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Reborn Dolls and Lifelike Baby Dolls

Updated on April 27, 2012

Reborn Babies

I used to have a friend who collected reborn dolls. I have to admit that some of her reborn babies were so realistic that they were almost a little spooky. Oftentimes, I half-expected the baby dolls to wake up and cry to be fed, changed, or cuddled. My girls had owned some lifelike baby dolls over the years, but nothing that compared to reborn dolls. Reborn babies look so real that they can fool just about anyone. In fact, police have seen the baby dolls in unattended vehicles and have broken into the cars to “save” the babies. If you see one of these reborn dolls in a store with their “moms,” you might never know it isn’t a real baby.


reborn baby boy
reborn baby boy

What are Reborn Dolls?

Actually, several different types of baby dolls are loosely referred to as reborn dolls. I’m not a baby doll collector, but according to what I’ve learned from those who collect baby dolls, the most desirable reborn dolls are those that are created by artists.

Reborning, as the hobby is called, began in the U.S. in the 1990s and has spread to other nations around the world. Artists who specialize in creating the reborn are often called “reborners.”

A reborn baby might have very realistic “skin.” It might feel real to the touch, and practically all reborn babies have skin that looks just like a real baby’s, including visible veins and capillaries. Also, a typical reborn baby has realistic hair, eyelashes, fingernails, toenails, limbs, and facial expressions.

Reborns aren’t generally considered as children’s toys. Instead, most reborn babies are highly prized collectibles, and their prices usually reflect this. On the other hand, some lifelike dolls are well suited for kids, especially older children who understand the care involved.


reborn baby girl
reborn baby girl

What are Lifelike Dolls?

There’s a lot of overlap between the terms “reborn doll” and “lifelike doll,” and they’re often used interchangeably. Based on what my doll collector-pal told me, reborn dolls are usually more detailed than are lifelike dolls. Also, each reborn is unique, while lifelike dolls might be mass produced. In either case, however, these aren’t your typical dolls that you’d normally find in department stores and toy stores.


Reborn dolls are amazing!
Reborn dolls are amazing!

How are Reborn Dolls Made?

Reborn babies, for the most part, aren’t mass produced. Each reborn baby is painstakingly created by an artist who specializes in this unique skill. Several layers of paint are required on the vinyl to make the baby dolls look realistic. For example, real newborns have skin that’s mottled, and the skin on the eyelids and the face might be red or exhibit red patches. A reborn baby reflects these “imperfections.” In many cases, the paint is “baked on” between layers. This makes the finish much more durable, and some reborn dolls can even by wiped off with a damp cloth. Some of the reborn babies have as many as thirty layers of paint.

The hair and eyelashes on a reborn are often put in place individually. This slow and exacting process is usually done with a needle. Some of the baby dolls are weighted to feel just like a newborn baby, too. Most of the time, a drill is used to open the nostrils and ear canals. Once the reborn has been completed to the artist’s satisfaction, the baby doll is dressed in real baby clothing.



Lifelike baby dolls are available in different ages.
Lifelike baby dolls are available in different ages.

Different Types of Reborn Babies

You can find all kinds of reborn dolls: baby boys, baby girls, Caucasians, Asians, African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic, mixed race, blonds, brunettes, redheads, and baby dolls with no hair at all. You can find sleeping babies with closed eyes, or awake baby dolls with open eyes. Some reborns have heads, arms, and legs of vinyl, with soft filled bodies. Other reborn babies are made completely of vinyl. Different ages are available, too. These include preemies, newborn infants, and older babies.

In the past few years, reborn dolls have become more sophisticated, and consumers have more choices. You can find reborn babies that “breathe,” that have heartbeats, that make realistic sounds, and that actually warm up in order to make them more realistic and “snugglier.”

If you can’t find a reborn baby exactly like you want, you can always pay a reborner to custom make a baby doll for you. Of course, these cost more than the regular reborn dolls, in most cases.

You might want to try your hand at creating a reborn on your own. You can purchase reborn doll kits and all the supplies you'll need by shopping online. Should you discover that you have a talent for reborning, you might be able to earn extra income from selling your reborn babies online, at craft fairs, and through private sales.


How Much Do Reborn Dolls and Lifelike Baby Dolls Cost?

Like most works of art, there’s no set price for reborn dolls. Much depends on the artist’s ability and reputation, along with the quality of the individual doll. As mentioned above, custom-made reborn babies might be significantly more expensive. In general, a quality reborn can cost several hundred dollars to well over a thousand dollars. Lifelike baby dolls, on the other hand, don’t usually cost as much. Of course, much depends on how lifelike you want the baby doll to be.


Why Are Reborn Dolls So Popular?

There are lots of reasons as to the popularity of reborn dolls. Some people just enjoy collecting dolls – period. Some consumers appreciate the beauty and artistic aspect of the baby dolls. For others, the reborn might fulfill some inner emotional need to nurture. Many reborn owners who use the dolls for nurturing bathe the reborn babies, buy them new clothes, and even take them out in public. Sometimes parents who have lost a child might commission a reborn doll to resemble the infant or child that they lost.


