- September 1, 2021
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Both times that I was pregnant, I avoided nail salons and nail polish at all costs. I was so nervous about any potential toxins or inhalation of chemicals that I decided to just forgo something that actually would have brought me a lot of joy and relaxation during such stressful, exhausting times. I wish I’d known more back then about how to get a healthy manicure and pedicure in New York City. There are all sorts of tips and tricks, not to mention specialty nail salons, that can help you feel good about the nail choices you’re making as your baby grows.
If you can swing it, there are three nail salons (one of which is a chainlet with multiple locations!) that we highly recommend for a pregnancy-safe, luxurious, healthy experience.
Van Court Studio
Van Court Studio is the ultimate in clean chic. The nail tech I had there literally has a master’s degree (okay, it’s in English Lit, not nail art, but still!), and all the techs are freelancers who also work on fashion shows and magazine shoots. Everyone who works there takes safety and health as seriously as they take luxury and pampering. The foot-soak tubs aren’t connected to plumbing so that all parts can be sterilized between customers. The vibe is downtown hip, with outlets to charge your phone at every station, and an incredible selection of 5+free polishes, all made by woman-owned companies. An intake questionnaire insures that your nail tech is tailoring the experience to the needs you didn’t even realize you had. Van Court’s manicures are waterless, a practice that is known to be healthier for your nails because they are most vulnerable when wet.
What you should know: Everything used at Van Court is safe for pregnant women. It has a fancy ventilation system, huge windows, in-house-made organic scrub, and only the safest products. Nail art is one of their specialties— check out Van Court’s awesome Instagram for inspiration!
Most requested nail color right now: Light Blue, like Deborah Lippmann’s My Boy Lollipop
Where to go: 90 Water Street, Fl 2
Sweet Lily Spa
Sweet Lily Spa understands that not all pregnant women want to use polish, so they offer Healing Hands — a treatment that pampers and soothes, and is also perfect for new moms whose hands are feeling worn from the constant washing of having a newborn! Like Van Court, Sweet Lily is clean, safe, and tailored to your health. The vibe is different, though, with big, comfy upholstered chairs and couches, chandeliers and chintz— very country-house. They only use Zoya nail polishes, a fantastic safe brand with a huge range of color choices, and also have no UV dryers or quick dry sprays. A little boutique at the front of the Spa adds to the charm, and they also offer waxing services. Like Van Court, all tools are sterilized to the point of being surgical-grade. Check out their website for seasonal specials, like the Grapefruit+Vodka pedicure or stick to the perennial favorites, Honey Walnut or Lavender Cream.
What you should know: Sweet Lily has a no cellphones policy, which insures that you won’t be sitting next to someone talking loudly while getting pampered. It’s very relaxing! On my visit to Sweet Lily, I saw three generations of a family there together— a grandmother, new mom, and tiny baby. It’s the kind of place where new moms feel comfortable bringing their little ones, and it’s peaceful and quiet enough for the babies to nap right through!
Most requested nail colors now: anything purple, like Zoya’s Liv from this summer’s Sunset Collection
Where to go: 222 West Broadway
This chainlet from 8-free, Leaping Bunny-certified polish brand tenoverten has four locations in NYC, and one in Austin. Thoughtful and chic, they offer a huge selection of their own polishes , along with other brands like RGB (5-free) and the more mainstream Chanel and Essie lines. Their nail-art game is top-notch, and everything they use for their treatments is paraben free. Between the boutique where you can buy amazing, natural products, and the other services offered— nail art, makeup applications, sugaring, waxing, etc.— this is a one-stop wonder of a beauty haven, safe for mamas-to-be and chic, on-the-go women alike!
What you should know: tenoverten does parties and events. Can you say “baby shower”?!?
Most requested nail colors right now: the bright trio from the Limited Edition STRIIIKE x tenoverten
Where to go: midtown: 119 W 56th Street; soho: 132 W Houston Street; tribeca: 112 Reade Street, Second Floor
Image via Van Court.
They’ll love sporting these bags all year long.
From summer camp to the first day of school, every kiddo needs a good backpack. The trick is finding one that’s big enough to haul all of their supplies without weighing them down or making them look like an unsteady turtle.
And since there’s an overwhelming amount of choices out there, here’s a pro tip: Choose a few that you love, then let them pick out their favorite! (And don’t forget the perfect first day of school outfit!)
We’re totally in love with this adorable collab between Hunter X Peppa Pig! The water-resistant backpack is perfectly sized for minis (and looks fetching with the matching rain boots)!
