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Toys that are good for your baby and good for the ?? ✔ Yes, please!


Whether you're taking a step toward minimalism or on the hunt for natural, eco-friendly toys for your little one, we've got you covered. From toy shares and stuffed animals to teething rings and push toys, you and your babe will be the greenest around with these earth-friendly picks.

1. Green Piñata Toy Share

Remember how your toddler just had to have that certain toy, then played with it for 15 minutes, then never looked at it again? Mmmhm, so do we. Enter Green Piñata. Perfect for the green, minimalist mama, this toy share service is the perfect solution for moms looking to be eco and clutter-conscious.

We found the process to be quick and easy: simply choose age-appropriate toys (Green Piñata partners with manufacturers who use only sustainably-sourced wood or recycled plastic toys), play as long as you'd like, then mail everything back, free of charge, and wait for your next box. Genius! And yes, in case you're wondering, all toys are sanitized in between uses, so no need to add “other kids' germs" to your list of mom worries ?.

Pro tip: You might be (pleasantly) surprised how basic, simple toys capture your child's imagination and truly encourage open-ended play. (And how much cuter they look spread all over your living room floor.) We definitely were.

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2. Finn + Emma Play Gym

Say goodbye to shiny, gaudy plastic and hello to this simple, modern play gym from one of our faves, Finn + Emma. The frame is made from 100% birch wood and finished with non-toxic stains and lacquers, and the wooden and knit gym buddies are all completely eco-friendly. The knit dolls are fair-trade and hand-knit by artisans in Peru—how cool is that? When not in use, it's super easy to tuck away to the side of a room so it's not taking up half your living room. Win!

Pro tip: The play gym buddies are all detachable and make great stroller or car toys.

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3. Kleynimals

Kleynimals stainless steel teethers look, sound, and feel a lot like real keys, which is perfect because isn't your baby always after the real thing? We love them because they have no sharp edges like real keys, and they're made from medical-grade stainless steel, so they're much cleaner than the real thing. They can also be engraved!

Pro tip: The cute animal shapes can also come in handy when baby starts learning animal and name sounds.

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4. Marcus & Marcus Silicone Bath Toys

These BPA and phthalate-free silicone toys from Marcus & Marcus are a fun, bright addition to any little one's bath time. Vibrant colors and simple designs encourage imaginative play, and some toys feature a temperature sensitive function that changes color when the bath water gets too hot. The best part? Each bath toy comes apart for easy drying and cleaning—hello fun in the tub, goodbye mold!

Pro tip: For a good scrub, toss them right in the dishwasher for an easy, extra cleaning.

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5. Estella Baby Rattles

These organic, non-toxic, handmade knit rattles from Estella are one of our go-tos for giving (and hopefully receiving!). They're made of 100% organic cotton, so you won't have to worry when your babe tries to stuff the entire thing into her mouth—which we can assure you, she will—and are perfectly sized for little hands. And have we mentioned the off-the-charts adorableness? Taxis and hamburgers and rubber ducks and hot dogs—come on!

Pro tip: These rattles are a huge hit with older kiddos for imaginative role play, so don't pack them away after the first year.

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6. Hazel Village

You guys, I dare you to go to this site and not audibly squeal with delight. Hazel Village offers organic cotton, hand stitched animals and dolls that are, oh, just possibly some of the CUTEST THINGS WE'VE EVER SEEN. The whimsical characters and incredible attention to detail will surely capture your child's heart—and yours.

Pro tip: A full wardrobe of doll and animal clothes are also available, as are matching clothes for your little one, so dress-up options are endless!

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7. Feltman + Co. Wooden + Silicone Teething Ring

If plastic teething toys aren't your jam, head over to the gorgeous Feltman + Co. Etsy shop for a handmade wooden and silicone teething ring that is truly as beautiful as it is functional. The wooden rings are all natural and lightly coated in 100% organic beeswax, and the beads are made with food safe, BPA-free silicone. You now have permission to rest easy as your little one happily gnaws away!

