Do Newborns Need Bibs?

Many new parents get piles of cute bibs for their baby shower and then their precious bundle is born and they wonder… Do newborns need bibs? The answer is: it depends! Most newborn babies don’t benefit much from wearing bibs until they are at least a few months older but let’s take a look at the different types of bibs out there and their most common uses.

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Drool Bibs

Most newborns don’t drool much until they start teething. For the majority of new parents, their babies probably won’t start wearing drool bibs until they are around 4 months old, or older. 

Here are some different types of drool bibs and what they’re best for:

  • Drool bibs with velcro closures can be nice for young babies who aren’t strong enough to try to pull them off.
  • Drool bibs with snap closures can be helpful for older infants who have figured out how to rip off velcro bibs.
  • Drool bandana bibs, these come with both velcro or snap options, they’re a more stylish option than a regular round bib.

One other reason newborns might wear bibs would be to protect their outfits from spit up. If you have a newborn who spits up a lot, a bib might help protect the baby’s clothes from needing to be changed every time he or she spits up, which could cut down on your laundry. If you’re using bibs with a newborn, look for a newborn size bib. Newborn bibs are usually smaller than the ones made for babies 6 months older and up, and the closure is often at the side instead of directly at the back of your baby’s neck like a traditional bib. You can also use burp cloths to help cut down on your laundry; Green Sprouts are my favorite brand of organic cotton burp cloths are super soft and easily go through the washing machine. During the newborn phase I preferred to use burp cloths instead of putting a bib around my newborn’s neck because spit up was a common occurrence and it was easier to protect my clothing and my baby’s that way.

Food Bibs

Newborns don’t use food bibs until they’re starting solids – between 4-6 months old depending on the advice from your pediatrician or family doctor. There are lots of different types of feeding bibs you might be interested in once your baby starts getting messy with solid foods.

Here are some different types of feeding bibs and what they’re best for:

  • Silicone baby bibs are ideal for messy eaters and wet foods that would soak through fabric bibs. Look for one that’s made from high quality food-grade silicone. One great thing about these bibs is they usually wipe clean with a damp cloth.
  • Long-sleeved bibs are great for protecting baby clothes, especially if your baby is wearing a sweater or long sleeves. This type of mealtime bib should be made from a nice, waterproof fabric.
  • Smock bibs protect your baby’s entire outfit during feeding time. Smock-style bibs usually cover the baby from wrist to knee, offering full coverage and extra protection from mealtime stains.
  • Fabric bibs can be a good option for delicate skin. If the fabric is a nice absorbent material, it will stop liquids from soaking into your baby’s chest, and usually they’re machine washable for an easy clean up. Cloth bibs aren’t always ideal for feeding time; I much prefer waterproof bibs with my own babies.
  • Plastic bibs are similar to silicone food bibs, I find them to be less durable than food grade silicone but also less expensive. Look for a plastic bib that’s BPA and phthalate free so it’s safe for your baby.
  • Disposable bibs might be desirable when you’re out and about if your baby is a messy eater and you have nowhere to store a messy bib to then need to bring it home with you. They’re obviously not very environmentally friendly but there are pros and cons to each bib style.

How Many Newborn Bibs Do I Need?

It’s a good idea to start out with a small number of bibs in case it turns out your baby just isn’t that drooly! Start with a package of 4-8 drool bibs made from absorbent fabrics for everyday use. Look for nickel-free snaps or velcro closures. For older babies who are starting solids, eventually you’ll need at least 3-4 food bibs so you have one available for each meal and snack of the day before washing them all at night for the next day ahead.

Best Bibs

Here are a few of my absolute favorite bibs I’ve used with my own kids and had the best success with:

Drool bibs from Copper Pearl are soft, absorbent and organic fabric. I’ve put them through the washing machine many times and they still look great.

Drool bibs from Conleke Baby are also organic and soft. I purchased this option that comes with pacifier clips too and they’ve been super durable and good quality.

Silicone feeding bibs from Loulou Lollipop or Kushies brand have been my favorite for meal times.

Combination fabric & silicone bibs from OxoTot are great for meals too!

Recap

Using a bib for a newborn can be helpful if your baby has reflux issues or spits up a lot after bottle and/or breast feeding. Look for a ‘drool bib’ that is in a newborn size. If your newborn doesn’t spit up a lot, a bib can probably wait until your baby starts teething (and drooling) or until your baby starts eating solids.

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