100+ unique baby name ideas as special as your new little one

Every child born is original and unique, and these names reflect that sentiment.


Adventurous parents-to-be who are interested in an unexpected and out of the ordinary baby name have a lot of choices these days, as unusual and surprising baby names are all the rage. Move over Anne and Michael, Adelia and Magnus are here to stay.

Whether you're seeking a baby name that stands out from the rest of the playground crowd or one that reflects your child's individuality, we've got a variety of uncommon baby names choices to help you in your search. Happy hunting!

Check out our picks for the 100+ best unique baby names.

Unique baby names that start with A

  1. Anise—meaning spice, this tasty name is the main ingredient in licorice!
  2. Adelia—If you love Ava and Abigail, this vintage name is more distinctive.
  3. Auden— in Old English, this name means "old friend".
  4. Alma—This soulful name of Latin origin means "nurturing".
  5. Abra—Love magic? This name is for you. It's also the feminine version of Abraham.
  6. Amara—A multicultural name with various meanings, among them "immortal" and "peaceful".
  7. Angelica— Fans of Broadway's Hamilton will love this name, which means "angel" or "angelic" and is of Italian, Polish, Russian origin.
  8. Ansel—from the photographer Ansel Adams to actor Ansel Elgort, this creative name is a sure bet.
  9. Arden—Of English origin meaning "Valley of the Eagle", we love the unisex appeal of this name.
  10. Artemis—A fighter and Greek goddess of the hunt, but whos name has a strong unisex feel.
  11. Asa—A cross-cultural, unisex name which means "healer" and "born in the morning".

Unique baby names that start with B

  1. Baldwin—Meaning "brave friend" in German, and perfect for fans of James Baldwin.
  2. Bronwin—We endorse any name that sounds like it came from Wuthering Heights.
  3. Bear—Once-unlikely animal name both cuddly and strong, gaining real traction.
  4. Bishop—Of English origin, meaning "guardian".
  5. Blue—Queen Bey may have started a trend with hue-themed names, and we are all for it.
  6. Booker—Future wordsmith? Or English origin, this name means "scribe".

Unique baby names that start with C

  1. Cassia—A feminine take on newly-trendy Cassius and Cassian, with a spicy meaning (from Latin meaning "cinnamon").
  2. Colson—Derived from the name Nicholas, this name means "People of Victory".
  3. Cora—A pretty name of Greek origin meaning "fair".
  4. Cordelia—A water-themed name meaning "daughter of the sea". Anne of Green Gables fans will like this name as well.
  5. Calloway—A classic, unisex name that may be a fit for fans of jazz music (the late Cab Calloway was an American jazz singer, dancer, bandleader, and actor).
  6. Castial—This powerful, Biblical name means "Shield of God" or "My cover is God".

Unique baby names that start with D

  1. Darcy—Hello, Jane Austen fans, this one's for you.
  2. Dion—A gender-neutral name used most recently in the Netflix show, "Raising Dion".
  3. Declan—This Irish, Godly name means "man of prayer" or "full of goodness".
  4. Dallas—Just a cool name, especially if you're from Texas.
  5. Danika—Of Danish origin, this sweet name means "morning star".

Unique baby names that start with E

  1. Ellington—Jazz fans will be reminded of Duke Ellington, but this is also just a cool name on its own.
  2. Emil—The male take on Emily is finally seeing new light.
  3. Esme—Multiple meanings and they're all lovely: "beloved", "esteemed" and "emerald".
  4. Emine—This trustworthy name means "one you can trust and believe".
  5. Ezra—Meaning "helper" in Hebrew.

Unique baby names that start with F

  1. Faye—This sweet, old-fashioned name is slowly crawling back up in the popular name charts.
  2. Fisher—Obviously a great name for fishing enthusiasts, it also just sounds cool.
  3. Fleur—Say it with a French accent as this is the ultimate flower name of French origin.
  4. Freya—In Norse mythology, Freya was the Goddess of Love and Fertility.
  5. Fabian—Of Latin origin, this "bean grower" meaning has been used by Shakespeare.
  6. Foster—Of English origin, meaning "one who keeps the forest".

