The Unexpected Culprits Behind Your Baby’s Messy Meals: What Does a Bib Really Catch?



Mealtime can be a messy affair when you have a baby. And while bibs are a common tool for preventing a big mess, some messes manage to escape the bib’s reach. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the unexpected culprits behind your baby’s messy meals and how to manage them.

The Usual Suspects: What a Bib is Supposed to Catch

A bib’s primary purpose is to catch dribbles and spills from baby’s mouth during feeding time. It does a great job of preventing stains on baby’s clothes and keeping mealtime more manageable for parents. Using a bib also helps with baby’s hygiene and reduces the risk of skin irritation around the mouth.

The Unexpected Culprits: Beyond Basic Baby Foods

Beyond the usual baby foods that we typically associate with messes, there are a few unexpected culprits that contribute to mealtime chaos. These are purees and sauces, finger foods, and drinks. Let’s take a closer look at each of these culprits and how to manage them.

Culprit #1: Purees and Sauces

Purees and sauces are notorious for ending up outside of baby’s mouth. This can happen because baby’s swallowing reflexes are still developing or because they are still learning how to use a spoon. To manage this, make sure the spoon is not overfilled with food, offer small bites, and use a small spoon to reduce spillage on the bib. Another tip is to give your baby a spoon to hold independently, which will give them control and sensory input.

Culprit #2: Finger Foods

Introducing finger foods to your baby’s diet is important for their development, but it can also be messy. Research shows that finger foods are an essential part of developing a healthy relationship with food, and new flavors and textures can stimulate curiosity and exploration. Encourage your baby to try different foods, but be prepared for a mess. A good idea is to have a bib with a scoop or pocket to catch excess food that falls from the mouth or fingers.

Culprit #3: Drinks

Drinks can also contribute to mealtime messes. Whether it’s breastmilk, formula, or water, spills and dribbles sometimes happen, and babies don’t have the dexterity to clean themselves. To reduce the risk of spills, use a spill-proof sippy cup or a bottle with a spill-proof nipple.


Baby mealtimes can be unpredictable and messy, but understanding the unexpected culprits that contribute to the mess can make mealtime more manageable. Use a bib to catch spills and dribbles, and make sure to introduce different foods and textures to stimulate your baby’s curiosity and healthy development. By being prepared and taking some of these tips on board, you can reduce the mess and make mealtime easier for everyone.