The Best Stuffed Animals For Becoming Your Baby’s First Friend

The best stuffed animals for babies have to have something extra special to become your child’s first friend. Not to say there’s a shortage in your nursery: As soon as we announce we’re pregnant, the stuffed toys for your baby start rolling in. They seem to multiply in our sleep and easily overtake the playroom and toy box, not to mention our kid’s bed. However, not all stuffies are created equal. We all remember our favorite stuffed animal, the one that went everywhere with us at home or away.

There’s a variety of things that can make something the most popular stuffed animal with your babe. For infants working on hand-eye coordination, it can be the ease of grabbing it and snuggling it close. Or for those troubled sleepers, plush toys that play soothing sounds outside of the crib can easily swing them into favor. For us mamas, we love organic toys made of plush materials so we know BB is safe from any harmful chemicals while playing with their soft toy.

Are stuffed animals beneficial for babies?

According to Toy Insider’s Charlene DeLoach, they are totally beneficial! Along with being a mother of two and a toy blogger at The Charlene Chronicles, she’s been a toy expert for The Toy Insider for the past decade. In other words…she knows the deal on stuffed animals, plush toys, and plenty more.

“Stuffed animals enable babies to self-soothe and they reduce anxiety and fear,” DeLoach says. “Having a cuddly companion also helps babies learn empathy and develop language skills.”

Are stuffed animals safe for babies?

Please note: The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend stuffed animals or any soft bedding in Baby’s crib until after they’re 12 months old. That means stuffed animals for babies are for supervised playtime only — not for sleeping with. For young children, be sure any plush toy is free of choking hazards, such as button eyes or other details that could pop off and be put in their mouths.

“When shopping for a stuffed animal for a baby, you want to make sure the eyes, mouth, nose, and other markings are embroidered to reduce beads and other embellishments from falling off and potentially causing choking hazards,” DeLoach adds. “Also, look for plush without perfumes, fragrances, or other artificial enhancements and seek natural fibers and fabrics to avoid allergic reactions.”

As long as the toy you choose is designed to be baby-safe, your little one can enjoy some tactile, cuddly play.

At what age do babies like stuffed animals?

Infants may snuggle their plush pals a bit, but babies usually don’t start showing a real interest until they’re about 1 year old!

What to consider when shopping for stuffed animals

DeLoach suggests leaving the bright-colored, sound-making, battery-operated stuffed animals and toys for daytime play only (under adult supervision, of course). If you’re looking for something soothing and cuddly for your baby, consider soft and muted colors instead.

The second thing to consider (which may be most helpful to you, Mama) is to look for stuffed animals that are machine washable. That way you can throw it in the wash with no extra hassle or worry of dirty toys laying around your little one.

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With so many stuffed animals on the market today, it’s hard to know which ones to choose. While it’s largely a matter of personal choice, we’ve curated a list of our favorites from the soft and cuddly to the best baby shower picks for baby’s first stuffed animal. We can’t wait to see all the IG photos of BB’s Teddy Bear Picnics and tea parties!

Best Stuffed Animals

Jellycat is a British brand established in 1999 with the mission of bringing quirky, original, and innovative toys for people of all ages. We think this adorable plush bunny will become Baby’s favorite stuffed animal right from the beginning. Jellycat offers a variety of sizes in all of their plush toys from mini to really huge! Blush Bunny comes in your choice of either 12 inches or 15 inches.

One Reviewer Wrote: “We bought this for my daughter for her first birthday in June 2020. It has been her most cherished possession. ‘Pink Bunny’ does everything with my little girl and is so well-loved. Pink Bunny literally feels like part of the family at this point. She is also extremely durable. I bought the same brand of stuffed animals for my older boys, and these animals have stood the test of time— and the test of being used as nunchucks by an 8 year old boy. When I give a present, this is the only brand I will buy if I want to give a stuffed animal.”

Bedtime Originals super soft Plush Monkey Ollie is smaller than other stuffed animals for tots, measuring just 8 inches tall. The smaller size makes it easier for younger babies to hold and snuggle during playtime. If monkeys don’t really work with your nursery theme, Bedtime Originals has a variety of different plush stuffed animals available on Amazon from elephants to dinosaurs.

One Reviewer Wrote: “My 18-month-old daughter loves monkeys and I got this for her when she was 15 months old and it is her favorite stuffed animal. It is neither too big nor too small- it’s the perfect size for a toddler to carry, hug, cuddle. The monkey’s face is cute as well and the material is soft. Some toys are wasteful but this one was worth it!”

The Vermont Teddy Bear Store has been one of the best stuffed animal brands for decades. While their original Vermont Teddy Bear made them famous, they have since expanded to a variety of plush friends including bunnies, flamingos, sloths, cats, and this super cute giraffe, to name a few. The Vermont Teddy Bear Store on Amazon also has a lifetime guarantee.

One Reviewer Wrote: “Bought this plush giraffe for my giraffe loving granddaughter. The plush is very soft with colorful and realistic detail. My granddaughter picked it out for herself and was very pleased with it when it arrived.”

