I have an Emily Post book from the 40s saying that children should wear bibs at the table until they are 5. She presents it as a GD thing-- so they won't get in trouble for messing up their clothes.
If you and your DD still like using bibs I would keep using them. I see nothing wrong with it. Saving clothing stains is worth it!
If we have having something really messy I will lay a towel in their laps though and take off their shirts.
~Katie~ married to J, mom to DD- A 13 yrs ,DS- L 7yrs , and my little nursling DD2- R 5yrs.
Wow, questions for the non-bib people:
1. PLEASE teach me how to do laundry. Because, even WITH wearing bibs, almost everything DD owns has a stain. We're trying to pass this stuff down to a baby cousin with picky parents, so this drives me nuts.
2. Doesn't the child get cold if you go the topless route? Our house is so cold all the time that I have DD and I bundled up in big sweaters all day. We remove the sweater for meals, but I feel like she would freeze without the shirt.
So, to answer the actual question, DD is almost 2 and most definitely still wears a bib. Apparently she's on the messy end of the eating spectrum :) I lay a towel over her lap, too. She's so used to it that she has a fit if she doesn't have her towel and her bib.
newmamalizzy- I think the answer to the laundry question is to do a lot of laundry often! I know it is not the most environmentally friendly thing (though I do use organic biodegradable sopas only) but I do a ton of laundry- so if something gets dirty it gets cleaned pretty quickly before the stains can set. I mean- usually one large load a day, sometimes two.
Or, if something gets spilled that will stain, I wet it right away and put soap on the spot and rub it out somewhat- and then throw it in the laundry basket to be washed later that day.
Ds wears a bib when he lets us keep it on- and we usually change his whole outfit after eating also.
My almost 3yo son uses a bib when he eats yogurt, soup or ice cream, etc. He asks for his "yogurt bib" in those cases. Otherwise, he doesn't use a bib and hasn't for a few months. He's fairly neat when he eats.
My 2y 4m son uses bibs for liquidy foods- yogurt, soup, oatmeal, etc. but not usually for crackers and dry foods like that (or fruit) although he does crumble things all over the floor. I like the big kinds with the pockets on the bottom.
My little Lu is 2 years old. We have a bunch of cloth bibs and we were using them up to a few months ago. She still needs them ... she likes to feed herself ... but I tend to forget to put them on her now. BUT I definitely appreciate a bib; I rarely used them with my son.