Reborn babies:

More lifelike dolls:

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    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      I want one of these, it woild be like having a baby forever. This fascinating stuff. I know that these babies are sometimes used in films where newborns are needed. Thanks for sharing.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      True, Cardisa, the reborn dolls are popular with movie makers - no crying! lol

    • mocrow profile image

      mocrow 5 years ago from Georgia

      The reborn dolls I've seen really are amazing! The skin looks SO real. It must take a very talented artist to create reborn babies. Have you ever tried making one yourself? Rated up your hub!

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi habee,

      Wow I can't believe how truly lifelike these dolls are! Thanks for sharing this hub with us, I found it fascinating and am voting up!

      Cloverleaf

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      Mocrow, I haven't gotten up the nerve to try reborning, but I'd really like to. I do paint, so maybe I could learn to create reborn babies. Thanks for reading and for the vote up!

    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 5 years ago

      Hello Habee,

      Oh, i love these dolls. Seen a couple of lifelike ones, but never this 'alive'. They are so adorable, especially the little baby girl with the pink ribbon.

      Didn't realise they are called 'reborns'.

      Thanks for sharing this Habee. I just can't stop looking at them. Such great artistic works.

      Shared & rated up.

      Cheers

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Wow, these are shockingly real-looking! Kudos to the artists who were able to replicate all the details that make them look like actual babies, and not the types of dolls that kids play with.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 5 years ago

      Habee, These are adorable! One of these would also be great to use at a "Baby Shower...!" Quite fascinating! Thank you for sharing, Peace & Blessings!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      These reborn dolls make perfect gifts for young couples who want to raise a family but also like to sleep through the night. And upkeep is minimal. Just a change of clothing every once in awhile when bored.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Clover! Aren't these reborn babies amazing?

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, viryabo. These reborn dolls are so lifelike they're kinda surreal. I really want to try to make one!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      Yeah, LL. I don't see how they do it. I mean, how do you paint vinyl to make it look like real skin?

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, Deb! I hadn't thought about having reborn babies at baby showers. they could be used to teach the future mommy how to dress a baby! lol

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      drbj, you crack me up! I don't think these babies will grow up and take care of you when you get old, though. lol

    • doodlebugs profile image

      doodlebugs 5 years ago from Southwest

      I saw a "Dateline" type show about these. Kind of creepy to me, but I can see the potential for these kind of dolls to help some women (and men) suffering from the loss of an infant. I don't think they are a long term solution for psychiatric care though.

    • profile image

      dolls 5 years ago

      If you're looking for something special, like a Custom Reborn Doll, Native American Reborn Doll,

      or any other Ethnic Reborn Doll then you've come to the right place! We are your source for rare lifelike and realistic baby dolls.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      Doodlebugs, I don't think I'd ever use one to help with the loss of an infant, but I do see how people appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship of reborn dolls and lifelike dolls.

    • profile image

      Shayla 5 years ago

      I'am looking for a reborn baby that can cry,breath,potty, and move if you have any idea were I can find one please tell me.

    • profile image

      zozo 5 years ago

      please make it 10 dolor for my birthday pleas

    • profile image

      Kayla 5 years ago

      I am 14 1/2 and i want a reborn doll for christmas but my mom is going thru a money problem and i dont think i am going to get it this year and i have wanted one for a longtime now and when i look at the pictures of them it is like looking at a dream that will never happen. So if you find one that is cheap let me know thanks. :)

    • profile image

      Anthem's Mommy 5 years ago

      Kayla -

      Paradise Galleries and Ashton Drake have lovely, well priced dolls :]

    • profile image

      destiny 5 years ago

      I love these baby's I want one so much but I don't know where to get thin and I want to know more about thim like can they move and say all the baby stuff. Well thank u

    • profile image

      jayla barbee 5 years ago

      I love reborn dolls.

    • profile image

      marissa campbell 5 years ago

      I am getting twin reborn girls for my birthday february 4th. And i'm nameing them molli and brooklynn. So ha ha ha ha. I am 11 years old and have over 100 dolls. My friend jamie whisman said she got me a dollar tree doll.

    • profile image

      clara 5 years ago

      oi bon dia eu queria uma boneca chamada olivia sera que tem

    • profile image

      Marisa 5 years ago

      i really want a reborn but my dad says they scare him and they might come alive at night and scare you but i think there really cute=[

    • profile image

      Neek 5 years ago

      THESEE ARE SO CUTE I WANT ONE .

    • profile image

      someone somewhere 4 years ago

      i want one so badly, ive searching for such a long time. but my dad says no dolls aloud in his house and my grandma cant afford a hundred dollars. i will get one some day though!

    • profile image

      Rachle 4 years ago

      these baby's are soooooooooo cute I would love to have one but they are to expensive ):

    • profile image

      lensie 4 years ago

      May i please have one they look so cute my aunt has one so she told me about them. thank you.

    • profile image

      Ghd 4 years ago

      Have you got a baby called carson

    • gail641 profile image

      Gail Louise Stevenson 3 years ago from Mason City

      The reborn dolls look so real just like real babies. They look amazing and beautiful in the photos.

    • profile image

      Patricia 2 years ago

      Where is a good place to get one? I want one that is as close to a real baby as possible.

    • profile image

      Trinity Parks 17 months ago

      In love with these dolls!!!! I've been dying to get one, just haven't necessarily found the right one. I've come across a few that I really like but cant find to find a site that sells the dolls that breath, cry, eat, etc) Would greatly appreciate if you have any sites to recommend:)

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