Dolls are cute, but your child wants something that looks like baby brother or sister. You search and discover reborn dolls. These would be perfect!
Unfortunately, the price quickly dashes those dreams.
Don’t worry! A few companies are making affordable, entry-level “reborn style” dolls that won’t kill your wallet and should give your child the real baby doll he or she dreams about. We’ve put together a list of the best realistic baby dolls. Plus, we’ve answered some questions you may have about reborn and lifelike baby dolls. Let’s take a look.
JC Toys Baby Dolls
JC Toys makes a range of realistic baby dolls and accessories. They also have options for different ethnicities so your child can have a doll that resembles your family. Some of them even come with gift sets!
The La Newborn is a realistic looking, anatomically correct infant. It comes in a pink girl edition or a blue boy edition. It has a soft, scrunched face made of vinyl. It’s smooth like skin but is waterproof. It’s suitable for younger children because it can handle some tough situations and you don’t have to worry about stains or spills on the doll.
It has shoulder and leg joints that bend and rotate. The head turns from side to side. The doll only weighs a bit over a pound, so it’s comfortable for small children to carry around.
It comes with nine different accessories, including a baby shirt and shoes, diaper cover and cloth diaper, and a soft blanket. It also comes with hospital accessories like belly button gauze, a hospital bracelet, and birth certificate.
Watch Out For
Both dolls are very anatomically correct, so don’t choose this doll if you aren’t comfortable with that. It’s in a permanently scrunched position, which might make getting clothes on and off difficult for young children.
Another option from JC toys is the 15 inch newborn. This model features a variety of different facial expressions to choose from, including surprise and laughter. The expressions were created by famed doll designer Salvador Berenguer.
The soft vinyl skin cleans easily, so it’s suitable for younger children who aren’t as gentle with toys. There are a lot of sweet facial details with this doll. Be advised, however, that it’s anatomically correct.
Watch Out For
The shoulders, legs, and head have some movement, which makes dressing and undressing easier. However, the skin tone of the doll has a slight purple shade that might not be ideal for you.
Our final JC Toys doll is another sweet newborn that comes with a knit set. The head and arms move, making it easier to get the doll dressed. Both the boys and girls have sweet details in their faces.
Accessories And Design
This particular set comes with a knit outfit and blanket plus a hat and booties. The doll is anatomically correct, so be sure you’re aware when you gift this to your child. The shoulder and leg joints move, but the position of the arms and back might make it more difficult for a young child to change the clothing.
Watch Out For
The realistic facial expression is a plus. The materials could be a little bit softer, but it is easy to spot clean. You won’t have to worry about a young child spilling liquid on it.
Paradise Galleries Reborn Baby Dolls
Paradise Galleries creates handmade dolls that are realistic and meant to be loved. They use the work of world-renowned doll artists and use proprietary types of vinyl (GentleTouch and FlexTouch) for durable, yet soft dolls. The dolls take inspiration from everyday events, family members, and special parenting moments.
Designed by world-renowned artist, Michelle Fagan, the Tall Dreams set is a sweet newborn that’s 19 inches long. It comes with a 10 piece, pink outfit set and a lot of love.
Paradise Galleries uses a soft type of vinyl for their dolls’ head and limbs, so the feeling of the doll is closer to the texture of skin. The dolls have realistic details like wrinkles, dimples, or other newborn features.
The set includes clothing, a stuffed animal, and a bottle. The features are hand-painted, and eyelashes are hand applied. The cloth body is weighted to feel like a real baby. It’s suitable for children three and older.
Watch Out For
The dolls fit newborn clothing, but the mouth is only partially open. You can’t use a real pacifier with this one, but it does come with a plastic pacifier that fits well.
The nine-piece set comes with fleece clothing, a sweet hat with doggy ears, a bottle, and diaper. It also includes a carrier inspired by designer baby accessories and a matching stuffed dog to go with the hat detail.
The right hand is in thumb-sucking position just like a real baby while the left hand is clenched. The head and limbs are GentleTouch vinyl, and the cloth body is weighted. It feels like a real baby. It even has little details like little newborn wrinkles.
