How to Get a Pregnancy-Safe Manicure – Motherly Inc.

Is nail polish safe to use during pregnancy? Most doctors will tell you it’s fine, but many women still worry about the chemicals that get absorbed into their bloodstream when they swipe on polishes. Luckily, the nail polish industry has made amazing strides in the past few years, developing safer options for pregnant and non-pregnant people alike.
The standard for most nail polish brands, like Essie and OPI, is the 3-free formula, which refers to the “toxic trio,” otherwise known as the carcinogen formaldehyde and ingredients that are linked to developmental defects: dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and toluene. Over the last few years, brands have also introduced a 5-free label, which, on top of the toxic trio, removes formaldehyde resin and camphor from their formula. Some companies even took it a step further, developing 7- 8- or 9-free polishes, eliminating even more toxins and making these polishes more pregnancy-friendly.
But manicures and pedicures aren’t just about nail polish. So are they safe during pregnancy? Yes, but there are a few things to consider. Here are 7 tips that will make your next trip to the nail salon safer during pregnancy and beyond.

If you can’t make it to the salon, treat yourself to a foot soak at home. Simply add pink Himalayan salt + lavender oil to a small basin of warm water. Before bed, apply generous amount of foot cream and wear cotton socks to bed. Can’t reach your feet? Get your partner, sister or bff to clip your toenails, but be sure to wash your feet first! A good way to massage your feet without asking anyone to help is to place a tennis ball on the floor, gently roll it back and forth with your sole, adjusting the pressure to your liking.
Once you got that gorgeous, safer mani-pedi, make it last as long as possible by apply cuticle oil nightly over the entire nail bed — Weleda makes a nail pen that is mess-free. You can also apply a thin layer of top coat, like Tenoverten‘s The Shield, every other day), and keep your nails, hands, and feet moisturized so the polish doesn’t get brittle and crack. For a splurge, try Bottega Organica’s Hand Regenerate, and for a budget-friendly option, Zoe Organic’s Everything Balm is $12 at Target.
Photography by Lindsey Belle, taken for Well Rounded at one of our fave safe nail salons tenoverten.
My only complaint? I’ve slept through my alarm twice.
When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, there are many factors that, as a mama, are hard to control. Who’s going to wet the bed at 3 am, how many times a small person is going to need a sip of water, or the volume of your partner’s snoring are total wildcards.
One thing you can control? Tricking out your bed to make it as downright cozy as possible. (And in these times, is there anywhere you want to be than your bed like 75% of the time?)
I’ve always been a down comforter sort of girl, but after a week of testing the ridiculously plush and aptly named Snug Comforter from Sunday Citizen, a brand that’s run by “curators of soft, seekers of chill” who “believe in comfort over everything,” it’s safe to say I’ve been converted.
Honestly, it’s no wonder. Originally designed as a better blanket for luxury hotels and engineered with textile experts to create this uniquely soft fabric, it has made my bed into the vacation I so desperately want these days.
The comforter is made up of two layers. On one side is their signature knit “snug” fabric which out-cozies even my most beloved (bought on sale) cashmere sweater. The other, a soft quilted microfiber. Together, it creates a weighty blanket that’s as soothing to be under as it is to flop face-first into at the end of an exhausting day. Or at lunch. No judgement.
Miraculously, given the weight and construction, it stays totally breathable and hasn’t left me feeling overheated even on these warm summer nights with just a fan in the window.
Beyond being the absolute most comfortable comforter I’ve found, it’s also answered my minimalist bed making desires. Whether you opt to use it knit or quilted side up, it cleanly pulls the room together and doesn’t wrinkle or look unkempt even if you steal a quick nap on top of it.
Also worth noting, while all that sounds super luxe and totally indulgent, the best part is, it’s equally durable. It’s made to be easily machine washed and come out the other side as radically soft as ever, forever, which totally helps take the sting out of the price tag.
My only complaint? I’ve slept through my alarm twice.
The bedroom anchor I’ve been looking for— the Snug Comforter.
Because this degree of coziness needs portability, I’m totally putting the throw version on my list. It’s washable, which is a must-have given my shedding dog and two spill-prone kiddos who are bound to fight over it during family movie night.
What’s a cozy bed without a pile of pillows?
Promoting sleep by creating total darkness and relaxation, I’ve bookmarked as my go-to gift for fellow mamas.
We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You’ve got this.
The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.
