The US and its culture has a huge influence on our daily live across the pond, so it's no surprise that American baby names have been steadily gaining in popularity in the UK over the past years.


If you're on the hunt for a American baby name for your baby-to-be, you'll probably know already that there are thousands and thousands to choose for – and narrowing such a huge list down is never easy, especially when you're on a countdown to your due date.

So, here to help you, is our carefully curated list of the best American baby names for boys and girls. We've included cute American names, gender-neutral American names, pretty American names, traditional American names, cool American names, Native American baby names, unusual American names – and more.

As the US itself is less than 250 years old, most of the names will seem modern, fresh and possibly even quirky. Some of the names we've included originally come from elsewhere in the world but have been changed or adapted Stateside.

Here's our list of the best American girl and boy names to inspire you...

Popular American baby names for boys | Popular American baby names for girls | Traditional American names for girls | Traditional American names for boys | Native American names for girls | Native American names for boys | Cool American names for boys | Cool American names for girls | African-American names for girls | African-American names for boys | Pretty American names for girls | Cute American names for boys | Cute American names for girls | Unusual American names for girls | Unusual American names for boys | Unisex American baby names

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Popular American baby names for boys

These US boy names have all gained a stronghold in the UK, making it onto the biggest official top 100 list for boys. We've listed them in the order they are ranked by the Office for National Statistics, which tracks birth registrations in England and Wales each year.

1. Teddy

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: gift of god; diminutive form of Greek name Theodore
  • Trend: moving up

2. Mason

  • Origin: English/American
  • Meaning: stone worker; English surname
  • Trend: moving up

3. Harrison

  • Origin: English/American
  • Meaning: Harry's son; English surname
  • Trend: moving down

4. Jaxon

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: son of Jack; Americanisation of English surname Jackson
  • Also: Jackson
  • Trend: moving down

5. Hudson

  • Origin: English/American
  • Meaning: son of Hudd; English surname
  • Trend: moving up

6. