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When my oldest son was a newborn, I quickly realized how ill-prepared I was for the realities of sleep deprivation. The first few months of his life I was mentally and physically exhausted, attending to multiple night wakings which often required a couple of hours of rocking or singing before he would go back to sleep. He would then be up for the day at 5 a.m., at which point my husband would take over.  My son seemed wired to be more active and need less sleep than other babies, and, much to my chagrin, his night wakings continued well into his third year, at which point we had another newborn to deal with.


My mom, who came to help out when both babies were newborns, offered her take. “You need to put that baby on a schedule,” she said, as I nursed him for the second time in two hours. “Mom, it’s not like how it was when I was a baby,” I snapped blearily, opening my well-thumbed copy of Dr. Sears’ The Baby Book. “We aren’t going to let him cry it out.”

Was I doing it wrong? Were our assumptions about how to get our kids to sleep–and how much sleep we were entitled to, as their parents–the products of new scientific knowledge, or simply of an ever-more-demanding “parenting” culture? Now that my kids are older and I’m past the trauma of years of sleepless nights, I’m able to revisit these tenderest of questions. What better place to start than a review of 250 years’ worth of advice for getting your baby to sleep?

The first parenting guides were written by physicians and took a decidedly medical approach toward the advice they offered. Infant mortality was high, and the quality of a baby’s sleep was thought to correlate to health and life outcomes. William Cadogan’s 1749 An Essay on the Management of Children from their Birth to Three Years of Age urged mothers to take control from the moment of birth:

“By Night I would not have them fed or suckled at all, that they might at least be hungry in the Morning. It is this Night-feeding that makes them so over-fat and bloated. If they be not used to it at first, and perhaps awaked on purpose, they will never seek it; and if they are not disturbed from the Birth, in a Week’s time they will get into a habit of sleeping all, or most part of the Night very quietly; awaking possibly once or twice for a few Minutes, when they are wet and ought to be changed.”

In The Physicial Life of Woman: Advice to the Maiden, Wife and Mother, written in 1878, Dr. George H Napheys shared this dire warning about the dangers of co-sleeping:

“A foolish mother sometimes goes to sleep while allowing her child to continue sucking. The unconscious babe, after a tune, looses the nipple, and buries his head in the bed-clothes. She awakes in the morning, finding, to her horror, a corpse by her side, with his nose flattened, and a frothy fluid, tinged with, blood, exuding from his lips. A mother ought, therefore, never to go to sleep until her child have finished sucking.”

And Pye Henry Chavasse wrote this poetic prediction about the unhappy lifelong consequences of not letting a baby sleep alone in Advice to a Mother on the Management of her Children (1878):

“If, whilst in cradled rest your infant sleeps.

Your watchful eyes unceasing vigil keeps

Lest cramping bonds his pliant limbs constrain,

And cause defects that manhood may retain.”

But what about the practical issue of babies crying at night? Luther Emmett Holt, the pediatrician who first promoted the concept of “crying it out” in his 1894 book The Care and Feeding of Children: A Catechism for the Use of Mothers and Children’s Nurses  simply advised mothers to use a knitted band to protect the infant’s abdominal organs during extended crying sessions. In answer to the question “What should be done if the infant cries at night….Is it likely that rupture will be caused from crying?” Holt writes, “Not in young infants if the abdominal band is properly applied…It should simply be allowed to ‘cry it out’ This often requires an hour, and in extreme cases, two or three hours.”

By the early 20th century, families were living further away from each other, and moms began to turn to books and magazines for support. A primary directive of parenting advice at this time was to avoid spoiling a child, especially by any sort of interference in their sleep. Sleep was increasingly being described as a key parental battleground, and it was up to the mother to triumph over the baby hellbent on winning. William and Lena Sadler’s 1916 book “The Mother and Her Child,” is emblematic of advice from that era:

“We have seen so many beautiful babies go to sleep by themselves without any patting, dangling, or rocking, that we encourage and urge every mother to begin right, for if the little one never knows anything about rocking and pattings he will never miss them; and even if the baby is spoiled through extra attention which sickness often makes necessary, then at the first observance of the tendency on the part of the child to insist on the rocking, or the presence of a light in the sleeping-room, or the craving for a pacifier, we most strongly urge the mothers to stick to the heroic work ofletting him cry it out.

