The Best Stuffed Animals for Babies and Toddlers to Cuddle Up With

Your kiddo will soon be inseparable from these cute and cuddly stuffed animal toys.
ByMartina Garvey
Associate Editor
April 13, 2021
Baby holding duck stuffed animal by its face and smiling.
Image: Christine Schneider / Getty Images
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Babies and toddlers adore stuffed animals and plush toys. Why? Stuffed animals make perfect playtime companions and offer little kids comfort when they’re working through some big feelings.

New parents will soon find themselves sharing their home with a whole menagerie of baby stuffed animals. But that doesn’t mean you should give baby any old toy. The best stuffed animals for babies and toddlers are cute, huggably soft and well-made to safely withstand endless loving.

Adorable plush toys make wonderful gifts for babies and kids of all ages. Whether you’re a friend shopping for a baby shower gift or a new mom looking for a first birthday present, here you’ll find the best stuffed animals for newborns, babies and toddlers. From classic teddy bears to knitted dolls and furry critters, read on to find the perfect cuddle companion for the little one in your life.

In this article:

When Can Baby Sleep With a Stuffed Animal?

Babies should not sleep with stuffed animals in their cribs until they turn at least one year old. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), soft objects—such as plush toys, loose bedding and pillows—should be kept out of baby’s sleep area to reduce the risk of overheating, suffocation, strangulation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Tips for Choosing a Safe Stuffed Animal for Babies and Toddlers

The best stuffed animals for babies and toddlers aren’t just utterly adorable, but also reliably safe. Here are the main toy safety considerations to keep in mind when shopping for plush animals.

Check toys for loose parts: Plush toys with plastic eyes and long strings or ribbons can be a choking hazard for young children. Opt for stuffed animals with embroidered eyes and check to make sure that there are no loose parts before you give the toy to baby.

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Invest in stuffed animals that are well-made: Good quality stuffed animals will withstand even the most rambunctious toddler games. Look for toys that are machine-washable and check that the seams and edges are tight so no stuffing comes loose during playtime.

Choose stuffed animals that are appropriate for your child’s age: Always read the brand’s age guidelines to ensure that the toy is suitable for your child’s developmental stage.

Best Stuffed Animals for Newborns

A stuffed animal is the perfect present to welcome a new baby into the family. From super-snuggly plush bunnies to soothing sensory toys, we’ve selected the best stuffed animals for infants below.

Image: Courtesy Jellycat

Jellycat Little Chick Stuffed Animal

Treat your little chicken to this cuddly baby chick stuffed animal. It’s small enough for little hands to clutch when you embark on new adventures with baby. This fluffy baby plush toy would make the perfect gift for newborn boys and girls.

Buy it: $18,

Image: Courtesy Manhattan Toy

Manhattan Toy Adorables Pig Peaches Stuffed Animal

This little piggy is one of the best stuffed animals we’ve seen. The plush toy is sweet, snuggly and built to last. It’s made from an unbelievably soft peach fabric, has embroidered nostrils and heat-sealed eyes for added safety. Plus, at only $10 this toy is affordable to boot!

Buy it: $10,

Image: Courtesy cuddle + kind

cuddle + kind Lucy the Lamb Little

Ready to splash some cash? Cuddle + kind is among the best stuffed animal brands on the market right now. Crafted by artisans in Peru, this adorable knitted lamb is made from 100 percent premium cotton and naturally hypoallergenic stuffing. The best part? This is a company that gives back. For every doll purchased, cuddle + kind will donate 10 meals to children in need.

Buy it: $55,

Image: Courtesy Little Giraffe

Little Giraffe Little G Plush Stuffed Animal

Looking for a gender neutral gift for a newborn? Check out this adorable baby stuffed animal. This little giraffe, with super-soft spots, comes in three neutral color variations. How’s that for a sweet stuffed animal for newborns?

Buy it: $48,

Image: Courtesy cloud b

cloud b Sleep Sheep 8 Sounds Soother

A newborn baby may be too small to actually play with a stuffed animal, but sensory toys are a wonderful way to engage their senses. Introducing the Sleep Sheep by cloud b. This plush toy plays eight soothing songs that’ll help lull your little lamb off to sleep. Plus, it has a handy hook fastener so you can attach it to a crib or a stroller when you’re on the move. Talk about clever stuffed animal toys!

Buy it: $30,

Image: Courtesy Lambs & Ivy

Lambs & Ivy Jungle Safari Gray Plush Elephant Stuffed Animal Toy

The best stuffed animals for infants are snuggly, sweet and practical. And that’s where this best-selling (not to mention adorable) elephant plush toy comes in. This furry grey elephant is machine-washable and has no hard parts, meaning it’s 100 percent baby-safe. Wahoo!

Buy it: $17,

Image: Courtesy Fisher-Price

Fisher-Price Soothe & Glow Seahorse in Blue with Lights & Sounds

Here’s yet another plush toy that’ll mesmerize newborn babies: The Fisher-Price Soothe and Glow Seahorse. Not only is this toy soft and cuddly, it lights up and plays ocean sounds plus eight different songs. After five minutes of continuous play, the music and lights will fade, allowing baby to peacefully drift off to sleep. Stuffed animal toys that make bedtime easier? Sign us up.

Buy it: $16,

Image: Courtesy GUND

GUND Baby Oh So Snuggly Bunny

You can’t beat a classic stuffed animal, which is why we love this snuggly bunny by GUND. The floppy bunny has embroidered details as well as quilted feet and ears that promote tactile play. And because having a newborn can be a messy business, this plush toy is machine washable.