With their European aesthetic and too-adorable-for-words designs, we can’t help but crush on all things Coco Village. But this back-to-school season, their Little Bear backpack takes the cake. Not only is it the cutest backpack + pencil case combo ever, it’s also made from durable vegan leather with a top-loading construction that makes it easy for little ones to pack and unpack. (And don’t miss the matching bee hive lunchbox!)
With a bright color-blocking design they’ll love and a durable coating that will keep it tip-top throughout the year, you can’t go wrong with this basic number. It comes in a navy blue and orange colorway as well.
We’ve always loved the Swedish Fjällraven’s iconic Kanken backpacks for little ones. The square design fits just enough to be helpful but not too much to weigh them down and they last FOREVER. And even better, the brand has worked to further climate change initiatives since 1994 with their Arctic Fox Initiative. This year’s ocean-inspired collection, designed by Swedish artist Linn Fritz, benefits 2 Minute Foundation and Leave No Trace, working to draw awareness to the growing problem of plastics littering the oceans.
Designed with the tiniest school-goers in mind, Mcubed backpacks are large enough to fit folders and essentials, but not so big they’ll overwhelm your little one. We love their simple patterns and muted colors which you don’t always find when it comes to kid backpacks. They also offer matching lunchboxes and pencil cases!
Soft, lightweight and water-resistant, this quilted backpack is perfectly sized for little scholars (and comes in a variety of colors if leopard print isn’t their thing!) Even better? It also comes in mama size for some seriously adorable (and organized) twinning.
These bags are made from natural linen and exclusively designed for grade school. They’re machine washable and feature a chest clip for extra support if they carry home lots of books.
The “OG” of backpack brands, Jansport makes durable classic designs that can withstand the wear and tear of the school year. A front panel with a built-in organizer will keep elementary kids and middle schoolers organized, while the padded shoulder straps will keep them comfortable. The best part? The price (and a few super fun patterns)!
Roomy enough to carry your child through elementary school and durable enough to last well beyond that, State Bags kiddo backpacks are a great investment. They also come in tons of awesome colors and designs and can be personalized with their initials and/or their choice of emoji-esque symbols like a rocket, banana or lightning bolt. This company was founded to help local children in need so for every bag purchased, STATE will support an American child in need in the way they need it most.
Made from 24 standard size water bottles, this fun tie-dye number is big enough to carry the essentials but also slim enough they won’t topple over.
This classic bag is great for preschool and elementary. With padded back panels and shoulder straps, it provides optimal comfort and is water-repellent. It has reinforced stitching so it’ll hold up just fine if your little tosses it or drags it around. And, we can’t resist personalizing it with a monogram so you always know which bag is your kid’s.
Now, who wouldn’t want a llama backpack?! We adore Skip Hop’s toddler backpack line—kiddos can pick out their favorite animal, like a unicorn, ladybug, or bee. They’re ideal for preschool, where children won’t bring a ton of folders or binders home. The insulated front pouch is the perfect spot to store snacks.
Perfectly sized for kids aged 3 to 4, Herschel’s smallest version of the popular Herigate backpack comes in six different colorways and features a removable sternum support strap and a limited lifetime warranty.
These backpacks offer so many design options and the 12 inch one is ideal for daycare through preschool. It has an insulated front pocket big enough to store lunch or snacks for the day—and can be embroidered so your little doesn’t get confused about which bag is theirs.
This bag is the perfect size for any toddler’s first day of preschool (😭). It’s big enough to hold a lovey, extra outfit and a water bottle but petite enough to sit comfortably on their back (regular-sized backpacks look massive on 3-year-olds). We also love that it comes with a fill-in-the-blank name and phone number label inside the backpack so mamas don’t have to add their own.
When you think of Pottery Barn Kids, you likely picture home decor and nursery furniture. But, they have some incredibly durable and functional backpacks for kids. The critter collection comes in two sizes (we recommend the small for preschool and large for kindergarten and beyond) and a variety of designs so kids can have fun showing off their style. Bonus: They have amazing personalization options!
Prices range from $54.50-$64.50
We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You’ve got this.
They transition seamlessly for indoor play.
Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it’s warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it’s cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.
So with that in mind, we’ve rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.
Tiny thrill-seekers will love this kid-powered coaster which will send them (safely) sailing across the backyard or play space. The durable set comes with a high back coaster car and 10.75 feet of track, providing endless opportunities for developing gross motor skills, balance and learning to take turns. The track is made up of three separate pieces which are easy to assemble and take apart for storage (but we don’t think it will be put away too often!)
This set has everything your little secret agent needs to solve whatever case they might encounter: an ID badge, finger scanner, walkie-talkie handset, L-shaped scale and coloring comic (a printable file is also available for online download) along with a handy belt to carry it all along. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.
Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.
