Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Thinkstock.

Throw Away Your Flimsy Cloth Bibs

The perfect baby bib is made of silicone and has a trough.

I love food and planning, and so from the time my baby was born I hotly anticipated the time when she would start eating things that weren’t milk. Of course she’d get messy, I knew, so I’d need some cute bibs to keep her solid food off her cute outfits. I amassed a bunch of adorable fabric bibs from Bumkins and Burt’s Bees via baby showers, hand-me-downs, and late-night purchasing. Once the babe hit the doctor-prescribed age of six months, we fastened them around her fat little neck. But my pureed beets and spinach-and-mint seemed to slide right down her front and into her lap. What were these bibs even for, I wondered?

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Two different mothers told me about the OXO Tot silicone bib before I broke down and bought one. I didn’t want to admit that all of my forethought had been for naught, and I didn’t want to replace my fetching teal-and-yellow feather-patterned fabrics with solid-color bibs that looked like wearable plastic feeding troughs. I could always send the OXO Tot back if I didn’t like it.

Seven months later, we have two OXO Tots, in hipster gray and aqua blue, and every fabric bib is long gone. Our toddler is still in the feral dining phase and largely a stranger to the fork and spoon. The OXO Tot’s wide silicone pocket stays open, gaping at the middle of her torso, catching all the baked beans and shreds of carrot salad she loses while feeding herself hand to mouth. When she grabs her milk glass with her little paws, puts it eagerly to her face, and chugs, a double stream of Horizon Organic’s finest runs down either side of her mouth; sometimes, she misses her mouth altogether, like that guy in Airplane with the drinking problem. The OXO Tot’s trusty trough is there to make sure all that milk doesn’t make its way onto her clothes—or our floor.

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Unlike its inferior fabric progenitors, this bib is part cover, part utensil. When you’re in travel mode—baby in stroller, or baby in airplane seat—its pocket doubles as a snack tray to hold Cheerios, those weird space-age yogurt melts, or bits of crumbly granola bar. Your child can reach down into the pocket and browse to her heart’s content, and the bib, unlike those ubiquitous snack catchers, cannot be dropped to the ground and lost.

Q: Aren’t there many other kinds of silicone bib with a stay-open pocket? Why pick the OXO one? A: Yes. Those other bibs have inferior colors and ugly decorative motifs and lack the nice Velcro closure of the OXO bib. Plus, I haven’t found one that folds up into a little pod you can slip into your bag, the way the OXO does. This snap-to-pod functionality makes me feel nice and organized—which, for a parent, is invaluable.

Two should do it, and you will need no other bib.

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