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, varieties, colors, and textures and help support sensory development. They also help improve children’s social skills, empathy, and language skills. However, be sure to pick an age-appropriate 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 To Feel Cozy In 2024
1. Best Tiny Stuffed Animal: Infloatables Llama Stuffed Animal
- 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 plush materials
- Safety-tested and 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 nursery toy activates the electronic functions. Loved by many reviewers, this battery-operated stuffed animal flaps its ears to cover its eyes automatically to play a game of peek-a-boo. You may check out more about this soft plush toy for babies by watching this product review 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 in a soothing muted color stays in a seated position, has an adorable facial expression, and is the ideal size for cuddling.
- Huggable toy is made from plush, soft fabric
- Materials used to make the toy are soft and durable
- Ideal height for infants and toddlers
- Lightweight plush toy for infants
- Stitching might not endure rough play
- May have an unpleasant smell
"Among all the stuffed animals that my daughter has, this one is her favorite. It's undeniably soft, and she finds it very comforting to cuddle with it. I did notice a few loose threads after a while, but despite that minor issue, it has proven to be a great addition to her nursery."
4. Best Teddy With Paw Pad Accents: Gund Philbin Teddy Bear Stuffed Animal
One of the impressive features of this nursery toy is its adorable paw pad accents. This high-quality stuffed animal for babies and toddlers is available in two sizes: 12 and 18 inches. Take a look at this video about a tester’s experience 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
"This teddy bear's softness and cuddle factor stand out. However, sizing and design may raise a concern. Overall, my children and I find it comforting, making it worth buying."
5. Best Life-Like Stuffed Animal: Melissa & Doug Penguin Giant Stuffed Animal
The life-like penguin stuffed toy, by the trusted brand Melissa & Doug, 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
"This plushie quickly became my son’s cherished companion. He loves to carry it wherever he goes. The toy may feel slightly firm to some, but that only helps keep it free of wear and tear. Plus, the size has made it very huggable and perfect for cuddling."
6. Best With Teether: Taggies Sensory Stuffed Animal
This adorable stuffed animal for sensory development is the perfect size for tiny hands to grab and shake. The neutral tan-colored washable toy has embroidered features–its sleepy eyes have been embroidered as well. Your little baby can play with the sloth toy during the day and cuddle with it for a soothing sleep experience at night.
- Comes with a silicone teether ring
- Adorned with interactive satin loop tags
- Offers sensory stimulation
- High-quality stuffed animal with soothing features
- Can be easily cleaned with mild soap
- Comes with a rattle
- May shed over time
- May get dirty
"This adorable sloth toy captivated my little one with its easy-to-hold teether and fascinating tags. Even though it maintains its charm after washing, it's best to handle it with care. Despite a minor concern about the durability of the stitches, the experience has been positive."
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, and makes the perfect gift for your little one.
- Made of polyester
- Designed to be comfortable for a baby to hold
- Cuddly toy for infants
- Surface-washable toy
- Suitable from baby’s birth
- Washing might change the texture
- Seams might come apart
"My children love this Jellycat bunny with its softness and cuddly nature. It also makes a thoughtful gift. While it lacks a dust bag, its quality meets children's emotional and tactile needs. Overall, it's a worthwhile addition to your kids' cuddle collection."
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. According to the reviewers, it looks real and its innocent facial expression can calm the child. You can also use this adorable, soft plush toy as a prop when singing nursery rhymes and songs to your baby.
- 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
"This little fawn plush has won my children's hearts. Although it can struggle to balance at times and initially may have an odd odor, its realistic appeal and huggable size are noteworthy."
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. This stuffed toy with embroidered eyes and horns is safe for your baby to play with. Its muted color is gentle on the baby eyes.
- Neck is of the right size for tiny hands
- Ideal stuffed toy for tactile stimulation
- Rattle stitched within the belly of the stuffed animal makes sounds when the toy is moved
- Suitable gift idea for baby showers
- Stuffed animals with gentle textures
- One antler might be slightly smaller than the other
- Fur may come off
"This soft, cuddly giraffe has become my daughter's favorite. Although the floppy design may make it difficult to sit upright, the gentle, soothing rattle and easy-to-wash material make it worth considering."
