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How Many Bibs Do I Need for My Baby? (Plus Which Ones Work Best!)

How Many Bibs Do I Need for My Baby? (Plus Which Ones Work Best!)

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No matter how you plan on feeding your baby, you’ll likely end up with a lot of baby bibs. Whether you included some on your registry or you were gifted baby bibs from friends and family, they’re the kind of baby item that’s cute enough to buy just because. However, you might find yourself wondering how many bibs do I need for my baby? While the answer will depend on several factors, I’ll give you some advice that has worked for me and my family.

The number of bibs you need will depend on your baby, your feeding routine, and your laundry schedule. However, a good starting estimate is 10-20 drool bibs and 1-5 feeding bibs. Since drool bibs can do double duty for younger babies, consider starting with several drool bibs and a couple of feeding bibs.

When my first child was born, I had no idea how much mess a baby could produce. Although no bib could protect his curls from the smeared yogurt, a handful of dependable bibs did help to make the rest of the cleanup easier. Read on to find out how many bibs you need and what kind of bibs are best to purchase.

Baby eating in highchair with bib on

How many bibs do I need for my baby?

One of the many unsung heroes in any parent’s arsenal (aka the diaper bag) is the humble bib. Although it can be as cheap and simple as an old bandana, it’s responsible for keeping your little one’s cutest outfits from getting drooled on, covered in milk or formula, and coated in food at every feeding. But how many of these workhorses do you actually need?

There’s not one right answer for how many bibs you will need. As a starting point, you should consider having 10-20 drool bibs and 1-5 feeding bibs. Keep in mind that your newborn will not need feeding bibs, so you should purchase the drool bibs first. I recommend trying out a couple of both types of  bibs before making a final decision.

There’s not one clear answer for how many bibs you need because every family is different. Keep these factors in mind when considering how many bibs to purchase:

  • Feedings – How often your baby drinks from their bottle or breastfeeds can drastically increase the number of bibs you use throughout the day. If you need to use a new bib for each feeding, either because your little one is messy or because they dribble out milk after every feeding, you’re going to need at least 3-4 bibs per day.
  • Drool – Even before they start teething, some babies seem like they drool non-stop. Once their first teeth start coming in, it can get even worse. If your baby is a heavy drooler, it is definitely easier to replace a wet bib than an entire outfit.
  • Laundry – How often you wash your bibs will definitely influence the number you need to have available. For example, if you know you only need three bibs a day and you wash them every third day, you should be fine with nine bibs. Personally, I always assume that I will be a day behind.

How much are baby bibs?

The cost of baby bibs can vary as much as the styles available. You can get multipacks with 10 fabric bibs for around $15-20. If you want a bib that will also catch food at feeding time, a single bib (whether fabric or silicone) is going to start around $8. There are even some smock-style bibs that include sleeves and are meant to keep your baby’s entire upper body clean. These bibs are closer to $14 a piece. 

How much you spend on bibs is almost entirely dependent on the type of bib you choose, but this is a solid starting point. Made of 2-ply terrycloth, they are absorbent enough for a messy meal or a sloppy drool. You can get them in plain white or a variety of bright colors.

Baby wearing bib with parent

Types of baby bibs

Since we’ve established the cost of baby bibs will depend entirely on the type you choose, let’s take a look at the types of bibs. If you’re a new parent and immediately think of a standard fabric bib, you’re not alone. But with all the new baby products out there, nowadays there are numerous types of bibs to choose from. The most common bib types are:

  • Smock bibs
  • Drool bibs
  • Feeding bibs
  • Disposable bibs
  • Newborn bibs

Like most baby gear, you don’t need to have every type of bib on hand. While there’s nothing wrong with buying some extra bibs in case you need them, there’s no reason to panic and run out to buy 20 new bibs if you don’t have many. Here’s a little bit about each type of bib:

Smock bibs

Smock bibs, also known as feeding smocks, are bibs that have long-sleeves and are meant to protect your baby’s entire outfit. Smock bibs are waterproof and are great for times when you want to keep your baby’s outfit clean or you just have an incredibly messy baby.

Drool bibs

Before their first birthday, it can often feel like your baby is teething all the time. Teething leads to a lot of drool and drool bibs are specifically for keeping drool off of your little one. These bibs are typically lightweight, especially compared to smock bibs.