Kiddos can jump, stretch, climb and balance with these non-slip stepping stones. The 20-piece set can be arranged in countless configurations to create obstacle courses, games or whatever they can dream up.
Whether you’re hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that’s perfect for sand stamping. They’re also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.
Filled with sand or water, this compact-sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama’s ideal trifecta 😉). It’s big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it’s going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.
Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they’re learning.
Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord “stick” is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don’t let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.
Whether they’re digging up sand in the backyard or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? It’s made from recycled plastic milk cartons.
Burn off all that extra energy hippity hopping across the lawn or the living room! This hopper ball is one of the top rated versions on Amazon as it’s thicker and more durable than most. It also comes with a hand pump to make inflation quick and easy.
There’s just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it’s tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.
This built-to-last rocking seesaw is a fun way to get the wiggles out in the grass or in the playroom. The sturdy design can support up to 77 pounds, so even older kiddos can get in on the action.
Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it’s a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.
Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they’re great for indoors as well.
We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You’ve got this.
This article is sponsored by Lansinoh. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.
During pregnancy, much of the focus is around preparing to give birth and care for a newborn. All for good reason, of course. But, what about preparing to care for yourself after your baby’s arrival? Just like during pregnancy, your postpartum body will undergo some significant changes in pretty rapid time. Knowing ahead of time what to expect from your postpartum body week by week is the best way to support your healing.
“Your body went through many changes to grow a baby and will continue to change in the postpartum period,” says Nicole Rankins, MD, MPH, a board certified OB/GYN who is a member of the Lansinoh Clinical Advisory Network. Dr. Rankins explains it’s common to experience physical changes to your breasts, vagina, perineum and abdomen during the postpartum stage. “Most of these things will get better by six weeks, but for some it takes longer.”
Like pregnancy, birth and motherhood itself, postpartum body changes will be unique for every mama—and even for every mama’s pregnancies. “It’s important to take your time, get help if needed and give yourself grace as you adjust to your new post-baby body,” Dr. Rankins says. Although every experience will vary, there are a few common postpartum body changes that are wise to anticipate.
Giving birth is hard work and calls for recovery afterward. A common part of this is managing some aches and discomfort, whether you have a vaginal or cesarean birth.
A cesarean birth involves major surgery, so you should be prepared to take it as easy as possible while your body recovers. Be delicate with the incision site, limit physical exertion and be sure to ask your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.
One common cause of soreness following vaginal delivery is perineal tearing. As the space between the vagina and the rectum, the perineum may tear or be cut (called an episiotomy) during vaginal delivery. Depending on the degree of tearing, the perineum may require stitches. This may cause some discomfort in the coming days and weeks, but the soreness is often possible to alleviate at home with advice from your healthcare provider.
As part of the Birth Prep & Recovery line by Lansinoh, the Hot and Cold Postpartum Therapy Pack can provide long-lasting relief to tender regions of the postpartum body when used as directed by your healthcare provider. With a slim, flexible fit and disposable sleeves, the therapy pack can soothe your body during postpartum recovery.
There’s a reason your breasts have likely grown during pregnancy: They are working to produce milk. Right after your baby’s birth, those milk-producing abilities will shift into high gear, which will result in even more enlarged breasts. During the first days and weeks postpartum, some women experience the feeling of breast engorgement—whether they elect to breastfeed or not.
To relieve heavy, swollen breasts, it may help to use a cold compress, hand express milk and try to keep your baby awake through feedings so the breast may be drained. For moms who are not nursing or pumping, applying cold compresses can help alleviate engorgement within a few days postpartum. It takes a bit longer for milk supply to regulate for nursing or pumping moms, but the engorgement should subside by the second week postpartum.
After your baby arrives, your postpartum body will get to work on shedding the blood and tissue that was inside your uterus during pregnancy. That means regardless of whether you have a vaginal or cesarean birth, you should expect vaginal bleeding during the first weeks postpartum. The discharge should taper off after the first week, but may continue for several weeks afterward.
One important thing to know about managing postpartum discharge is that you should use pads, not tampons. The discharge may also cause some cramping and tenderness, especially because your uterus is working on contracting at the same time. With an upside-down design and angled spout, the Lansinoh Postpartum Wash Bottle can help clean and rinse the vaginal area without the need for wiping.
Explore the Birth Prep & Recovery line by Lansinoh to find solutions to support your body during and after pregnancy.
This article is sponsored by Lansinoh. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.
Sleep tips for a baby who’s growing fast, including an ideal schedule.
It’s probably hard to believe you have a six-month-old, but somehow, here you are. Gone are the newborn days and in are the sitting-up, ready-for-solids, how-did-you-get-so-big days.