The GUND Fab Pals feature three fluffy friends that are so snuggly and cute, you’ll want to keep it for yourself. Baby will love touching the soft fur, and since they’re able to sit upright on their own, they’re ideal for displaying on a shelf or on your tot’s bed once they’re a bit older. This collection features Roswell the sloth, Ramona the gorilla, and Rylee the owl, all equally adorable and huggable. Now, for the hard part: Having to choose between them!

One Reviewer Wrote: “I should have known that this owl would be amazing quality, since it is a GUND plush. I have no doubt that it will hold up in the washing machine, like all great plush animals. This one is beautifully soft, cuddly and fluffy (but sturdy and sits well).”

I know, I know — it’s yet another GUND. But, it’s so hard to match the popular plush company when it comes to reliability and cuteness. This bear is no exception. With its droopy eyes and upright posture, it’s just waiting for hugs and cuddles. Named “Kobie” by the company, this surface-washable bear is bound to become a cherished friend for the years ahead.

One Reviewer Wrote: “Love everything about this Gund bear. I have a big collection of teddy bears and Kobie became one of my favorites instantly. I mostly collect Gund Snuffles but this guy makes a warm and fuzzy addition. His smile is too cute and his fur is some of the softest I’ve ever felt.”

Best Stuffed Animals For Babies

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a must for any nursery. Your LO will love this board book set combined with an infant-sized plush stuffed caterpillar that’s easy for little hands to grab. It will bring the story to life and will delight babies and toddlers for years to come while reading this classic favorite.

One Reviewer Wrote: “The book and stuffed animal are great. It makes the story come alive for the kids. Highly recommend.”

Peek-a-Flap Moo is a new modern classic that introduces fun on the farm with vocabulary words, engaging flaps with hidden surprises, and facts about all of the animals. This set comes with a soft stuffed cow that’s perfect for playing along with the story, but it won’t take up too much precious space — the downside that stuffed animals are known for!

One Reviewer Wrote: “My granddaughter loves this book and cow! i read it to her all the time and its super sturdy for small kids!”

Musical Stuffed Animals For Babies

Flappy the Elephant will be your baby’s favorite playtime plush with two different play modes. Pressing Flappy’s left foot will start an interactive game of peek-a-boo and pressing the right foot will play the Do Your Ears Hang Low? With over 33,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, Flappy is a beloved toy in households across the world!

One Reviewer Wrote: “I gave this to my girlfriend’s granddaughter. She loved it. She laughed, played peek-a-boo and hugged her the entire time I was visiting. She is 13 months old.”

Hands down the best stuffed animal for Baby to have in their room is Cloud b’s Soothing Sounds White Noise Machine (it even comes with a velcro strap on the back so you can secure it outside the crib.) The original Sleep Sheep has been soothing infants for years and has now expanded to Ella the Unicorn, Frankie the Fox, and a few other lovable characters. All are available with 8 different soothing sounds and the option to play a mother’s heartbeat to help lull Baby to sleep.

One Reviewer Wrote: “My daughter uses these for my two granddaughters, she has one for each. When she puts them in the bed/crib and the sleep sheep goes on, the girls, ages 1 & 3, know it is sleepy time and they lay right down. They get one of the water sounds for afternoon naps and the whales for night time, she has done this since birth and I have never in my life seen kids go down so easily!”

We love this Baby Einstein Octoplush toy for its use of color, music, and fun! It’s huggable and soft, but it also includes classical songs for brain development (and for mama, a volume control button!). As an added bonus, this plush toy can name colors in English, French, and Spanish, which toddlers will especially love! One mama reviewer comments, “My six-month-old absolutely adores this toy. She hugs it really hard and will wiggle along to the music. It is very easy for her to push the buttons and manipulate the toy. It was definitely worth the cost for how much she loves it.”

One Reviewer Wrote: “Got this for my now 4 month old a little while ago. He seems to enjoy the cute face and songs it plays. Small enough to take places and soft enough to have in baby’s car seat with them. Once he’s grabbing things I could see him enjoying interacting with the toy and learning colors. The toy has two sound volumes which is nice and the songs are very pleasant. Would definitely recommend.”

Best Organic Stuffed Animals

If you’re looking for an organic plush, this friendly puppy may be the perfect fit for your household. Made from natural organic cotton, this pup is the perfect size for hugs. Don’t let the fact that it’s white deter you — this little guy is machine-washable, and ready for any spills or dribbles that may come his way. It’d make a great baby shower gift, or just an anytime present for the newborn in your life.

One Reviewer Wrote: “So cute and soft. I love it, my little boy loves it. Highly recommend this brand, great quality and customer service.”

It’s hard to say no to this stuffed dinosaur. Not only is it adorable, but it’s also made from organic cotton. Great for babies starting at three months old, this is a toy that can span throughout their whole childhood. Have a dino-themed nursery? This can also serve as decor, or as a creative and cute way to top your child’s first post-crib bed. It’s very soft, and capable of being hand-washed or machine-washed.

One Reviewer Wrote: “Our son received this as a gift at three months old. He was immediately drawn to it as the tail was perfect for putting in his mouth. It was the first toy his eyes lit up for and it has ended meltdowns effectively. Now he’s almost a year old and still loves his dinosaur. He’s graduated to chewing on its head as well so he’s getting extra use from it. He loves it so much I found it on here so I could buy a back up in case anything happens to the original. Great plush toy for little ones.”

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