What’s in a Baby’s Bib? Exploring the Surprising World of Baby Drool and Spills


Babies may be small and cute, but they sure can make a big mess. Anyone who has spent time with a little one knows just how much drool, food, and other miscellaneous substances can end up on their clothes. That’s where baby bibs come in – these simple pieces of fabric can save parents from endless loads of laundry and make mealtime a little less chaotic. But have you ever stopped to wonder about what’s actually in a baby’s bib?

The Science of Baby Drool

First things first – let’s talk about drool. Despite how it may sometimes seem, babies aren’t just dribbling saliva all over themselves for no reason. In fact, baby drool serves an important purpose. For one, it helps to lubricate their mouths and make it easier for them to swallow. But even more fascinatingly, drool can actually help keep babies healthy. According to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, saliva produced by infants contains an array of immune proteins that can fight off viruses and other harmful microorganisms.

Of course, not all drool is created equal. Babies who are teething may produce more drool than usual, leading to even messier bibs. And while drool itself may not be harmful, constantly having a wet chin and neck area can lead to irritation and rashes.

Types of Baby Bibs

Now that we know a little bit about the science of drool, let’s talk about the different types of bibs that are available. The classic bib design is a simple cloth triangle that ties around the baby’s neck, but these days there are many other styles to choose from. Bandana bibs, for example, are shaped like cute little scarves and can be a fashionable accessory in addition to keeping clothes clean. Sleeved bibs offer more extensive coverage, protecting not just the front but also the arms and shoulders. And for particularly messy meals or on-the-go situations, disposable bibs can come in handy.

What’s in a Baby’s Bib?

So, what kind of messes can you expect to find on a baby’s bib? Depending on the day and the activity, the list could be quite long. There are the obvious food stains, of course – bits of cereal, mashed vegetables, and pureed fruits all have a way of finding their way onto bibs. But there are also more surprising substances that bibs can pick up, like spit up and vomit (especially in younger infants), snot and boogers, and all manner of unidentifiable smudges and smears.

Cleaning and Caring for Baby Bibs

Keeping baby bibs clean is important not just for hygiene reasons, but also for making sure they last as long as possible. Depending on the material and level of staining, bibs may need to be washed after every use or every few uses. Some parents prefer to pre-treat tough stains with a stain remover spray or soak bibs in a gentle detergent solution before washing. It’s also a good idea to separate bibs from other laundry to avoid excess dirt and grime getting on them. And for eco-conscious parents, many bibs can be reused or even repurposed for other uses once they’ve outlived their usefulness as mealtime accessories.


In the end, what’s in a baby’s bib may be a bit of a mystery – and sometimes a surprise. But there’s no denying the important role these simple items play in keeping babies clean and comfortable. Whether it’s a traditional cloth bib or a trendy bandana design, these pieces of fabric can be a lifesaver for parents and a fashion statement for babies. So the next time you’re dealing with a particularly messy mealtime, take comfort in knowing that your baby’s bib has got your back (and their front).