Before you’ve had a baby, it might not be all that obvious why you need burp cloths. You might be asking yourself: “Is it really worth going out and buying a stack of special cloths just for burping the baby?”.
Yes! It certainly is. If you have a newborn who happens to spit up their milk a lot, or just a very dribbly little one, then you’ll find yourself using those burp cloths far more than you ever imagined.
When you think of burp cloths, you might be picturing someone burping a baby with the cloth over their shoulder to prevent any regurgitated milk landing on their clothing.
That’s a critical use of burp cloths, of course, and they’re a lot easier to use than a tiny face cloth or a bulky towel.
However, think of that as a classic use of burp cloths. If you dig a bit deeper, you’ll also find that burp cloths can be very useful for a whole lot of other things too.
Best Burp Cloths – a Quick Look at Our Top 7 Recommendations
- Burt’s Bees Baby Burp Cloths
- aden + anais Burpy Bib
- green sprouts Muslin Burp Cloths
- Milkbarn Bamboo Cotton Burp Cloths
- Gerber Birdseye 3-Ply Prefold Cloth Diapers
- Brooklyn Bamboo Baby Burp Cloths
- Luvable Friends Baby Layered Flannel Burp Cloth
Note: When clicking on any of the above links, you’ll go to the product listing pages on Amazon, where you can read further information, see current prices and read customer reviews.
What Exactly is a Burp Cloth?
A burp cloth is a piece of fabric, one that’s usually 100% cotton and is rectangular in shape. They vary in size, but 11 x 16 inches (or more) is usually the standard.
Burp cloths differ from receiving blankets, which are larger and normally used for swaddling your baby, though some parents find them very handy for covering furniture to protect it from any dramatic spit ups.
They’re also not the same thing as face cloths, even though these two often get mixed up for being the same thing. Face cloths are much smaller in size, and designed to be used wet rather than dry.
Do I Really Need Burp Cloths for My Baby?
You might be thinking to yourself that you surely could use any old bit of cloth you have around the house to catch spit up – so why get a special set of burp cloths to do that?
It’s true that there’s nothing stopping you from cutting up old T-shirts or using old towels to protect your clothing, but these might be too thin (T-shirts) or too rough (old towels) to do a good job.
You don’t want your baby’s face to be pressed against a scratchy old towel while you’re burping them, and a thin bit of cloth that soaks straight through immediately won’t do good.
Other alternatives, such as face cloths, really won’t do the job of a burp cloth. They might be fine for wiping a bit of dribble here and there, of course, but they’re not going to cover more than a tiny patch of your clothing, and they won’t be able to hold much spit up.
You don’t necessarily need to run out and buy dozens of expensive, beautifully patterned burp cloths, but you do need at least a handful of them.
When Should I Start Using Burp Cloths, And When Should I Stop?
Most parents begin using burp cloths straight from day one, though some report that their baby didn’t do much spitting up until they were a couple of weeks old.
Having a couple of burp cloths ready is definitely a handy addition to your hospital bag, though.
At some stage, your baby will no longer spit up on a regular basis (though if you have a little one right now, it might feel like that day will never come).
When you get to that stage, your burp cloths can still be useful, so don’t get rid of them just because your little one has no use for them anymore – there are still plenty of other things you can use them for.
Why Should I Get Burp Cloths?
Burp cloths have lots of great benefits, and you’re not just limited to using them for your baby.
Burp cloths are designed to do a job, and to do it well.
You can be confident that they’ll absorb spit up, even when it feels like your baby just brought up an entire bottle over your shoulder.
Their absorbency also means you can use them as a face cloth or even as a small towel, which is very handy if you’re starting to get behind on laundry, or if you’re traveling and want to pack reasonably light.
Soft and Comfortable for Baby
Burp cloths are normally made of 100% cotton.
This means they’re very soft and gentle on your baby’s skin, which is crucial because your baby will have their face pressed against the burp cloth while you burp them over your shoulder.
If they’re having their face pressed against something rough, this isn’t going to end well – not for them, and not for you.