Pro tip: Never submerge the teether under water because the wood may warp; instead, clean using a mild soap and warm water.

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8. Melissa and Doug Chomp and Clack Alligator Push Toy

Push toys are perfect for toddlers learning to take their first steps, as they allow a child to see his feet and practice standing and stepping. Melissa and Doug's Chomp and Clack promises to add a little fun and excitement to that process! The hand painted wood has plenty of bright, colorful details to capture your child's attention, and the chomping alligators will provide endless hours of entertainment. (Trust us!)

Pro tip: Remember that push toys, not walkers, are recommended for kiddos just learning to walk.

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9. Green Toys

We love pretty much everything about Green Toys, and we think you will too. Made from 100% recycled plastic—mostly milk jugs!—Green Toys save energy, help reduce our carbon footprint, and, most importantly, are fun. The simple designs inspire creativity and imaginative play. We're big fans of the fire station playset and the submarine.

Pro tip: Every pound of recycled milk jugs saves enough energy to power a TV for three weeks. That's a lot of Daniel Tiger.

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We only include products we've tested and loved in MotherlyLoves. Through affiliate programs, we may receive a revenue percentage if you purchase through our website.

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Parents in New Jersey will soon get more money and more time for parental leave after welcoming a baby.

This week New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed off on legislation that extends New Jersey's paid family leave from six weeks to 12.

It also increases the benefit cap from 53% of the average weekly wage to 70%, meaning the maximum benefit for a parent on family leave will be $860 a week, up from $650.

It might not seem like a huge difference, but by raising the benefit from two-thirds of a parent's pay to 85%, lawmakers in New Jersey are hoping to encourage more parents to actually take leave, which is good for the parents, their baby and their family. "Especially for that new mom and dad, we know that more time spent bonding with a child can lead to a better long-term outcome for that child," Murphy said at a press conference this week.

The law will also make it easier for people to take time off when a family member is sick.

Because NJ's paid leave is funded through payroll deductions, workers could see an increase in those deductions, but Murphy is betting that workers and businesses will see the benefits in increasing paid leave benefits. "Morale goes up, productivity goes up, and more money goes into the system," Murphy said. "And increasingly, companies big and small realize that a happy workforce and a secure workforce is a key ingredient to their success."

The new benefits will go into effect in July 2020 (making next Halloween a good time to get pregnant in the Garden State).

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Whether you just need to stock up on diapers or you've had your eye on a specific piece of baby gear, you might want to swing by your local Walmart this Saturday, February 23rd.

Walmart's big "Baby Savings Day" is happening from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at participating Walmarts (but more deals can be found online at Walmart.com already and the website deals are happening for the rest of the month).

About 3,000 of the 3,570 Supercenter locations are participating in the sale (check here to see if your local Walmart is).

The deals vary, but in general you can expect up to 30% off on items like cribs, strollers, car seats, wipes, diapers and formula.

Some items, like this Graco Modes 3 Lite Travel System have been marked down by more than $100. Other hot items include this Lille Baby Complete Carrier (It's usually $119, going for $99 during the sale) and the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat (for as low as $199).

So if you're in need of baby gear, you should check out this sale. Travel gear isn't the only category that's been marked down, there are some steep discounts on breast pumps, too.

Many of the Walmart locations will also be offering samples and expert demos of certain products on Saturday so it's worth checking out!

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Any Schumer has not had an easy pregnancy. She intended to keep working, but if you follow her on social media you know she's been very sick through each trimester.

And now in her final trimester she's had to cancel her tour due to hyperemesis gravidarum, also known as HG. It's a rare but very serious form of extreme morning sickness, and on Friday evening Schumer announced she is canceling the rest of her tour because of it.

“I vomit every time [I] ride in a car even for 5 minutes," Schumer explained in an Instagram post.

Due to the constant vomiting she's not cleared to fly and just can't continue to the tour.

