Toddlers and babies adore plushies and stuffed animals. The best stuffed animals for babies and toddlers offer comfort to little ones and make for perfect playtime companions. So if your little one has gotten used to holding on to you while falling asleep and is going to begin sleeping in their own bed soon, getting them a plushy can help them feel secure and comfortable.
Animal stuffed toys come in various sizes and varieties. However, be sure to pick an age-appropriate-sized plushie if you plan to let your baby sleep with it. Check out our list to explore the top stuffed toys that can be an ideal cuddle buddy for your kids.
15 Best Stuffed Animals For Babies
1. Best Tiny Stuffed Animal: Infloatables Llama Stuffed Animal
The tiny stuffed animal toy is shaped like a llama and comes with an adorable little blanket of its own, with the words “No ProbLlama” written on it.
- Comes with a jovial faux birth certificate for parents to fill
- Wrapped in a pretty ribbon, which makes it ideal for gifting
- Made from high-quality materials
- Complaint with US child safety standards
- Stuffing might have a slight odor
- May be small
2. Best Embroidered Stuffed Animal: Gund Baby Animated Flappy The Elephant Plush Toy
Introduce your little one to Flappy, the softest, cuddliest elephant in town. A button on each foot of the toy activates the electronic functions. The stuffed animal flaps its ears to cover its eyes automatically to play a game of peek-a-boo. You may check more about this product from this video.
- Surface can be cleaned easily with a cloth soaked in soapy or plain water
- Material is soft and huggable
- Details, such as the eyes and the claws, are embroidered and not made of plastic
- Two play modes
- Some might find the elephant’s voice loud
- May not be durable
3. Best Huggable Stuffed Animal: Ebba Lil Benny Phant
This ultra-plush baby elephant stuffed animal stays in a seated position and features an adorable facial expression.
- Huggable toy is made from plush fabric
- Materials used to make the toy are soft and durable
- Ideal height for infants and toddlers
- Stitching might not endure rough play
- May have an unpleasant smell
4. Best Teddy With Paw Pad Accents: Gund Philbin Teddy Bear Stuffed Animal
One of the impressive features of this toy is its adorable paw pad accents. This stuffed animal for babies and toddlers is available in two sizes: 12 and 18 inches. Take a look at this video to learn more about this product.
- Bear is designed to stay in a seated position
- Front arms are arched to allow a child to hug the teddy bear
- It is surface-washable
- Made from durable polyester blend
- Not machine-washable
- Might be too tall for some children
5. Best Life-Like Stuffed Animal: Melissa & Doug Penguin Giant Stuffed Animal
The life-like penguin stuffed toy stands on two feet, which makes it a suitable toy for older toddlers. The soft fur fabric is made entirely of polyester, which is safe and durable.
- Captures the features of the penguin, such as flippers, webbed feet, and colored neck, in detail
- Stays in a standing position just like a real penguin
- Quality construction
- Suitable for pretend play
- Might feel slightly stiff
- Might be slightly big for some
6. Best With Teether: Taggies Sensory Stuffed Animal
This adorable plush sloth toy is the ideal size for tiny hands to grab and shake. It is a neutral tan-colored toy with embroidered sleepy eyes. Your little baby can play with the sloth toy during the day and cuddle with it for a calming and soothing sleep at night.
- Comes with a silicone teether ring
- Adorned with interactive satin loop tags
- Offers sensory stimulation
- Can be easily cleaned with mild soap
- Comes with a rattle
- May shed over time
- May get dirty
7. Best Stuffed Animal For Cuddling: Jellycat Bashful Beige Bunny Stuffed Animal
Bring home your baby’s first bunny friend that looks and feels soft and huggable. The toy is available in seven sizes ranging from five inches to 50 inches.
- Made of polyester
- Designed to be cuddly and comfortable for a baby to hold
- Suitable from baby’s birth
- Washing might change the texture
- Seams might come apart
8. Best Realistic-Looking Stuffed Animal: Aurora World Miyoni Fawn Stuffed Animal
The doe-eyed stuffed animal is shaped like a fawn and appears in a crouched, seated position for extra cuddles.
- Detailed use of realistic fur, color choice, and patterns
- Plastic eyes look realistic and are stitched close to the body
- Suitable for all ages
- Easy to clean
- Might be slightly stiff
- Might be small for some
9. Best Stuffed Animal With Rattle: Ebba Loppy Giraffe Stuffed Animal
Everyone loves giraffes, and with this adorable creation to cuddle with every day, your baby will too. The stuffed animal has embroidered eyes and horns, thus making it safe and realistic.
- Neck is of the right size for tiny hands
- Rattle stitched within the belly of the stuffed animal makes sounds when the toy is moved
- Suitable gift idea for baby showers
- One antler might be slightly smaller than the other
- Fur may come off
10. Best Glowing Stuffed Animal: Fisher-Price Soothe & Glow Seahorse
With endearing eyes and an innocent facial expression, this stuffed toy is shaped like a large, cuddly seahorse. Its electronic module can play five minutes of music, eight minutes of lullabies, and relaxing ocean sounds.
- Belly of the stuffed animal glows when the toy is gently squeezed
- Light has a soft yellow glow that’s soothing and ambient
- Electronic module can be switched off
- Parents can control the volume level
- Might be hard
- Lights may not stay on for long
11. Best Portable Stuffed Animal: EpicKids Penguin Plush Stuffed Animal
The penguin-shaped stuffed animal for babies stands at five inches, which babies can hold comfortably.