Unique baby names that start with G

  1. Gracia—Of Spanish origin, meaning "favor" or "blessing".
  2. Greer—This Scottish name means "watchful" or "guardian" and sounds cool for a boy or girl
  3. Gulliver—Naturally, Gulliver's Travels comes to mind with this adventurous name.
  4. Gage—This wealthy names means "money lender" in Old English.
  5. Gohan—This Japanese name is great for sushi lovers, as it means "cooked rice".

Unique baby names that start with H

  1. Hadley—This pretty yet uncommon name is of English origin meaning "heather field".
  2. Horatio—An ancient name made famous by Shakespeare, only to drop off the popular name list in the 1500s. Bring it back?
  3. Harlyn—A unisex name with a nice ring to it, meaning "army land".
  4. Honor—You already know the meaning and it's a pretty special one.
  5. Huma—in Muslim, this name means "lucky bird". I love that!

Unique baby names that start with I

  1. Ina—A Welsh name first heard in the 5th century. Foodies know and love it, thanks to cookbook author Ina Garten.
  2. Ivo—An unusual, catchy name of German, Irish and Dutch origin meaning "archer".
  3. Iago—Of Spanish origin, this name means "supplanter".
  4. Idina— A certain Disney princess (who voiced "Elsa") has this name, but it's far from popular.
  5. Idris—Same goes for a British actor Idris Elba, though I hope this one makes a resurrgance.

Unique baby names that start with J

  1. Jenson—This Scandinavian name has a lovely, soft tone to it. Meaning "son of Jan".
  2. Juliette—Made popular by Shakespeare, we love this French spelling.
  3. Jago—this name is derived Jacob, from Cornish origin.
  4. Jett—I mean, this is just a cool, unused name, plain and simple.
  5. Jabari—From Swahili, meaning "brave one".

Unique baby names that start with K

  1. Keira—An Anglicized name meaning "little dark one" (similar to Ciara and Kira).
  2. Kit—What a spunky yet simple unisex name (I'm thinking "Game of Thrones" actor Kit Harington and the American Girl doll, Kit Kittredge).
  3. Koa—Of Hawaiian origin meaning "warrior" and "brave one". Typically used for boys, I like this as a girls' name, too.
  4. Kian—Of Gailic Irish origin meaning "ancient".
  5. Karys—This lovely Welsh name means "love".

Unique baby names that start with L

  1. Leon—Roar! Of Latin origin meaning "lion".
  2. Ledger—A twist on the German Leadegar, meaning "people" and "spear".
  3. Lilia—A twist on popular Lily, meaning, you guessed it, "lily".
  4. Lucinda—Meaning "light", if you want a more formal name than Lucy.
  5. Laith—Make up your own meaning as this name doesn't really have one, but is derived from Arabic and Scottish Gaelic.
  6. Lennox—Meaning "with many elm trees" which is great if you like trees, but also Annie Lennox.

Unique baby names that start with M

  1. Maia—A new spelling and twist on an old classic (Maya).
  2. Matson—If you like Matthew, Matson is an unusual take on a classic name.
  3. Marisol—A bright and cheerful name of Spanish origin meaning "sun and sea".
  4. Marlowe—A cool name meaning "driftwood", this one is quickly becoming a celebrity favorite.
  5. Maverick—This cool name means "independent; nonconformist", so they will surely think for themselves!
  6. Maude—A fierce name meaning "powerful battler" and one of the coolest one syllable monikers out there.
  7. Millicent—This old-fashioned name comes with a pretty adorable nickname; "Millie".