Taking a birth class is a pregnancy milestone. Whether you’ve been excited to take a birth class for a long time or have just recently decided that you wanted to take one, sitting down for that first lesson feels big—spoiler alert, this is really happening! But finding time for a birth class isn’t as easy as it would seem.

We know new parents are busy (hello, understatement of the year). Between diaper changes, pediatrician appointments, healing from birth and the general adjustment to #newparentlife, the days can fill up quickly. But a lot of people are caught off guard by how busy pregnancy can be, too! That first trimester is so often full of symptoms—like nausea and fatigue—that can make previously easy or simple tasks exhausting. The second trimester begins and (usually) we start to feel better. But then our days get filled with planning out baby registries and deciding on questions like, “Where will this tiny new human sleep?” And before you know it, it’s the third trimester—and, well, then you’re in the home stretch. Plus there are so many appointments!
All this to say that we get how busy you are—and how hard that might make it to fit in a birth class.
Think you’ll want to watch each lesson a few times over? Great!
Due date’s next week and you need the option to take a birth class very quickly? No problem!
Like everything at Motherly, we designed this class with you in mind.
Taught by Certified Nurse-Midwife Diana Spalding (who also wrote “The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama“), this class is broken into 12 lessons—and you get to control how and when you watch them. We’ll teach you about what your (amazing) body is up to in labor, how to decide when it’s time to head to the hospital or birth center (or when to call your home birth midwife), what your options are for coping with pain and so much more.
When you sign up for The Motherly Birth Class, you’ll get access to a downloadable workbook and meditations. Plus, you’ll be invited to join our supportive private online community (where you can chat with the class instructor!)
Oh, one more thing: Your insurance or flexible spending account might even able to able to cover the cost of this class.
Pregnancy is wonderful—but it’s a lot. You deserve a birth class that works for you and empowers you to have your best birth. Because vaginal or Cesarean, unmedicated or medication, birth is incredible. And you are the star of it all.
You’ve got this.
Take our completely digital birth class from the comfort of your living room. We’ll help you have your best birth—because you deserve it.
We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You’ve got this.
When you ask any two mamas to share their experience with breastfeeding, you are bound to get very unique answers. That’s because while the act of breastfeeding is both wonderful and natural, it also comes with a learning curve for both mothers and babies.
In some cases, breastfeeding won’t be the right path for everyone. But with the right tools, resources and social support systems, we can make progress toward the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation to continue breastfeeding through the first year of a child’s life. After all, breastfeeding helps nourish infants, protects them against illnesses, develops their immune systems and more. Not to mention that mothers who breastfeed experience reduced risk for breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
With National Breastfeeding Awareness Month this month, it’s a great time for mamas (and expectant mamas!) to gather the supplies that will support their feeding journey—whether it looks like exclusively breastfeeding, pumping or combo-feeding.
Designed for regular use, this double electric breast pump allows mamas to customize the cycle and vacuum settings that work for them. The 100% SoftShape™ silicone shields on this pump form-fit to a wide range of breast shapes and sizes—which means more comfortable, more efficient pumping. And every pump comes with two complete Dr. Brown’s Options+ bottles, giving you everything you need to go from pumping to feeding.
There’s no need to cry over spilled milk—because it won’t happen with these storage bottles! Make the pump-to-feeding transition simpler with Dr. Brown’s Milk Collection Bottles. The bottles adapt to Dr. Brown’s electric pumps to easily fill, seal and transport, and they work with Dr. Brown’s bottle and nipple parts when your baby’s ready to eat. (Meaning no risky pouring from one bottle to another. 🙌)
With an extra-durable design and double zip seal, your breast milk will stay fresh and safe in the fridge or freezer until it’s needed. Plus, the bags are easy to freeze flat and then store for up to six months, so your baby can continue drinking breast milk long after you are done nursing.
Here’s something they don’t tell you about breastfeeding ahead of time: While feeding your baby on one side, the other breast may “let down” milk, too. With this one-piece Silicone Breast Pump, you don’t have to let those precious drops go to waste. The flexible design makes pouring the milk into a bottle stress-free.
No outlet in sight? No worries! With this powerful-yet-gentle Manual Breast Pump, you can get relief from engorgement, sneak in some quick midnight pumping or perform a full pumping session without any electricity needed. With Dr. Brown’s 100% silicone SoftShape™ Shield, the hand-operated pump is as comfortable as it is easy to use. Complete with Dr. Brown’s® Options+™ Anti-Colic Wide-Neck Bottle, a storage travel cap and cleaning brush, consider this the breastfeeding essential for any mama who has places to go.
