It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the number of toys on the market for your little one. From musical electronics, to flashing lights, to colorful building blocks, it’s hard to know which toys are of the highest quality and will help your child reach important developmental milestones. One of the best investments for your baby is to introduce a baby doll at an early age. A baby doll can teach littles one about how to care for others, as well as aid in their learning about how their bodies move and work. Using a baby doll to model appropriate behavior is an excellent way to teach your child new skills, such as showing how to brush one’s teeth on the baby doll or put on socks and shoes. Baby dolls can also foster a young person’s awareness of empathy and compassion by caring for a pretend infant. By choosing a doll made of quality, nontoxic materials, you can be comfortable and confident that you’re providing your child with not only a fun item, but a safe one. This selection of baby dolls offer a variety of styles and appearances so you may not want to stop at choosing only one!
Best First Baby Dolls
(Best option to fit into diaper bag — $)
Why it’s great: At only nine inches tall, this is the perfect doll to keep in the diaper bag for calming and soothing a fussy baby. The embroidered details and soft rattle noise is sure to hold your baby’s attention while out and about. Developed with safety in mind, it’s safe for your baby to hold, hug, and chew on My First Doll Sophia for comfort.
Keep in mind: The accessories are sewn onto the doll so this doll is not intended for dress-up play.
Good for: Babies who need a doll to soothe while on-the-go.
(Doll with the best accessories — $)
Why it’s great: The Manhattan Toy Baby Stella Doll is the perfect size for your tiniest family member. With a magnetic pacifier, velcro outfits, and various accessories depending on which doll you choose, this baby doll is just as fun for your growing toddler as it is for your infant. The soft, plush fabric and details make this the ideal first friend.
Keep in mind: The pacifier uses a magnet to stay on baby’s mouth, making for fun and realistic play. However, it can easily be knocked off and some users noted the pacifier went missing.
Good for: Parents who want various accessories to go along with the doll to entertain their little one for years to come.
(Best machine washable option — $)
Why it’s great: The calm, neutral colors of the JOHN N TREE Organic Cotton Baby’s First Friend make this machine-washable doll the sweetest choice for your little one. It is the perfect size for little arms. Created from durable, organic materials, this charming bunny is sure to last over the years.
Keep in mind: Due to the light colors, the stuffed bunny can easily show stains and may need to be cleaned more often than some others.
Good for: Parents looking for a small-sized doll that fits into baby’s hands.
(Best doll for a good cause — $$$)
Why it’s great: Not only is this doll an adorable companion for your tot, it also supports a good cause. Ethically produced and hand-crafted in Peru, CUDDLE + KIND promises equitable, fair-trade for employment for women artisans. Each style of doll arrives beautifully packaged with its own name and personality card. With a large and small doll included, this baby doll is sure to grow right along with your baby.
Keep in mind: Due to the craftsmanship of this item and quality of materials, it is on the higher end of the price range.
Good for: Parents who want a sustainable and ethically produced doll for their children.
(Best eco friendly option — $)
Why it’s great: Rather than filled with polyester which some little ones can be sensitive to, the Houwsbaby Stuffed Doll is filled with 100% eco-friendly, pp cotton. Handmade with beautiful and precise attention to detail, this soft and cuddle doll also makes a lovely gift.
Keep in mind: The small hair bow can come off, so if giving to an infant, consider removing it ahead of time.
Good for: Infants who are sensitive to polyester.
(Best doll for infants — $$)
Why it’s great: Made from 100% certified organic cotton, the Tikiri Toys Bonikka Baby Kye Doll offers a soft soothing doll to comfort your little one. It’s soft, embroidered face and accessories ensure this doll is safe for infant use from zero months and up. The light and calming color palette makes this a soothing doll for emotional tots.
Keep in mind: The Kye doll is not machine washable and can be surfaced washed with a soft cloth.
Good for: Parents looking for a calming doll for physical and emotional support for their babies.
(Most realistic option — $$)
Why it’s great: The warm, cuddly body and sweet, realistic face of the Madame Alexander My First Baby is an excellent option for a first baby doll due to its life-like qualities and quaint size. The durable hands and face are made from nontoxic materials that allow your baby to tug and grab while exploring his or her new friend.
Keep in mind: The soft, cloth body can occasionally shed its pink fabric over time which can be a concern if baby is mouthing the doll.
Good for: Parents who’d like to expose their little ones to more realistic toys.
FAQs about First Baby Dolls
1. What should I look for when purchasing the first baby doll for my child?
Make sure your chosen baby doll is made from safe, non-toxic materials. Organic cotton and hypoallergenic filling are good choices. Be sure there are no small pieces on the doll that could become a choking hazard if loose. Keep in mind the age you’d like your child to use his or her doll and find one that is appropriately sized. With so many styles and designs, feel free to explore baby dolls of all appearances for your little one.
2. How early can my little one use a baby doll?
A baby doll can be introduced to your little one for supervised play as soon as they arrive! Though, they most likely won’t interact with it until they’re a bit older. Just be sure to not keep any dolls in his or her crib or sleeping setting as they can become a suffocation hazard.
3. How do I take care of my child’s baby doll?
Depending on the type of doll you purchase, many dolls can be cleaned in the washing machine on the delicate cycle and then air-dried. Others can be freshened up and spot treated with a damp microfiber cloth and a natural soap.
4. How should I introduce a baby doll to my child?
Introduce a baby doll to your child by incorporating it during his or her playtime. The baby doll can lie next to your child during tummy time, or sit near your baby while he or she is in a high chair. It can be too stimulating before bedtime, so opt to integrate your little one’s baby doll during a daytime routine to allow time for your baby to get comfortable with it. Once your child is comfortable interacting with the doll, present it during high-stress or emotional times for your baby to use as a source of physical and emotional support.
5. What should my baby doll look like?
Your infant’s baby doll certainly does not have to look like your child. To emulate the world around them, exposure to diverse toys is a great way to enrich your child’s playtime, baby dolls included.
Introducing a baby doll to your little one is a wonderful way to teach empathy towards others, as well as self-care skills and routines. A baby doll is also the perfect avenue to model and show appropriate behaviors and skills for your child. With a myriad of baby doll options available, be sure to choose a doll made from safe, non-toxic materials with no small items that could become choking hazards if loose. Whether you opt for a baby doll that looks like your little one or want to keep a diverse collection of dolls, there’s an option perfectly tailored to your wishes. Baby dolls are the ideal toy to support play-based learning for all children.