Weaning is a messy business. Many parents will tell you horror stories of mashed avocado decorating the ceiling or pureed broccoli stuck to the skirting boards and we’re not sure our kitchen has ever recovered. That’s why we’re huge advocates for including bibs in your weaning kit.
Whether you choose to start food at the six-month mark (which is when the NHS recommends starting, although every baby is different) or earlier, you’ll need a whole array of gear including cutlery, bowls, plates, probably a splash mat as well as a handful of bibs that can be washed easily and are portable enough for meals on the go. You’ll also need a lot of patience.
“Weaning is a really exciting milestone for you and your baby but it can be a messy business,” says Olivia Churchill, senior buyer at JoJo Maman Bébé. “Generously sized, soft and splash-proof bibs are a brilliant option to help minimise the mess and keep your little one’s outfit as clean as possible.”
It can either be “baby-led”, which means the child feeds itself soft finger foods; or spoon-fed, which generally involves purees and tends to be the messier option of the two – or at least that was our experience with our now 11-month-old, who now eats like it’s going out of fashion.
But when it comes to bibs you should know they divide into two camps; either weaning, or feeding bibs; and dribble bibs. The first are the sort that tend to be made of plastic, or wipe-clean material, and are larger to provide more coverage for the baby’s clothes. They’ll typically have a pelican-style scoop or a pocket to catch any crumbs, and can be sleeveless or apron-style with long sleeves.
The latter, dribble bibs, are usually soft bandana-style and suitable from birth and catch spit, milk spills and anything else that falls out of a baby’s mouth. However, a bib isn’t a miracle worker. We’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve had to change entire outfits, even with a bib; and bits of food have a funny habit of ending up somewhere unsavoury.
On the whole though they’re a great way to reduce the mess. We tested the following bibs on an 11-month-old baby, during all three meals each day, taking into account style, cost, ease of use and durability.
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OYOY bib lion grey
This Danish design brand makes gorgeous homewares for adults and kids alike, but its Oyoy Mini range is a real treat to behold. This tie-back polyester bib has a fun lion pattern, and is super easy to take on and off thanks to its sleeveless style, while a pocket at the bottom helps catch crumbs. It’s possibly a bit fiddly to tie up on a hungry baby, but the benefit is that it doesn’t feature Velcro, which typically loses its “stick” in the wash. (And on that note, it’s very easy to wash).
Buy now £11.00, Oyoylivingdesign.co.uk
OYOY bib tiger, pack of 2
Continuing the safari animal theme, we also tested Oyoy’s two pack tiger scoop bibs. These are a light and flexible iteration of the classic silicone scoop bib, and snapped easily on and off, with multiple holes so the bib grows with the child. They come in a pack of two, so they’re good value also, and the patterns – like rainbows and a tiger jumping through a hoop – will delight any child.
Buy now £18.00, Oyoylivingdesign.co.uk
JoJo Maman Bébé dog print deluxe sleeveless bib
Parents can rely on fun baby brand JoJo Maman Bébé for most things through pregnancy and birth, and weaning is no different. This Velcro-fastened sleeveless bib went on quickly and provides a lot of coverage – more than the average neck fastened bib, and our baby’s clothing didn’t end up splashed with food like it usually does.
The Velcro felt reassuringly hard-wearing and strong even after a few washes, plus the handy plastic pocket catches any crumbs and spills. It’s made from 2.5 recycled bottles, so is environmentally conscious too. The funky dog print and competitive price doesn’t hurt either. The bib also comes in a long-sleeved version for younger babies.
Buy now £7.00, Jojomamanbebe.co.uk
Bibetta ultrabib, pack of 2
This clever bib’s selling point is the amplified pelican pouch that flips up from the bottom, so it catches more than the typical pouch. The Ultrabib is slim and elegant (if a weaning bib can be such a thing?), with a wide range of funky patterns including elephants, hippos and cars, as well as bold solid colours. The Neoprene material felt very sturdy and it’s easy to slip on and off thanks to strong Velcro, as well as rolled up for a day out. For all of its pros, it stains easily and needs a cool hand wash – which is not ideal for busy parents.
