I normally make these octopuses with seed bead eyes and an unsecured, yarn-scrap belly, which is fine for display, but not very baby-friendly. Three modifications can address the problem:
- Make the body to the point at which the neck begins, and stuff with polyfill. I usually crochet with pretty high tension, but if you crochet loosely, you can make a fabric sack to hold the polyfill to make sure it won't poke out.
- Cut a piece of fabric larger than the hole and tuck the edges in, as shown above. Then sew in place (avoiding the last row of crochet, since you'll need to continue the neck).
- After finishing the octopus, make eyes with french knots on top of rounds of felt, which are also sewn down separately along their perimeter with regular thread.