Watch Out For
You can change the clothes to any newborn set of clothing, but some of the included clothing might not hold up to everyday play. Just make sure you check the seaming regularly.
Accessories And Design
The included outfit is owl-themed with a hat and outfit, plus a blankie and owl toy. His face features hand-painted details and hand-applied eyelashes. Paradise Galleries used GentleTouch vinyl for the limbs and head and a weighted soft cloth body for realism.
Watch Out For
The hair is hand painted, so you can’t fix it. It does, however, resemble the wispy hair of a newborn. You can’t use a bottle or pacifier in the closed mouth. If your child decides to change the outfit, preemie clothes should work well.
Adora Realistic Baby Dolls
Adora makes realistic dolls with safety in mind. The company uses hypoallergenic, non-toxic, and BPA free materials. Plus, some of their dolls are machine washable. The company gives back to the community through “Play It Forward” events and strives to create an atmosphere of healthy play. They’re an award-winning company with some fantastic dolls.
The list so far has been newborns (or preemies), but this is the first toddler doll on the list. She has gorgeous blonde hair and Adora’s trademark facial details, including handset blue eyes and eyelashes. All the details are hand painted from her face to her French manicure.
She comes with an outfit that includes leggings and a skirt, a hoodie with cat ear details, open-toed cat sandals, and a pink bow. She’s 20 inches long and made of baby powder scented soft vinyl. The body is weighted for realism.
Watch Out For
She includes a diaper for realistic play, but she’s more suitable for elementary aged children (six and older). She isn’t the size of a real toddler so if you’re looking for a large sized doll, don’t be fooled by the “toddler” style. Otherwise, she’s a beautiful older looking doll.
Woof! Is a boy toddler style doll in a sitting position. He comes with puppy-themed clothing and accessories, including pajamas, a hat, and a bib. He has red hair, hand-set eyes and eyelashes, and hand painted details on his face.
Design and Accessories
The facial expression is a happy toddler. His head and limbs are baby powder scented, soft vinyl, and the body is weighted cloth. He’s comfortable and realistic to carry around. There are realistic details on his body down to the little wrinkles on the bottom of his feet.
Watch Out For
His head and limbs move for more realism, but he’s better suited to elementary age children instead of toddlers. He’s about 20 inches long, so he’s not as big as a toddler. However, he should be comfortable for a child to carry around.
Our final Adora toddler is the Happy Birthday Baby. She’s a sweet toddler style doll with adorable pigtails and a happy face. Her white eyelet dress has a cupcake and candle detail on the front, and she comes with sandals, hair bows, and pantaloons.
She’s about 20 inches long and made of soft, baby powder scented vinyl. Her head and limbs move, so your child can pose her to sit or lie down. She has Adora’s classic handset eyes and eyelashes, as well as hand-painted details including nails.
Watch Out for
Her weighted body feels like a baby but isn’t too heavy for a child to carry around. She’s best suited for younger elementary and over (six plus). Some dolls have significant glue spots in their hair, so be sure you check before you give the doll to your child.
Ashton-Drake Lifelike Dolls
Ashton-Drake is a premier doll company with a wide variety of dolls, not just realistic baby dolls. They use world-renowned designers to create their dolls. They also use premium, realistic materials. Their baby doll lines are lifelike and feature a wide variety of facial expressions. This company may be one of the oldest on the list, but its variety has kept it a favorite of doll collectors for years.
The first in our Ashton-Drake list is this sweet little newborn style doll created by Tasha Edenholm. It uses RealTouch vinyl skin and has hand-painted 11details. It comes with an elephant themed, pink onesie and hat.
It’s positioned in a common newborn position, but is fully poseable and weighted to feel like a newborn. It’s even got realistic fingers and toes. This doll isn’t rated for children, but for adult collectors. It’s best for older children (think middle school and up) or as a doll for learning purposes.
Watch Out For
The doll is a little too small for even preemie clothing, so you may have to get creative here. The included outfit is adorable and should hold you or your child over until you can find a change of clothing that fits.
