
  2. Hang them over the back of your baby’s high chair (just install a hook).
  3. Put them over a kitchen roll holder.
  4. Use a coat hanger.

How do you wash and dry baby bibs?

It depends on the material, but you can just handwash most bibs and leave them to dry on a drying rack for a couple of hours. If you prefer, you can put most bibs in the washing machine, but make sure the water temperature is no more than 30 degrees Celsius as this can damage the plastic coating. You can also tumble dry bibs, but it’s best to air dry them. Some bibs can become damaged in a tumble drier as they move quickly around inside. Sunlight is another benefit for air drying bibs, as it can kill off some nasty germs and bugs!

Can babies wear bibs all the time? When should they wear them?

Apart from sleeping, your baby can wear a bib for as long as you want, even after a feed. You might want to consider them wearing one for a large part of the day if they particularly bad reflux, or if they are drooling a lot due to teething. Having your newborn baby in a bib throughout the day and changing it occasionally is a far better solution than changing their clothing all the time due to food or puke stains!

However, just remember bibs are a suffocation risk so it’s best to only use one when your baby is near you, sitting up or when you are holding them.

Are bibs safe for newborns?

Bibs are generally safe for newborns, but you should keep an eye on your little one when you are using them. Plastic bibs and ones with tie ribbons pose the greatest suffocation risk, so it’s best to use cloth bibs with a full collar.

Should your baby sleep with a bib on?

You baby shouldn’t really wear a bib when they settle down for a nap or during the night. Although it’s unlikely, a bib wrapped around your baby’s neck could present a choking hazard or suffocation risk. If you are concerned that your baby has reflux or is a bit sickly and you want to protect the mattress cover, just use a muslin cloth underneath them, ensuring it’s properly tucked in. Muslins are also made of breathable material so they are safer. Just use bibs for feeding time.

And it seems most parents don’t let their baby sleep with a bib on. According to a Baby Center poll, out of 131 participants, 123 wouldn’t let their baby sleep with a bib on (around 94%)


Are bandana bobs good?

They are similar to cloth bibs but they just look a little cooler! You can use them from newborns upwards, but they probably suit particularly messy toddlers. Here are some bandana bibs to consider.

Are silicone bibs safe?

Silicone bibs are safe and they are a good option for babies. They are soft, flexible and easy to clean. 

do babies need bibs
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