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No batteries. No bells and whistles. No bright lights or loud noises. If you're looking for tech-free toys this year to inspire imagination, spark creativity and encourage open-ended play, we've got you, mama.

Here are our 14 favorites for a quieter, more creative holiday season!

1. Classic Rattle

A simple, beautiful hardwood rattle that's easy for little hands to grip + shake and gentle on teething gums.

Colorblock Classic Rattle, Bitte Shop, $19.00


2. Pinch Toys Retro 80's Cars

Bring back the decade of big hair and wood-paneled station wagons with these awesome retro push cars handcrafted from alder wood and painted with non-toxic, water-based paints.

Retro 80's Cars Set of 3, Bitte Shop, $30.00


3. Kiko + And GG Wooden Camera

Smile! Your little one will love snapping photos just like a grown up with this imaginative pretend camera.

Wooden Camera, Maisonette, $30.00


4. PlanToys Preschool Big Drum

While we can't promise this one will provide lots of quiet play, we can promise little ones will love exploring their sensory skills and banging on this drum perfectly sized for preschool hands.

PlanToys Plan Preschool Big Drum, Amazon, $36.00


5. SensoryPlay Wooden Rainbow Stacker with Acorn Sorting Bowls

This handmade rainbow stacker can be stacked however your little one's heart desires. The acorns and sorting bowls teach colors and help with fine motor skills.

Wooden Rainbow Stacker, Amazon, $49.99


6. Kid O Free Play Magnatab

Get creative with this learning tool that provides sensory-reinforced learning and provides hours of free-play fun. Kids will love the audible click of the magnetic pen, and you'll love that the beads stay securely captured inside the board.

Kid O Free Play Magnatab, Amazon, $24.00


7. Maileg Mice

File this one under "toys we wish we could play with as adults." No detail is spared in the world of these whimsical mice, from beautifully stitched mouse clothes to ohh-inducing accessories. Your little ones will never want to leave this magical pretend world!

Maileg Mouse, Maileg USA, $27.00 and up


8. Prince Lionheart Balance Bike

Balance bikes teach kiddos how to balance, a crucial skill before learning to transition to a traditional bicycle. This beauty has a 100% birch wood frame and an adjustable height seat for easy customization.

Prince Lionheart Balance Bike, Amazon, $74.78


9. BEKA Traditional Wood Blocks

These solid maple, heirloom quality blocks are a staple of childhood and will be played with for years. Kiddos will love stacking them up, knocking them down and building their own creative masterpieces.

Beka Wooden Blocks, Amazon, $84.99


10. Peg and Awl Wooden Tree Swing

Let your little one feel the wind through her hair and the freedom to fly with this beautifully handcrafted tree swing. It's easy to secure to any large tree branch and comes with 20' of rope.

Round Wooden Tree Swing, Etsy, $120.00


11. Petit Collage USA Floor Puzzle

Work on your spacial skills and your geography skills while putting together this bright, vibrant floor puzzle.

Petit Collage Floor Puzzle, Amazon, $16.52


12. Hazel Village Dolls

Few toys inspire the spirit of play more than dolls. From whimsical forest creatures to exquisitely crafted dolls, these heirloom quality toys will inspire countless hours of imagination.

Hazel Village Dolls, Hazel Village, $40.00 and up


13. Seedling Design Your Own Superhero Cape Activity Kit

Unleash the power of creativity! We love this art project and dress-up costume all rolled into one.

Seedling Design Your Own Superhero Cape Activity Kit, Amazon, $38.10


14. The 50 States

One of our go-to gift books of the year, this fact-packed volume explores the 50 states through vibrant maps packed with everything you'd ever want to know about the U.S. of A.

The 50 States: Explore the U.S.A. with 50 fact-filled maps, Amazon, $20.40


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If there's one thing you learn as a new mama, it's that routine is your friend. Routine keeps your world spinning, even when you're trucking along on less than four hours of sleep. Routine fends off tantrums by making sure bellies are always full and errands aren't run when everyone's patience is wearing thin. And routine means naps are taken when they're supposed to, helping everyone get through the day with needed breaks.

The only problem? Life doesn't always go perfectly with the routine. When my daughter was born, I realized quickly that, while her naps were the key to a successful (and nearly tear-free!) day, living my life according to her nap schedule wasn't always possible. There were groceries to fetch, dry cleaning to pick up, and―if I wanted to maintain any kind of social life―lunch dates with friends to enjoy.

Which is why the Ergobaby Metro Compact City Stroller was such a life-saver. While I loved that it was just 14 pounds (perfect for hoisting up the stairs to the subway or in the park) and folds down small enough to fit in an airplane overhead compartment (you know, when I'm brave enough to travel again!), the real genius of this pint-sized powerhouse is that it doesn't skimp on comfort.

Nearly every surface your baby touches is padded with plush cushions to provide side and lumbar support to everything from their sweet head to their tiny tush―it has 40% more padding than other compact strollers. When nap time rolls around, I could simply switch the seat to its reclined position with an adjustable leg rest to create an instant cozy nest for my little one.