Unique baby names that start with N

  1. Niamh—An Irish name meaning "bright" and "radiant"; variations include Neve and Nieve.
  2. Nova—For the celestial-minded, a Nova is a star that suddenly releases a huge burst of energy, temporarily becoming extraordinarily bright.
  3. November—An underused, unisex month-themed name.
  4. Neve—*see Niamh above.
  5. Nadir—in Arabic, this name means "precious".

Unique baby names that start with O

  1. Olympia—A favorite of Serena Williams, this name is of Greek origin meaning "from Mount Olympus".
  2. Omari—Of Hebrew origin meaning "Speaker" or "Chief", and in Swahili, meaning "God is exalted".
  3. Orson—Meaning "bear" in Latin, it's hard not to think of the famous director, Orson Welles.
  4. Otto—Of German origin meaning "wealth" and "prosperity".
  5. Odin—The name of the Norse god of art, culture, wisdom and law.

Unique baby names that start with P

  1. Petra—A strong, Greek name meaning "rock", this is also the feminized version of Peter.
  2. Pascal—Typically given to boys, this French name means "of the Passover/Easter".
  3. Phinneas—Of English and Egyptian origin meaning "the Nubian", these days you might think of singer Billie Eilish's brother and fellow bandmate.
  4. Poppy—A floral name that doesn't get more fun.
  5. Pacey—Of Latin origin meaning "peace".

Unique baby names that start with Q

  1. Quincy—This unisex name of English origin has a royal ring to it, don't you think?
  2. Qamar—in Arabic, this name means "moon".
  3. Quenby—Of Scandinavian decent, this name means "womanly".
  4. Quinn—There are various meaning of this name, but the best one is definitely "living with royalty".
  5. Quan—in Chinese, this means Goddess of Compassion.

Unique baby names that start with R

  1. Rhys—Always ready to go, this name of Welsh origin means "enthusiasm".
  2. Rafferty—Of Irish origin, your child will be successful with a name that means "prosperity wielder".
  3. Ramona—Beverly Cleary fans will love this one, a classic, old-fashioned name that's slowly making a comeback.
  4. Renata—Operatic name of Latin origin which means "rebirth".
  5. Rennmeans "reborn, little prosperous one"
  6. Rubin—From Hebrew, meaning "see, a son".
  7. Romy—A lighthearted, fun "nickname-name" that doesn't need a formal name to back it up.
  8. Roscoe—For those that love the outdoors, this woodsy name of Norse origin means "deer forest".
  9. Rowan—Increasingly seen as a unisex name, this means "little redhead" and is of Scottish and Irish origin.
  10. Rocco— Take a break from baby name decisions with this Italian and German origin meaning "rest".

Unique baby names that start with S

  1. Sabine—Of French origin, more commonly seen as Sabina.
  2. Sasha—This unisex name is of Russian origin and typically seen as a nickname for Alexander or Alexandra.
  3. Saffron—This "spicy" name of English origin means "a type of crocus" (the expensive orange spice, Saffron, comes from this flower).
  4. Sinead—Meaning "God is gracious" and of Hebrew and Irish origin.
  5. Silas— A name that means "of the forest" foreshadows a lot of camping and outdoor time!
  6. Serafina—Of Hebrew origin meaning "burning ones", I like this twist on the more classic Sara.
  7. Shalia—This name is so unusual it doesn't have an origin, but safe to say it's a variation of other girl names that begin with "Sha".
  8. Shepherd— This name means "Guardian of the sheep" and also has a cool built-in nickname: Shep.

Unique baby names that start with T

  1. Teddy—From Old English, meaning "wealthy protector", "brave people" and "God's gift". Often seen as a nickname for Theodore.
  2. Tempest—Of Old English origin meaning "stormy" or "turbulent".
  3. Teo—Of Spanish origin meaning "gift of God". I also like this as a more unusual take on Theo.
  4. Talia—Meaning "dew of Heaven" this ethereal name is of Hebrew origin.
  5. True—This one may begin to see a comeback thanks to Khloe Kardashian.