Parenting guides of this era were highly influenced by the Efficiency Movement, whose intention was to identify and do away with wasteful practices, and whose values extended into the parenting realm. As a result, mothers were encouraged to create rigid timetables for feeding and sleeping from the moment of birth.

“Plan a clock for baby,” instructed Helen Kinne and Anna M. Cooley in their 1917 textbook for homemakers, The Home and the Family. “He will grow and have better systematic care. This might be his clock, or schedule, for the first six months, after he is a few days old…A physician should recommend the schedule.”

Ignore the advice of these experts at your child’s own peril. If you disturb baby’s sleep, you are “laying the foundation for future nervousness, neurasthenia, and possibly hysteria,” wrote the Sadlers. Put him to sleep past six and “he will, before his time, become old, and the seeds of disease will be sown,” warned Chavasse. Sleep advice even extended into the appropriate type of light a baby should have in it’s room. In 1804, William Buchan shared these alarming warnings: “Care should be taken not to expose infants in bed to an oblique light, or they will become squint eyed. If the light come upon them from one side, their eyes will take that direction, and thus they will get the habit of looking crossways.”

Rigid approaches to parenting persisted until the arrival of Dr. Spock’s “The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care,” which was first published in a more relaxed post-World War II America, and which for 52 years was only outsold by the Bible. Although Dr. Spock promoted a more responsive relationship between mother and child, urging mothers to follow their intuition, his advice concerning sleep was fairly standard: “put the baby to bed at a reasonable hour, say good night affectionately but firmly, walk out of the room, and don’t go back.  Most babies who have developed this pattern cry furiously for 20 or 30 minutes the first night, and then when they see that nothing happens, they suddenly fall asleep! The second night the crying is apt to last only 10 minutes. The third night there usually isn’t any at all.”   

In 1986, Richard Ferber’s Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems ushered in a new era of sleep training for a growing population of households with two working parents by systematizing the “cry-it-out” method, which promoted a technique of allowing babies to cry in lengthening intervals before intervening.

By the time I had my kids, attachment parenting à la Dr. Sears-style had grown in popularity and was being touted as the best way to bond with your child. Sleep, attachment parenting-style, meant sharing a bed with your baby and nursing on-demand through the night, sometimes for years.

Today, “sleep training” has become a cottage industry consisting of books, blogs, homeopathic remedies and even sleep consultants offering conflicting advice. Science plays a role now, as it purportedly did two hundred years ago, in much of the new advice related to sleep. Some sleep scientists are particularly interested in examing the role that cortisol, the stress hormone, plays when an infant is left to cry itself to sleep. Does an infant experience trauma because they associate a parent leaving its bedside with abandonment? Are the long-term health effects of poor sleep worth the potential risks associated with having a baby cry itself to sleep? The arrival of each new book is a talisman for parents, offering its own cozy promise of a baby, freshly bathed, massaged, read and sung to, sleeping peacefully through the night.

Here’s what happened to me. As new parents, my husband and I found ourselves unable to follow the attachment parenting methodology of sleep without going completely insane. With our oldest son, we ineffectively cobbled together advice from different places, becoming bewildered and exhausted travelers looking for a mythical land of sleep. In the end, all the sleep advice in the world seemed to boil down to two simple options: you let your baby cry, whether in intervals or not; or you soothe it to sleep. By the time our second son was six months old, we had had it. We decided to follow the advice of all those rigid parenting guides of yore: we let our baby cry.

Within two days, he was sleeping through the night. I guess I should have listened to my mom, after all.

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

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Taking to the friendly skies with an infant in tow doesn't always feel so...friendly. That's doubly true when you're traveling during the busy holiday season. But while we can't help waylay the dirty looks you might get for bringing your baby on board (just ignore them, mama!), we can help you feel prepared to tackle whatever your little one throws at you in flight.

