There’s no delicate way to say this: your baby is going to burp like a trucker. It’s going to be loud and even messy at times. Sometimes it’s going to feel like the entire bottle they ate just comes right back out again, all down your shoulder.
What can you do to protect your clothes and your baby’s clothes from the mess they’re going to make?
The only barrier between your baby and the rest of the world will be a burp cloth that’s up to the challenge. This guide will help you find the best burp cloths that you can really rely on to spare your wardrobe.
- Cute patterns
- Very absorbent
- Larger than other brands
- Won’t pill up much
- Variety of colors to choose from
- Made from organic cotton
- Trendy prints
- Big and absorbent
- Don’t contain any harsh chemicals
- Enough for full coverage
- Great for sensitive skin
- Impressive range of designs
- Great value for money
- Soft and gentle on skin
- Environmentally friendly
- Cute, unconventional designs
- Very large size
Are Burp Cloths Necessary?
If you think you won’t need burp cloths because your baby won’t spit up if you feed them slowly enough, you’re playing some pretty steep odds. Approximately 50 percent of babies spit up on a regular basis (1).
The other 50 percent spit up occasionally, and although it isn’t as frequent, you still never quite know when it’s going to happen. Dealing with spit up can be tricky, but rest assured that burping after feeding is a completely normal part of baby’s development.
When babies drink a lot of milk, they need to release the pressure that builds up in their digestive tracts. The best way to do that is with a burp, but occasionally more than just air comes up in the process!
If your baby seems irritated or your doctor isn’t happy with their weight gain, you should mention the spit-up issue at your next doctor’s appointment.
How Many Burp Cloths Do I Need?
One big spit up can soak a burp cloth, so you’ll need multiple ones on hand (3).
You don’t want to skimp on burp cloths. They usually don’t cost much, but they can save you a fortune — it ultimately costs more to replace the clothing your baby’s spit-up has ruined.
I preferred to keep two or three in my diaper bag at all times. I hated borrowing them out of there when I needed one at home because there were a couple of times when I did that and then forgot to replace them. It’s awful being on a day trip and discovering you forgot all your burp cloths at home.
10 to 18
When Should I Start Using Burp Cloths?
You should have burp cloths on hand before you bring your baby home from the hospital.
Some babies might not need them immediately — I don’t remember my baby spitting up for the first couple of weeks — but yours might.
Since I stocked up before my baby was born, from the first moment I could lay one on my shoulder whenever I burped her. I didn’t know exactly when her spit up would happen — it’s not something you plan for, right? — so it’s best to be vigilant and always have one on hand, especially when you’re wearing nice clothes you don’t want to be destroyed.
Even if your baby doesn’t end up spitting up, they can be handy to wipe the milk or drool from the corners of their mouths. Also, if you’re putting your baby to sleep on your shoulder, that burp cloth can help you out with drool.
How to Find the Best Burp Cloths
There’s a whole variety of burp cloths out there. They come in different fabrics, shapes, and sizes.
To make sure you get one you’re happy with, consider these factors.
Your baby is tiny, but the mess they can make sure isn’t. Spit up is runny so it can travel a long distance quickly, so look for longer cloths that will fully cover your shoulder and keep your clothes protected. The bigger the baby, the more spit up, so if you want a smaller cloth for an infant, remember to size up as they grow.
You need to find fabric that will absorb the spit up, not repel it. If you have a family history of being allergic to certain fabrics, it would be safe to avoid that kind in case your baby has inherited that allergy too.
You want a thick, durable cloth that can endure repeated washings. And believe me, you’re going to be washing these things a lot.
If you’re watching your bottom line, don’t worry. There are some extremely affordable burp cloths out there. If you can afford to spend more, there’s nothing wrong with going for higher-end brands; just make sure they’re practical as well as pretty.
If you’re a sharp dresser who spends a lot of money on clothes for yourself and your baby, you might want to get burp cloths that have more built-in protection. Some have pockets or pouches built-in to protect your shirt even more from spit-up.
The Best Burp Cloths of 2020
The right burp cloth will be your workhouse when it comes to feeding times. It should be able to take a lot of abuse and be able to clean up well so it’s fresh and ready to go again when you need it. Now let’s take a look at our seven favorite brands in 2020:
1. Gerber Baby Flannel Burp Cloths
These adorable Gerber cloths are big enough to cover your whole shoulder so none of your clothing falls victim to a spit up incident. They come four in a pack, and are a great bargain for those watching their budgets.
The best thing about these is the cute variety of patterns to choose from, including flowers, polka dots, stripes, hearts or charming little elephants.
They’re made out of pure 100 percent cotton, which means your baby likely won’t have irritation from using them, plus the edges are neatly finished so they shouldn’t fray, even after repeated washings.
- These are durable.
- The patterns are cute.
- Very absorbent.
- The colors, unfortunately, fade with repeated washings.
- These are on the thinner side.
2. Gerber Prefold Gauze Diaper
Cloth diapers that fold flat are the ultimate multi-purpose item and are useful for more than just diapering. They can be used as burp cloths, for nursing and even as a light blankie for baby to snuggle on a warm summer’s day.
These gauze diapers might be one of the most versatile products you could buy for your baby.
In addition to being great diapers and burp cloths, these can also be used to protect your lap against leaks, as cleaning cloths once your baby outgrows diapers and as makeshift changing pads.
You’ll get five per pack. They’re thicker in the middle section, and the dimensions are 11.5 inches by 16 inches.
- These are larger than many other brands you’ll find.
- The fabric won’t pill up as much as some other kinds do.
- They can be used for many other purposes.
- These are a little rougher to the touch than some other brands.
- They shrink with repeated washings.