There's even a large UV 50 sun canopy to throw a little shade on those sleepy eyes. And my baby wasn't the only one benefiting from the comfortable design― the Metro is the only stroller certified "back healthy" by the AGR of Germany, meaning mamas get a much-needed break too.

I also appreciate how the Metro fits comfortably into my life. The sleek profile fits through narrow store aisles as easily as it slides up to a table when I'm able to meet a pal for brunch. Plus, the spring suspension means the tires absorb any bumps along our way―helping baby stay asleep no matter where life takes us. When it's time to take my daughter out, it folds easily with one hand and has an ergonomic carry handle to travel anywhere we want to go.

Life will probably never be as predictable as I'd like, but at least with our Metro stroller, I know my child will be cradled with care no matter what crosses our path.

This article is sponsored by Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


It's been more than a year since Khloé Kardashian welcomed her daughter True Thompson into the world, and like a lot of new moms, Khloé didn't just learn how to to be a mom this year, she also learned how to co-parent with someone who is no longer her partner. According to the Pew Research Center, co-parenting and the likelihood that a child will spend part of their childhood living with just one parent is on the rise.

There was a ton of media attention on Khloé's relationship with True's father Tristan Thompson in her early days of motherhood, and in a new interview on the podcast "Divorce Sucks!," Khloé explained that co-parenting with someone you have a complicated relationship with isn't always easy, but when she looks at True she knows it's worth it.

"For me, Tristan and I broke up not too long ago so it's really raw," Khloé tells divorce attorney Laura Wasser on the podcast. She explains that even though it does "suck" at times, she's committed to having a good relationship with her ex because she doesn't want True to pick up on any negative energy, even at her young age.

That's why she invited Tristan to True's recent first birthday bash, even though she knew True wouldn't remember that party. "I know she's going to want to look back at all of her childhood memories like we all do," Khloé explained. "I know her dad is a great person, and I know how much he loves her and cares about her, so I want him to be there."


We totally get why being around Tristan is hard for Khloé, but it sounds like she's approaching co-parenting with a positive attitude that will benefit True in the long run. Studies have found that shared parenting is good for kids and that former couples who have "ongoing personal and emotional involvement with their former spouse" are more likely to rate their co-parenting relationship positively.

Khloé says her relationship with Tristan right now is "civilized," and hopefully it can get even better with time. As Suzanne Hayes noted in her six guiding principles for a co-parenting relationship, there's no magic bullet for moving past the painful feelings that come when a relationship ends and into a healthy co-parenting relationship, but treating your ex with respect and (non-romantic) love is a good place to start. Hayes describes it as "human-to-human, parent-to-parent, we-share-amazing-children-and-always-will love."

It's a great place to start, and it sounds like Khloé has already figured that out.

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Kim Kardashian West welcomed her fourth child into the world. The expectancy and arrival of this boy (her second child from surrogacy) has garnered much attention.

In a surrogacy pregnancy, a woman carries a pregnancy for another family and then after giving birth she relinquishes her rights of the child.

On her website, Kim wrote that she had medical complications with her previous pregnancy leading her to this decision. “I have always been really honest about my struggles with pregnancy. Preeclampsia and placenta accreta are high-risk conditions, so when I wanted to have a third baby, doctors said that it wasn't safe for my—or the baby's—health to carry on my own."

While the experience was challenging for her, “The connection with our baby came instantly and it's as if she was with us the whole time. Having a gestational carrier was so special for us and she made our dreams of expanding our family come true. We are so excited to finally welcome home our baby girl."

A Snapchat video hinted that Kim may have planned to breastfeed her third child. What she chooses to do is of course none of our business. But is has raised the very interesting question, “Wait, can you breastfeed when you use a surrogate?"


The answer is yes, you sure can! (And you can when you adopt a baby, too!)

When a women is pregnant, she begins a process called lactogenesis in which her body prepares itself to start making milk. This usually starts around the twenty week mark of pregnancy (half way through). Then, when the baby is born, the second phase of lactogenesis occurs, and milk actually starts to fill the breasts.

All of this occurs in response to hormones. When women do not carry a pregnancy, but wish to breastfeed, they can induce lactation, where they replicate the same hormonal process that happens during pregnancy.

A woman who wants to induce lactation can work with a doctor or midwife, and start taking the hormones estrogen and progesterone (which grow breast tissue)—often in the form of birth control pills—along with a medication called domperidone (which increases milk production).

Several weeks before the baby will be born, the woman stops taking the birth control pill but continues to take the domperidone to simulate the hormonal changes that would happen in a pregnancy. She'll also start pumping multiple times per day, and will likely add herbal supplements, like fenugreek and blessed thistle.

Women can also try to induce lactation without the hormones, by using pumping and herbs, it may be harder but some women feel more comfortable with that route.

Inducing lactation takes a lot of dedication—but then again, so does everything related to be a mama. It's a super personal decision, and not right for everyone.

The important thing to remember is that we need to support women and mothers through their entire journey, no matter what decisions they make about themselves and their families—whether Kardashian or the rest of us.

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