Best Food Bibs & Smocks for Babies & Toddlers
Babies and toddlers are very messy. Especially when eating is involved. And that means you’re going to need to have a few food bibs around. But all bibs are definitely not created equal and there are lots of different choices from traditional bibs to sleeved ones to body covering smocks. So which to choose?!
We decided to test out some of the most popular bibs available so you can figure out the best ones for you and your messy monkey.
Built Mess Mate Toddler Bib
The Built Mess Mate Toddler Bib is soft, comfortable and has a front pocket for catching food (a must-have if you don’t have a dog to pick up all those crumbs!). The velcro closure is simple to use but doesn’t rip off too easily.
This bib has been tested for FDA food safety, lead safety and phthalates. It’s also PVC-, BPA- and vinyl-free. A pack of two bibs sells for about $20.
The Built bib is made out of neoprene (the wetsuit material). So it’s perfect if you like to snorkle while feeding your baby! This material is described as stain-resistant. But I did have to scrub baby food off it, wait for it to dry and then I could still see some food on there.
It can be thrown in the washing machine. Although that’s not a big sell with me because I do enough laundry around here. I’d rather be able to easily wipe a bib down and have it be ready for the next feeding.
Strengths: Comfortable material for your baby, front pocket, machine washable, and PVC-, BPA- and vinyl-free.
Weaknesses: Can’t easily wipe it down. I had to scrub it in the sink and it was still wet the next time I fed my baby. Neck closure not adjustable.
Final Word on the Built Mess Mate Toddler Bib: I’d skip this bib. I prefer a bib that is easier to clean. I also did not love the color choices for these bibs. The muted colored stripes just weren’t my thing.
OXO Tot Roll Up Bib
The OXO Tot Roll Up Bib is a little smaller in size than the Built bib (reviewed above) and is geared towards babies 6 months and up. The top portion of the bib is a comfy fabric and the bottom part is silicone with a food-safe silicone pocket. Currently sells for about $13 per bib.
The bottom part of the bib was a snap to wipe clean. But I had to scrub the top of the bib to remove stains and let it dry. The bib is machine washable. It comes in three bright fun colors: aqua, green or pink. BPA-, PVC-, and phthalate-free.
This OXO bib has two features that I really like. The neck closure is adjustable so it can get bigger as your baby grows. Also, the fabric part of the bib rolls into the pocket which makes it easy to throw in a diaper bag for travel.
Strengths: Comfortable fit for the baby, a very functional silicone front pocket, and BPA-, PVC- and phthalate-free.
Weaknesses: The top of the bib not as easy to clean as I would like.
Final Word on the OXO Tot Roll Up Bib: A really great option. Make sure you have a of couple bibs because the bib might not be dry, from cleaning, by the next feeding time.
Tommee Tippee Explora Easi-roll Bib
Obviously the name is terrible. Tommee Tippee Explora Easi-roll Bib? It sounds like some kind of crazy sushi roll. But don’t let the name discourage you from buying this awesome bib which will only run you $13 for a 2-pack.
Long after you have thrown other bibs away because they are totally gross, the Tommee Tippee bib will still be around. It cleans very easily. Just simply wipe it down after each use. You will only need two of these bibs! It’s waterproof and dishwasher safe. BPA- and phthalate-free. Fits babies 6 months and up. It has a front pocket for catching food.
Just like the OXO bib (reviewed above), it rolls up easily for travel and the neck closure is also adjustable. The material is not too stiff so it’s comfortable for your baby.
Strengths: Very durable, ridiculously easy-to-clean, rolls up for travel, adjustable neck closure, and BPA- and phthalate-free.
Weaknesses: A little staining from the food.
Final Word on Tommee Tippee bib: If you don’t buy this bib, you are afraid to be happy.
BabyBjorn Soft Bib
I don’t exactly understand why this BabyBjorn bib is called the “soft bib” because it’s actually pretty rigid. In fact, my baby had no interest in having this on and I don’t really blame him. It just seems too stiff.