10. Best Glowing Stuffed Animal: Fisher-Price Soothe & Glow Seahorse
With endearing eyes and an innocent facial expression, this stuffed toy for nursery is shaped like a large, cuddly seahorse. The calming electronic toy by the trusted brand Fisher-Price can play five minutes of music, eight minutes of lullabies, and relaxing ocean sounds, making it one of the best animal-themed stuffed toys for babies.
- 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
- Battery-operated stuffed animal
- Might be hard
- Lights may not stay on for long
"This seahorse is a hit with my infant due to its soothing lullabies and glowing belly. It's soft and easy to activate for self-soothing. Despite the sound level and battery issue, it's a charming addition to my kid's bedtime routine."
11. Best Portable Stuffed Animal: EpicKids Penguin Plush Stuffed Animal
The penguin-shaped stuffed animal for babies stands at five inches, making it an ideal-size for babies to hold comfortably. It is one of the favorite choices of parents looking for a cuddly companion for their babies.
- Can be carried in a bag while traveling with the baby
- Comes with all embroidered features and no buttons or plastic eyes
- Can be washed by hand in cold water
- Does not have any chemical smell
- Might be smaller than expected
- Stitches might come apart
"I adore this little plush penguin for its comforting nature and cuddle-worthy size. It's a delightful addition to my kids' toy collection."
12. Best Detailed Stuffed Animal: Wild Republic Cuddlekin Sloth Stuffed Animal
The plush sloth toy is an ideal choice of parents looking for a quality toy with an incredible amount of detailing. Its fur is made of high-quality soft fabric that can withstand 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. A perfect gift choice for all occasions, the stuffed toy is made of soft, plush fur and features a realistic nose, eyes, and paws.
- Broad hind paws of the high-quality stuffed animal make it look cuter
- Large floppy ears can cover the eyes – suitable for playing peek-a-boo
- Made from soft polyester and plush material
- Surface-washable toy
- Might be smaller in size than expected
- Arms may not hang down
"This Burrow bunny has become a cherished companion for my children. While its soft, quality fur makes it snuggle-friendly, the facial stitching could have been better. Overall, I would recommend this adorable toy."
14. Best Plush Stuffed Animal: Gund Nayla Cockapoo Dog Stuffed Animal
The stuffed toy resembles the Cockapoo, a cute breed of dog. The tried-and-tested toy by the brand Gund 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 super huggable plush 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
"I found this soft dinosaur plush toy to be a great cuddle buddy for my little one. Despite minor imperfections, it's a total charmer for babies and worth purchasing."
How To Choose The Right Stuffed Animal Toy?
You should consider several factors when buying stuffed toys for babies and toddlers. Here are five things you should check when buying stuffed animals.
- 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 soft fabric and not plastic.
- 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. Also, it is best advised to choose soft toys made using organic cotton for baby’s ultimate safety and comfort.
- 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 modules: 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 stuffed animals for babies to ensure easy care and maintenance.
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 stuffed animal, 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.
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 huggable plushies and stuffed animals for newborns to your baby in their early stages and leave them 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).
Why Trust MomJunction?
Priti Bose is an experienced writer and reviewer of products related to toys and gifts. Her expertise in reviewing products is backed by in-depth research and analysis of user reviews. This article includes the best stuffed animals for babies and toddlers chosen based on real user feedback posted on various websites. These toys from reputable stuffed animal brands are safe, durable, and of good quality. The list also includes a buying guide for your convenience.
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 made by a trusted brand 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. Our top picks are Gund Baby Elephant Plush Toy, an interactive peek-a-boo pal, the very hug-friendly Gund Philbin Teddy Bear, and Infloatables Llama Stuffed Animal complete with faux birth certificate. 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.