The Cutest Stuffed Animals for Babies and Toddlers to Snuggly Up With

Your kiddo will soon be inseparable from these soft stuffed animals and plush toys.
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By Martina Garvey, Associate E-Commerce Editor
Updated December 22, 2022
best stuffed animals for newborns, babies, and toddlers 2022
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Stuffed animals make perfect playtime companions and offer little kids comfort when they’re working through some big feelings, which is why babies and toddlers adore them. New parents will soon find themselves sharing their home with a whole menagerie of 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 play.

Adorable plush toys make wonderful gifts too. Whether you’re a friend shopping for a baby shower gift or a caregiver looking for a first birthday present, here you’ll find the cutest stuffed animals for newborns, babies and toddlers, as well as tips for choosing safe options.

When Can Baby Sleep With a Stuffed Animal?

Babies shouldn’t sleep with stuffed animals or plush toys in their cribs until they’re at least 12 months 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 aren’t just utterly adorable; they’re also reliably safe. Here are the main toy safety considerations to keep in mind when shopping for cute stuffed animals:

  • Check toys for loose parts: Plush toys with plastic eyes and long strings or ribbons can pose 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 giving the toy to baby. It’s also important to check toys for loose parts or general wear and tear on a regular basis.

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

  • 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.

Cutest Stuffed Animals for Newborns

A plush toy is the perfect present to welcome a new baby into the family. From super snuggly bunnies to soothing sensory toys, these are our picks for the best stuffed animals for infants. Because safety is so important, all of the toys in this category have embroidered features to reduce the risk of choking.

Hippo Stuffed Animal

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.

Crocheted Bunny

Olive and Cradle Amigurumi Crochet Sleeping Bunny Rabbit
Crocheted bunny rabbit on woven mat
Image: Etsy

If you’re planning a photo session with your newborn, this adorable bunny might be all you need to hold their attention. The plush toy is handcrafted from natural cotton yarn and includes a soft rattle inside, as well as crinkle paper in the ears, making it a great sensory stimulus for baby.

Raccoon Stuffed Animal

Cuddoll Riley Raccoon 13" Hand-Knit Stuffed Animal
Crocheted racoon toy
Image: Maisonette

Cuddoll is among the best and cutest stuffed animal brands on the market right now. Crafted by artisans in Peru, this adorable hand-knitted raccoon is made from 100 percent premium cotton and naturally hypoallergenic stuffing. The “Stay Wild” jacket is particularly fitting to inspire all of baby’s creative and playful adventures. It’s a hand-loomed heirloom your little one can keep and then pass down to their own baby bandits one day.

Banana Baby Rattle

Meri Meri Banana Baby Rattle
Meri Meri Banana Baby Rattle Plush Toy
Image: Meri Meri

Crafted from organic cotton, this playful banana is one of the cutest stuffed animals we’ve seen. It’s decorated with delicate embroidery for added safety, and also doubles as a rattle, making it a good choice for newborns and older babies.

Giraffe Stuffed Animal

Little Giraffe Little G Plush Stuffed Animal

Little Giraffe is a brand known for its oh-so-soft offerings, from baby blankets to cute stuffed animals—and this giraffe stuffie is no exception. It comes in three muted color variations and is made from a super soft material, making it an all around sweet stuffed animal your newborn will love snuggling up with.

Panda Stuffed Animal and Projector

Douglas Panda Starlight Musical

Not only is this toy from Douglas soft and cuddly, but it projects a captivating display of the night sky and plays soothing lullabies. After five minutes of continuous play, the music will fade, allowing your little one to peacefully drift off to sleep. (Just remember not to place the toy inside baby’s crib.)

Seahorse Stuffed Animal

Barefoot Dreams Buddie Seahorse
Barefoot Dreams Buddie Seahorse Stuffed Animal
Image: Barefoot Dreams

Barefoot Dreams makes incredibly cozy baby blankets and loungewear—but did you know they make the cutest stuffed animals for babies too? This sleepy seahorse is machine-washable and has embroidered features, meaning it’s 100 percent baby safe. Count us in!

Cutest Stuffed Animals for Babies

As baby grows older and gains new fine motor skills, they begin to explore the world—including the toys—around them with their hands and mouths. From classic teddy bears to cuddly rattle toys and more, these are our top picks for the best stuffed animals for babies.

Plush Bear and Board Book

Bunnies By The Bay Camp Cricket Book & Wee Cubby
Plush teddy bear with storybook
Image: Maisonette
Buying Options
Maisonette | $39.95

Every kiddo needs a classic stuffed animal to add to their repertoire, and this soft chocolate-colored cub is just too cute for words. With matching velour accents and a soft-to-the-touch embroidered face, the teddy bear is bound to become one of baby’s besties. They might even bring them along to their pre-sleep storytime session, where they can enjoy the included board book.

Octopus Stuffed Animal

Jellycat Odell Octopus Stuffed Animal

Jellycat stuffed animals are incredibly popular—and for good reason. This plush octopus has eight floppy tentacles that babies will love to grasp and play with (hello, fine motor skills!). Plus, it’s super soft and cute to boot.

Warming Sloth Stuffed Animal

Warmies Sloth - My First Warmies
Crocheted sloth plush toy
Image: Warmies

Looking for something a little different? Warmies are cute stuffed animal toys you can heat up in the microwave to provide up to an hour of warming comfort. (You can also chill them 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 smiley sloth. An added bonus? The toy is scented with French lavender, which has naturally soothing qualities.

