Making a mess seems like every baby’s natural ability. They seem to be born with this. This is especially true during feeding time. Whether you have a newborn that is just starting to breastfeed or a toddler, there seems to be no end in sight to the mess they create when eating. That is where the bib becomes crucial. But when do babies start wearing a bib?
Infants from 0-6 months are not eating baby food, and hence only regular and drool bibs will be required. However, as you gradually start weaning your baby off milk and introducing solid food around the 6-month mark, you will want to look for feeding bibs to be used at mealtimes.
Feeding bibs can be used for as long as you feel necessary until your baby’s feeding habits are formed, and they can eat without creating a mess. Combining feeding bibs with drool bibs ensures your child’s clothes are protected. Smock bibs are not practical for newborns; they are usually used in little older infants. Disposable ones can be used at any age group during mealtime.
To better understand how to use these bibs, let us look at them in more detail.
What should I look for when choosing a bib?
The bibs you use for your baby are of two types- dribble bibs and feeding bibs. The most crucial factor to look at is the material. Since the baby has sensitive skin, choose every baby product carefully. Look for organic materials. Cotton bibs work best because they will not irritate your baby’s skin. The other factors to consider are size, fit, and purpose.
Let us take a closer look at the types of bibs.
Drool bibs are a relatively newer item on the market. More often than not, they tend to look more like a fashion accessory than a bib. These are the ones that may look like a hanky to you. If you are not too fond of this style, drool, or dribbler bibs are also available in the traditional style.
Drool bibs are comfortable enough for your baby while also being the perfect size to function well while feeding on the breast or bottle. Infants tend to drool a lot until they are about two years of age, and they can quickly make a new set of clothes look like it has been worn for ages by drooling all over them. Drool bibs are fantastic at preventing this.
Infants tend to drool as their oral muscles are not developed enough to control their drool until they are about 18 months to two years old. The excess drool produced in babies helps them digest food when they start solids. When they start teething, their drooling intensifies. Drool bibs not only keep your baby’s clothes dry but also prevents neck rashes. Dribble around your baby’s mouth can also cause a skin rash, and drool bibs can help wipe away this dribble.
The following are the features you should look for when shopping for a drool bib:
Size: Drool bibs tend to be smaller when compared to feeding-time bibs. The primary function of a drool bib is to keep the front of your baby’s clothing dry. They will be large enough to cover your baby’s upper chest and neck in terms of sizing.
Fabric: Drool bibs are made of highly absorbent fabrics that are easy to wash and dry. Flannel, cotton, and bamboo are some of the materials used commonly to manufacture bibs. Microfleece bibs are also available. Drool bibs are usually made of two layers to increase the absorption rate of the bib. Therefore, it is imperative that you choose a fabric that can withstand heavy washing.
Fit and style: Drool bibs are meant to be worn all day and should fit your baby snugly. They come with multiple fastening options, as they should be secure and stay on your baby when they are running around and playing as well. Bandana-style bibs are smaller and lighter than the standard drool bib. These also come with a higher collar that helps to keep the drool off your baby’s chest and neck better.
Feeding time Bibs: Your baby will soon outgrow the breast and the bottle, and you will slowly start introducing solid food. Unfortunately, baby food is a greater mess than milk. A feeding bib comes in handy at this stage to keep purees and carrots off your floor. Feeding bibs usually come with a pocket sewn into the bottom of the bib. This pocket catches both liquid and solid foods and protects your baby’s clothing.
Size: Feeding-time bibs tend to be larger than drool bibs. Feeding time bibs are made with the sole purpose of protecting your baby’s clothes from mealtime messes and offer wider coverage compared to drool bibs. A typical feeding time bib will cover your baby’s chest and neck. Larger ones that cover their stomach and arms are also available. You can choose one based on how much mess your baby seems to be making.