This is not the first time Schumer has had to make an announcement about HG. Back in November, just weeks after announcing her pregnancy, she had to cancel shows and again broke the news via Instagram.

She posted a photo of herself in a hospital bed with her little dog Tati, and spelled out the details of her health issues in the caption. "I have hyperemesis and it blows," Schumer wrote.

Poor Amy. Hyperemesis gravidarum is really tough.

Kate Middleton, Ayesha Curry and Motherly co-founder Elizabeth Tenety are among those who, like Schumer, have suffered from this form of severe morning sickness that can be totally debilitating.

As she previously wrote for Motherly, Tenety remembers becoming desperately ill, being confined to her apartment (mostly her bed) and never being far from a trash can, "I lost 10% of my body weight. I became severely dehydrated. I couldn't work. I couldn't even get out of bed. I could barely talk on the phone to tell my doctor how sick I was—begging them to please give me something, anything—to help."

Thankfully, she found relief through a prescription for Zofran, an anti-nausea drug.


Schumer probably knows all about that drug. It looks she is getting the medical help she obviously needs, and she was totally right to cancel the tour in order to stay as healthy as possible.

We're glad to see Schumer is getting help, and totally understand why she would have to cancel her shows. Any mama who has been through HG will tell you, that wouldn't be a show you'd want front row seats for anyway.

Get well soon, Amy!

[A version of this post was published November 15, 2018. It has been updated.]

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As a military spouse, Cydney Cooper is used to doing things alone. But when she delivered her twin daughters early after complications due to Influenza A, she was missing her husband Skylar more than ever.

Recovering from the flu and an emergency C-section, and trying to parent the couple's two older boys and be with her new infant daughters in the NICU, Cydney was exhausted and scared and just wanted her husband who was deployed in Kuwait with the Army and wasn't expected home for weeks.

Alone in the NICU 12 days after giving birth, Cydney was texting an update on the twins to her husband when he walked through the door to shoulder some of the massive burden this mama was carrying.

"I was typing up their summary as best I could and trying to remember every detail to tell him when I looked up and saw him standing there. Shock, relief, and the feeling that everything was just alright hit me at once. I just finally let go," she explains in a statement to Motherly.

The moment was captured on video thanks to a family member who was in on Skylar's surprise and the reunion has now gone viral, having been viewed millions of times. It's an incredible moment for the couple who hadn't seen each other since Skylar had a three-day pass in seven months earlier.

Cydney had been caring for the couple's two boys and progressing in her pregnancy when, just over a week before the viral video was taken, she tested positive for Influenza A and went into preterm labor. "My husband was gone, my babies were early, I had the flu, and I was terrified," she tells Motherly.

"Over the next 48 hours they were able to stop my labor and I was discharged from the hospital. It only lasted two days and I went right back up and was in full on labor that was too far to stop."

Cydney needed an emergency C-section due to the babies' positioning, and her medical team could not allow anyone who had previously been around her into the operating room because anyone close to Cydney had been exposed to the flu.

"So I went in alone. The nurses and doctors were wonderful and held my hand through the entire thing but at the same time, I felt very very alone and scared. [Skylar] had been present for our first two and he was my rock and I didn't have him when I wanted him the most. But I did it! He was messaging me the second they wheeled me to recovery. Little did I know he was already working on being on his way."

When he found out his baby girls were coming early Skylar did everything he could to get home, and seeing him walk into the NICU is a moment Cydney will hold in her heart and her memory forever. "I had been having to hop back and forth from our sons to our daughters and felt guilty constantly because I couldn't be with all of them especially with their dad gone. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life and I won't be forgetting it."

It's so hard for a military spouse to do everything alone after a baby comes, and the military does recognize this. Just last month the Army doubled the amount of leave qualifying secondary caregivers (most often dads) can take after a birth or adoption, from 10 days to 21 so that moms like Cydney don't have to do it all alone.

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