Choosing a baby name is a lot of work. New parents have a daunting task ahead of them. There's so much pressure to pick one name that will be absolutely perfect for the little guy or girl. Parents want a name that is strong but also sensitive. It has to be pretty but also serious. It can't be too exotic or too boring. They want it to be popular but not so popular that everyone at the playground has the same name. They want a name that will honor their culture, heritage, traditions, religion and family. But they also want a name that the child can make their own. So what does mom and dad do?
It's hard and there really is no right answer. If parents are really stuck, they can shoehorn in a few middle names so they don't have to part with all of their favorites. But at the end of the day, they still have to pick one first name that will magically be everything they want it to be. And it also has to please all of their family members and friends who are eagrely awaiting the name reveal.
We may not be able to tell everyone exactly what to name their child, but we can give parents some great ideas to spark the inspiration. And better than that, we can tell parents which names they may want to avoid. It's not that these names are bad or ugly. They're beautiful names! But by the time 2019 rolls around, we will have heard enough of these ones. So do us a favor parents and just retire them already!
Jacob is a strong name. It's sturdy and has survived through all of the trends. It's a name with staying power. And it also has the religious element if you're looking for a biblical name. Baby Center tells us, "Jacob is an important biblical patriarch, the father of 12 sons who gave their names to the 12 tribes of Israel. Jacob has long been a popular Jewish name and has been a top 100 U.S. name for 30-plus years." And therein lies the problem. Jacob peaked in 1999 but is still a top 20 name today.
Mackenzie is another name that you're going to hear a lot around the playground. This name has the added benefit, or detriment, or being spelled many different ways. You have Mackenzie, Mackenzy, Mckenzie, Mackynzie, and so on and so forth. Baby Center shares, "In Gaelic, it means "comely." It can also mean "child of the wise leader" and "born of fire." It's used as both a boys' and a girls' name but is more popular for girls." Mackenzie reached peak popularity in 2001 and has remained popular ever since.
I will admit that Liam used to be my favorite name. I still think it's such a great choice for a little boy. It's short and easy to spell with only one traditional way to spell it. It's a great play on the more classic and old-sounding, William. It has some style to it and it just sounds cool. But you know who else thinks that? Every parent who has had a child in the last decade. Liam was the number one baby boy name in 2018 and 2017. And it was in the number two spot from 2013 to 2016. So please think twice before grabbing this moniker.
Isabella is another gorgeous name. It sounds poetic and exotic without being too out there. There's a melodic quality to it and you can see a Princess Isabella strolling around her Italian villa. But it's not too pretentious, so Isabella will still fit in at her daycare in the suburbs. But other parents are seeing the light on Isabella too. In fact, the name has remained in the top five for baby girls since 2006. That's 12 years of Isabellas! Get ready to come up with a really creative nickname if you're choosing Isabella for your little one.
Ava is another name that I absolutely adore. I think it's just so short and simple. But in just three letters it is able to convey strength, beauty and style. I love this name! When Reese Witherspoon chose this for her daughter, I was immediately enchanted and swore to use the same name for my future daughter. And it seems I wasn't alone. A lot of other parents want to follow in Reese's footsteps. Like Isabella, Ava has been a top five name since 2006. So get ready to see a lot of little Avas running around!
When my uncle chose Aiden for his son's name (actually spelling it Aidan), I thought it was a really cool choice. Aiden is unique but not too strange. It's both sensitive and strong. I think it's a great choice for a baby boy. But my uncle certainly wasn't reinventing the wheel. It seems that Aiden is the hot name of the last decade. Aiden peaked in 2010 and has consistently ranked in the top 20 in the last ten years. If you want to be slightly more unique, you could spell this name Aidan or Ayden, but that may just add to the confusion.
Sophia is a beautiful name for a little girl. It sounds very old-world and European without being too far fetched for a North American family. In Greek, Sophia means wisdom. And who doesn't want their little girl to be wise? There are also lots of famous name bearers like Sophia Loren, Sophia Coppola, Sofia Vergara and Sophia Bush. Plus you can opt for the slightly different Sofia or Sophie. Sophia held the number one spot from 2011 to 2013 and has been in the top five since 2009.