Unique baby names that start with U

  1. Ulani—This happy-sounding name is of Hawaiin origin and means "cheerful".
  2. Uma—This ancient name means "tranquility" and "splendour" in Sanskrit.
  3. Ulysses—Another ancient name of Latin origin meaning "wounded in the thigh".
  4. Uday— To "materialize" (into this air?)
  5. Ugo—The Italian variant of Hugo, neaning "intelligent".

Unique baby names that start with V

  1. Vaughn—This unisex name of English origin means "small" but there is nothing tiny about this cool, dignified name.
  2. Vera—An old-fashioned name that is very slowly making a comeback. Get it while the getting's good!
  3. Virgil—This ancient, literary name is of Latin origin and means "staff bearer".
  4. Viviana—A twist on the more classic Vivian.
  5. Vivica—This strong, powerful name means "war fortress" and is of Scandinavian and Old German origin.

Unique baby names that start with W

  1. Wade—Perfect for those on the move, this unisex name means "to go" and is of Anglo-Saxon English origin.
  2. Wells—This pretty name of English origin signifies "spring".
  3. Willow—Meaning "freedom" and "willow tree" of English origin. A pretty, whimsical name.
  4. Winslow—An "old man's name" that has come a long way. Meaning "friend's hill" and of Old English origin.
  5. Wynn—This unisex name means "friend" and is a lovely one indeed.
  6. Wren—Like you might suspect, this name means "small bird" and is of English origin.

Unique baby names that start with X

  1. Xen—Meaning "form of Buddhism"this zen-like name works for either gender.
  2. Xander—Of Greek origin meaning "defender of men".
  3. Xena—From Xenia, meaning "hospitable" and "welcoming".
  4. Xia—This Chinese name means "glow of the sunset or sunrise". How pretty.
  5. Xanthe—Of Greek origin, meaning "yellow" or "fair".

Unique baby names that start with Y

  1. Yael—(also spelled Jael), this Hebrew name sets a spiritual tone, meaning "to ascend".
  2. Yardley—There's no doubt the meaning of this English name is unexpected: "from the wood where spars were got".
  3. Yair—Another Biblical name, this means "He will enlighten".
  4. Yoel—in Hebrew, this means "Jehovah is the Lord".
  5. Yuvan—A young prince in Sanskrit.

Unique baby names that start with Z

  1. Zeren—This name is so unusual it belongs to a very specific animal breed, the Mongolian Gazelle.
  2. Zia—Of Latin and Arabic origin meaning "light" or "splendor".
  3. Ziggy—Adorable nickname for Zigmund or a fun unisex nickname-name on its own.
  4. Zion—A setting in the Bible, this name means "highest point" in Hebrew.
  5. Zora—Early risers will love this name which means "dawn" and is of Slavic origin.

12 baby registry essentials for family adventures

Eager to get out and go? Start here

Ashley Robertson / @ashleyrobertson

Parenthood: It's the greatest adventure of all. From those first few outings around the block to family trips at international destinations, there are new experiences to discover around every corner. As you begin the journey, an adventurous spirit can take you far—and the best baby travel gear can help you go even farther.

With car seats, strollers and travel systems designed to help you confidently get out and go on family adventures, Maxi-Cosi gives you the support you need to make the memories you want.

As a mom of two, Ashley Robertson says she appreciates how Maxi-Cosi products can grow with her growing family. "For baby gear, safety and ease are always at the top of our list, but I also love how aesthetically pleasing the Maxi Cosi products are," she says. "The Pria Car Seat was our first purchase and it's been so nice to have a car seat that 'grows' with your child. It's also easy to clean—major bonus!"

If you have big dreams for family adventures, start by exploring these 12 baby registry essentials.

Tayla™️ XP Travel System

Flexibility is key for successful family adventures. This reversible, adjustable, all-terrain travel system delivers great versatility. With the included Coral XP Infant Car Seat that fits securely in the nesting system, you can use this stroller from birth.

