The Best Stuffed Animals for Babies and Toddlers to Cuddle Up With
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?
Tips for choosing a safe stuffed animal for babies and toddlers
Best stuffed animals for newborns
Best stuffed animals for babies
Best stuffed animals for toddlers
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).
The best stuffed animals for babies and toddlers aren’t just utterly adorable, they’re 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. When possible, opt for stuffed animals with embroidered or heat-sealed eyes, and check to make sure that there are no loose parts before you give the toy to baby. It’s also important to check your kids toys for loose parts or general wear and tear on a regular basis.
• 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.
A stuffed animal is the perfect present to welcome a new baby into the family. From super-snuggly plush bunnies to soothing sensory toys, these are our picks for the best stuffed animals for infants.
Jellycat Little Chick Stuffed Animal
Your little chicken will adore this fluffy stuffed animal. At only 7” tall, it’s the perfect size for tiny hands and is suitable from birth. Plus, the neutral yellow color makes this a perfect gift for newborn boys and girls.
Buy it: $20, Bloomingdales.com
Little Giraffe Little G Plush Stuffed Animal
Looking for a gender neutral gift for baby? Check out this adorable plush toy. The 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, Nordstrom.com
Meri Meri Banana Baby Rattle
This fruity option is one of the best stuffed animals for babies we’ve seen. Crafted from organic cotton, this playful banana is decorated with delicate embroidery for added safety. It also doubles as a rattle, making it a good choice for newborns and older babies.
Buy it: $22, MeriMeri.com
GUND Oh So Snuggly Hippo Plush
You can’t beat a classic stuffed animal, which is why we love this snuggly hippo by GUND. This cute fella has embroidered details and a quilted belly that promotes tactile play. And, because having a newborn can be messy business, this plush toy is machine washable.
Buy it: $12, buybuyBABY.com
cuddle + kind Lucy the Lamb Stuffed Animal
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: $57, Nordstrom.com
Fisher-Price Soothe & Glow Seahorse Plush Baby Toy
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 and songs. After five minutes of continuous play, the music and lights will fade, allowing baby to peacefully drift off to sleep. (Just remember that it shouldn’t be in the crib with baby.) Still, any stuffed animal toys that make bedtime easier are wins in our book.
Buy it: $27, Walmart.com
Jellycat Vivacious Vegetable Pea
Treat your sweetpea to this funny, vegetable-inspired plush toy. It’s velvety soft and super-safe thanks to the embroidered features. Plus, it’s small enough for little hands to clutch when you embark on new adventures. That’s one way to get your five-a-day!
Buy it: $13, TheNaturalBabyCo.com
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 gray elephant is machine-washable and has no hard parts, meaning it’s 100 percent baby-safe. Wahoo!
Buy it:$20, Amazon.com
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.
Jellycat Grey 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: $23, Nordstrom.com
Steiff Honey Teddy Bear
How about a classic teddy bear? The creators at 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. One thing to note is that this bear does have beaded eyes, so remember to check for loose parts on the regular.
Buy it: $30, SaksFifthAvenue.com
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 has naturally soothing qualities.
Buy it: $30, Warmies.com
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, FinnandEmma.com
GUND Tinkle Crinkle Essential 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: $15, buybuyBABY.com
Zestt Organics Organic Cotton Classic Knit Whale
The best stuffed animals for babies will last a lifetime. Case in point: This heirloom-quality whale 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, Maisonette.com
Pottery Barn Kids 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 baby-friendly. Looking for something a little smaller? Check out the Winnie the Pooh pacifier holder, which is equally cute and cuddly.
Buy it: $49, PotteryBarnKids.com
Fly Little Bird Birdie Stuffie
Next up on our list of the best stuffed animals is this sweet little birdie. It’s made from recycled cashmere and cotton so it’s luxuriously soft—perfect for snuggles with baby. Better yet, Fly Little Bird donates 10 percent of each sale to Donate Life America.
Buy it: $54, ShopFlyLittleBird.com
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 bilingual doll and a cool option that transforms into a kids’ hoodie.
Jellycat Medium Odell Octopus Stuffed Animal
Jellycat stuffed animals are super-popular, and with 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, Nordstrom.com
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: $27, NeimanMarcus.com
Kaloo Leon Raccoon Medium
The best stuffed animals for toddlers spark their imaginations. That’s why we adore this quirky raccoon 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: $44, Maisonette.com
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 is tired of toting it around.
Buy it: $20, Walmart.com
Slumberkins Dragon Snuggler
Here at The Bump, we’re big fans of Slumberkins, a brand that specializes in products that build social-emotional skills in little kids. Each plush toy is inspired by a different theme, such as gratitude, mindfullness and self-esteem. We like the Dragon Snuggler, which comes with a board book and affirmation card that promotes creativity and emphasizes the importance of imaginative play.
Buy it: $45, Slumberkins.com
Sesame Street Tickliest Tickle Me Elmo
Take a trip down memory lane with a Tickle Me Elmo. The must-have toy of the ’90s is back and better than ever! Designed for ages 18 months and up, Elmo kicks his legs, giggles and talks as kids tickle him. Little one’s will get a “kick” out of laughing alongside their beloved, furry pal from Sesame Street. Plus, this plush toy speaks Spanish too, so it’s a great choice for bilingual families.
Buy it: $40, Walmart.com
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 soft toy transforms from a teddy bear into a hoodie in a matter of seconds. It’s made from super-cozy washable cotton, and once your kid outgrows the jacket, they can keep the cuddly toy. Genius!
Buy it: $45, Norstrom.com