Noah is another one of my favorites! This name works for those looking for something biblical and for fans of Ryan Gosling in The Notebook. Noah is a sturdy name. It sounds dependable and loyal. It also sounds like someone who is wise, cultured and good looking. Basically, it's a pretty perfect name! And parents seem to agree. Noah was the number one baby boy name from 2013 to 2016. In 2017 and 2018, it only dropped down one spot to number two. So expect to meet a lot of Noahs on the first day of school.
Parents are loving these M names for their little girls! Madison, Mackenzie, Mackayla and all the rest are a big hit amongst parents. And like the other M names, there are lots of different ways to spell Madison. We've seen it as Maddison, Madyson, Madisin and more. Madison peaked in 2001 coming in at the number two spot and remained in the top five for a while. These days, Madison is just out of the top 20 so it seems to be losing steam. But it's still a popular choice for parents.
Lucas is another name that is a really solid choice and has received a lot of love in recent years. Lucas is a more modern version of Luke or Lucius and it means "light-giving" or "illumination." So it's a pretty wonderful name! And if you happen to be looking for something biblical, Lucas can be a good tribute to New Testament writer and disciple, Luke. Lucas began climbing up the charts in the 1970s and hasn't slowed since. It cracked the top 20 in 2014 and in 2018 sits in the number four spot.
Emma is another sweet name that has made a resurgence in recent years. At first, I thought Emma was an older name. It was clearly popular 20-30 years ago giving us notable Emmas like Emma Watson, Emma Stone and Baby Spice Emma Bunton. But the name began to grow in popularity again in the early 2000s. And now Emma has been the number one name for the last four years! That's right - four years in a row we saw Emma come in as the most popular baby girl name. Watch out world, here comes Emma!
Now Milo is an interesting addition to this list. For starters, it's a beautiful name. Milo is a Greek name and is about as cool and exotic as you can get without being too crazy. It's a great name! However, it's rising in popularity very very quickly. In the last 15 years, the name Milo has been shooting up the charts. In 2018, the name came in at #158 on the charts. So it certainly isn't the most popular name. But it did move up 48 spots from 2017. Plus, with the popularity of This Is Us and star Milo Ventimiglia, this name is only going to keep growing in popularity. If you don't want to be on the next bandwagon name, leave this one behind.
Luna is another name that has gotten a lot of love recently. Like Milo, Luna has seen a huge surge in popularity in the last 15 years. Thanks to people like Chrissy Teigen and John Legend choosing this name for their little girl, the rest of us non-celebrities have woken up to this adorable name. How sweet is it for a little girl? The sweetest! Luna came in at #16 on the charts in 2018, which is huge considering it was at #110 only three years ago. Here comes Luna!
Oliver is a strong and historic name. It has character and has been around for a very long time. Everyone knows the name Oliver and it definitely sounds very comfortable and fitting for a little guy. If you go for Oliver, you'll have great namesakes in Oliver Twist, John Oliver and Jamie Oliver. You could also opt for the French version, Olivier. Oliver sits at #3 in 2018 on the baby name charts, so it's a very popular choice. The name has been moving fast up the charts since the early 2000s.
Charlotte is a huge name and another personal favorite of mine. I think this name is so sweet and I love the nickname options with Charlie, Lottie and Char. But I'm not alone in loving this moniker. It was the choice for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (aka Prince William and Catherine) as well as Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky. There's also the famous Charlottes: Charlotte Bronte, Charlotte from Charlotte's Web and Charlotte from Sex and The City. Charlotte comes in at #8 in 2018 and has been top ten in the last five years.
Wyatt is actually one of my favorite names. I think it's so cool! We very rarely see names with "y" in the middle and used as a vowel. And W names are also pretty rare. I enjoy names that are short and snappy and stradle the line well between strong and sensitive. So Wyatt is perfect. But why do I want it to be retired in 2019? Because everyone else is picking up on how great this name is. Wyatt appears on all of the baby name lists and has been shooting up the charts in recent years.