That said, it does have some nice features. It’s very easy to wipe clean, has an adjustable neck closure and a nice front pocket for catching food. But that all seems useless if your kid doesn’t want to wear the thing. Costs about $11.50 per bib.
Strengths: Super easy to keep clean, neck closure grows with your baby and big front pocket.
Weaknesses: Too stiff and uncomfortable.
Final Word on the BabyBjorn Soft Bib: I know some moms and dads will be tempted to buy this bib because it’s made by BabyBjorn and yes, I love my BabyBorn carrier too, but definitely skip this bib. There are much better bib choices out there. (Update: some readers LOVE this bib. Read the comments below on others’ feedback.)
Now there will be times when you want more coverage for your baby. Maybe your baby is dressed up or you’ve already changed her clothes multiple times that day or perhaps you’ve got a real sloppy Suzy on your hands. The bibs/smocks reviwed below will give your baby a lot more protection.
BabyBjorn Eat and Play Smock
The BabyBjorn Eat and Play Smock gives serious coverage with long sleeves and even protection in the back. Think of it as a waterproof snuggie for your kid. It’s very easy to wipe clean and is lightweight. The fabric is machine washable. Fits children from 8 months to 3 years. About $30.
Strengths: Really keeps your baby clean, easy to wipe off, lightweight, use for eating and playing.
Weaknesses: Kind of a pain to put on, more expensive than other bibs, a lot of material on young babies (see photo).
Final Word on the BabyBjorn Eat and Play Smock: I wouldn’t use this for daily feedings because I like a bib I can throw on quickly. But, it’s a great item to have around when you really want to keep your baby clean and transitions nicely into a toddler play smock.
Bumkins Disney Sleeved Bib
This is another great bib for keeping your baby mess free but with a bit less material than the BabyBorn Eat and Play Smock. The Bumkins Disney Sleeved Bib is a better fit for younger children (age 6 months to 2 years old). I found this a little quicker to put on than the BabyBorn Eat and Play Smock (reviewed above), too.
It’s easy to wipe off this smock and machine washable. It has an old-school tie closure in the back and a pocket in the front. Lead-free, PVC-free, BPA-free, phthalates-free, and vinyl-free. Very lightweight. Costs about $13.
If you’ve got a Disney lover, this is a great option because it comes in 11 different Disney patterns. So you might be able to convince an anti-bib toddler to put this on without a struggle. Long live Belle!
Strengths: Good protection, affordable, easy to wipe off, lightweight, lead free, PVC free, BPA free, phthalates free, and vinyl free
Weaknesses: Your child will outgrow this one faster than the BabyBjorn Eat and Play Smock.
Final Word on the Bumkins Disney Sleeved Bib: If you want a long sleeve bib for your baby, this is a great, affordable choice.
Bumkins Junior Bib
Although sleeveless, the Bumkins Junior Bib definitely still gives more protection than a traditional bib. It’s very easy to put on, lightweight and comes with a front pocket. The waterproof fabric is easy to wipe off. It’s also machine washable.
It’s lead-free, PVC-free, BPA-free, phthalates-free and vinyl-free. The neck closure is velcro and adjustable. Geared for ages 1 to 3. This bib costs about $10. It comes in a lot of adorable patterns.
Strengths: Lots! Easy on and off, lightweight, front pocket, cleans easily, lead-free, PVC-free, BPA-free, phthalates-free and vinyl-free, adjustable neck closure, inexpensive, cute pattern choices, affordable, transitions nicely into a play smock.
Weaknesses: I’m still trying to think of one.
Final Word on the Bumkins Junior Bib: If you want a bit more coverage in a bib, this is a fantastic option.
Which bibs did I love the most?
When it comes to the traditional bibs, my favorite is absolutely the Tommee Tippee Explora Easi-roll bib because it’s just so easy to clean and it’s a snap to dry-off. Plus it takes just a second to put on my baby.
When it comes to more protection, I really liked both the Bumkin options. They were just super easy to wipe off, very light and quick to put on. I ultimately felt like the BabyBjorn smock was a better play smock than bib.
Alpha Mom paid for all bibs tested in this review.
Published February 15, 2014.
Last updated September 12, 2017.