With the soft silicone nipple and natural flow design of these bottles, your baby can easily switch between breast and bottle. Clinically proven to reduce colic thanks to the vent, your baby can enjoy a happy tummy after feeding sessions—without as much spit-up, burping or gas! By mimicking the flow and feel of the breast, these bottles help support your breastfeeding experience.
This post is sponsored by Dr. Brown’s. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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.
Get your shopping fingers ready!
Get your shopping fingers ready, because Little Sleepies just launched their Holiday 2021 prints! (If there’s anything we love more than cozy clothes, it’s outfitting our entire family in matching holiday jammies.) And if the Halloween drop is any indication, they’re going to be gone in a flash.
For the uninitiated, Little Sleepies are the ultimate in baby and kids’ pajamas. Not only are their prints totally swoon-worthy, the product itself goes above and beyond. For starters, they’re made from a season-less sustainable bamboo viscose blend that’s butter soft, breathable and ideal for sensitive skin. When it comes to fit, they’re truly brilliant. Extra sleeve length length (easily roll up any extra), foldable foot cuffs on their zippies, and super stretch fabric makes them flexible in sizing so they fit up to 3x longer than other brands.
With a super-dedicated fan base (they’ve got over 217K followers on Instagram!) snagging a pair of Little Sleepies can feel like getting tickets to a Beyoncé concert—but trust us, it’s worth the work. Their seasonal prints are always on point and have been known to grace many the holiday card and Christmas photo. Each print is available in a variety of styles for the entire fam (pups included!) and even matching accessories.
A fascinating study explains why.
When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That’s because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.
“Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother,” say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.
Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, “We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate.”
This is even more proof that, as daunting as motherhood is, our hearts and bodies already know so much of what to do. From the way we talk to babies to our “spidey senses” when something is amiss, these things we do without second thought come from deep within us.
In the case of standing with babies, the researchers concluded the “infant calming response to maternal carrying is a coordinated set of central, motor, and cardiac regulations and is a conserved component of mammalian mother-infant interactions.”
So why do babies stop crying when we stand up? Because being carried induces physiological responses that calm and soothe babies. Being carried by mom induces “central, motor, and cardiac regulations” that have a calming response stronger than rocking or other kinds of movement. Our babies evolved to want to be carried (which is good because sometimes mama has to do things that can’t be done from a rocking chair).
In other words, it’s an example of us working perfectly in sync with our babies. So, on a day where everything feels really, really hard, it can help to remember you know what you’re doing. Even, or especially, when you don’t pause to think about it.
This structured but lightweight carrier is ideal for the first months when your little one just wants to be close 24/7. Designed to easily put on and sneak baby off once they doze, it works to carry in multiple positions from birth to 12 months.
This easy-to-wear design is equally comfortable for mama and baby. As your little one grows, the carrier adjusts to properly support their hips, back, and head at each stage of development.
From 8-44 pounds, this hardworking carrier lets you ditch the complications of sacks and strap-ins. A simple, memory foam-lined hip seat evenly distributes your little one’s weight and takes the stress off mama’s back.
We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You’ve got this.
Children can learn so much through play. Unstructured play benefits kids’ mental and physical health—it helps them make sense of the world around them through teaching boundaries and social interactions and it’s even good for you, too, mama. But how many toys do your little ones really need? And which ones will get played with the most?
When choosing toys for your baby and toddler, we like the less-is-more Montessori-inspired approach: fewer, higher quality toys, each with a purpose, made from mostly natural materials, that can grow along with your child. Clutter can be overwhelming for little ones, and the science tells us that children play longer and more happily with less toys.
Unlike bikes with pedals and training wheels, balance bikes make learning to ride effortless and fun. By learning the key skill of balance first, they’re able to progress to riding without having to “unlearn” bad habits that take hold when riding with training wheels. This version from New Zealand brand Wishbone is pricier than others, but designed to last far longer than most models and the heirloom quality means it can easily be passed down.
Let your little artist’s creativity flourish with this wooden double-sided easel that will take them from first scribbles to preschool masterpieces! This simple, yet functional, easel from Hape features a chalkboard, a magnetic dry erase board (magnets included!), refillable paper dispenser, three no-spill cups and a tray for storing paints and other art supplies. It’s sure to become a playroom staple.
Watch even the tiniest baby react to music and you’ll immediately realize the powerful impact it can have on social, emotional and cognitive development. We love the soft edges that make this style safe for the littlest musicians while the soft rubber-headed mallet creates a variety of lovely tones no matter how they play.
