Parenting Trends of 2018 and Top Baby Names
In 2017, the very act of being pregnant was hip, trendy, and popular. Angelina Jolie, Katie Holmes, and Sophia Coppola (to name just a few) made sporting a bump the fashionable thing to do. Forecasting into the future — what can we expect to see as the next hot, new thing when it comes to preconception, pregnancy and parenting?
Expectant parents plan babymoons, but what about couples hoping to conceive? The hot trend in travel this year is the procreation vacation, geared toward busy working couples whose hectic lives may not leave a lot of time for baby-making. The hotel industry has responded to the demand with packages designed to help couples de-stress, spark up the romance, and maybe head home with much more than just a suntan. Packages typically include romantic dinners, spa treatments such as massage and reflexology, special “fertility foods,” and, in some cases, short seminars where experts share fertility secrets.
Male Fertility Test Kits
Between ovulation predictor kits and home pregnancy tests, women already have a variety of at-home fertility tools available to them. Now, with the introduction of a male fertility test kit from Baby Start, men can perform a semen analysis right in the comfort of their own homes — which might help reluctant husbands get to a specialist sooner. The kits test for sperm concentration and give a positive (fertile) or negative (infertile) color-coded reading within five minutes. Each box comes with enough materials for two tests, so you can repeat the process several days later to ensure accuracy. The Baby Start tests cost about $40 and are available at many drugstores and online retailers.
New Age Prenatal Care
Wish you could go to your prenatal appointments with friends? Strength in numbers takes on a new meaning when you enlist in the growing trend of group prenatal care. Many women are flocking to this alternative type of medical care, called centering, which combines traditional OB-GYN visits with emotional support for you and other moms-to-be. The programs first popped up in 1993 when a nurse presented the idea of pregnant women seeking healthcare en masse, and today centering is taking off — there are now more than 200 sites throughout the US.
How does it work? Six to 10 women get together with their doctor for two-hour sessions beginning at their eighteenth or twentieth week of pregnancy. The meetings generally are scheduled in the evenings and begin with doctor-patient, one-on-one sessions and then transition into a support group meeting where women and their doctor can discuss anything from fluctuating pregnancy hormones, to delivery room anxieties, to general health concerns.
Gender Prediction Kits
An impatient couple can now discover the sex of their baby just a few weeks into pregnancy. These new products for at-home use either test urine and give an immediate result or require collecting a blood sample that you send off to a lab.
If you’re looking for quick results, Intelligender may be your best bet. To answer the ultimate question of boy or girl, simply test a sample of your morning urine between your eight and thirty-second week of pregnancy. The company claims a 94-percent accuracy rate, and the tests, available online, cost about $60.
Chic Swaddles and Slings
Swaddling babies is nothing new; moms have been wrapping up infants for generations. But in recent years, pediatricians such as Dr. Harvey Karp, MD, have brought baby swaddling to the forefront of parenting to-dos. Swaddling your baby is touted as treatment for colic and fussiness, a way to help babies sleep better, and a safe way to keep your baby asleep on her back. Why does it work? As Dr. Karp notes on his website, “Tight swaddling provides the continuous touching and support the fetus experienced while still in Mom’s womb.”
Two Aussie moms are taking the trend further by giving us a better wrap. Apparently natural-fiber loving Australians have been using soft muslin swaddling blankets for years. When the founders of Aden and Anais relocated to the US, they couldn’t find anything like it here, so they introduced their own line of quality muslin wraps especially for swaddling babies. We tested a sample and loved the soft material, large size, and sweet designs. The light muslin material allows air to flow through it to keep your baby warm and comfortable without letting her get too hot. The wraps retail for about $60 and are available in trendy boy or girl designs — or in classic white.
Babywearing is another age-old practice that’s come back in vogue in recent years, thanks to high profile baby slingers like Kate Hudson, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Angelina Jolie, and the sheer convenience of it. But now companies like Kangaroo Korner are bringing babywearing to a whole new level. This Minneapolis, Minnesota-based company is using a variety of fabrics — from silks to polar fleece, organics to water-friendly, UV-blocking materials — to create baby slings and pouches in a multitude of styles. They’ve even designed a pouch that will fit infants through preschoolers, so you need only purchase one sling for your child, rather than several for each growth stage.
All Kangaroo Korner pouches, which cost about $60, allow for four different carrying positions: tummy to tummy, cradle style, on the hip, and front facing. Each pouch is available in four sizes and adjusts to the wearer’s body (four rows of snaps allow for a just-right fit).
Baby’s First Spa
Babies have been getting massages at home for a few years now, but in 2017, we predict that you’ll see baby spas springing up across America. Typically offshoots of spas that mommies frequent, they offer baby care (while mom is busy relaxing), infant rubdowns, and a soothing environment. Baby Spa, one of the first of its kind, from the owners of Encino, California’s Skin Spa, opened in late 2006. Described as a “postpartum paradise,” Baby Spa offers infant massage, mommy and baby yoga, and “pampered parenting” classes.
Noteworthy Baby Names
What will parents name their babies in 2018? Here are a few baby naming trends you can bank on.
- Classic is Cool: When it comes to naming little girls, antiques are all the fashion. We’ve seen a revival of Victorian Era names such as Abigail, Ella, and Grace, and we expect the trend to continue into the new year; witness the up-and-coming of the lovely Lily, which is now ranked 20th most popular names and likely to continue rising.
- Biblical Blasts from the Past: Read any list of popular boy names over the decades and there’s no escaping it: biblical names are never out of style. Noah, Caleb, and Jacob rounded out the top five of our 2017 list. While these may not stay at the top of the list, other biblical monikers will surely take their places.
- Last Names First: The white pages could serve as a popular name book for stumped parents in the coming year. Using surnames as first names is a trend that isn’t fading. Consider Madison, Addison, Mackenzie, Logan, Landon, and Jackson which all fell near the top of our 2006 list.
- Ens and Ahs: Boys’ names ending in an “en” sound are going to stay popular for the coming year—note that Aidan and Ethan were tops for 2017. Meanwhile, girls’ names ending in an “ah” sound—such as current frontrunners Ava, Emma, Olivia, and Isabella—will remain favorites among new parents.