Emily is a beautiful and classic name. It's so pretty and has such strong staying power. This name has been around forever. And that's just the problem. It's really not that unique. It wouldn't be odd to meet an Emily who is 10 years old, 20 years old, 30 years old or even 40 years old. This name has been around for so long and isn't all that unique or new anymore. But it's also not old enough to be a historic name. Emily was the #1 name for an impressive 11 years from 1996 to 2007. And it's still popular today!
Michael is another name that is sturdy and strong. Like Emily, this name has been around a very long time and isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Baby Center tells us, "In the Bible, St. Michael leads the angels against the army of Satan and becomes the patron saint of soldiers." Michael has been a popular name since the early 1900s and was at its peak in the early 2000s. Still today, Michael is at #15 on the baby name charts. This name will always be popular among parents but definitely isn't new or unique.
One reason we want certain names to be retired in 2019 is because they are just too popular. We are tired of hearing parents name their kids Emma or Aiden. We just don't want a preschool class full of Avas, Charlottes and Lucases. But another reason to retire names is because they're trendy and that trend won't last forever. Case in point: Elsa. Elsa is a beautiful name. It's very pretty and was first popular in the 1800s. But Elsa again shot up the charts afer the release of Disney's Frozen. But do you want someone to sing "Let It Go" everytime your child is introduced? Probably not.
Atticus is a controversial choice for this list. Because, to be honest, Atticus is set to be a hot name in 2019. Atticus is everything new parents want in a name - it's unique and not a name we probably hear in our own circles of friends or family. It's got a cool hipster quality to it. And it shows that you're very well read with the famous name bearer being Atticus Finch from Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. But if you haven't scooped up this name yet, it may be too late. This name is gaining in popularity quick. And if you're not prepared to post adorable photos of your kid in a wool hat in a Brooklyn coffee shop on Instagram, this name might not be too fitting.
Lennon is another controversial choice for this list. I love the name Lennon. I think it's really pretty. And I love that it's a unisex name, even though it is more popular for girls these days. The name Lennon means little cape. Cute for a baby, right? But most people know the name "Lennon" as in John Lennon of The Beatles. Now, don't get me wrong. I am a huge Beatles fan. My mom was in love with John Lennon and I grew up listening to their music. But like Atticus, this name is a bit of a trope for hipster parents looking to grab onto something that screams culture. Let's just say, if you can't name at least five songs by The Beatles, you can't use the name Lennon.
Lincoln is a cool name that just screams 2018. One of the big trends in the last decade has been using last names as first names. And in 2018, with all of the talk of politics and the hype around the musical Hamilton, the coolest last names to turn into modern first names are presidential ones. So Lincoln is the perfect choice! It's also a unisex name. I'm all for this super cool name, but do know that this name has skyrocketed up the charts in the last five years. You definitely won't be the first person on this bandwagon.
Speaking of trends, we now have the name Bowie. Without context, the name Bowie is super cool. It means yellow-haired and could work for a boy or a girl. It sounds super unique and stylish. And it's an obvious ode to music legend, David Bowie. If you have chosen this name ten years ago, you would be a genius. But with the passing of David Bowie in 2016, the name Bowie has gained an insane amount of popularity in the last couple of years. The name actually jumped 1,048 spots from 2015 to 2016.
Here's another name that is beautiful on its own but way too trendy to have staying power. If you name your daughter Aria from 2011 to 2020, everyone will assume you are naming her after Game of Thrones' Aria Stark. Of course, there's nothing wrong with honoring an awesome TV and book character. Aria Stark is a strong woman who is independent and tough. She's a little ruthless and cruel, but we can forget those parts. But everyone will associate your Aria with Game of Thrones, and all of the other Arias in her class. Don't you want her to make her own way without the GoT cloud over her?
Theo is another one of my favorite names! This name is so cute but also could work for a grown up when your baby boy is baby no longer. Theo is usually short for Theodore, but many modern parents are using nicknames as real names. Theo is also a nod to former president Theodore Roosevelt. And we already know that presidential names have been very popular this year. So basically, Theo has it all. And that's why it should be avoided. This name is climbing up the charts at an alarming rate. In the last eight years, this name has jumped up 50 to 150 spots every year. So make no mistake that this is going to be a top name in 2019 and beyond.