Whether you're embarking on your child's first flight for the holidays or are seasoned jet-setters, here are six products that will help guarantee smoother sailing.


1. Tru Niagen

If you always find yourself feeling off post-trip, we have a solution. Before taking off, give your body a boost by adding Tru Niagen to your vitamin regimen. This innovative supplement increase your body's NAD levels, a vital resource for energy and repair at the cellular level. Winter woes, you've met your match.

Tru Niagen, Chromadex, $40

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2. Sago Mini Toys 

Keep your child entertained before and during flights with a fun toy designed to promote creative thinking. The Pillow Playsets from Sago Mini fold up for air-travel (we especially love the Harvey's Doctor Office!) and the unfold to help keep little ones distracted during any delays. Simply toss a couple in your carry-on to break out whenever a potential tantrum strikes.

Harvey's Doctor's Office Pillow Playset, $39.99

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3. BABY B'AIR

When traveling with a baby, safety is tantamount. Unfortunately, options to secure in-lap infants are limited. Which is exactly what inspired founder Greg Nieberding to create the BABY B'AIR Flight Vest, a soft cotton body and nylon strap harness.

Not only does the BABY B'AIR Flight Vest prevent dangerous movement or slips during travel, but it will also save you time in security check because it doesn't require an extra scan the way car seats often do.

BABY B'AIR Flight Vest, babybair, $39.95

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4. E-Cloth

If you've read those articles about the number of bacteria on your seat's tray table, you're probably thinking twice about letting your little one touch any surface on board. Rather than dousing the entire cabin in a strong chemical cleaner, simply toss a cloth from the E-Cloth 8-Piece Home Cleaning Set in your carry-on.

These genius cloths use just water to "charge" the microscopic voids between and within the cloth's fibers, thereby attracting particles of dirt, bacteria, and mold when you wipe a dirty surface. After your flight, simply wring the cloth out in clean water to release the nasty stuff and the cloth is ready to use again. (We also love it for cleaning surfaces in a hotel room!)

E-Cloth 8-Piece Home Cleaning Set, $39.99

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5. SnoofyBee Changing Pad

One of the biggest challenges of traveling with babies? Keeping them from touching all.the.things. Never is this truer than on public changing tables and surfaces. But thanks to the Snoofybee, you can carry a clean surface with you while also keeping little hands contained from touching anything unseemly.

Bonus: The pad's redirection barrier can also put a stop to baby's who are fascinated with touching their own dirty diapers. Because blech.

SnoofyBee, SnoofyBee, $29.99

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6. Pediped Shoes

Give your child some comfy kicks to rock in the terminal (while they hopefully burn off any extra energy before boarding). Pediped shoes are designed for safe foot development and made from soft, pliable materials that your baby won't try to rip off the moment you set them down—and many are machine washable, meaning you can quickly wash away any airport grime when you get home.

Pediped Shoes, PedipedOutlet.com, $19.99 and up

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If there's anything better than dressing your kids up in adorable holiday outfits, it's gotta be matching them.

We rounded up seven of our favorite looks for this season. 🎁

1. Classic Christmas for kids

Go crisp, clean, classic and Christmassy with a Short Sleeve Smocked Holiday Dress from Feltman Brothers.

Short Sleeve Smocked Holiday Dress, Feltman Brothers, $67.95

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Classic Christmas made modern for mama

Match your cotton cutie in a crisp and modern shirtdress that can last you far beyond Christmas.

Kowtow Monologue Shirt Dress, Garmentory, $93.00

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2. Nordic-themed sweater set

Get cozy + complimentary with black and red family sweaters that you can wear all winter long.

Oh Sno Happy Christmas Collection, Hanna Andersson, $68 - $92

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3. Matchy matchy mommy

A super-affordable option for the matchy matchy mama.

Emmababy Mommy and Me Matching Plaid Long Sleeve Shirt Dress + Princess Tulle Tutu Dress, $14.99

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4. Mommy + me tutus

Tutus make everything, including the holidays, a bit more magical. Grab a matching set to enjoy a twirl with your girl.