Add to Babylist


Iora Bedside Bassinet

Great for use at home or for adventures that involve a night away, the collapsible Iora Bedside Bassinet gives your baby a comfortable, safe place to snooze. With five different height positions and three slide positions, this bassinet can fit right by your bedside. The travel bag also makes it easy to take on the go.

Add to Babylist


Kori 2-in-1 Rocker

Made with high-quality, soft materials, the foldable Kori Rocker offers 2-in-1 action by being a rocker or stationary seat. It's easy to move around the home, so you can keep your baby comfortable wherever you go. With a slim folded profile, it's also easy to take along on adventures so your baby always has a seat of their own.

Add to Babylist


Minla 6-in-1 High Chair

A high chair may not come to mind when you're planning ahead for family adventures. But, as the safest spot for your growing baby to eat meals, it's worth bringing along for the ride. With compact folding ability and multiple modes of use that will grow with your little one, it makes for easy cargo.

Add to Babylist


Coral XP Infant Car Seat

With the inner carrier weighing in at just 5 lbs., this incredibly lightweight infant car seat means every outing isn't also an arm workout for you. Another feature you won't find with other infant car seats? In addition to the standard carry bar, the Coral XP can be carried with a flexible handle or cross-body strap.

Add to Babylist


Pria™️ All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

From birth through 10 years, this is the one and only car seat you need. It works in rear-facing, forward-facing and, finally, booster mode. Comfortable and secure for every mile of the journey ahead, you can feel good about hitting the road for family fun.

Add to Babylist


Pria™️ Max All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

Want to skip the wrestling match with car seat buckles? The brilliant Out-of-the-Way harness system and magnetic chest clip make getting your child in and out of their buckles as cinch. This fully convertible car seat is suitable for babies from 4 lbs. through big kids up to 100 lbs. With washer-and-dryer safe cushions and dishwasher safe cup holders, you don't need to stress the mess either.

Add to Babylist


Tayla Modular Lightweight Stroller

With four reclining positions, your little ones can stay content—whether they want to lay back for a little shut-eye or sit up and take in the view. Also reversible, the seat can be turned outward or inward if you want to keep an eye on your adventure buddy. Need to pop it in the trunk or take it on the plane? The stroller easily and compactly folds shut.

Add to Babylist

Tayla Travel System

This car seat and stroller combo is the baby travel system that will help make your travel dreams possible from Day 1. The Mico XP infant seat is quick and easy to install into the stroller or car. Skipping the car seat? The reversible stroller seat is a comfortable way to take in the scenery.

Add to Babylist

Modern Diaper Bag

When you need to change a diaper during an outing, the last thing you'll want to do is scramble to find one. The Modern Diaper Bag will help you stay organized for brief outings or week-long family vacations. In addition to the pockets and easy-carry strap, we love the wipeable diaper changing pad, insulated diaper bag and hanging toiletry bag.

Add to Babylist


Mico XP Max Infant Car Seat

Designed for maximum safety and comfort from the very first day, this infant car seat securely locks into the car seat base or compatible strollers. With a comfy infant pillow and luxe materials, it also feels as good for your baby as it looks to you. Not to mention the cushions are all machine washable and dryable, which is a major win for you.

Add to Babylist

Adorra™️ 5-in-1 Modular Travel System

From carriage mode for newborn through world-view seated mode for bigger kids, this 5-in-1 children's travel system truly will help make travel possible. We appreciate the adjustable handlebar, extended canopy with UV protection and locking abilities when it's folded. Your child will appreciate the plush cushions, reclining seat and smooth ride.

Add to Babylist

Ready for some family adventures? Start by exploring Maxi-Cosi.

This article was sponsored by Maxi-Cosi. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Boost 1

This incredibly soft comforter from Sunday Citizen is like sleeping on a cloud

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.

Here is my top pick from Sunday Citizen, along with the super-soft goods I'm coveting for future purchases.

