If you’re expecting a baby in 2019, you’ve probably already given some thought to baby names, but which names are predicted to be winners for the year ahead?

Trending names

Olivia was the top girls’ name for 2018, with Muhammed being the top boys’ name in the UK. Interestingly Oliver was the second most popular boy’s name so that trend is also extending across the genders. Sophia was the second most popular girls’ name.

Entering the stakes for girls last year were the nickname-like Bonnie, the gender-free Eden and the return of traditional Victoria, while the boys welcomed gender-free Alex as a new entry, along with the culturally widespread Ayan or Aayan and nickname-like Sam.

Nicknames as names

This trend is largely an American import, but in the UK we’re seeing some upswing in the ‘nickname as name’ habit. For boys this is showing up as names like Buddy, Sonny and even YoYo (yes, YoYo is starting to trend) … For girls it’s less common but Sukie (or Sukey), Birdie and Gigi are all growing in popularity.

The nice thing about these names is they are generally easy to say (and spell) and don’t make your child stand out too much. The downside can be that these names can be mistaken for shortenings of longer names, which means your child might constantly be asked if they are really Johannes or Susannah, for example.

Gender neutral names

A big influence since 2016, names like Lake, Grey, Black, Robin, Laurie, Blue, Dallas and Sage, to name but a few, are still big. Kylie Jenner chose Stormi for her daughter, which works just as well for boys as girls, and combines both celebrity cachet and the popularity of gender-neutrality. Other names that bring this blend of celeb and de-genderisation are Rob Kardashian’s daughter’s name (Dream) and Mark Zuckerberg daughter’s name (August).

The upside? This is definitely a continuing trend, with gender neutral names becoming really mainstream and it gives children the chance to explore their own sense of gender. The downside? It can lead to confusion and some teasing, especially if there’s a boy Lake and a girl Lake in the same class, for example.

Traditional and royal names

It’s always the case that royal babies, like royal weddings, creating a comet’s tail of name use. Louis entered the 2018 name stakes at number 91 once the Duke and Duchess of Sussex chose it as the name for their third child after George and Charlotte trended massively for their first two children.

So what else can we expect? Well Pippa Middleton called her son Arthur Michael William, all of which already rank in the top 100, although Arthur’s a re-entry this year after a few yer’s absence. Zara Tindall went for Lena Elizabeth for her new daughter, but so far Lena isn’t ranking at all.

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