Mommy and Me Tulle Tutus, Etsy, $110.00

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5. The perfect plaid dress

Quick! This one is perfect, grab it fast.

Ruffle Trim Babydoll Dress for Toddler Girls, Old Navy, $20.00

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Mama's plaid

Mama deserves ruffles and plaid, too.

Relaxed Plaid Twill Classic Shirt, $24.00, Old Navy

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6. Best sweater set yet

Moms and sons can play match-up, too. Grab a sweater set you can return to the entire season.

Festivewear Sweater Sets, Boden, $55.00-$130.00

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7. Big blue

Light up the night with Santa's sleigh and a sleek little number for mama.

Festive Big Applique Dress, Boden, $48.00

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Blue for you, too

The perfect LBD (little blue dress).

Flippy Pencil Dress, Boden, $170.00

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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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Ask a group of 10 mamas to define or describe mom guilt and you will likely get 10 different responses. We all associate feelings of guilt with different parenting situations that are as unique as we are. It ranges from feeling guilty about snapping at your children when you're run down, feeding them sugary snacks or leaving for an overnight work trip.

We feel guilt for big and small things, for things we did and didn't do and everything in between.

As a coach helping new moms adjust to motherhood, it's a big topic and one that repeatedly comes up. While it's not always labeled as mom guilt, those feelings of overwhelm, balancing what we're focusing our time on, or feeling bad that we haven't had a date night or a girls' night out in months, it usually circles back to guilt.

Guilt, when not addressed, can be quite a consuming feeling. It can become a bad habit, one that grows over time until soon you second-guess everything that you do for fear of feeling guilty afterward.

While I could certainly share my own experiences with guilt, I know they may not encompass the wide spectrum of mom guilt. So I asked some of my friends, colleagues and fellow moms to help me share stories of mom guilt, and I was surprised at some of the answers.

Here's what they had to say:

When do you experience mom guilt?

1. When I'm trying to blend work and life

"I have a job that has a lot of flexibility so I am around a lot more than other full-time jobs but a lot of the time I never feel like I am fully present. I am always taking phone calls and worrying about clients. It's hard to push that out of mind and focus fully on the kids."

2. When I lose my temper

"I lose my temper with my daughter all the time, and it's usually because I'm tired. When I don't parent with grace and instead react out of anger or frustration, I feel terrible, especially because it probably could have been prevented if I had gone to bed earlier the night before."

3. When I have to travel for work

"Two weeks ago I was out of town for a work conference and found out our 1-year-old had fallen down the stairs the night before and was taken to the hospital via ambulance. He was completely fine (just had an ear infection), but I felt guilty that I wasn't there.

"I kept thinking if I had been there I would have been an extra pair of hands and my husband wouldn't have been so stressed trying to get everyone ready for bed. I felt guilty that my husband had to go through that terrifying experience alone. I felt guilty that I couldn't be there for several more days to hold my baby and have physical proof he was okay."

4. When I had a hard time with breastfeeding

"I was unable to exclusively breastfeed my babies past four months. My milk supply couldn't keep up, and truthfully, I wasn't willing to be attached to my pump and eat all kinds of supplements to try to increase my milk. So we just started using formula. With my first born, I cried over this many times. I was disappointed and felt guilty that I wasn't giving her breast milk. But eventually I came to appreciate the conveniences of formula, and my guilt subsided.

"I was surprised when my son was born and we made the switch to formula again that [the guilt] crept back up. I remember bottle-feeding my newborn and feeling like I had to tell everyone in the room that the bottle was breast milk. Why is that?! Why do we need to slip it into the conversation that we're giving our kid breast milk or justify why we're not? When I stopped producing enough, that was disappointing but to be honest, I didn't love breastfeeding and felt a little relieved that it was over, and that made me feel guilty too. Why didn't I love something I was literally designed to do? Did I give up too easily? And would I have loved it if I had had a normal supply? I wrestled with these questions a lot."

