How to Choose the Right Baby Bibs

Babies are messy (understatement of the year) and bibs are a necessity, not only to keep clothes clean from food stains when they’re eating, but also to keep clothes dry and clean the rest of the day. Have you ever wondered why there are so many types of bibs on the market? When I first started creating a baby registry I was overwhelmed with a lot of options out there, but specifically bibs had me totally thrown. As it turns out, each is designed to combat a different type of mess that babies commonly make. If you are also staring blankly at the baby superstore website trying to decifer the madness, check out a  brief explanation of the basic types of bibs and their intended uses below.

Q: I see a lot of baby bibs that are terrycloth, but I already have some plastic bibs. Do I need the terrycloth bibs? What’s the difference?


A: Babies tend to drool excessively when their teeth are breaking through their gums. Terrycloth bibs are meant for catching the excess drool from teething and are worn all day to keep clothes, and the delicate skin beneath, dry. Plastic bibs are preferred for feeding because messes can easily be wiped off. Most plastic, or waterproof bibs, also dry quickly between meals. While you can use terrycloth bibs for mealtime messes, they usually must be washed after each meal, so you will need to keep more on hand, and you will add to your daily laundry pile.

Many companies make terrycloth bibs that coordinate with clothing sets so that the bib may be worn all day without compromising the style of the outfit. Carters makes great coordinating sets of a bodysuit, pants, bib and pajamas for only $26.

Bibs made from a waterproof fabric are a fantastic option for feeding. The Bumkins Super Bibs feature a pocket at the bottom to catch food that falls, and they wipe clean and dry fast, making meal cleanup fast and easy. They are not usually preferred for teething because drool will run down the bib, saturating the baby’s clothes. Just think of how quickly you like to ditch that wet poncho when you come inside from the rain.

Another popular version of basic teething bibs are bandana bibs, constructed with a terrycloth interior and a decorative cotton exterior, shaped like an old western style bandana around the baby’s neck. Elodie Details has a wonderful line of bandana bibs that are not too bulky, in patterns like cheetah, camouflage or polka dots.

The range of bibs available in either style is vast. If your child does not drool heavily while teething then you may not need a large supply of teething bibs. I was given a ton of terrycloth bibs at my baby shower, and most went unused because my daughter didn’t have much need for them. As with most baby products, do not assume that you need every type available in mass quantities. It’s always advisable to wait and see what your baby’s specific needs are instead of stocking the nursery fully in advance. Get a few of each type to have on hand and then wait before buying any more until after you see what your specific needs are.

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