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6 Pregnancy Skincare Don’ts

How to make your skincare regimen safe for baby too.

6 Pregnancy Skincare Don’ts

Now that you’ve announced your pregnancy, everyone -- from your OBGYN to your pushy neighbor -- is going to tell you about all the things you can no longer do, all the products you should no longer use, and how different your life will be. Wait, wasn’t this supposed to be a cause for celebration?! And who’s going to tell you about safe replacements for your old beauty stand-bys?! Don’t worry: as a clean beauty blogger and now that I’m in my second “clean” pregnancy, I can tell you with confidence that making the switch to pregnancy-safe skincare products is actually easier than you may think. Here are 6 pregnancy skincare don’ts, along with safe, effective replacements that are so good, you may never want to switch back.

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  1. Synthetic Fragrance. I tell readers and friends all the time: if there is one thing you need to swap out for the natural version, it is fragrance. Synthetic fragrance contains phthalates, which are known endocrine (hormone) disruptors, along with hundreds of other chemicals that won’t be listed on the ingredient label because of trade secret laws. They are toxic to fetuses and can even cause birth defects. It’s just not worth the risk. Look for perfume, shampoo, body lotion and other skincare essentials that lists fragrance as 100% natural or organic, from essentials oils. For personal fragrance, I love Lurk Perfume Oils, which contain a sophisticated blend of essential oils with an organic jojoba oil base.

  1. Nail Polish. Conventional nail polish contains chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, and miscarriage. Gel polish is even worse! Look for polishes that are at least 5-Free (free of Formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin, and camphor). And do not overlook the base coat counts, as it is the product that sits directly on the nail. TenOverTen makes high quality, long-lasting 8-Free Nail Polish - it doesn’t contain dibutyl phthalate (dbp), toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, xylene, or triphenyl phosphate (tphp). I never visit town without stopping into one of their four NYC locations for the best mani-pedi in town.

  1. Self Tanner. I know I’m not the only one who feels a million times skinnier with *a little* color while pregnant. Though conventional self tanner has come a long way in terms of effectiveness, it still leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to safety. Synthetic DHA, (dihydroxyacetone) parabens, penetration enhancers like Propylene Glycol, dyes and synthetic fragrance make this a no-no while pregnant, and spray tans only increase the risks due to the inhalation factor. So look for self tanners made with natural DHA, (derived from sugar beets) and natural, plant-based butters and oils. Suntegrity Self Tanner contains Vegetan® (an eco-certified source of DHA from sugar beets), which provides a natural golden tan while organic butters and oils provide deep hydration that leave the skin feeling incredibly silky and smooth. It never streaks and provides just the right amount of color.

  1. Retinol. Oral retinoids like isotretinoin (the main ingredient in Accutane) have been linked to premature birth, miscarriage and birth defects. While no studies definitively link topical use of retinoids to any dangers, we all know that what we put on our skin is absorbed into the bloodstream. So better safe than sorry, right? Look for AHA’s (alpha hydroxy acids) like lactic or glycolic acid,which are effective exfoliants that also stimulate production of natural ceramides and hyaluronic acid to prevent moisture loss. I used Luzern Absolut Au Vin religiously during my last pregnancy. This moisturizing serum contains lactic and malic acids to exfoliate and unclog pores, revealing fresh, glowing skin and minimizing the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

  1. Salicylic Acid. Again, when taken orally, salicin (or the synthetic version, acetylsalicylic acid, commonly known as aspirin) is linked to miscarriage, placental abruption, and heart and lung problems in unborn babies. For this reason, you should avoid topical prescription-strength salicylic acid during pregnancy. Instead, look for products that contain Willow Bark Extract, which is completely natural and gentler than its synthetic counterpart. What’s our pick at Bare Beauty? True Botanicals CLEAR Cellular Repair Serum at night, which has really kept any hormonal acne at bay during my last pregnancy. Hyaluronic Acid and bio-active marine ingredients improve barrier function and moisture retention, while Black Willow Bark Extract and Olive Leaf Extract prevent blemishes.

  1. Conventional Facials. If you are going to open your pores up with steam and leave products on the skin for a prolonged period of time, they should be as clean and nontoxic as possible. Unfortunately, many spas still use products that aren’t truly natural. When someone is massaging your face, you should be falling asleep, not worrying about the safety of the products he or she is using! The Golden Hour (And A Half) Facial at CAP Beauty uses all Tata Harper products, which are totally nontoxic and utterly luxurious. You’ll leave with a lifted, toned, glowing visage.

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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