5. When I feel like I'm working too much

"Luckily, I do not have to do morning drop off (that's my husband's realm). Avoiding the daycare drop off has been huge in terms of avoiding mom guilt on a regular basis. I typically do not feel guilty while I'm at work because I get a fair amount of fulfillment from my work, which I think makes me a better mom at the end of the day.

"However, I feel very guilty when my work bleeds into what should be time with my family (evenings and weekends). This happened a lot last school year (new school districts and new preps = 55-60 hour work weeks). I felt very guilty having to tell my son I couldn't play or couldn't go to the zoo with him and his dad on a Sunday because I had to work."

How do you move past the guilt?

It happens to the best of us, and it happens pretty frequently. Feeling guilty over certain circumstances, behavior and decisions is a part of parenting. So how do you move past those feelings of mom guilt? What can you think or do instead?

These were some of my favorite tips:

1. Be grateful

"Instead of feeling bad about yourself for something you can't control, try to be grateful. For example, write out gratitude l that you can afford formula and that formula even exists."

2. Talk about it, normalize it

"Talk about your experience when it comes up in conversation to normalize it—for yourself and for any other moms who might be listening. If someone says something offensive or insensitive, give them the benefit of the doubt."

3. Keep busy

"Keeping busy at work or during work travel is the best way to distract yourself and keep your mind off of feeling guilty."

4. Forgive yourself

"Accidents will happen whether you are there all the time or not, no matter how careful you are. The same thing could have happened even if you hadn't been away and both parents had been looking out for the kids' safety. It's okay to let yourself off the hook.

"If you lose your patience with your little one and resort to harsh words or actions, make a point to apologize and ask for forgiveness as soon as possible. Talk about why you both got upset, and after you hug it out, your guilt will probably have melted away."

5. Set boundaries

"Try setting stronger work boundaries so you can be more present at home. Especially if you don't work a traditional 9-5 job, that flexibility can lead to never being fully present. Find the boundaries that work for you so you can focus on family or work and not both all of the time."

6. Ask yourself some questions

If you feel overcome with mom guilt, try asking yourself:

  • Is your child thriving and happy? (yes)
  • Do theyknow they have a mom who loves them? (yes)
  • Are they learning new lessons/skills at daycare that you maybe wouldn't have even thought to teach them? (yes)

Then, what a lucky kid!

Remember you are not alone

If I can teach you one thing about guilt, it's that whether you feel guilty or not, is completely up to you. You may say, "she made me feel so guilty when she said…" or "hearing her talk about the privilege she has in staying home with her kids made me feel so guilty."

But it's not true. She didn't make you feel guilty. You thought that what she does or how she mothers was better, and that thought created the guilty feeling. Or you felt like you are doing a disservice to your family.

Knowing that, being aware of that, is so powerful.

I hope that by reading these honest stories from other moms who are doing the best that they can, you realize that we all feel it. We all experience mom guilt.

Share your stories, talk about it, normalize it, or challenge yourself with some of those amazing questions about whether your kid is happy, healthy and knows he is loved.

I bet you can talk yourself down off that ledge or pick yourself up out of those feelings of guilt. We all get through them and we get better and stronger every time that we do. Don't avoid the situations that "make you feel guilty". Walk head-on into them knowing you're not alone and knowing you have the tools to get past it.

Many thanks to these amazing women who were willing to share their stories:

  • Brooke Lehenbauer - Stay-at-home mom & part-time family photographer, Mom to a girl and a boy (3 yo and 7 months)
  • Jackie - Sales/Account Management, Mom to 3 kiddos (5, 3 and 1)
  • Lauren Karas - High school teacher, Mom to 3 yo boy and one on the way!
  • MC - Realtor, Mom to 2 boys (4 1/2 and 2 yo)

Originally posted on The Mother Nurture.

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As parents we do the best we can to keep our kids safe while also letting them experience the world, and sometimes this involves assessing risks and deciding what is appropriate for our individual families.