Even if you don’t use the over-the-shoulder burping position, you’ll at least want to wipe any milky dribble off your baby’s face. A soft piece of absorbent cloth makes this super easy.
Easy to Carry Around
Burp cloths are very portable.
You can easily roll them up or fold them to pop into a diaper bag, or you might even want to keep a smallish one in your purse for instant accessibility.
Even if you’re only out on a short trip and don’t plan to feed your baby during till you get back home, burp cloths are still very handy for drooling little ones.
A Makeshift Changing Pad
While there’s lots of disposable changing pads out there you can buy, the cost of these adds up fast.
When you need to change your baby while you’re out and about, you can simply lay a burp cloth down.
Even though many restrooms have changing facilities nowadays, these tend to be hard (and often quite cold) plastic tables, plus they’re usually not very clean.
Most parents prefer to lay something down beneath their baby, and a burp cloth is an easy option.
Wiping Runny Noses
Once your little one is into daycare or pre-kindergarten, there’s a good chance that they’re going to be coming home with just about every cold and bug going!
You might be surprised at just how much snot a tiny little nose can produce, and that’s where nice soft burp cloths come in handy – as well as a handy baby snotsucker, of course.
Cleaning Your Home
Many parents find that old burp cloths make brilliant cleaning cloths for wiping and polishing once they’re no longer suitable for baby-related use.
Plus, as you can simply wash them after use, they’re a much more eco-friendly option than disposable cloths.
You might even use them as dish towels for a little burst of nostalgia every time you do the dishes. Or, if you’re traumatized from all those baby-care days, you might want to skip that part …
What Should I Look For In Burp Cloths For My Baby?
Burp cloths invariably come in sets – after all, there wouldn’t be much point only having one cloth! (We’ll come onto how many you’ll need to buy in just a moment, so bare with us here).
When deciding which burp cloths to buy, look out for:
Good Size For Shoulder Coverage
A tiny, handkerchief-sized burp cloth won’t be much good to anyone, so make sure you’re opting for large burp cloths that can cover your shoulder (or lap if you burp your baby in a sitting position).
You also want it to be big enough to hold a fair amount of spit up.
If you do want to have slightly smaller cloths when your baby is still tiny, don’t stock up on dozens of them – you’ll probably want to go up a size once their tummy is bigger and they’re starting to feed from larger bottles.
Durable to Withstand Repeated Washing
You’ll be washing your burp cloths a lot – take it from someone who’s talking from first hand experience – so choose ones that will stand up to this.
If you’re drawn to a set of burp cloths because of their gorgeous design, for instance, make sure it’s not going to fade badly after the first couple of washes.
Durability can be hard to judge before actually trying the product out, even if you’re examining burp cloths in person.
So, for this part specifically, you’ll probably want to ask other parents about their experiences, or read online reviews to see what others have said about that particular set of burp cloths before you make a purchase.
It’s important to get burp cloths that are made of the right material for both you and for your baby.
For starters, that means avoiding anything that either of you might be allergic or sensitive to. Most burp cloths are 100% cotton, though, so hopefully you’ll be fine.
You’ll also want to make sure that the fabric is soft and gentle on your baby’s skin, and that it remains so even after repeated washings.
It’s also important to get something that won’t slip or slide off your shoulder the moment you position it. It’s very frustrating to get a burp cloth carefully in place only to find that it vanishes at the critical moment, leaving your clothes to soak up the spit up instead.
If you plan to make your own burp cloths, then obviously you have free reign over what fabric you use.
With that being said, be careful about some online tutorials recommending using minky. They recommend this as it’s super-soft, but it’s also a synthetic polyester fiber that you may well prefer to avoid.
How Many Burp Cloths Should I Buy?
It’s probably obvious by now that you’re not going to get away with just one or two burp cloths, and you’d struggle to even buy one or two on their own, as they often come in packs. As a matter of fact, burp cloths almost always come in packs of four or more.
As you’ll be doing multiple feeds per day, you’ll probably want to have at least half a dozen burp cloths on hand – and a full dozen is probably best.