Buy it: $20,

Best Stuffed Animals for Babies

As babies grow older and gain new fine motor skills, they begin to explore the world—and toys—around them, with their hands and with their mouths (of course!). Read on to discover our pick of the best stuffed animals for babies, from classic teddy bears to cuddly rattle toys and soothing loveys.

Image: Courtesy finn + emma

finn + emma Rattle Buddy

How sweet is this hand-knit stuffed animal? It’s made from certified organic cotton and has a rattle inside, meaning baby will have lots of fun shaking and squeezing their new furry friend. Bonus: There are eight animal characters to choose from.

Buy it: $28,

Image: Courtesy Levtex Baby

Levtex Baby Bailey Fox Plush Toy in Brown

Next up on our list of the best stuffed animals is this sweet fox plush toy. The faux fur is ever-so-soft—perfect for snuggles with baby. And this toy is machine washable, so if it gets a little mucky, just pop it in with your next laundry load.

Buy it: $20,

Image: Courtesy Jellycat

Jellycat Bunny Soother Blanket

A lovey is doubly adorable as baby can use it as a security blanket and a cuddly toy. This option has a plush bunny hugging the edge with long floppy ears (perfect for grabbing and gumming). How sweet!

Buy it: $20,

Image: Courtesy Zestt Organics

Zestt Organics Organic Cotton Classic Knit Unicorn

The best stuffed animals for babies will last a lifetime. Case in point: this heirloom-quality unicorn baby plush toy. The knit-doll is handmade from organic cotton yarn, making it sustainable, biodegradable and easy to care for. Trust us, this toy is one your kid will treasure forever.

Buy it: $39,

Image: Courtesy GUND

GUND Crinkle Caterpillar Plush Toy

Check out this awesome caterpillar plush toy by GUND. Each section of this clever toy contains a fun surprise for baby, including a squeaker, crinkly fabric and a rattle. As if that wasn’t good enough, the bright colors and different fabrics promote tactile and sensory stimulating play.

Buy it: $18,

Image: Courtesy Steiff

Steiff Honey Teddy Bear

How about a classic teddy bear? Steiff are masters of their trade, as they have been crafting hand-sewn teddy bears since 1902 and still use the same artisan techniques to this very day. The result? Quality stuffed animals that are huggably soft and worthy of becoming baby’s new best friend.

Buy it: $30,

Image: Courtesy Melissa and Doug

Melissa and Doug Sterling Baby Elephant Stuffed Animal

Introduce baby to the mighty elephant with this darling stuffed animal. This plush toy has ultra-soft ears and a long trunk, so there’s plenty to hug and squeeze. Plus, Sterling the Elephant has a weighted bottom that’ll help him stay seated during afternoon play sessions with your little one.

Buy it: $17,

Image: Courtesy Warmies

Warmies Sloth My First Warmies

Looking for something a little different? Warmies are stuffed animal toys you can heat up in the microwave for up to an hour of warming comfort. (Or chill in the freezer for cooling relief.) They’re made from soft plush fabric with satin accents on the feet that baby will love to stroke. Warmies come in a range of characters and sizes, but we love this sleepy sloth. Bonus: The toy is scented with French lavender, which will naturally sooth your child.

Buy it: $25,

Best Stuffed Animals for Toddlers

Searching for stuffed animal toys toddlers will adore? You’re in luck! There are plenty of cute plush toys on the market that’ll keep tots happy and entertained. Our favorites include a super-soft octopus, a personalized teddy and a cool plush toy that transforms into a kids’ hoodie.

Image: Courtesy Kaloo

Kaloo Gaston Bear Medium

The best stuffed animals for toddlers spark their imagination. That’s why we adore this quirky teddy bear by Kaloo. The mix of soft textured fabrics and bright patterns will inspire your child during playtime. Plus, the long arms and legs are easy for little kids to grab and hold onto for comforting cuddles.

Buy it: $39,

Image: Courtesy Steiff

Steiff Dixi Triceratops Plush Toy

Dinosaur-obsessed toddlers are sure to appreciate this triceratops stuffed animal. We’re wild about the vibrant blue color and huggably soft fabric. One thing is for sure, this fierce dino will make a top-notch cuddle companion. Monsters under the bed beware!

Buy it: $28,

Image: Courtesy Jellycat

Jellycat Medium Odell Octopus Stuffed Animal

Jellycat stuffed animals are super-popular, and for good reason. This adorable plush octopus has eight floppy tentacles that toddlers will love to manipulate (hello, fine motor skills!). Plus, it’s super-soft and cute to boot.

Buy it: $25,

Image: Courtesy Manhattan Toy

Manhattan Toy Voyagers Ernesto Llama 11" Plush Toy

On the hunt for stuffed animal toys your tot can bring everywhere? This lovely llama is the perfect size for little hands to grab and hold. The ultra-soft fabric is complemented by a strokeable furry mane and tail. Plus, the llama has weighted feet so it’ll stand upright when your toddler’s tired of toting it around.

Buy it: $19,

Image: Courtesy Disney

Disney Winnie the Pooh Plush

Introduce your kid to a beloved character from your childhood with this jolly Winnie the Pooh plush toy. He’s oh-so-soft and has embroidered features, meaning it’s 100 percent toddler-friendly. The best part? You can add a personalized name tag!

Buy it: $23,

Image: Courtesy Cub Coats

Cub Coats Kids’ Bori Bear 2-in-1 Stuffed Animal Hoodie

Last up on our list of the best stuffed animals is this innovative two-in-one plush toy and hoodie by Cub Coats. Yep, that’s right—this plush toy transforms from a teddy bear into a hoodie in a matter of seconds. It’s made from super-soft washable cotton, and once your kid outgrows the jacket, they can keep the cuddly toy. Genius!

Buy it: $45,

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Martina Garvey
Associate Editor
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