Musical Stuffed Elephant

GUND Flappy the Elephant Musical Stuffed Toy
Plush elephant toy
Image: Nordstrom

Around the seven month mark, baby begins to copy sounds and gestures. This interactive plush toy supports this developmental milestone while also keeping baby entertained. The musical toy has two fun play modes—press the left foot to play a game of peek-a-boo and the right to hear the tune “Do Your Ears Hang Low” in a sing-song voice. How cute!

Crochet Bee Rattle

Albetta Crochet Baby Bee Rattle Toy
Bumble bee crocheted toy
Image: Maisonette
Buying Options
Maisonette | $44

This hand-knit stuffed animal is as sweet as can be. It’s made from 100 percent organic cotton and has a rattle inside, meaning baby will have a buzzy blast shaking and squeezing their new friend. At only four inches tall, it’s the perfect size for tiny hands. Plus, the neutral yellow color makes this a perfect gift for both boys and girls.

Fox Stuffed Animal

Douglas Baby Fox Sshlumpie

Half blanket, half stuffed animal, this furry little fox will be baby’s new BFF. Understuffed and ultra soft, it can be laid flat on the floor for tummy time or squished up for comforting cuddles. And thanks to its embroidered features, it’s a super safe option for baby. Better yet, it’s lightweight and small enough for little hands to clutch when they embark on new adventures.

Winnie the Pooh Stuffed Animal

Pottery Barn Kids Winnie The Pooh Plush
Pottery Barn Kids Winnie The Pooh Plush Stuffed Animal
Image: Pottery Barn Kids

Introduce your kid to a beloved character from your childhood with this jolly Winnie the Pooh teddy bear. He’s oh-so-soft and has embroidered features, meaning it’s 100 percent baby friendly. And given that the character is such a classic, baby will want to hold onto through their childhood and may even save it for their own kids.

Lion and Bird Stuffed Animal Toy

Lambs & Ivy Jungle Friends Plush Lion with Bird Stuffed Animal Toy

The best stuffed animals for infants are snuggly, sweet and practical—and that’s where this playful lion plush toy comes in. It’s got no hard parts, is machine-washable and sits upright, meaning it won’t topple over during playtime. Plus, babies who are just starting to perfect their pincer grasp will love plucking the little bird out of its tummy pouch.

Cutest Stuffed Animals for Toddlers

Searching for soft stuffed animals toddlers will adore? You’re in luck! There are plenty of cute plush toys on the market that’ll keep tots happy and entertained. Below are just a few of our favorites.

Puppy Lovey

Jellycat Smudge Puppy Soother Blanket
Grey lovely blanket with plush puppy toy attached
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon | $23.50

Lovies work double duty since tots can use them as both a security blanket and a cuddly toy. This option features a playful pup hugging the edge with long floppy ears (perfect for grabbing and gumming). This is a plushie your little one will surely want to take everywhere.

Otter Stuffed Animal and Board Book

Slumberkins Otter Snuggler
Stuffed otter toy
Image: Slumberkins
Buying Options
Slumberkins | $48

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, mindfulness and self-esteem. We love the heart-clutching Otter Snuggler, which comes with a board book and affirmation cards that promote building connections. And about that removable heart? Your little one can give it to a loved one whenever they have to say goodbye.

Wolf Stuffed Animal

Squishmallows 11" Oakley the Sage Green Wolf Plush Toy
Squishmallow stuffed animal plushie of a wolf in sage green
Image: Target
Buying Options
Target | $11.99

Squishmallows is a stuffed animal brand taking the world by storm. Each member of the squad has a unique personality, but we particularly like this sage green wolf and its twirlable tail. It’s incredibly soft and squeezable, and at only 11 inches tall, it’s the perfect size for toddler snuggles.

Baby Giraffe Stuffed Animal

Melissa & Doug Baby Giraffe Stuffed Animal

Animal-obsessed toddlers are sure to appreciate this cute giraffe. Made with huggably soft fabric, it comes with a pacifier, adoption certificate, care checklist and fun facts about animals in the wild. One thing’s for sure—this spotted safari dweller will make a top-notch cuddle companion for any little one.

Elephant Stuffed Animal

Fly Little Bird 14" Elephant Stuffie
Fly Little Birdie 14" Elephant Stuffie
Image: Fly Little Bird

The best stuffed animals for toddlers spark their little imaginations—which is why we adore this whimsical circus elephant. The mix of soft, textured fabrics and bright patterns will inspire your child during playtime. Plus, the long arms and legs are easy for small kids to grab and hold onto when they want a hug. It’s made from recycled cashmere and cotton, so it’s luxuriously soft and perfect for snuggles. Better yet, Fly Little Bird donates 10 percent of each sale to Donate Life America, so you can be sure your purchase is making a difference.

Llama Stuffed Animal

Manhattan Toy Cozy Bunch Llama Stuffed 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, especially if they’re feeling out of sorts. The ultra soft fabric is complemented by a strokeable furry mane and adorable tail. The llama also has weighted feet, so it’ll stand upright when your toddler wants to set it down.

Two-in-One Tiger Hoodie and Plush

Cubcoats Toddler Tomo the Tiger Transforming Hoodie and Soft Plushie
Tiger plush toy and matching hooded jacket
Image: Walmart
Buying Options
Walmart | $34.95

Last up on our list of the best stuffed animals for tots is this innovative two-in-one plush toy and hoodie by Cubcoats. Yep, that’s right—this soft toy transforms from a cheery tiger into a hoodie in a matter of seconds. It’s made from super cozy, washable cotton, and once your toddler outgrows the hoodie, they can keep the smiling tiger as a travel-friendly pillow. Genius!

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