Expert advice on choosing a doll for a baby or child aged up to 12 months.
Why buy a doll for a baby ?
While a young baby won’t use a doll for imaginative play in the same way older children do, little ones and even newborns can still get a lot out of loving a doll companion.
Soft, tactile dolls are entertaining and engaging for babies to explore. They can also provide comforting snuggles when it’s time to settle down and sleep.
If you’re keen to introduce the baby in your life to his or her first doll best friend, there’s no need to wait until they’re older – just be sure to choose a doll that’s appropriate for the child’s current age and stage of development.
What safety issues do I need to consider?
Safety is paramount when purchasing any children’s toy, and there are particularly important issues to consider before buying a gift for a baby.
Children’s behaviour changes and their play becomes more sophisticated as they get older – but babies are at the very start of their developmental journey, and their first instinct when confronted with a new toy is likely to be to put it in their mouth.
Most babies suck and chew for comfort, so it’s crucial that any doll you purchase for a baby doesn’t have loose fibres. Wool or cotton threads on doll clothing, for example, could be breathed in.
Similarly, it’s vital to make sure that a doll for a baby features no removable or loose parts that could come off – for example, buttons or other decorative items such as jewellery – as these could represent a choking risk.
Dolls marked as suitable from birth on our website meet all of the above criteria, and all are tested to ensure compliance with European Toy Regulations EN 71.
What else should I think about?
In addition to considering safety, it’s also worth thinking about other things that might affect how a baby interacts with his or her doll companion.
Little ones’ still-developing muscles aren’t strong, so it’s important that any doll you give to a baby is light and easy for them to move around.
A doll made from natural, breathable materials may also be preferable in order to make sure that baby’s skin doesn’t become too warm or irritated during doll snuggles. Synthetic fabrics can feel scratchy and uncomfortable in comparison to options such as brushed cotton or velour.
It’s also important to think about how you (or baby’s parents!) will keep any doll purchased for a very young child clean and hygienic.
Frequent washing will be important if a little one’s companion is likely to be sucked and chewed on a daily basis – so picking a doll for a baby that’s machine washable makes a lot of sense.
Our favourite dolls for babies
The Gotz Baby Pure Starry Sky Doll is a great choice for a newborn baby.
At 33cm long she’s not too long for tiny hands. Her moulded hair means no loose fibres and she comes with a shell face rather than a solid head, keeping her light and comfortable to cuddle.
All of Baby Pure’s soft parts are made from certified organic materials, and her clothes are safely sewn on. For easy cleaning, she is machine washable and can also be tumble dried.
Similar to Gotz Baby Pure Starry Sky doll is Gotz Baby Pure Vintage doll who wears gender neutral turquoise, green and brown clothing. A doll like this would make a good baby’s first gift. It would also leave it open for the child to choose the gender of their doll, as well as a name!
The Schildkrot My First Baby Doll, slightly smaller at 28cm, has a wipe-clean body made from phthalate-free vinyl.
Her soft, luxurious velour babygrow is made from the same fabric used in clothes for real babies – so it’s ideal for little ones to snuggle up to! It’s also easily removable and machine washable at 30 degrees. There’s also My First Baby Doll in Blue for a girl or boy, and My First Baby Doll in a sweet little multi-colour outfit.
Age 10 months +
We love Petitcollin Anibabies for this age group.
Their soft furry outfits are really their actual bodies as the clothing, apart from the hat, is not removable. Their limbs and head are made from soft to the touch vinyl. The vinyl is lightly scented with vanilla which children love. Their brown eyes close when they are laid down to sleep.
Happy to help…
Whether it’s a gift for a newborn baby, or you are choosing a toy for a child already sitting up and enjoying play, we hope this post has helped you find the perfect doll for the baby in your life.
If you have any further questions, though, we’re always happy to help! Please do get in touch and we’ll do our best to answer them as soon as possible.