Feeding bibs

Babies and toddlers are naturally messy eaters. Feeding bibs are for once your baby is old enough to eat solid foods. They’re similar to your standard bib, but they have pocket on the bottom that’s designed to catch any food that drips down.

Disposable bibs

Disposable bibs are like standard bibs but they’re disposable. Instead of washing these bibs, you would throw them away once your baby is done eating. While these bibs can be a bit pricey for everyday use, they’re great to have on hand for when you’re traveling or eating out.

Newborn bibs

Newborn bibs are bibs specifically designed to fit newborn babies. While your newborn baby isn’t eating solid foods yet, they can be used when your baby is bottle feeding to catch any dribble or spit up. Newborn babies typically fit babies six months old and younger.

What’s the difference between a drool bib and a feeding bib?

There used to be only one type of bib, so you may be surprised by the variety of bibs available now. Most of the bibs you have to choose from will fall into one of two basic categories: drool or feeding.

Drool bibs are made of absorbent fabric such as terry cloth, flannel, or muslin, and are designed to soak up the drool or milk dribble. They’re also usually on the smaller side since they’re only designed to cover your baby’s neck and chest.

Feeding bibs, on the other hand, include more variety but tend to be made of a non-absorbent material such as a coated polyester or silicone. They also often have a pocket or other opening to catch food particles and messes. Feeding bibs are also much larger than drool bibs and cover the entire torso. Also, some smock-style bibs are even larger and cover the upper arms as well.

These bibs are different because they each excel in a different area–drool absorption or food collection. With that in mind, it’s best to have an assortment of both to get started and then expand from there.

When do babies start wearing bibs?

When your baby needs to start wearing a bib is really more about your baby than their specific age. Some babies are heavy droolers or prone to dribbling out milk from birth, while others don’t need a drool bib until they start teething. 

Also, these needs will change over time as babies start teething, eating solids, and other milestones. You might find that your baby will drool less often as they get older but make up for it with extra food messes!

How many bibs do I need for a newborn?

Newborn babies don’t necessarily need to wear bibs, but if your little one is an especially heavy drooler or messy eater from the beginning, most drool bibs will fit them without much fuss.

For breastfeeders, I created a whole resource that talks about using a bib while breastfeeding that might be helpful!

At what age do babies stop using bibs?

Babies tend to grow out of drool bibs around six months, or when they start eating solid foods and need a feeding bib instead. If you need some extra help with the drool from a teething baby, some bibs are shaped like bandanas to add a little style to an outfit while protecting it (some of those even have chewy bits at the end to help soothe sore gums!)

Your toddler will probably let you know when they’re done wearing a bib, often as early as eighteen months. Some children may be happy to wear a bib for longer, and there is really no disadvantage to letting them wear one until they have stopped making a mess at mealtimes.  

Do babies wear bibs all of the time?

Whether your baby only wears their bib during feedings or if they have one on throughout the day is dependent on your specific situation, but never let your baby sleep while wearing a bib.

This may be inconvenient with a smaller child who falls asleep immediately after feeding, but leaving the bib around their neck is a major hazard because it could strangle them or suffocate them. Either make a habit of removing the bib as the feeding time is coming to an end, or risk waking your little one up by removing the bib once they have fallen asleep.

Bibs and baby clothes laying on bed

What kind of bibs should you buy?

Now that you know the difference between drool bibs and feeding bibs, there are several key elements of each that will help you narrow down which bib is right for you. Before deciding what types of bibs to buy, consider:

  • Baby’s age
  • Feeding patterns
  • How often you’re willing to do laundry
  •  Where baby will be spending most of their time

While there’s no way to tell how messy your baby will be before they’re born, you can guarantee they’ll be making some kind of a mess since all babies do. If your baby is exclusively bottle fed, you’re likely going to need more bibs than if your baby is exclusively breastfed, at least until they start eating solids.

Also keep in mind that you don’t need to have every type of bib at once. It’s okay to start out with a few drool bibs and then add feeding bibs later once your baby is older.

How long does a baby bib last?

When it comes to what types of bibs to buy, many parents also want to know how long bibs will last. While some bibs made out of quality materials can last for years, consider that bibs come in many different sizes as well.

