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Best Pregnancy Belly Oils

Finding the best pregnancy stretch mark oil or cream is like a rite of passage during your baby-growing journey. The search starts pretty much the moment you find out you’re pregnant, even though your belly won’t really start “stretching” for several more weeks. That soothing little rub each day reminds you of the crazy amazingness happening inside you, even if you can’t quite see it yet.

So were the f do you start? Here. We picked some of favorite natural options and sent them to some of our favorite pregnant New Yorkers. For variety, we picked one lady in each trimester. We asked for the good, the bad and the ugly. And we told them not to stop rubbing till they found a winner. Below, find out how they rated some of the top pregnancy stretch mark oils in the market. Not an oil girl? We’ve got a pregnancy stretch mark cream showdown coming in a few weeks!

Notes on judging: All oils were tested for the following attributes: Packaging, Scent, Feel, Absorbency and Effectiveness. Products were judged 1-5, so 15 was the max score in any category.

Nine Naturals Natural Belly Oil, $36

Pros: “I love the Nine Naturals brand and all the great content they offer to educate pregnant and new moms.”

“Fastest drying of all the oils.”

“I love the packaging and it's easy to travel with!”

“The product itself is awesome: silky, smooth, and relatively absorbent for an oil.”

Cons: “Lack of any discernible smell made it feel like I was rubbing cooking oil on me (boring).”

Cliff Notes: Nine Naturals rated high for packaging (14) and absorbency (12). But it was the overall low-scorer for scent (5).

Total Score: 52

 

Weleda Stretch Mark Massage Oil, $25.50

Pros: “From the moment I opened it, I fell in love with its aromatic smell.”

“The light citrusy scent not only wasn't offensive during my months of morning sickness, but actually quelled my nausea!”

“It relieved my itchy skin!”

“I love the all natural ingredients and the silky smooth feel.”

Cons: “The heavy glass bottle is impractical when my hands have oil on them!”

Cliff Notes: Weleda outperformed in the scent category (14), effectiveness (14) and feel (13). But our panelists thought the packaging could use a serious upgrade (8).

Total Score: 59

 

Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Stretch Oil, $14.99

Pros: “This has an intoxicatingly sweet smell that reminds me of Spring.”

“This is a brand that friends rave about--I've already earmarked their nipple butter for those early days of breastfeeding.”

“Overall, it does it's job and is recommended for those who love stronger scents.”

Cons: “I found the packaging slightly juvenile.”

Cliff Notes: Our moms-to-be thought that Earth Mama Angel Baby’s feel was its strongest quality (10), but they didn’t love the packaging (7) or the scent (8).

Total Score: 43

 

Zoe Organics Belly Oil, $20

Pros: “Zoe's lavender undertone is amazing and therapeutic, my favorite feature of the product.”

“The fun, modern packaging and branding for Zoe Organics makes it super accessible.”

“The super safe and natural ingredients had me slathering it all over--from my belly to my boobs and on my dry, cracked feet!”

Cons: “This was the heaviest feeling/greasiest of all. It took too long to dry/absorb.”

Cliff Notes: Zoe Organics impressed our testers with the product’s feel (12) and had a strong score for effectiveness (10). Packaging (8) and absorbency (8) were less impressive.

Total Score: 47

 

Soapwalla Resilience Pregnant Belly Oil, $30

Pros: “I like the addition of arnica, the oil smells herbaceous and delightful.”

“I love that this brand refers to themselves as the Soapwalla Kitchen. The ingredients really do make it safe enough to eat (and give me peace of mind when applying so close to my baby).”

“The flowery/lavender scent was relaxing, and I enjoyed applying this before bed.

Cons: “It was too thin/watery, which made it difficult to apply without spilling.”

Cliff Notes: Soapwalla’s scent made a lasting impression on all three ladies (13), and it scored well for packaging (10) and feel (10). But our testers found it lacking in absorbency (8).

Total Score: 50

And our Best Pregnancy Belly Oil Winner is.... Weleda Stretch Mark Massage Oil!

Photography and illustration by Evan Gubernick of 485 Creative.

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

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.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

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.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop 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.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

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.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

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.

$121

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When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

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In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

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