If you have a baby that spits up a lot at every feed, you may want to increase this even further. With that being said, if you’re happy to do laundry every day, a dozen will probably still be enough.
Some babies spit up a lot more than others, so you might want to buy a single set of six to eight burp cloths before your baby comes along, then add more if needed.
Best Burp Cloths – A More Detailed Look At Our Top 7 Recommendations
Looking to get something that’s comfortable for both you and your baby, and super absorbent at the same time? Have a look at the following list, where we talk about some of the best burp cloths available nowadays.
Burt’s Bees Baby – Burp Cloths
These super-soft burp cloths have stretchy rib knit fabric that’s more durable than jersey knit. They’re also made from 100% organic cotton, so if you or your little one has sensitive skin, they’re a safe option.
All five of these pretty burp cloths are different–with one in gray, one in white, and three with grey-and-white patterns.
The neutral color scheme means they’d be a great gift for a baby shower if the parents-to-be don’t know (or haven’t revealed) the gender of their baby yet.
Because these are so soft, your baby might enjoy holding or cuddling one of them–or even chewing on it.
They also hold up well after repeated washing. In fact, they’re so durable, there’s a very good chance that you could keep using them in the future if you have another baby–or you could choose to pass them on to a friend or relative instead.
Although these burp cloths are thick, they’re also lightweight, so they’re easy to pop in your diaper bag and take out with you.
- Really soft and gentle against your baby’s skin–great for newborns or babies with sensitive skin.
- Cute non-gendered designs that come in a neutral gray.
- Made from 100% organic cotton that’s certified by the GOTS (the Global Organic Textile Standard).
- Made from 2 ply cotton, so they’re thick and absorbent.
- The cotton has been combed and ring-spun, so it shouldn’t pill during washing.
- Although they’re advertised as large, it can be argued that they’re a fairly standard size.
- They may not be the most absorbent baby burp cloths out there.
aden + anais Burpy Bib
These two “burpy bibs” have a double purpose. You can use them as regular burp cloths that you pop over your shoulder or wipe your baby’s face with, or you can use them as bibs!
They’re designed to go right round your little one’s shoulders, covering their chest and upper arms. There’s a snap button that lets you fasten it so it won’t slip off.
While there are other designs available too, these two are in a neutral grey with a pattern of stars–meaning they’re a great option for baby showers, for parents who don’t want to go down the blue/pink route, or for use with subsequent children.
They’re really large (22.5” by 11”), so when you’re using them as bibs, they should be able to catch all the spit-up your little one throws their way–unlike tiny bibs that your baby manages to soak through (or miss entirely).
They’re also lightweight, though, and super-comfy for your little one to wear. The fabric is breathable, so you can also use them in hot weather without worrying about your baby overheating.
Even though they’re not exactly cheap, they’re really high-quality and can make for lovely gifts–either for a friend or for you!
- Really large (much larger than standard bibs), and do a great job at catching most–if not all– your baby’s spit-up.
- Thick cotton muslin material that gets even softer with repeated washing.
- Super-absorbent: they’re made of four layers of muslin.
- High quality and durable: you can use these again and again, with multiple children.
- Quite pricey–so if you want to get several burp cloths for your baby, they might not be a budget friendly option.
- Can shrink significantly in the wash if instructions aren’t followed to a T.
green sprouts Muslin Burp Cloths
These organic cotton muslin burp cloths have a contoured shape, so they fit easily around your neck and shoulders.
They come in packs of three, and you can choose from multiple color options: you can get plain white, or you can get packs of different colors (one pack has neutral colors, the others are clearly gendered).
Just like the aden + anais burpy bibs, these burp cloths are made of four absorbent layers of cotton–meaning they can cope with a pretty huge spit-up while still keeping your clothes dry.
As an added bonus, they’re organic–so they’re great if you’re trying to stick to your eco-conscious principles, or if you’ve got a child with allergies or sensitive skin who needs a hypoallergenic fabric.
They’re a bit more budget-friendly than some other options–and like most muslin burp cloths, they’re super soft and should get even softer as you wash them.
- Made from 100 organic cotton muslin, which is hypoallergenic.