Woodland Snug comforter


The bedroom anchor I've been looking for— the Snug Comforter.


Braided Pom Pom Throw

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.


Lumbar pillow


What's a cozy bed without a pile of pillows?


Crystal infused sleep mask

sunday citizen sleep mask

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.


Motherly created the flexible online birth class moms need

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.

And that's why we created The Motherly Birth Class. The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.

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.

Sign up for The Motherly Birth Class today!

The Motherly Birth Class


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.


14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

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.

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

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!)


Secret Agent play set


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.


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.


Stepping Stones


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.


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.


Sensory play set


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.


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.


Foam pogo stick


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.


Hopper ball

Hopper ball

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.


Pull-along ducks


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.


Rocking chair seesaw


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.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

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.


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.


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How to make a baby: The quick + dirty guide to getting pregnant

If you have questions about getting pregnant—look no further than this helpful guide.

Making the decision to have a baby is a monumental moment. And if you're there, let me be the first to say, "yay!" I am so excited for you and everything to come on your conception and parenthood journey. I also want to acknowledge that while this is exciting, trying to get pregnant can feel stressful—especially if you are hoping to get pregnant quickly. Once you make the decision, suddenly it seems like all you can think about is getting pregnant. So as you learn about how to conceive, and as you move through this chapter of your life, do what you can to be gentle with yourself, practice self-care and remember how vitally important you are. (Your future baby would agree).

In addition to taking good care of yourself, you probably have a ton of questions about how to get pregnant.

Before we dive into exactly how conception works, remember that your health care provider should always be your go-to for questions specific to you and your situation. Generally speaking, we say that if you are under the age of 35 and have been trying to get pregnant through sex for 12 months, or 6 months for those 35 and older, it's time to reach out to your provider for support. But you can always check in sooner if you have concerns.

Without further ado, here is our 7-step, quick + dirty guide to getting pregnant fast.

1. Get prepared for getting pregnant.

If you have the opportunity to spend a few months focusing on your well-being before trying to get pregnant, it can be helpful. Here are a few ways to get ready for pregnancy:

  • Schedule a preconception visit. This is an appointment with your provider (usually an OB/GYN or a midwife) where you can discuss your overall health as it relates to getting pregnant. You can also start discussing all the ways to get pregnant (sex and many assisted reproductive technology methods), and which option might be best for you.
  • Start taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid to help prevent spinal tube defects in your baby (taking it prior to getting pregnant makes it more effective).
  • Stop taking birth control. But discuss this with your provider so they can help you figure out the best timing for you.

2. Decide: Wing it—or plan it?

If you are trying to get pregnant through sex, do you want to take more of a “let's see what happens" approach to getting pregnant, or would you feel better charting and strategizing? Either is fine! And know that you can change your mind as you go.

If you decide to have a conception plan, then understanding your cycle is key.

3. Understand the menstrual cycle.

Your fertile window is five to six days long, typically in the middle of your cycle.

On average, those with a 28-day cycle will ovulate on day 14. But you are so not average! So charting your cycle is key to identifying your unique fertile days. In fact, just basing your conception attempts on a calendar can risk you missing your actual fertile days—your body will often show you that you are ovulation through specific signs of ovulation.

Ready to learn more? Here's how to find your most fertile days.

Once an egg is released from your ovary, it will survive for 12 to 24 hours. That means that it must meet the sperm within that window in order for it to become fertilized. The good news is that healthy sperm survives in your body for up to five days.

This is why knowing when you ovulate is so important.

Say you ovulate on Wednesday at midnight. Having sex or insemination anytime on Wednesday means that the sperm is potentially going to meet the egg during that 12- to 24-hour window. But if you had sex or insemination on Tuesday (or Monday, or maybe even Sunday or Saturday), the sperm may still be alive and waiting for the egg when it's released. So if you are anticipating ovulation within a few days, having sex or insemination will increase the chances of having living sperm ready to fertilize your egg.