Every parent makes different choices based on their family's values and needs, and there's no reason for mom shaming—or in this case dad shaming—as Pink recently reminded the world via Instagram.

Pink's defense began when her husband, motocross pro Carey Hart, posted a pic of himself on a motorbike with son Jameson, who is nearly two. Internet commenters criticized Hart's decision and his parenting, suggesting that he was putting Jameson in danger by having him on the bike.

In the photo, Hart and Jameson are sitting on the bike while it is still, but some Instagram users were still very critical of Hart's decision to have Jameson up on the bike with him. Some suggested he was endangering his son, and others stated he was wearing the wrong kind of helmet.

After the controversy, Pink posted a photo of Jameson eating chocolate on her own Instagram, joking, "Chocolate is good for babies, right? Help me Instagram, we can't possibly parent without you."

The joke set some commenters off, reigniting the online debate about Hart's parenting skills. "With your husband being in the spotlight so often with his complete lack of regard for proper care or concern at times with your kids, this comment isn't funny, albeit Jameson is adorable, one Instagram user wrote. "Your husband, I'm sorry, lacks the responsibility your kids need in his care."

Pink replied to the commenter, asking (fairly) how this person could feel like they could judge Hart as a father when they'd only seen him parenting through social media posts. "How often have you spent time with my husband?" Pink asked the commenter. "How often have you watched him parent?"

Through that comment, Pink reminded the world that what we see on social media is just one slice of our very complex and busy lives. It's impossible to really know the thought and care each individual puts into the choices they make for their children.

We make choices for our kids every day and they're going to be different from the choices of the parent next door or the next person in our Instagram feed. Our parenting choices are informed by our individual experiences, our beliefs, and everything else that makes us ourselves, everything that makes us unique.

No parent is perfect, but as parents we are perfectly positioned to choose what is appropriate for our individual children.

And we can also make the choice to respect those who parent differently than we do. No shaming necessary.

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The color experts at Pantone recently named the pinky-orange hue Living Coral as the color of the year for 2019, but the Editors of Nameberry have some other shades in mind for 2019. Like Pantone, though, they're predicting nature-inspired colors won't just be big at the paint store, but at the playground as well.

Yes, natural colors and jewels-inspired hues (along with animal names) are predicted to be big trends for baby names in the coming year.

Nameberry's editors have been tracking the 2018 trends to predict which names parents will be picking in 2019, and the palette is more muted than Pantone's for sure. According to Nameberry's editors, parents are shifting away from the intense hues (like Scarlett, Ruby and Poppy) toward more chill tones.

These are Nameberry's picks for color-inspired names for 2019:

  1. Ash
  2. Fawn
  3. Grey/Gray
  4. Ivory
  5. Lavender
  6. Lilac
  7. Mauve
  8. Moss
  9. Olive
  10. Sage

You don't have to look to the crayon box for baby name inspo to be on trend for next year—you could also look in your jewelry box. According to Nameberry, jewel and gem-inspired names are surging for both boys and girls and some can even be gender neutral.

Namberry is betting some precious babies will be getting these precious names next year:

  1. Amethyst
  2. Emerald
  3. Garnet
  4. Jasper
  5. Jet
  6. Onyx
  7. Opal
  8. Peridot
  9. Sapphire
  10. Topaz

It's not just colors and gems from nature that are trending, but animal-inspired names, too. On-trend parents might look to the forest for more name inspiration in 2019.

According to Nameberry, these animal-based names are set to trend in 2019:

  1. Bear
  2. Falcon
  3. Fox
  4. Hawk
  5. Koala
  6. Lion
  7. Lynx
  8. Otter
  9. Tiger
  10. Wolf

Some of the names Nameberry has predicted here (like Jasper, which was within the official top 200 baby names of 2017, according to the Social Security Administration,) are already fairly popular, while others (like Koala and Bear) are so statistically unpopular right now they aren't even charting on the SSA's baby name list.

Time will tell which of these nature-inspired names can take on Liam and Emma in the near future and whether Coral can go from being Pantone's 2019 pick to parents' pick in 2020.

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