- Range of bright and cheerful color options (that don’t run in the wash).
- They’re really absorbent and should be able to cope with whatever your baby produces!
- Good value option, especially if you want to buy multiple packs.
- Similar to the aden + anais burpy bibs in design, but without the “snap” to use them as bibs.
- You may find they start to lose their shape a bit after several washes.
Milkbarn Bamboo Cotton Burp Cloths
These burp cloths are, unusually, made from 70% rayon (from bamboo) and 30% cotton.
They’re huge squares–23” by 23”–and they’re super lightweight and easy to drape over your shoulder.
You could even use them as a light baby blanket, or as a breastfeeding cover if you find your baby focuses better on a feed while covered.
They’re amazingly soft and come in a range of different cute prints and designs.
Each pack includes two burp cloths (both with the same design) and they’re attractively packaged in a burlap sleeve with a wooden button for some old-school appeal.
They’d make for some lovely gifts or a great addition to your own baby shower registry!
The cloth is breathable, so it’s safe even if your little one pulls it against their face. It’s very lightweight as well, so it’s a thin layer–this means it’s not quite so absorbent as other options, but it should still do the job.
Milkbarn is a small company, founded by a mom, with the designs produced by her 19-year-old daughter. It has great ethical credentials and supports the charity Exile International.
- Huge burp cloths that you can comfortably drape however you want.
- Lightweight, thin cloths that you can easily fold up to pop in a diaper bag.
- Bamboo-cotton combination makes these incredibly soft.
- Several cute designs to choose from.
- Not so absorbent as multi-layered burp cloths.
- May not stand up to repeated washing too well–not so durable as some other burp cloths.
Gerber Birdseye 3-Ply Prefold Cloth Diapers
These classic burp cloths are simple, straightforward, and extremely good value.
The ten-pack is probably all you’ll need–and it won’t break the bank. In fact, you might end up only paying a little more than you would on a single burp cloth from one of the fancier manufacturers.
While you can use these as traditional cloth diapers, most parents in practice will use these as burp cloths.
They’re made of 100% cotton, and they’re soft, so you don’t need to worry about hurting your baby’s sensitive skin when you wipe their face.
Because they’re fairly large rectangles (20” by 14”), these burp cloths are also great as makeshift changing mats.
You can lay one of the cloths on the floor to change your baby on, if you have to, or you can use one of them to cover (cold, hard, and often poorly cleaned) changing tables in public bathrooms to make for a comfortable and safe change for your little one.
They’re flexible and easy to use to wipe milk off your baby, or to protect your clothing while burping your little one.
If you intend to use them as actual diapers, though, you may find they’re a little on the thin side.
- Affordable–and in most situations, one ten pack will probably be all you need.
- Soft and absorbent–they’re not exactly fancy, but they’ll do the job just fine.
- Plain white means you don’t have to worry about colors fading in the wash.
- Can be used for multiple purposes, such as a changing mat or as a tea towel.
- No option to choose different colors or cute designs with these.
- Not as absorbent as some of the more premium (and costlier) burp cloths.
Brooklyn Bamboo Baby Burp Cloths
These super-soft burp cloths are made from 100% organic bamboo and come in a pack of three. They’re rectangular, with rounded corners, and each is trimmed in a different color.
Because they’re made of bamboo, they’re really absorbent and should get even softer after each wash.
No chemicals are used in the manufacturing process, meaning these are great if your child has allergies or sensitive skin.
Bamboo is also a more sustainable crop than cotton, so if you want to make the best eco-friendly choices, these are a good option.
They’re a good size and (unlike cotton) shouldn’t shrink at all after washing. In fact, you might want to prewash them before use, as once they’ve been through the washer and dryer, they’ll come out fluffier, softer, and more absorbent.
The design is a nice, classic one that would work for pretty much any family. The colored trim around the edges are also not likely to fray or come off easily anytime soon, even if you use these time and time again.
- Great for babies with sensitive skin–these shouldn’t cause irritation.
- Stay soft after wash (in fact, they should get softer as you wash them).
- Really absorbent and can soak up lots of dribble or spit-up.
