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Baby Bibs and Burp Cloths
Walk into any department store and visit the baby section or shop in online and offline baby stores and you will find a huge range of choices when it comes to baby bibs and bibs.
A generation or two ago, basic towels did the trick. Our parents used a stack of towels that they washed and reused to wipe up drips, spit and drool from their babies.
As I reminisce, wallowing in some nostalgic memories of the past, it’s clear that a lot has changed since then; good or bad will likely spark a debate with valid points supporting both sides of the equation.
That said, this article will highlight the options available to all parents and rank them in perspective. Who are we to do this? We are a team of parents of different races; religion and culture that has decided that all parents, especially moms, face similar challenges with their respective babies, regardless of our diverse backgrounds.
After a long experience of researching, buying and testing bibs, we have come to certain conclusions and want to share our opinions with all parents concerned about making the best choices for their babies.
So, let’s talk about bibs and baby bibs, shall we?
Bibs before starting solids
There is one thing that seems very clear to us.
From birth through breast milk or formula, most babies have some form of drooling, drooling and/or spitting up. At this stage, bibs should be large enough to cover most babies’ clothes and absorbent enough to handle the usual drooling and spit-up.
The most useful bibs and bibs at this stage go by many names, i.e. burp, drool, dribble, plain terry cloth bibs, sleeved bandana, novelty, and neckerchief or neckerchief bibs.
Were these names created as a result of a clever marketing strategy? Maybe, but to be fair, babies are unique in their individualistic and natural expressions, with some infants experiencing severe spitting up and burping while others might suffer from massive drooling during the teething phases.
This is how categories of sub-niches are created giving rise to
- drool and dribble bibs for teething babies,
- bibs for severe burping and regurgitation,
- Bibs with sleeves to completely cover baby’s clothes from stains or spitting in addition to protection during playtime with colors and paints.
- Novelty bandana and bibs that can deal with basic drooling and dribbling despite size limitation due to aesthetic designs to match or complement babies’ clothes.
- Scarf or neckerchief bibs that basically work as winter warmers for babies comfortably covering the neck and lower chin while dealing with drooling and dribbling.
Babies who spit up and drool moderately need simple terry cloth bibs at a minimum. Babies who drool or spit up profusely may need bibs made with 2- or 3-ply waterproof materials.
The drool/dribble and burp bibs generally look alike with only differences in material, size, and neck wrap types.
Almost all terry cloth bibs are made from:-
- Cotton which is really soft, refreshing and comfortable and is useful for moderate drooling and burping.
- Polyester which is more absorbent than cotton. What is truly remarkable is the fact that polyester is resistant to wrinkles, shrinking and fading, which makes it more durable. The downside is that it loses the cooling effect, which makes it warmer than cotton.
- PEVA (Polyethylene Vinyl Acetate) which is a chlorine-free, PVC-free, biodegradable material primarily used as an alternative to PVC in toys, baby bibs and shower curtains. It is important for parents to know that PEVA is made from petrochemicals that contain untested chemicals.
- Or combination of 2 or 3 of the materials mentioned above
Most lanyards are either Velcro or Snap.
- Velcro sometimes gets stuck with other materials during washing (itchy part)
- Babies’ necks tend to get irritated by the Velcro material, sometimes leading to rashes.
- Poor quality velcro can be removed quite easily by babies
- Much better if the closure is on the side instead of babies neck
Although snap closure is preferred, a simple trick is to attach both ends of a Velcro closure exactly without any overlap and most problems can be minimized.
Selection of a baby bib in the early stages should be based on babies sensitivity/skin condition and amount of spit and drool. If you want the most absorbent bib, polyester is the recommended material, especially if you live in a cooler environment. The other option is to find a 2-3 ply waterproof material sandwiched between 100% cotton layers.
Bibs after starting solids
However, once babies begin to consume solid foods, usually around 6 months of age, bibs become more functionally useful. There are manufacturers who claim that the same drooling, dribbling and burping bibs can meet the needs of a baby starting Solids. However, we do NOT agree.
Even good waterproof terry cloth bibs have 3 downsides.
Piles and piles of bib laundry, a waste of time and water
Not economical because you have to keep stocking up on cloth bibs
The most functional, economical and linen-saving bibs are high quality medical food grade soft silicone bibs. The reason we emphasize words like ‘premium high quality soft medical food grade’ is because the baby feeding bib market has been saturated with rigid TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) bibs’ plastic-ky’ also claiming to be soft, food grade quality bibs.
Unfortunately, the pictures look the same and it’s a challenge for most parents to spot the differences. However, we have taken the necessary steps to enlighten parents on what these differences are and how to spot them.
We start by identifying the most common silicone baby bibs on the market, also claiming to be food grade…
- TPE silicone bibs with plastic neckband (most common)
- 100% medical food grade soft silicone bib (including silicone neckband
TPE silicone bib
- The majority of silicone baby bibs found in most major offline stores and online e-commerce platforms are made from plastic or TPE materials marketed as food grade silicone.
- Please note that TPE is a thermoplastic elastomer. Although generally considered safe, TPE means it’s hot melt vinyl that has all sorts of nasty additives that can be absorbed through the skin.
- TPE is an unstable material that will melt if overheated with varying points. In addition, TPE bibs may cause an allergic reaction to surface contact with babies’ skin especially when sweating or in hot weather and high humidity areas.
100% medical grade food grade soft silicone bibs.
- 100% medical grade food grade silicone bibs are completely safe inert materials that must endure and pass precise and meticulous testing to qualify as medical food grade. There is absolutely no comparison between TPE bibs and 100% medical food grade silicone bibs when it comes to health risks and durability.
- Silicone rubber is generally non-reactive, stable, and resistant to extreme environments and temperatures while retaining its useful properties.
- Many competitors make similar claims, but their baby bib has a skin-irritating plastic or Velcro strap or closure with a limited neck size.
- The medical food grade silicone neckband is adjustable enough with 4 position clip to fit babies neck size.
- It should be noted that infants and toddlers sometimes have a tendency to pick up the strap or tether and put it in their mouth out of sheer curiosity, which makes common TPE and plastic bibs risky.
- Protruding Pocket – Since most bib pockets lie flat when worn making it difficult to catch drink spills and food crumbs, 100% medical grade food grade silicone bibs have a pocket slightly protruding that pops out automatically, making it much more effective in its functionality as a crumb catcher. .
In conclusion, it is clear that most terry cloth bibs that are waterproof with a 2-3 ply polyester and/or cotton combo should meet the needs of infants in the first 6 months to overcome drooling, burping and regurgitations. However, once baby has started feeding, the more economical and hassle-free choice is to opt for premium quality medical food grade silicone bibs which are much larger in overall size, pocket width and the material texture is much softer and bendable. The difference is huge.
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