4. Use apps and tests to identify your most fertile time.

Adding in apps and tests to help you identify your most fertile time can be really helpful. As I share in The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama, "Some providers don't recommend using ovulation predictor kits right away because they worry that we might become too reliant on the (not-foolproof) technology. If you miss the subtle physical body signs described above, you might miss your window of fertility." Ultimately, you get to be the boss here and choose the method that works best for you.

If you decide to incorporate fertility apps and tests into your getting pregnant plant, here are a few to try:

  • Ovulation strips (like these): Just pee on the strip. If the test line is as dark or darker than the control, you are likely fertile.
  • Fertility monitors (like Kegg or Clearblue Fertility Monitor): These trackers can tell you when your fertility is low, high and peak.
  • Apps (like Glow and Kindara): They allow you to track your period, ovulation signs and tests, intercourse and insemination, and even your sleep to help you determine your most fertile windows.
  • Wearable devices (like Ava): When you wear it on your wrist overnight, this device detects changes in your body that indicate approaching ovulation.

5. Read your body's signs of ovulation.

Here are the physical signs of ovulation to pay attention to:

  • Cervical mucus: Cervical mucus is the normal vaginal discharge that changes as you progress through your cycle. It will go from nonexistent or dry to sticky, then creamy, and then wet, and then finally it will be the consistency of egg whites. That egg-white consistency means it's fertile cervical mucus and indicates that you are about to ovulate. It's the most sperm-friendly because they can easily swim through it up to the uterus.
  • Basal body temperature drop: If you're taking your temperature every day to chart your cycle using a fertility app or chart, you'll notice that just as you ovulate, you may see a slight drop in your basal body temperature, followed by an increase.
  • Cervical position: If you're up for doing your own vaginal exam, you might note that your cervix is softer, higher and more open around the time of ovulation.

You may also experience slight pain/cramping, breast tenderness, spotting and an increased interest in sex around your ovulation window.

6. Have sex or plan your insemination.

If you are trying to get pregnant via sex, and you're not tracking ovulation, have sex every other day all month long. If you are tracking ovulation, and your partner has an average or high sperm count, you can have sex every day in your fertile window. If they have a low sperm count, have sex every other day in order to boost the sperm concentration in the ejaculate (your provider can help you determine what your partner's sperm count is).

One note: Sperm is healthiest when ejaculation happens every two to three days, so encourage your partner or sperm donor not to wait too many days between orgasms.

If you are trying to get pregnant via assisted reproductive technologies, your provider will likely be the one to help you time your appointments. If you are doing at-home insemination, using the apps and monitors above in addition to watching your ovulation signs will help you determine when it's time.

7. Keep these pointers in mind.

  • Do what feels right: Know that it's a myth that any specific sexual position will improve your chances of conception.
  • However, do try for an orgasm: "Orgasm can stimulate uterine contractions, which may help to promote sperm transport through the reproductive tract," says Dr. Sanaz Ghazal, co-founder and medical director of RISE Fertility, and a double-certified fertility specialist.
  • If you use lube, be sure it's one that won't inhibit conception: "Some vaginal lubricants can actually decrease fertility by having adverse effects on the sperm. Over-the-counter water-based lubricants like Astroglide, K-Y Jelly and K-Y Touch can decrease sperm motility by as much as 60-100%," says Dr. Ghazal. Choose lubricants that are sperm-safe, like Pre-Seed.

8. Have fun!

I have a love-hate relationship with this piece of advice. Trying to get pregnant can become a bit stressful, and it's OK to admit it. That said, see if you can find ways to make the process as enjoyable as possible. Take care of yourself and each other if you are partnered. Don't force yourself to do anything that doesn't feel right.

A version of this story was originally posted on January 16, 2020. It has been updated.

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Trying to Concieve

The important safety tip parents need to know about sleep + car seats

Why you might want to plan for more pit stops on your next road trip.

