No matter where you are in your parenting journey, you’ve probably come to the realization that bibs are a must (along with other feeding essentials like high chairs and baby spoons). Whether you’re in the spit-up-slathered newborn phase, drool-drenched baby phase or food-throwing (and -refusing) toddler phase, bibs are just one of those kid-raising essentials that make life a whole lot easier.
Their function is simple: they catch all the crap your kid spits out of their mouth. But not just any bib can live up to the task. Like most baby gear, you get what you pay for when it comes to bibs. “There’s nothing wrong with stocking up on inexpensive bibs, but higher quality bibs won’t fail you when the baby needs to stay clean, so they are worth the investment,” says Melanie Potock, Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist, Feeding Specialist and author of Raising a Healthy, Happy Eater.
According to Potock, a quality bib needs three components for both the parent and the baby: a comfortable, but effective neck closure, an easy method of putting it on and taking it off (but not easy enough for your little to do it) and some thigh coverage (even if it’s just a scoop bib that collects all the food before it hits the lap). “The neck closure should, of course be adjustable, and it shouldn’t rub or irritate your child’s skin,” she says. For infants who may need a bib just on their chest during breast or bottle feeding, she suggests looking for a comfortable, soft adjustable neck and super-soft, easy care fabrics.
In addition to being practical, many bibs these days even try to throw in a little parent humor, with quippy and even lol-worthy phrases that at the very least bring some cathartic release to the table when your kid’s feeding his homemade chicken nuggets to the dog. Or worse.
Ready to shop for bibs? Here are the best of the best bibs moms are loving right now.
For just $18 you get a pack of 10 bibs, which is pretty much all you need during those first few months and potentially even throughout the first year until you upgrade to the silicone, pocket-clad kind. These are made of a cotton terry, so they’re nice, yet super absorbent like a towel— they’ll catch all of the drool and spit-up your baby can muster. They have a basic, adjustable hook-and-loop closure so they’re easy for you to put on and take off with the only hand you’ll have free. They come in three multi-color pack options, as well as a 10 pack all-white option.
This could be the only bib you ever need once your kid starts chomping on solids. It’s made of a super flexible, food silicone which can be washed over and over again and even thrown it in the dishwasher. It has four adjustable sizes so it will grow with your child through the first year and beyond. Parents will also appreciate that the brand is conscious of the materials they use and aim to not include any harmful chemicals like PVC and BPA. Last, but certainly not least, you’ll laugh every time you’re cleaning the food off this bib. It’s one of the top-selling bibs thanks to the snarky, funny sayings like “Who runs the world? GIRLS” and “It was me who let the dogs out” to “i know GUAC is extra” and “Feed me & tell me I’m pretty.”
When it comes to those very first bibs you’ll need for your baby, it’s really all about catching spit-up, breast milk or formula and drool. Why is it so important to catch all this in a bib rather than on the adorable outfit he’s wearing? Well, put simply, it saves you from doing pounds upon pounds of laundry every day and also keeps your baby’s neck and chest dry (which further prevents irritation). These bibs are made out of aden + anais’s infamously soft muslin fabric, which is more absorbent than your regular dollar store bibs. What’s best of all, is that the sizing on these bibs is convenient through the years (0-5 to be exact), so they should serve you well past the drooling months.
There’s a good reason that this bib has more than 3,500 4.5-star ratings. Not only does it cover all the necessary bib basics, and come equipped with a catch-all pocket, but kids don’t mind wearing them! In fact, most of the time they hardly notice it’s on. Their signature fabric is soft, but it’s durable—made from BPA-, PVC-, vinyl-, phthalate- and lead-free materials. Although they’re cloth-like, they’re just as easy to wash as the silicone ones—just throw right into your laundry machine instead of your dishwasher and let them air dry in a matter of minutes. They’re made to last you the first two years, from 6 months to 24 months.
This is the kind of bib you’re likely to find at your kid’s daycare, because they’re super affordable and they provide excellent coverage. They might look basic (and they are), but they do the job and they come in bulk. “Parents like the thin, yet waterproof fabric that’s actually comfortable for their kids,” shares Potock. They also stay on, thanks to plastic double snaps that are toddler-proof but not parent-proof (translation: they’re not a pain in the neck for you or your baby). Even though they’re fabric, you can wash them in the sink with just a little soap and water or machine wash and dry them.
Is there anything that Ikea doesn’t sell? You can get your living room couch, bedroom side table and your kid a brand-new bib all with a side of Swedish meatballs. Potock is a personal fan of this bib because it’s near impossible to make a mess when your kid’s wearing it. “It’s comfortable and easy to put on, but not so easy to yank off thanks to the special button ‘hook’ in the back,” she says. The front pocket catches any falling food or spills and the long sleeves protect any cute outfit your kid might be wearing. It’s free from any harmful substances, from PVC to phthalates, and is machine washable to make your life a little easier.
Don’t expect your kid to win any “cutest eater” contests with this strange-looking garb wrapped all over his body during mealtime, but you can expect to have a totally mess-free kitchen once she’s done eating. Put simply, this is about as full coverage as a bib gets, but for good reason. “Parents swear by the ease of cleanup, despite the large size,” says Potock. “You just fold it up and wipe it off in the kitchen sink.” It’s easy to take on and off thanks to neck and arm holes that have elastic linings instead of snappers, Velcro and clips. And, like many others on the market today, it’s also BPA- and PVC-free.
If you know you want to go the silicone bib route (for which you are very, very wise), but don’t feel like shelling out more $10 per bib, consider this tried-and-true brand, which has almost 6,000 4.5-star reviews on Amazon. Believe it or not, they even offer a lifetime money back guarantee. Yep! If your baby doesn’t like the bib at some point, send it back for a refund. These puppies are made from 100 percent food-grade silicone and are free of PVC. While you can certainly toss them in the dishwasher, most reviewers say there’s no need for it—just rinse them in the sink with soap and water. The button-like attachment is easily closed and opened with one hand and the pocket is just the perfect size to catch snacks. The colorful two packs are also happy, bold and bright, making all the kiddos smile.
Now that you’ve got your bib situation squared away, don’t forget the rest of the baby must haves. Check out all of our mom approved best baby gear.