The Differences Between Drool Bibs and Mealtime Bibs


One thing all moms can agree on is that babies like to make a mess. Thankfully, bibs are the perfect companion for reducing mess and wiping away any leftovers from baby’s face. The bib has been around for so long, soaking up spills and splashes on people of all ages, and is considered an essential piece of baby equipment by most moms. You can find out more about moms fascination with bibs in this Baby Bibs Guide we love.

However, all bibs are not made equal, there are differences between drool bibs and mealtime bibs. Each serves its own purpose when it comes to helping keep your baby’s face and clothes clean and dry.

Drool Bibs

Until babies reach 18 to 24 months, they do not have full control of the muscles in their mouth or the ability to swallow properly causing them to drool a lot. Drool production is also a sign that your baby’s digestive system is developing, readying them for solid foods. Drool bibs are ideal to use when nursing or bottle-feeding your baby. They are also helpful for teething toddlers who tend to drool a lot.

A drool bib, sometimes called a teething bib, is designed to keep the front of your baby’s clothes dry and comfortable by mopping up the stream of dribble coming out of their mouth. By absorbing this excess saliva, drool bibs also help to keep neck and mouth rashes on your baby at bay.  Here are some of the features to look for when buying a drool bib:

  • Size : Drool bibs are smaller than mealtime bibs and should be big enough to cover your baby’s neck and upper chest. If your child has started crawling, a drool bib can also help to keep your floors and carpets free from drool. Make sure to find a snug fit that leaves a little gap between your baby’s neck for the drool to escape under and reach their clothes or body.
  • Fabric – A drool bib should be made of a highly-absorbent fabric that is soft and delicate on your baby’s skin. Since you may need to wash it daily, make sure the fabric is easily washable and quick drying. Look for a non-irritating fabric that is 100% organic.Consider fabrics such as flannel, cotton and bamboo.
  • Style – Snaps, velcro or buttons around the neck will ensure a drool bib is tied securely around your baby’s neck and will stay on throughout the day. Bandana-style bibs are a stylish option that can look a little less babyish than traditional drool bibs.

The number of drool bibs you will need will vary depending on your child, However, as a general rule, five bibs per week should be enough for a newborn. This can increase to five bibs per day for babies who begin drooling more!

Mealtime Bibs

Mealtimes can present a particular challenge when it comes to keeping your kitchen or dining area clean, and especially your child. Consider the following when buying a mealtime bib:

  • Size –  Mealtime bibs tend to be bigger than drool bibs, and provide greater coverage for your baby’s clothes and skin. Ideally, the bib should cover your child’s entire chest area and shoulders. If they are a picky eater or tend to be particularly messy, consider a larger bib which also covers their arms and stomach area.
  • Fabric – A mealtime bib should be made of a waterproof (or nearly waterproof) fabric that is easy to wipe or clean following each meal as well as easily washable by hand or in the dishwasher. Unlike drool bibs which are absorbent, mealtime bibs are made to repel food and liquid. Common materials include plastic and food-grade silicone which is safe for babies. Mealtime bibs also come as disposable options which are made for single-use. These tend to be a softer fabric with a plastic coating making them waterproof yet easier to transport on the go.
  • Style – These bibs have a scoop-like pocket or lip at the end designed to catch any falling food, liquid or drool during mealtimes. There are also smock-like bibs with long sleeves offering greater coverage for your baby’s clothes, keeping them food-free. Similar to long-sleeved shirts with an open back, these bibs can be easily worn and taken off after each meal. Short-sleeved versions are also an option. It is worth noting that smock-style bibs tend to be size specific, and your baby may quickly outgrow them.

A few pointers to keep in mind are that bibs with a solid color will match well with most outfits and bold or busy patterns will disguise any stains better. All that’s left now is to decide what’s for dinner.


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