Pikler triangles are a staple in Montessori classrooms and have subsequently gained popularity at home as well. Developed as a tool to help improve motor development skills, to forge independent activity, and to allow freedom of movement, they’re endlessly entertaining for toddlers and bigger kids alike. This foldable version comes with detachable ramp that features rungs to climb on one side and a flat surface for sliding on the other.
This indoor climbing structure is designed to begin use as young as six months and can be configured to grow with your child from there. Nine foam pieces can be arranged into stairs, a tunnel, and a slide, allowing your child to practice motor and balance skills and burn off all that extra energy. The pieces are easy to clean and Green Guard (gold) certified.
From around age three, you can introduce more sophisticated instruments like the wooden guitars from Loog. They’re not only designed with little hands in mind, they also incorporate only three strings to make the learning process faster and easier.
A learning tower is the perfect tool for the curious toddler. There are so many uses here, but we especially love it for all things in the kitchen, whether it’s cooking, baking, or even learning to meal prep or wash dishes. We also love that this one from Sprout is sturdy and adjustable to grow with your child. It’s an investment, but one that we think is well worth the splurge! (Check out more of our favorite learning towers!)
From modeling real life to setting the stage for imaginative play, we love the simplicity of this wooden dollhouse. It comes with furniture for a living room, bathroom, bedroom and kitchen. An open design allows multiple kiddos to play together peacefully (well, peacefully enough) and there are plenty of accessories that can be purchased separately to expand their play!
When a full-on sensory table isn’t a possibility (or, let’s face it, you’re not up for the mess), this scaled-down version provides the same benefits with less commitment. Perfectly sized for tabletop play (just remove the legs!) and suitable for water or sand, this set combines sensory and realistic play that grows with your littles.
Blocks are the ultimate in Montessori must-haves; they teach endless developmental concepts and provide hours upon hours of creative, open-ended play opportunities. This natural wood set presents a world of possibility and is sustainably made from re-purposed rubber wood.
The ever-popular Magna-Tiles are great for encouraging open-ended, creative play and developing math, science, spatial and fine motor skills. The magnetic sides will inspire beginning builders and help more experienced builders think “outside the box.”
Realistic play is one of the tenants of Montessori-based education; it helps children relate to and understand the world around them and develop meaningful connections.
This beautiful wooden play barn and seven realistic animal figurines will capture the imaginations of babies, toddlers and preschoolers alike. It even folds and features a carry handle for easy take-along play!

This rainbow may look basic, but through the eyes of your child, it offer endless opportunities for imaginative play! From early concepts like color identification and developing fine motor skills, to more advanced concepts like building, nesting, and pretend play, this simple, colorful—and so, so beautiful—heirloom-quality puzzle stacker will quickly become a playtime favorite. It’s also available in a 12-piece larger size.
Exploration and activity are two important pieces of the Montessori philosophy—little hands should be encouraged to sort, pour, scoop and empty with all kinds of liquids and materials. This handcrafted sensory table made from natural pine is a great way to check all of those boxes and contain the mess 😉 It can be filled with sand, rice, or even hold trays of water for years of sensory play.
Radio Flyer wagons have been around for decades—and for good reason. They’re beautiful, fun, and functional, and can be enjoyed by babies and toddlers alike. We love the early walker take on this one, featuring “resist push” that allows beginning walkers to safely build confidence and balance. (We also love the furniture-friendly bumpers!) Once they learn to walk, they’ll find still find lots of other uses for this classic toy.
Is it a couch? A bed? A spaceship? Or a castle? Only your little one will know the answer! Encouraging open-ended play is a Montessori must—and this ingenious kid-sized “couch” with four separate foam pieces offers endless play possibilities. Your little one will love that it’s fun, soft, and endlessly rearrange-able, and you’ll love that it’s safe, free of harmful chemicals, and machine washable.
There’s a simple delight in watching objects speeding down a ramp, and that joy is not lost on this classic toy. This ramp racer is not only fun, but teaches fine and gross motor skills, cause and effect, hand-eye coordination, and much more. Babies will laugh as the cars speed down the ramps, while toddlers and older kiddos will love engaging in pretend play and racing their cars over and over again.
For a different take on the classic block set that babies and older kiddos will love, we can’t get enough of this set of oversize foam blocks. Made from soft, durable foam, your little ones will love building, stacking, and most importantly knocking down these super fun blocks for years.
This article was originally published in July 2018. It has been updated.
We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You’ve got this.

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