Fit and style: Just as with drool bibs, feeding time bibs also come in various styles. The scoop bib is the most popular kind of feeding time bib. This type of bib is usually made of silicone or some other type of waterproof fabric. The pocket at the bottom is made to catch food and drool during mealtime.
Smock Bibs: Smock bibs usually fit your baby like a shirt. These are long-sleeved bibs that cover your baby from neck to knee, including the hands. This kind of bib is an effective mess prevention tool. These especially come in handy if you are feeding when you are out and about, like at a restaurant or someone else’s house. Smock bibs come with an open back, making it easy to take them off after a meal. The main disadvantage of smock bibs is that they come in specific sizes. Your growing baby will soon outgrow them.
Disposable Bibs: Disposable bibs are made of a cloth-like paper material – similar to those you see on masks, although thicker. These bibs come in handy when you are on vacation or going out and do not have access to laundry. These can be used once and thrown away, ensuring that you do not have to pack anything messy back into your baby bag.
Other factors to take into consideration when buying a bib
Whichever type of bib you are shopping for, look for products that come with adjustable neck fasteners. This option will be available in drool and feeding time bibs, as these are designed to last long. Also, your baby will soon outgrow the smock style, and the disposable ones are meant to be used only.
With adjustable neck fasteners and bibs with a wide age range, ensure that you can use the bib for a long time. For example, a bib labeled for use with babies 6-24 months will be more practical than one that comes with an age range of 6-12 months. These also offer more range when you adjust fasteners if your baby feels uncomfortable with them.
When choosing a bib for your baby, the next thing to consider is colors and patterns. Bibs come in various designs and colors designed for boys, girls and common unisex designs. Patterns are also great at hiding stains. Cute captions and slogans also make interesting bib choices and look great in pictures.
What are some tips to take care of my baby bib?
By their nature, bibs are probably the most stain-prone accessory that you will buy for your baby. Making them last as long as possible is essential, as you cannot keep buying bibs as and when one gets stained. Read on to find out how you can take care of your baby’s bibs the right way.
- Follow the care instructions given on the product label.
- Rinse after every use.
- Dry them in direct sunlight.
Reading the product care label: Most manufacturers will have a product care label on the bib, depending on the material used to make the bib. Read the instructions on the label to figure out the optimum care recommended by the manufacturer. These can range from how the bib has to be washed to if they can be dried in your dryer. Some bibs require cleaning by hand and a soft detergent, while most of them can be thrown in the washing machine. Check the instructions before buying the bib to make sure you are not in for a surprise once you get home.
Rinse after every use: Even if you are not planning to wash the bib immediately after use, rinsing off the bib as soon as it comes off your baby helps to get stains off as soon as possible. Stains can easily be caused by continuous drooling or spitting up, requiring rinsing or soaking. But, again, keep the manufacturer’s wash care instructions in mind before you get to it.
Hang them to dry in sunlight: Plastic or rubber bibs require this, but it is also good for cotton ones. The sun will help take stains out and dry faster than putting them in the dryer.
When do babies stop using bibs?
As with everything else with a baby, bibs are just a phase, and your baby will grow out of them sooner than you realize. Drool bibs usually last until about six months of age, when babies eat solid food and need feeding bibs instead. You may choose to use a combination of both to add a little extra protection, as well as use the bandana-style ones to add some style quotient to your baby’s outfit.
Some of these even come with a small plastic or rubber teether at the end to help when your baby is teething. By the time they are around 18 months, most babies have learned how to eat properly and are no longer making a mess. Around this time, you can consider stopping using bibs for your baby.
To sum up, you can start using a bib when the baby is two weeks old. Newborns from 0-6 months usually need drool bibs to keep their clothes stained due to drool and milk. Babies older than six months need feeding time bibs that catch the food in the pocket sewn into the bottom of the bib.
Use smock-style bibs and disposable ones when you are out and about, but remember that your baby will soon outgrow smock-style ones, and disposables can be used only once. In addition, your baby will usually let you know when to let go of the bib by not making a mess at every feeding.