Another newborn style doll, Sara is poseable and weighted to feel like a real, tiny newborn. It has wispy newborn hair and realistic facial details. The knit outfit is excellent if you’re tired of pink for girls (it’s blue and yellow).
It’s by master doll artist, Linda Murry, and the design is exclusive to Ashton-Drake. It features all the details you love about a newborn, including individual fingers and toes, painted wrinkles, and soft RealTouch vinyl arms and legs.
Watch Out For
The clothing is custom knit for her measurements, so they fit well, but it might be hard to find other outfits that fit so well. The doll is slightly smaller than some of the hyper-realistic dolls on the list, and we recommend looking at newborn or even preemie clothing. Her mouth isn’t open so there’s no bottle or pacifier.
Design And Accessories
When you put your hand to its chest, you can feel its heartbeat. Its chest and stomach rise and fall to resemble the way newborns breathe. It makes tiny cooing sounds just like a sleeping newborn.
It’s moderately posable and has wispy newborn hair. The sleeping expression is very lifelike. It uses RealTouch Vinyl to simulate skin, and the body is weighted. It includes a rose print sleep outfit.
Watch Out For
It’s 19 inches long and requires three AA batteries. The doll is a bit advanced for very young children but is suitable for collectors and older children. The manufacturer recommends 14 plus years old.
Guide to Selecting the Best Reborn Doll
Hyper-realistic dolls aren’t quite like the baby dolls you got as a kid. They’re often “reborn” babies, a term used to describe creating ultra lifelike dolls.
There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing an ultra-realistic baby doll whether for yourself, a child, or someone else. Let’s take a look.
What Is A Realistic Doll?
Realistic dolls are just what they sound like. Cabbage Patch dolls may be cute, but they don’t resemble an actual baby. Realistic dolls have lifelike features, and some of them are even anatomically correct.
Realistic dolls are often appropriate for children because dramatic play is a vital part of a child’s learning process. Around toddler age, children begin mimicking what they see happening around them. A realistic doll helps children step into the role of caregiver.
How Do I Choose A Realistic Doll?
Realistic dolls have a lot of different features, and much of that will depend on your personal preference. Here are some things to consider.
The size of the doll determines what kind of clothing you can get to replace the outfit it comes with. Here is a breakdown of how the length of the doll roughly corresponds to a real baby’s age:
- 17” and under – Preemie and doll sizes
- 18 to19 inches – Newborn (NB)
- 20 to 22 inches- 0-3 months
- 23 to 25 inches- 3-6 months
- 26 to 28 inches- 6-9months
- 29 inches and up – 12months to toddler sizes
The size will also depend on the individual features of the doll. If your doll is in the newborn range but has thicker arms and legs, you might go up a size in clothing.
Realistic dolls have lots of different faces. Do you want a sleeping doll? A happy one? One with an open mouth suitable for pacifiers or other accessories? You can find one.
You can also find dolls that mimic your own skin tone and coloration. Many of the companies on the list have a wide range of ethnicities represented in their realistic dolls. Choose hair and eye colors that make you (or your child) happy as well as skin tones that you prefer.
Some of the dolls have hair embedded in the head using either plugs or glue. Lifelike hair is fun because you can style it realistically. However, for younger children, it might be a headache because lifelike hair is more likely to get matted and tangled. Not so fun.
Painted hair might not seem as fun as lifelike hair, but it is much easier to maintain. If you’ve got younger children, or you don’t want to deal with keeping hair combed, painted hair might be a better option. For newborn dolls, painted hair can look quite realistic.
The type of materials used for dolls also adds an element of realism. Many of these companies use a soft kind of vinyl called GentleTouch or RealTouch. It’s durable, and spot cleans easily, but the texture has a velvety effect similar to baby skin.
The bodies are often soft cloth but weighted like a real baby. If you have a very young child, you should pay attention to the weight of the doll because anything over two pounds might be too much for your child to carry comfortably.
True reborn dolls can be as much as $2000, but don’t worry if that’s not your budget. Some of the realistic dolls on our list are as little as just over $100. The price does often correlate with how real the doll appears, but that isn’t always the case.