Newborn bibs won’t fit your baby for long, but it’s important to use a bib that fits your baby properly to avoid any safety hazard or even risk of getting a rash. If you take care of your baby’s bibs and have bibs in different sizes, you shouldn’t have to replace most of the bibs you have. However, you can guarantee that many of your little one’s bibs will quickly get covered in stains.

What to look for in drool bibs

Many drool bibs look the same on the surface, but there are actually a number of elements to consider when choosing the right one for your baby.

  • Material – Many drool bibs are made of some variety of cotton to ensure they are absorbent, but you may want to consider an organic muslin or a hypoallergenic bamboo option if your baby has especially sensitive skin.
  • Closure – While your newborn is unlikely to be able to pull off a hook and loop closure, plan on having bibs with snaps on hand for a slightly older child.
  • Style – If your baby will only be wearing bibs around mealtime, a traditional shape will probably make the most sense. If they will be wearing it most of the day, you may prefer to consider the more outfit friendly bandana style.
  • Cute Factor – Let’s face it, baby bibs are known for having little dinosaurs or kittens and sweet messages. If the bib is going to be seen in the pictures you won’t be able to resist taking, it might as well show a little bit of personality.

Popular drool bibs to consider

Neat Solutions Drool Bibs: Basic is not a bad thing, especially when its sole purpose is to get dirty. These come in a pack of plain white or with a variety of colors.

Burt’s Bees Lap-Shoulder Drool Cloths: These bibs are 100% organic which makes them good for sensitive skin. They have a unique pull-over design instead of snapping on and off which means your baby will never yank it off in the middle of a meal. They are also much larger than standard drool bibs, which means they can be used as feeding bibs if necessary.

Nuby Teething Bibs: Shaped like a bandana rather than a traditional bib, this option also features a silicone teether at the hanging end of the triangle to soothe your baby’s gums.

What to look for in feeding bibs

Feeding bibs tend to have more variety than drool bibs so you might be better off trying out a couple of styles before making a commitment to a single brand. Here’s what to look for in feeding bibs:

  • Cleaning – Feeding bibs are made of either a coated polyester or silicone. The polyester bibs may require washing and drying time between uses, while the silicone bib will be easy to wipe out and reuse immediately. You can even throw some of these into the dishwasher!
  • Coverage – Although feeding bibs tend to be large, some cover more than others. If your child is large for their age or an especially messy eater, you may want to look for a bib with a wider torso cover, or even a smock style option.

Popular feeding bibs to consider

Bumkins SuperBib: With a crumb catcher and a solid hook and loop closure, this is a great bib to have around and it’s especially good for travel. It does not wipe off as easily as a silicone option, but it makes up for it by being machine washable. It also comes in a huge variety of colors and designs.

Ava + Oliver Silicone Bib: These bibs have a large pocket for catching food droppings and a solid closure to keep it from being pulled off before mealtime is over. The silicone is BPA free and resistant up to 450℉ so it can even be run through the dishwasher when wiping it off isn’t getting the job done. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do newborn babies need bibs?

While it’s not necessary for newborn babies to wear bibs, they can be handy to catch any drool or milk dribble. This is especially true if your baby is bottle feeding.

How many bibs do I need in my registry?

There isn’t an exact number of how many bibs you need, but it’s a good idea to add at least 10-20 drool bibs and 1-5 feeding bibs to start out with.

Do you need bibs for breastfeeding?

You can breastfeed without your baby wearing a bib, but having your baby wear one can keep any leaks, spills, or spit-up from getting on you and your baby.

How much do bibs cost?

The cost of bibs ranges from $5-$15 a piece, depending on the type of bib. While standard fabric bibs can often be purchased in multi-packs for only $10-$20, smock-style bibs can cost $15 for only one bib.


Baby bibs aren’t just a cute accessory for babies to wear–they also serve an important purpose in keeping your baby clean. As a new parent, you can expect to go through a lot of bibs since babies tend to make a mess, but there’s no reason to stress if you don’t have as many bibs as you think you need. How many bibs you should purchase will depend on how messy your baby is, how you feed them, how old they are, and how often you plan on doing laundry.

Joshua Bartlett
Joshua Bartlett

My name is Joshua Bartlett I run this blog with my wife Jarah. We have more than 11 years of parenting experience including three girls and one boy. I started this blog in late 2018 when I realized that I was dealing with baby-related issues on a constant basis…please read more about me here!

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