Monday, August 30, 2010

girls and dolls

I's 105 degrees outside and we're not even to Fall yet, but I can feel it.  I know the school supplies at Target will only be there for two more weeks.  Then, you know what moves in?? That's right.  The Christmas trees, skirts, lights, ornaments, cards....and then.....the toys.

The commercials are weeks away.  You know the ones.  The sparkle and lights and smiling faces that show kids "You NEED this toy!" Each year I wait to see which newly created craze will end up on my girls' list.  One area I am always amazed with is dolls.  Pretty soon the dolls on the market are going to be so lifelike, we won't need to have more real babies.  :) Recently I was reading one of the girls' library books (you  may remember that they love the Christmas books), and this passage stuck out:

"There were dolls that said mama and dolls that said goo.
 Dolls that made music and dolls that made poo.
There were dolls that grew tall at the push of a button
 and a doll best of all that didn't do nuttin."
How Murray Saved Christmas by Mike Reiss

I wholeheartedly agree.  My  favorite baby dolls are the ones that don't do 'nuttin.' But there are still quite a few baby dolls on the market that are just "stuffed" so I thought I would offer some of my research insight with you on the best options for baby dolls. We also love to encourage baby doll play in our house because I heard a great quote once..."When a little girl plays with a Barbie, she wants to be like Barbie. When a little girl plays with a baby doll, she wants to be like mommy."

Recent research has shown that many of our plastics contain BPA (from phtalates in the PVC).  This chemical has been found to disrupt hormone levels in children especially.  You can now find BPA free bottles, plates, pacifiers, etc.  But what most forget is that the plastics in toys contain the same harmful chemical.  (I won't bore you with the details on whether or not phtalate free PVC is as safe as PVC free vinyl, so let's just stick with one chemical for now).  It's not necessarily a concern unless you have a baby putting the plastic doll in her mouth (which, let's face it...every baby does).  So, for the babies, here are a few BPA free dolls that they can "chew away" on:

Most fabric dolls are of course plastic free (but some still have plastic pellets that contain BPA and can leech into the fabric making it just as unsafe for babies).  Some that claim to be BPA free are:
Pottery Barn Kids:

Our favorite...Corolle Dolls.  They are manufactured in France and contain no BPA.  They also have different dolls for different ages.  The newborn baby dolls are either stuffed with just a plastic face and hands or just a lovey with a face, or completely stuffed and made of cloth.

As your little one gets older Corolle offers dolls for 18 months+.  Our favorite is the Calin doll.  You may remember that a certain "Calin" is my fourth daughter.

Another favorite is Tidoo. She's a Calin that can get wet.

They also have some funky dolls if you like something a little different:

As a bonus, the dolls smell like vanilla.

Another brand we love that contains no BPA is Madame Alexander.  Most know her as the maker of famous porcelain dolls, but she does so much more.  These are a few of her "baby" dolls.

I was recently introduced to a wonderful shop on that makes baby dolls.  Lovies for my Babies. She uses all fabric (great for babies!) and they are all machine washable. She does use "beanbag" type material to weight the babies so I can't be sure if it's BPA free, but they are SO cute! And totally customizable.

As your precious ones get older, it's doubtful that they will be able to avoid the American Girl catalog.  If she isn't ready for the historic dolls (or the 'just like me' dolls), a great option is Bitty Baby.
We have one at our house and she is WELL loved! The great thing about Bitty Baby is that she is a great size and has a plethora of accessories made just for her. She's also available in a multitude of skin tones, hair color, and eye color.

If BPA is not a concern, then some less expensive alternatives are the Fisher Price newborn dolls (and the Target knock off).  Both are made in China, contain BPA, but are stuffed and cuddly, and don't do anything special.
I hope this limited list is helpful for someone. :) Happy Shopping!! And please feel free to add to my list! I love to hear about other baby dolls.


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