Spending that much for a child might make you cringe. You don’t want to have a heart attack every time your child plays with the doll. The threshold for that is up to you, but we recommend more expensive dolls for much older children who can properly care for them.
What Company Is The Best?
We’ve listed four different companies specializing in realistic baby dolls, and they’ve each got pros and cons. Let’s look at a few reasons you might pick one company over another.
JC Toys was established around 1993 and is a family run business. They take their inspiration from the designs of the Berenguer family under the direction of Salvador Berenguer.
The company specializes in anatomically correct reborn dolls. This might be uncomfortable to give your child, but it’s excellent if you’re looking for realistic dolls for instruction purposes or for someone in your family with dementia. Anatomically correct dolls may also be suitable for the grieving process of those who’ve lost children in the past.
They’ve got a lot of choices for ethnicities and sizes of dolls. The company values the environment and actively seeks ways to reduce the impact of production.
JC Toys realistic dolls are mostly affordable and reasonable if you’re on a bit of a budget. However, many of their most realistic dolls don’t have cloth bodies. While this makes it easier to clean the doll, they aren’t quite as cuddly as a weighted cloth body.
Paradise Galleries uses the creative inspiration of a variety of doll artists to create their doll lines. They have an excellent return policy and a variety of ethnicities to choose from.
Paradise Galleries offers a rewards program and a birthday club. If you regularly purchase realistic dolls, both of these programs can help you get points and coupons towards your favorite dolls. Plus, you’re entered to win a free doll every year on your birthday!
Paradise Galleries can be expensive for one of a kind dolls, but they do offer lines that are pretty affordable for “reborn style” dolls. Most of their dolls have weighted, cloth bodies, which are cuddly but not anatomically correct. If you prefer the all-silicon/vinyl look of a reborn doll, this one may not work.
However, the mix of materials makes it better for smaller children. The limbs move a bit easier, making clothing easier to change for little fingers. We recommend Paradise Galleries for comfort dolls for when the soft feeling of the body is more important than the look of vinyl.
Paradise Galleries also has a very user-friendly website where you can find out information about each type of doll line.
Adora is a sister company to Paradise Galleries. This line produces toddler style dolls as well as other dolls and accessories better suited to children rather than collectors (not that you wouldn’t want to collect them!)
The big plus with Adora is that each doll is safety tested and made from hypoallergenic, non-toxic, BPA free materials. Some of the dolls are machine washable. Adora focuses on the benefits of learning through dramatic play, so we recommend these for toddlers through older children.
The toddler dolls we recommended above are excellent for elementary school and older. The dolls are a toddler style, but they aren’t a realistic size or anatomically correct. If you’re looking for realism in your toddler doll, you might find a solution elsewhere. Otherwise, the doll should be realistic enough to be your child’s favorite.
The company also values giving back to the community, so you’re supporting social initiatives such as “Play it forward.”
Ashton Drake’s doll line is extremely varied with a wide range of ethnicities. There’s even a full line of baby monkey and orangutan dolls if you’re looking for something unusual in your realistic doll.
One line we’re in love with is the Truly Real line. These dolls not only look real. They have heartbeats, breathing chests, and make cooing noises. This type of doll may be too expensive to give to a young child, but for an older elementary or middle school child, it could add an element of realism to dramatic play.
Interactive dolls are excellent for older children’s developmental skills. The Truly Real doll isn’t cheap, but it’s a magical addition to the realism of doll-play. (If you’re interested in more interactive dolls, we have just the thing for your curiosity!)
These dolls may also benefit grieving couples because of the realism as well. Those looking for realistic dolls for demonstration or instructional purposes may find the doll less than ideal because of the lack of anatomy, but breathing could be beneficial.
We don’t like Ashton Drake’s website. It’s not quite as user-friendly and ordering directly from the site can take a while for shipping. Buyers on Amazon may have better luck in that regard.
True reborn dolls cost upwards of several hundred to several thousand dollars. If this is your first experience with reborns, the dolls on our list are excellent ways to get your feet wet. They’re beautiful quality and won’t break the bank.
Why are you searching for a reborn style doll? If you’re comfortable sharing, let us know your story in the comments.