Your baby will grow and change a lot this month, and so will their sleep. Thanks to all of the exciting new changes your baby will undergo this month, their sleep might change too—but in a totally good way. Your baby will be settling into more regular sleep patterns and is capable of both sleeping longer stretches at a time and self-soothing for those times they do wake up at night with you. It’s a whole new (six-month-old!) world, parents!
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, babies under one year should get 12-16 hours of sleep per 24 hours. The Journal of Nature and Science of Sleep also adds that most commonly, sleep for a six-month-old baby averages more in the 13-14 hour per day range. However, all babies are different and some six-month-olds may still need those extra few hours of sleep!Rachel Mitchell, a certified pediatric and maternal sleep consultant and founder of My Sweet Sleeper, also confirms that babies at six months will start decreasing the amount of sleep they need.
“There’s a lot going on with your baby at six months of age,” Mitchell says. “This is typically the stage that your little one will officially drop to three naps, and their day sleep naturally starts to consolidate.”
She also adds that some babies may still need more sleep at this stage, and that’s okay—what’s important is to follow your baby’s own sleep cues and support their individual development, instead of sticking to a rigid schedule. “In this stage your baby is ideally still getting between 3/3.5 to 4 hours of day sleep, or slightly more if your baby is what we call a ‘high sleep needs baby,” she explains. (Serious question: can a mom be considered ‘high sleep needs’ because if so, that’s me.)
But speaking of schedules, knowing the ideal sleep schedule for your six-month-old baby can be extremely helpful. It can guide you to knowing how long your baby should be awake between naps, when to time naps and what an ideal bedtime will look like. Because babies can all be so different and are changing so much at this age, having a sleep schedule to customize can be a game-changer, so here’s one that Mitchell suggests parents can look at.
The most important change that Mitchell says parents should be aware of is that a six-month-old baby has the capability to sleep longer stretches, which is a hugely exciting milestone. She also notes that babies can likely start to self-soothe on their own, so you can start to experiment with letting them explore some methods (safely, of course!) that they are able to practice self-soothing.
At six months old, Mitchell notes that your approach to wake windows for your baby should shift a little bit.
“At this stage, you should still be following awake windows vs. a by-the-clock schedule and your baby may be ready to extend awake windows slightly to 2 to 3 hours,” she explains.
Following your baby’s own awake windows means that you will also time their naps during the day accordingly. Just like last month, you’ll want to decrease the length of your baby’s nap times during the day. For instance, you should aim to time your baby’s first two naps to be between 1.5 to 2 hours and their last nap between 45 minutes to 1 hour.
“The last nap of the day at this point should really just be a bridge to bedtime, which is ideally between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.,” Mitchell adds.
The biggest sleep tip for babies at six months old? Introducing solid foods may just help your little one sleep better.
Mitchell points out that a big growth spurt often occurs around this time, which could lead to sleep disruptions if their nutritional needs are not being met. Solids during the day can help bridge that gap as your baby grows and she also adds that a temporary nighttime wake-up call for a feeding is normal too.
“This is the age that I recommend gradually starting to introduce solids, and you may notice that your baby is hungrier than usual in this stage, which can be due to a growth spurt that often occurs around this time,” she explains. “If you have already dropped the night feed, but you notice your child is suddenly waking up and needing a feed, know that it’s OK to bring it back temporarily.”
Luckily, it’s a very easy fix. The more you know!
Car seat safety is one of the primary priorities of parenthood. And the thing about car seats is that they seem simple enough, but we’re always learning more about them and how to ensure they’re effectively protecting our precious cargo. Luckily, there are many social media accounts dedicated to car seat safety, run by car seat safety experts.
An account run by CarSeatInstallers shares the quick tip that could help your child not only remain safer, but could help them enjoy car rides a little more because of it.
“Parents! Let your car seats absorb the force not your child,” they captioned the video.
I know I’m guilty of doing this, simply because I feel claustrophobic up there in the front seat and try to claim as much room for myself as my two-year-old’s car seat will allow. My two-year-old also isn’t a fan of the car, and while this may not be the full reason why—well, it’s worth a shot fixing it! I don’t want her absorbing all the bumps of the car (or every nudge from her mom trying to get comfortable in front of her).
Last month, another car seat safety video went viral as a mom (and professional car seat expert) showed us all how to install a car seat as tightly as possible to reduce looseness or wiggling.
The CarSeatInstallers account noted in the comments section that while every car seat is different, most manuals do state that the car seat shouldn’t be pushed up against the front seat. Just check your manual to see what your particular car seat company recommends!
The account also says they plan to address the many reasons why your child may not like their car seat, with helpful tips on how to help them stay comfortable and safe. This is just one helpful video in a series of many.
The more you know! 💫