How Many Burp Cloths Do You Need?

Ultimately, you will need at least 10-12 burp cloths to begin with. However, should you have a particularly messy baby with a prominent gastroesophageal reflux, then you may need up to 30 burp cloths, and if you have twins then you can double those numbers.

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Introduction

So, you’ve got the cot, the bottles, and the nappy changing station. It seems that you have everything that’s important, but then you hear about burp cloths. They’re just a piece of material, so they’re not that important, right? Wrong. 

So many new parents either forget about or overlook burp cloths, but that is a big mistake. These small pieces of cloth will save your clothes, your money, and your sanity. Now you know that you need them, but that leaves the question, how many burp cloths do you need?

What is a Burp Cloth?

During the first few months of a baby’s life, babies need to be fed 8-12 times every 24 hours. During this time, you will have to burp them in the middle or after feeds. This is because babies take in air while feeding, and all this air makes them gassy, but they have no way to burp on their own because their bodies haven’t developed the mechanism for it yet.

The majority of research expressly states that you should burp your baby regularly during feeds, so that liquid doesn’t pile onto the gas that builds up; this should help prevent some of the mess, but what about the rest? That’s where the much-needed burp cloth comes in.

The simple fact of the matter is that all babies need to be burped, and around 50% of babies are sick up immediately afterwards. Sure, a little mess isn’t that bad, but after junior had ruined your last good shirt, you’ll start to wonder why you didn’t invest in the burp cloths. 

A burp cloth or muslin, is a small rectangle of fabric which is usually made of absorbent material, and is about as thick as several towels placed together.

During feeding times, you place the burp cloth over your shoulder and back, so that when you have to burp the baby, your hair, clothes, and furniture will be protected from the worst of the mess; after saving yourself from the mess, you can also use the burp cloth to wipe the baby’s face clean too.

What Size Should a Burp Cloth Be?

By this point, you have probable realised just how vital the burp cloth is, so now you’re probably asking yourself what size burp cloth you should get. Burp cloths come in multiple sizes, and the size you pick is a mostly a matter of preference which can only be gained from experience.

Some small burp cloths are a similar size to a wet wipe, meant only for convenience when cleaning up the baby. While these can be placed over your shoulder, they are generally meant only to wipe any excess dribble that your baby has during outings. They are nice and travel-sized, but not ideal for the big messes.

The majority of parents and guardians prefer the larger burp cloths, which are around 15-22 inches in length, and 10-15 inches in width. These burp cloths usually cover the whole shoulder and back area, without running the risk of falling off, and they can catch and absorb the bigger messes, leaving less for you to clean up. 

Mostly, the issue of large vs small burp cloths depends on whether you value convenience or effectiveness. Do you want a small cloth that’s easier to carry around when travelling, or a cloth that will protect you, your clothes, and your furniture from the worst of messes?

Would you prefer a small cloth that has one use before going into the washing basket, or the medium cloth that can be used a few more times before it absolutely has to be put into the washing basket?

Ultimately, there is no expert opinion on this; the only opinion that matters here is yours. So, when it comes to buying your first sets of burp cloths, why not get a mixture of sizes until you figure out exactly what you want, then you can alter your collection from there.

How Long Do You Use Burp Cloths?

Although babies tend to stop spitting up between 6-8 months old, when they generally start eating solid foods, the burp cloths can be repurposed. In fact, most parents use the burp cloths until their children become toddlers, finding multiple new uses for them.

While it is true that toddlers don’t need burp cloths for the same reason that babies do, the burp cloths can still be an incredibly useful and versatile tool. They can be used to clean your child’s face, especially after they’ve eaten something messy.

Since they’re so soft, some parents use old burp cloths to soothe nappy rash. Sick of those awful table stains? Use your old burp cloths as a place mat for your toddler. Wipe runny noses, use them as a changing pad, sew them into a soft toy; with a little imagination, your old burp cloths can become anything you want, and save you some money along the way.

How Many Burp Cloths Do I Need?

Most parents tend to agree that you will need about 10-12 burp cloths to begin with. However, you do have to factor in how often you do the laundry, and how messy your baby is.

If you have found that 12 burp cloths just aren’t cutting it, then there’s no need to go crazy and buy hundreds, instead add to your stock in units of ten until you have enough. For parents with messy babies, the most you should need is 30 burp cloths.

If you have twins, then you should buy double the burp cloths that are needed for one baby, so start with 20-22, and if you need more, 60 should be the maximum.

What is the Difference Between Burp Cloths and Bibs?

Some new parents think that burp cloths and bibs are interchangeable, but that is simply not the case. If you are confused, then here are the main differences between the two:

  • Burp cloths are absorbent. The majority of bibs are not.
  • Burp cloths are larger and thicker than bibs.
  • Burp cloths are more durable than bibs.
  • Bibs are tied around your baby’s neck to catch any falling food when they’re slightly older.
  • Burp cloths are placed over your shoulder when burping a younger baby in case they have a wet burp, or spit up.

Burp Cloth Maintenance

It’s no secret that babies make a lot of mess, so it’s not uncommon for burp cloths to lose colour or become stained. So, to save your wallet, you want the burp cloths that you have to last as long as they can, but how do you maintain them when they are constantly used?

First, before you put the burp cloths in the washing machine, spritz them with a stain fighter. There are multiple products available specifically designed for the types of messes babies make.

Once the material has been sprayed, you should rub it together to try and manually remove as much of the stain as you can. As soon as the burp cloth is looking a bit better, let it sit for about ten to fifteen minutes, and after that, all that’s left to do is wash it. 

If you want to go the extra mile and take really good care of your burp cloths you should put the washer on a delicate cycle, and don’t forget to use a baby-friendly detergent. If you plan to put the burp cloths in the dryer, then you must use a low-heat to prevent the material from shrinking. 

If you care about the burp cloths’ general appearance, then you may also wish to buy coloured or patterned burp cloths, which are less likely to stain as opposed to plain white cloths. 

Towels Vs. Burp Cloths

You might be wondering whether you could use a towel instead of a burp cloth, and while there is no real problem with this, you will be sacrificing a lot of towels for your baby’s constant needs. Towels aren’t usually as absorbent as burp cloths, making them less effective in saving you and your clothes.

Besides that, you are definitely going to use the burp cloth to clean your baby’s face at some point, and the simple fact of the matter is that a towel isn’t as soft as a burp cloth; it’s always better to use the less abrasive material that was literally made for the job of wiping your baby down.

Conclusion

So, now you know all you need to about burp cloths / muslins and though you may have forgotten about these versatile cloths before, you never will again now that you know just how important they are.

Fortunately, burp cloths mostly come in packs of 4-6, so you’ll likely only have to buy 2 or 3 packs which will last your baby until they’re a toddler.

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