3. Green Sprouts Muslin Burp Cloths
Your baby will have close, repeated contact with the cloths you use. If you’re concerned about what kind of materials or chemicals you could be putting close to your baby’s face, consider going organic. Peace of mind is important, and organic options don't cost that much more than conventional brands anyway.
These are made from organic cotton and they come in a set of three. The length is enough that you should be able to protect a large portion of your clothing. They measure 11 inches by 22 inches long.
These are a great choice for parents who are worried about their children being exposed to fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. Plus, they are hypoallergenic and so feel really soft against your baby’s skin.
They’re made of four plush four layers which make them good at absorbing as much spit up your baby can throw at you.
- You’ll get your choice of a variety of colors, including basic white.
- These seem to get softer with every wash.
- They curve to fit well around your neck and shoulders.
- They shrink in the wash.
- Some moms have had problems with fraying after a few washes.
4. Copper Pearl Baby Burp Cloths
The more area you can cover on your shirt, the better your chances of dodging the mess. Large cloths can come in handy, not just when you're burping your baby, but when other people do as well. I always felt bad when my baby bombed some unsuspecting relative with her spit up.
These cloths are made from 100 percent cotton on the front and back, so they’ll be soft on your baby’s face and won’t irritate their precious, delicate skin. Because these have a triple layer including a middle layer of fleece, they’ll absorb a ton of spit up.
They come in a three-pack and they’re pretty big, measuring 21 inches by 10 inches, which is more than enough to shield your entire shoulder.
A great feature is that they’re reversible, with one side that’s patterned or with different solid colors, and the other side plain white.
- Trendy prints.
- They hold up well, wash after wash.
- They are big and absorbent enough to handle babies who spit up a lot.
- They aren’t the cheapest option.
- You have to air dry them.
5. Brooklyn Bambo Burp Cloths
Plain cloths don’t look as fancy as some of the colored, patterned ones do, but they have their own classic elegance and they certainly get the job done. The best part is that you never have to worry about a plain burp cloth matching any of your other baby gear, as clean white is versatile enough to go with anything.
These white burp cloths are made from organic bamboo, which is a hypoallergenic fabric in case you’re worried your baby will have allergies or sensitive skin. They are especially nice for babies who suffer from eczema.
They’re so soft they’ll feel comfortable against your baby’s skin when you’re trying to burp them or put them to sleep. And since they’re white with just a thin band of color, they’ll work for either gender.
You’ll get three cloths with this package, and they’re sizeable enough to really protect your shirt at a generous 11.2 by 23.6 inches.
- These don’t contain any harsh chemicals.
- Big enough for full coverage.
- Great for sensitive skin.
- Not the cheapest option.
- You should wash these before using.
6. Luvable Friends Flannel Burp Cloths
Don’t let the word cheap fool you. Just because a product is cheap doesn’t mean it won’t be a good choice for you and your baby... and sometimes the most affordable options are actually the ones that work best! So if your bank account is suffering from buying mountains of baby gear, don’t worry about skimping when it comes to burp cloths.
If you’ve balked at the price of some other brands and wondered how a piece of fabric could be so expensive, these ones from Luvable friends will have you breathing a sigh of relief.
Because they’re so affordable and come in so many lovely colors and designs, you can buy quite a few and never be without a fresh, clean cloth on hand.
At 20 by 14.5 inches in size, they’re on the smaller end, which makes them great for babies who don’t burp as much or for those parents looking for lighter protection. They’re 3 ply 100 percent cotton in the center, and 2 ply on the edges, and they come in a ribbon-tied pack of 3.
- Impressive range of designs to choose from.
- Great value for the price.
- Soft and gentle on the skin.
- The cloths may have a strange smell before their first wash.
- These may not look as good after several washes.
7. Milkbarn Bamboo Cotton Burp Cloths
Bamboo is a seriously underrated fabric. It's environmentally friendly, hypoallergenic and antibacterial to boot. This means a bamboo cloth doesn't just feel soft, it actually helps cut down on odors as it absorbs moisture and wicks it away.
If you’re the kind of mom who loves vintage designs, rustic baby accessories and charmingly old school baby cloths, you’ll be the one drooling with these Milkbarn burp cloths. They’re made of 70 percent bamboo rayon and 30 percent cotton for a blend that’s soft, eco-friendly and super hard wearing.
The designs are gorgeous old-fashioned floral prints in a range of earthy colors, and you get a pack of two cloths both sized at an ample 23 inches square.
These look like cloths that were handed down from great-grandma, and they’re robust enough to stay strong wash after wash. They even come in a cute burlap wrapper that seals with a wooden button.
- Environmentally friendly.
- Cute, unconventional designs.
- Very large size.
- Not absorbent enough for a big burper.
- The material may feel a little too thin and rough for some.
How to Make Your Own Burp Cloths
Even those of us who aren’t handy with a sewing machine can see how easy it would be to DIY your own burp cloths. In fact, you can recycle all kinds of things to make these useful fabric squares, saving you money in the process.
If even that seems like too much effort, there’s nothing to stop you from simply repurposing any favorite cloth as a burp cloth. Turn over the raw edges and hem either by hand or machine, or use old baby blankets, cloth diapers or even a hand or kitchen towel, if it’s thick enough.
The Bottom Line
The Gerber Flannel gets our vote for the best burp cloths.
These have a big size you’ll need to protect your clothes and a smaller-sized price so your wallet won’t feel the sting.
The patterns are cute and colorful and the cotton material won’t irritate your baby.
Plus, they’re absorbent enough to handle even those babies who seem to have a lot of spit-up. Before long, you’ll be great at handling your baby’s burps. And of course, just when you get used to it, your baby will outgrow that phase…
In the meantime, you might want to start changing into some old clothes when you get home from work, just to be on the safe side! Moms out there, can you share any burping tips or suggestions in the comments below?