Using open-ended toys that cultivate your little one’s imagination is a great way to encourage his or her creativity when playing with others or independently. Introducing a soft-bodied baby doll to your child not only offers a safe, engaging toy for little ones but also provides them with hands-on play that nurtures empathy and kindness. Made with a soft body and either a plush or plastic head, soft-bodied dolls are designed for little kids to play and cuddle with safely. From machine-washable options to a variety of skin tones and hairstyles, this selection of soft-bodied baby dolls are the perfect addition to your child’s play space.
Best Soft-Bodied Baby Dolls
(Best for imaginative play — $)
Why it’s great: With eyes that can open and close and the ability to suck her thumb or pacifier, the Melissa and Doug Mine to Love Jenna 12” Soft Body Baby Doll is perfect for sparking your tot’s imagination. The arms and face can be wiped clean while the matching romper and cap are removable. This doll offers a myriad of imitation play scenarios that can help foster your child’s sense of empathy and kindness toward others.
Keep in mind: The bonnet sits on top of the doll’s head and can be difficult to keep in place when playing with the doll.
Good for: Parents who want a toy that can help ignite their children’s imaginations.
(Best organic option — $$)
Why it’s great: Made from 100% certified organic cotton, the soft-bodied baby doll is ideal for parents looking for a safe, nontoxic doll option. The soft, blue dress with embroidered details of the Tikiri Toys Bonikka 100% Organic Baby Kaia Doll makes this doll a toy to treasure through the years. The soft and huggable body is perfect for children needing a cozy companion and the charming bandana is a fun addition.
Keep in mind: The exterior of the doll is made from 100% cotton while the filling is 100% polyester.
Good for: Parents who prefer toys made from organic and natural fabrics.
(Most doll options — $$)
Why it’s great: The warm smile and open embrace of the Manhattan Toy Baby Stella Brown Doll invites your child to endless hours of imaginative play. This soft-bodied doll comes in a variety of skin tones and hair options so you can choose from a diverse selection of doll options. The magnetic pacifier and changeable clothes offer a number of ways for your little one to interact with this doll.
Keep in mind: The hair is on the stiffer side and not meant to be combed or brushed.
Good for: Parents seeking soft-bodied baby dolls that offer a variety of skin tones and hairstyles.
(Best washable option — $)
Why it’s great: The Baby Alive Sweet ‘n Snuggly Soft Bodied Washable Doll is fully machine washable so there’s no need to worry about spills and stains when playing with this doll. The bottle accessory is filled with colorful beads while the candy-themed outfit is bright and cheerful. This soft bodied baby doll’s thumbs and toes can be placed in her mouth just like a real baby’s, and her soft center is perfect for hugs and snuggles.
Keep in mind: The doll is on the smaller side and best for children under the age of three.
Good for: Parents who want a doll they can clean quickly and easily in the washing machine.
(Best for infants — $)
Why it’s great: This soft bodied baby doll is entirely machine washable, making it the perfect addition for babies who may still spit up or have diaper leaks. The HABA Snug-up Dolly Luisa 8”My First Baby Doll’s fleece hat and romper are sewn on while her face is printed, ensuring there are no small parts that could become a choking hazard for infants. This baby doll can help promote your tot’s social and emotional development while also helping your little one feel secure by having a soft companion close by.
Keep in mind: It is recommended to allow the doll to air dry after washing it in the washing machine.
Good for: Parents looking for a first baby doll for their infant.
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(Best unisex option — $)
Why it’s great: The unisex design of the The New York Doll Collection Store 11 Inch Soft Baby Doll makes this the perfect playmate for both boys and girls. The vinyl arms, legs, and face can be wiped clean while the romper and hat are machine washable. The gentle mouth opening of this baby doll works with his thumb, bottles, and the included pacifier, providing realistic play for your child.
Keep in mind: The baby doll is not designed to sit upright independently which may be frustrating for children who want the doll to imitate themselves.
Good for: Parents who want a soft bodied baby doll that caters to both girls and boys.
(Best for sleep and play — $$)
Why it’s great: The Plushible Bridging Miles with Smiles 18” Sharewood Forest Friends Soft Rag Doll is made entirely of soft plush, making her ideal for play as well as for nap time and bedtime cuddles. The soft bodied baby doll is thoughtfully designed with embroidered details that don’t pose a choking risk. The adorable, removable clothing can be swapped with any other 18 inch dolls.
Keep in mind: The tights and shoes on this doll are sewn on and cannot be removed.
Good for: Children who want a soft doll they can use for both play and sleep.
The Melissa and Doug Mine to Love Jenna 12” Soft Body Baby Doll is our overall top recommendation. It's the highest quality product we have found with the most affordable price making it the best value on our list..
FAQs about Soft-Bodied Baby Dolls
1. Why should I opt for a soft-bodied baby doll?
As opposed to a hard bodied baby doll, a soft bodied baby doll is easier for your little one to cuddle with, making it an ideal companion for rest time. The plush, soft design of these baby dolls allows these options to be used by both infants and children, meaning this selection of dolls can grow with your child.
2. How do I care for a soft-bodied baby doll?
Most soft bodied baby dolls can be spot cleaned with a soft microfiber cloth and a gentle soap. Hard surfaces, such as the face and hands, can be wiped clean. Some soft bodied baby dolls are entirely machine washable and can be cleaned on the gentle cycle. Check the care instructions on the doll of your choice to ensure proper cleaning is followed to extend your baby doll’s life.
3. What should I look for in a soft-bodied baby doll?
When looking to purchase a soft bodied baby doll, opt for a style that is made for your little one’s current age. An entirely plush doll under 12” works best for infants, while a more realistic looking doll over 12” might be of more interest for older children.
4. How do I introduce a soft-bodied baby doll to my child?
Allow your children to use their imaginations when playing with their baby dolls without enforcing structured play routines. You can model appropriate behavior with the baby doll and allow them to imitate your actions as they feel comfortable.
5. At what age can my child use a soft-bodied baby doll?
Most soft bodied baby dolls will provide an age recommendation for their specific doll, typically from birth through toddlerhood. If using a doll to comfort your little one for sleep, be sure to follow all current safe sleep recommendations and not have any items in the crib if he or she is under the age of one.
Soft bodied baby dolls are designed to not only be an engaging and open-ended toy option for little ones, they can also help foster important life skills. Encouraging empathy and self-care skills, introducing a soft-bodied doll for even the youngest babies can provide a comfortable companion for your tot. This selection of soft-bodied baby dolls are perfect for cuddling and snuggling as well as realistic and imaginative play. With a variety of baby doll options, unique accessories, and a range of price points, you can be sure to find the perfect soft bodied baby doll match for your child.