- Can be carried in a bag while traveling with the baby
- No buttons or plastic eyes on the toy as all parts are embroidered
- Can be washed by hand in cold water
- Does not have any chemical smell
- Might be smaller than expected
- Stitches might come apart
12. Best Detailed Stuffed Animal: Wild Republic Cuddlekin Sloth Stuffed Animal
The stuffed sloth toy has an incredible amount of detail, including fur made of high-quality fabric designed to survive hours of immersive play.
- Soft and cuddly toy makes an ideal gift for toddlers
- Arms of the stuffed animal are long enough to be wrapped around the toddler’s neck
- Appropriate size
- Excess washing may cause fur to shed
- Fabric edges might be scratchy
13. Best Peek-A-Boo Stuffed Animal: Melissa & Doug Burrow Bunny Rabbit
Here’s a cuddle buddy for your little one that they will never want to let go of. The stuffed toy is made of soft, plush fur and features a realistic nose, eyes, and paws.
- Broad hind paws of the stuffed animal make it look cuter
- Large floppy ears can cover the eyes – suitable for playing peek-a-boo
- Made from soft polyester
- Might be smaller in size than expected
- Arms may not hang down
14. Best Plush Stuffed Animal: Gund Nayla Cockapoo Dog Stuffed Animal
The stuffed toy resembles the Cockapoo, a cute breed of dog. The toy features a fur color that is the same as that of a Cockapoo.
- Materials are soft, plush, and comfortable for a baby to cuddle
- Soft toy is surface-washable
- Eyes of the stuffed animal are stitched firmly close to the toy
- Appropriate size
- Might shed slightly
- May not stay up
15. Best Standing Stuffed Animal: Marsjoy Green Stuffed Dinosaur Plush Stuffed Animal
For little ones who love dinosaurs, this is a suitable stuffed animal toy. Crafted from high-quality materials, the unique and colorful creature feels soft and comfortable to hold.
- Made from huggable material and filled with soft polypropylene cotton
- Designed to stand on its own, on all four legs
- Surface-washable for easy maintenance
- Available in various colors
- Seams might come apart
- Head might be floppy
Things to Check When Buying A Stuffed Animal Toy
You should be careful about the type of toys, including stuffed toys, you buy for babies and toddlers. Here are the five things to check when buying stuffed animals for babies.
- Check the stitching: Stuffed animals usually have many parts stitched together. Check the quality of the stitching, and how the other parts, such as the eyes, tail, and nose, among others, are attached to the toy before you buy it. Small, detachable plastic parts can come off the toy when pulled and could become a choking hazard for the baby. You may avoid the risk by choosing stuffed animals that have eyes made of fabric and not plastic.
- Inspect color: Some inferior quality stuffed toys may give away color. Avoid toys with gaudy and sparkling colors since the paint may not be baby-safe. Pick toys made of organic fabric colors or dyes.
- Short fur for young babies: Stuffed animals with short fur, of a few centimeters, are safer for babies. The short fur doesn’t easily come off or fall, and removes the risk of the baby chewing or swallowing strands of fur they could choke on.
- Electronic module out of baby’s access: Some stuffed toys have an electronic module that is used for producing light and sound effects. Such components should ideally be nestled and zipped in a pouch within the toy beyond the baby’s access.
Check these points to ensure the toy is safe for the baby to play. Also, go for washable toys.
Most importantly, ensure that the baby does not sleep with the stuffed animal toy, as it could increase the risk of suffocation. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, stuffed toys could increase the risk of suffocation since the baby can roll over the soft toy, which could restrict their airflow (1).
Stuffed toys could be placed on the bed when the baby is 18 months old and is allowed to sleep with a pillow (2). However, it is best to avoid placing any toys on the child’s bed. Let them play with the toys in the play area or play gym.
Why Trust MomJunction?
Priti Bose is an experienced writer and has reviewed products related to toys and gifts. Her expertise in reviewing products is backed by in-depth research and analysis. This article includes the best stuffed animals for babies and toddlers chosen based on real user feedback posted on various websites. These toys are safe, durable, and of good quality. With detailed features, the list also includes a buying guide for your convenience.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What kind of stuffed animals do babies like?
Babies like stuffed animals with the softest fur, the friendliest features, and an appropriate size, and those with additional accessories such as a blanket and a teether ring.
2. Is a teddy bear good for babies?
Yes, teddy bears make the best cuddle partners and their first friends. Teddy bears also encourage empathy, social skills, and language development in children.
3. How should I introduce stuffed animals to babies?
As babies tend to copy the actions of their parents, start playing with the stuffed animals to encourage your baby to play with them. Also, introduce stuffed animals to your baby in their early stages and leave the stuffed animals in their room so they can get familiar with them.
4. Does hugging stuffed animals release oxytocin?
Oxytocin is a hormone that is secreted by our pituitary gland. It can be released through cuddling, which helps reduce stress and makes us feel calm and collected (1).
Every child has that one stuffed animal that becomes a lifetime memory. If you’re ready to get your little one a cute stuffed animal toy, make sure you look for a good-quality, durable one that stays with your baby for several years. To ensure this, check the stitching of the toy. Available in various colors and designs, you can pick an animal your child loves. Once you find a stuffed animal toy of your child’s liking, they’ll cherish it forever, both while they play and in their memory in the later years.
Infographics: How To Clean And Maintain Stuffed Animal Toys?
Stuffed animals are cute and make great cuddle buddies. But the toys need regular maintenance to keep them hygienic and germ-free. Using abrasive detergents on animal toys may damage the softness of the stuffed animals. So, to make the cleaning process easier, we have compiled the infographics below to take you through the cleaning process.
2. Safe Sleep: Bedding, Pillows, Safety and More; United States Consumer Product Safety Commission