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.
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“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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