When we become parents we don't just have to learn how to take care of a baby, we also have to learn how, when and why to use all the different kinds of baby gear.

There is so much to learn and when it comes to car seats there is one rule many parents haven't heard of: infants shouldn't be left in car seats for more than an hour at a time, and they should never nap in a car seat outside the vehicle.

According to multiple studies, babies are at risk for decreased oxygen levels while in car seats, especially when the car is not in motion or the trip lasts for an extended period of time. Although preterm babies or infants with respiratory conditions are most at-risk, there is good reason for all families to take proper precautions.

As Scottish mother-of-two Kirsti Clark recently told STV, she had no idea that infants shouldn't be left in car seats for more than an hour at a time until her 3-week-old daughter, Harper, had a seizure following a car trip that went longer than expected. It was a situation not unfamiliar to many other families: The Clarks simply got stuck in traffic and then left Harper in the seat while they put their older daughter to bed.

When Harper's father then took her out of her car seat she seemed like she could not get comfortable on his lap, Metro reports. Her father tried to settle her on a play mat and that's when the baby suffered a seizure. The Clarks rushed to the hospital where she was treated and thankfully recovered. But, Clark says one of the biggest shocks to her was that these guidelines even exist.

"I've never once been told a child should not be in a car seat for any length of time," she told STV. "Nowhere in the instruction booklets or any guidance that we've seen online has there been anything mentioned about breathing difficulties."

This is why some hospitals do what's known as a "car seat challenge" with preterm babies before discharge, which allows professionals to monitor the baby's cardiorespiratory stability when they're in their car seat.

Make sure all care providers know to never use a car seat for naps 

Sharon Evans, a trauma injury prevention coordinator at Cook Children's Hospital, told WFAA News the idea that car seats can be used for naps outside the car is a pretty common misconception that needs to be cleared up.

"There's nothing about the car seat that's designed to sleep," she told WFAA News. "Of course, if the straps aren't tight, the child can kind of slump down."

Safety experts say parents should make sure everyone who looks after the baby, including daycare providers and babysitters, understands that they should not be placed in the car seat outside of the vehicle.

Lisa Smith tells WFAA News she did understand the risks associated with car seat naps and didn't let her baby daughter, Mia, nap in the car seat. Tragically, at nearly 18 months old Mia was left to nap in a car seat at her licensed home daycare, and lost her life to positional asphyxia, or restricted breathing. Now Smith, like Clark, is on a mission to educate other parents to make sure this doesn't happen to another child.

"I walk around town and see people using a car seat on the seats at restaurants or putting them on the floor at tables," Smith says, adding that she will tell Mia's story to parents when she sees a baby napping in a car seat, letting them know kindly, "'I just want you to be really careful.'"

What parents should do

Researchers with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Paediatric Society agree with Smith: The most dangerous time for a baby to be in a car seat is when they're not actually in a car. So while it may seem convenient to leave a sleeping babe in their car seat after a long trip or while you're at a restaurant, it's best to take them out right away.

The AAP recommends that when you are using the car seat as intended in the car, plan"to stop driving and give yourself and your child a break about every two hours." In the case of babies younger than one month, some car seat researchers recommend avoiding unnecessarily long road trips.

"Restrict it to say, no more than half an hour or so," Professor Peter Fleming, a noted car seat researcher, told the BBC. (If you've got to go farther than that, just plan for rest stops to get baby out of the car seat.)

All this comes with one significant note: While baby is in a moving car, safely buckled into a car seat is always the safest place to be. As noted in a study The Journal of Pediatrics, babies riding in a car seat as per the manufacturer's guidelines have a very low risk of suffocation or strangulation from the harness straps.

If we're aware of the risks and make sure to take breaks and take the baby out of the seat when the car stops, everyone can ride safely. Car seats, when used properly, are a literal lifesaver we should all be thankful for.

[Update, September 13, 2018: Added information regarding Lisa Smith's case.]

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