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What is a reborn baby?

Reborn baby, reborn baby doll, lifelike babies, newborn dolls, …

You might be more or less familiar with these terms depending on how much you have immersed yourself in the world of these realistic lovely dolls that just look and feel like real newborn babies.

The thing is that they are getting more and more popular, and for sure there are several reasons for that.

Let’s try to give a comprehensive explanation of what reborn babies are and what makes them so special.

Reborn baby, reborn baby doll, lifelike babies, newborn dolls

Difference between a doll and a reborn baby doll – One of a Kind

Basically, a reborn baby doll is a doll that has been artistically modified to resemble as much as possible a real baby. And when we say “as much as possible”, we really mean it. 

Russian Doll Cloth Doll

Reborn Baby Doll

Russian Doll Cloth Doll Reborn Baby Doll

These dolls are sometimes so realistic that have embarrassed people who have mistakenly taken them as real babies. In few occasions, police broke into a car thinking they were rescuing a baby and it tourn out to be a reborn.

 real babies

Many times, when looking at pictures of some of these amazing creations, it is literally impossible to guess if they are dolls or real infants. 

Resembling a real baby, but not only that…

However, as reborn artist Melanie Katryn explains, a reborn is not simply a “realistic-looking doll”. It is true that reborn dolls aim the closest similarity to a real baby by presenting a very natural skin color, texture, weight, feel, hair or gestures, but for a doll to be considered a reborn there are few requirements that need to be met.

Resembling a real baby, but not only that

Reborns are carefully hand-made throughout a long and time-consuming process. Each one of them is a unique work of art and consequently they become precious collector’s pieces. Probably, the most valued feature of reborn baby dolls is that each one of them is “One Of A Kind”.

Resembling a real baby, but not only that

Why are they called “Reborn”?

All the steps that are part of the creation of a reborn life-like doll are long, arduous and require specific artistic talent that not everyone has. The artist, or reborner, spends hours and hours (sometimes even weeks and months) crafting the reborn baby.

Why are they called “Reborn”?

In many cases, artists would use an existing vinyl doll and transform it into a reborn by manually adding many layers of paint (sometimes up to 60 layers for darker skin tones)*, rooting its hair, adding glass eyes, eyelashes, and providing many other realistic details. It is understood then, that the old doll has been reborned into a new one. That is why this process of artistically transforming an ordinary doll into a more realistic looking baby is called “Reborning”.

Adoption and Birth Certificates

Reborn dolls are not usual dolls and they are definitely not toys. This is why, many artists and collectors will not talk about buying and selling reborn babies. Instead, they talk about “reborn babies for adoption”. Whenever a person decides to get a reborn baby doll, the baby will usually be posted to her with a welcome pack, including the adoption certificate or birth certificate (depending if we are talking about a case of reborning or newborning).

Adoption and Birth Certificates


As you can imagine, there is lots of hard work and time involved into reborning a doll. The production cost of it, including the original doll parts, the paints, the tools or the accessories, and, especially the time required to create a reborn baby doll, are factors that add up to the price of these life like babies.


The cost of these realistic dolls is hugely variable, and it might range from a bit over hundred dollars up to several thousands. There are many aspects that might influence the price of a reborn doll, but they mostly have to do with the type of materials used (vinyl, silicone or a mix of both), the quality of these materials, their ability to achieve a higher realistic look and feel, and especially the talent and reputation of the reborn artist.

Most of these babies are adopted online, especially through specific reputable sites, online marketplaces and social media platforms.

Use of Reborn Dolls

However, the hobby of reborn baby dolls has something unique that sets it apart from any other hobby. This is the strong bond that collectors develop with their babies, whom they take care of and learn to love from the first moment.

As said above, Reborns are considered unique and valued pieces of art. They are not considered toys and, in general, are not meant for kids to play. Reborns are usually bought by collectors, who mostly enjoy treating them as the real babies they resemble.

Use of Reborn Dolls

Therapeutic Value

However, as this art and hobby is gaining popularity, many critical voices have appeared defending people’s freedom of choice and highlighting the benefits of collecting and playing with reborn dolls. The powerful therapeutic value of reborn baby dolls has been shown in many occasions. 

For example, reborn baby dolls have played a crucial role on grieving and comforting women who were unable to have children, mothers who lost a child or grandmothers who were feeling lonely after their beloved grandchildren grew up.

Therapeutic Value

Reborn baby dolls have also been recently introduced in some care centres for the elderly, with very positive results, especially with Alzheimer’s patients, helping them to feel calmer.


Therapeutic Value

The Reborns healthy side

Who does not love to hold a baby? It has been scientifically proven that holding a baby has great benefits also for adults as it releases oxytocin, the so-called “love hormone” or “feel-good hormone”.

The Reborns healthy side

Oxytocin, produced by the brain when we cuddle or hug, has many positive effects in our bodies and minds, such as promoting bonding, easing stress, triggering protecting instincts, and relaxing and calming us down. Oxytocin makes us feel good and improves our health. Taking care of a reborn doll might boost the release of this hormone, so do not hesitate to let your instincts go when approaching one of these lovely creations.