- The company, Brooklyn Bamboo, is a family-run business with strong environmental credentials.
- Rectangular (with rounded corners), not kidney shaped like some burp cloths–so they might fall off your shoulder.
- May go “stringy” with repeated washing.
Luvable Friends Unisex Baby Flannel Burp Cloths
These 100% cotton burp cloths come in a pack of four, and there are absolutely loads of different designs to choose from.
The ones we’ve picked here are gender-neutral, but there are others available in pink and blue, and plenty of other grey patterns too.
They’re cleverly designed with a thicker, three-ply center than the edges: the outer panel is two-ply. This means they do a great job of being absorbent, without being too thick and bulky.
As well as using them to mop up your little one from any drool–and to catch spit-up–you could even use them to wipe up spills around your home. This makes them particularly handy if you have a toddler who’s still developing their motor skills!
The designs are cute and attractive–and it’s even better since these are considerably an affordable option.
They’re a fairly standard size for burp cloths: 20” by 14.5”, which should be big enough for pretty much anything you want to use them for.
- Thicker middle panel for extra absorbency.
- Affordable burp cloths that look really attractive–great budget-friendly gift or treat for you.
- Really soft and gentle on your little one’s face.
- They wash well (and even get softer as you wash them).
- Large enough to cover your little one’s sheets to prevent changing the whole bed after a night-time spit-up accident.
- Might unravel at the edges after repeated use.
- You may find they sometimes slide off your shoulder during use.
How to Use Burp Cloths Effectively and Safely
While using burp cloths definitely isn’t rocket science, it’s worth keeping a few key tips in mind to make sure you’re using them in a safe and effective way.
Wash New Ones Before Use
This might seem like an odd rule, but most manufacturers will recommend that you should wash brand new burp cloths before you use them for the first time ever.
In fact, most parents think it’s best to wash baby clothes (even brand new ones) before using them too.
Why? Because chemicals can be used in the manufacturing process (or even in the plastic packaging) that you don’t want to get onto your baby’s skin.
To wash your baby’s burp cloths, make sure you’re using a baby-friendly detergent, of course. Don’t use a scented one, or one with dyes, as these tend to contain harmful chemicals and can irritate your little one’s skin.
Keep Some Handy When Feeding
If you sit down to feed your baby in a particular spot, such as a nursing chair, then keep burp cloths close to hand so that you can grab one during a feed whenever necessary.
Babies don’t always wait to be burped to bring up their milk, nor do they ask for your permission before doing so (I wish they would!). So, if you sense that a spit up is imminent, you’ll want to be able to whip that cloth into place beneath your baby’s chin to catch the torrent!
Don’t Let It Cover Your Baby’s Head
Most burp cloths are not breathable, which means that if they get wrapped around your baby’s nose and mouth, your baby could suffocate.
Obviously, you’re probably not going to be chucking a cloth over your baby yourself, but be careful and make sure that older children don’t try to play “peek-a-boo” by doing so.
It’s also important to keep burp cloths out of your baby’s crib for this very reason. If your baby manages to pull the burp cloth over their face, they could suffocate in their sleep.
Wrapping it Up
Burp cloths, much like diapers and baby wipes, are one of the everyday essentials you’ll find yourself reaching for time and time again.
Make sure you do your research and pick ones that will work well for both you and your baby, so that feeding time goes as easily (and enjoyable) as possible for both.
If stocking up on a dozen or more cloths seems like a waste of money to you, think again! Remember that you’re not limited to only using burp cloths when feeding your little one. They can be handy for lots of wiping and mopping up tasks, and you may well find yourself using them for your own for years to come.
There’s no avoiding it, be very well prepared to deal with all kinds of messy situations when you bring your newborn home from the hospital after giving birth. From spit up to drooling and diaper blowouts, the possibilities are endless (much to our sorrow!).
If you have a messy little munchkin on your hands, it’s okay – it’s not the end of the world. Enjoy them while they’re still tiny little humans and make the best of the situation. They won’t stay this young or tiny forever!
Product photos: © Amazon.com
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