Buy now £12.99, Bibetta.com
Buddy & Hope sun baked dots sleeved bibs, pack of 2
We’ve always been a fan of a long-sleeved apron bib, as our 11-month-old seems incapable of finishing a meal without spilling at least some of his meal down himself. So we immediately took to this Buddy & Hope pack of two bibs: they have jazzy patterns, bold colours, full coverage of clothing and they’re easy to wash – what’s not to love?
Hearteningly, we had to roll up the sleeves for our baby, so we’re hopeful they’ll last a while. The only drawback is that there’s no pouch as many other long-sleeved apron-style bibs have, but as they offer so much coverage it doesn’t matter too much.
Buy now £21.00, Alexandalexa.com
Frugi spick & span bib
The easy wipe clean-ness of this 100 per cent recycled polyester bib gave it a big thumbs up in our household – all that’s needed is a quick run under the tap. The snap poppers at the back make it easy to affix without worrying about the Velcro tiring out, and it provides decent coverage thanks to its wide front, despite the sleeveless style. There’s a little pouch to catch food, and the rainbow and dino style is so much fun that any youngster will love it.
Buy now £4.80, Welovefrugi.com
Hippychick Bumkins super bib, pack of 3
Weaning parents could do far worse than to start with this bumper pack of three bibs from baby brand behemoth Hippychick. We chose the “sea friends” theme, decorated with whales and octopuses, but they come in a huge range of patterns, and are excellent value. Super light thanks to their waterproof material, these are ideal for carrying around on days out. They’re quickly velcroed on and off at the back (no time for toddler tantrums here) and washed nicely, although they’d be easily wiped clean too.
Buy now £12.99, Babyandchildstore.com
Liewood merle cape bib in panda stone grey
Instagram-friendly Nordic brand Liewood does a range of stylish, gender-neutral kids homeware and clothing, and it’s the ideal first stop for a parent after a chic, hard-wearing bib.
The first thing we appreciated about this long-sleeved apron-style bib was the strong elasticated cuffs that didn’t gape or, crucially, let in any mess; and a double popper at the back. There’s good coverage at the front, and it’s made of reassuringly thick polyester – we tested during a messy dinner of spaghetti bolognese and nothing ended up on his clothes (nothing short of a miracle). In short, a stylish bib that is worth the price.
Buy now £16.95, Folkinteriors.co.uk
Bibado coverall weaning bib
Bibado has a cult following among parents, and we can see why. The long-sleeved bib’s main selling point is the masses of extra fabric that hooks over the high chair to prevent any spills using Velcro straps – and we mean any spills. We tested during a breakfast, and all the Cheerios pooled in the fabric on our 11-month-old’s lap; and even during a messy dinner of spaghetti bolognese, clothes stayed dry and clean throughout.
The bib can be taken off and thrown straight into the washing machine. Tight cuffs mean nothing escapes up the arms, either. We liked that there were a handful of designs to choose from, including dinosaurs and the brand’s newest style, woodland animals, so every child can have a bib as unique as them.
Buy now £19.95, Bibado.co.uk
Nourish mess catcher
This silicone bib from Vital Baby is a great option for days out and meals on the go – it rolls up easily into a tube, which doubles as handy storage to keep dirty cutlery and utensils (or, during lockdown, it was stored easily in a kitchen drawer). Available in two bold colours, purple and teal, the bib has a scoop bib and an adjustable neck fastener, which means it’s easy on and easy off for hungry babies. A great good-value option.
Buy now £4.99, Vitalbaby.com
The verdict: Baby bibs
For ultimate style points, we’d recommend the Liewood merle cape bib: we adored the playful designs and the material was reassuringly thick. For younger babies (and clean parents wanting to cut down on mess), the Bibado coverall is ideal, as it means the baby’s clothes stay dry. For something at a lower price point, Vital Baby’s nourish mess catcher bib is a good and budget-friendly option.
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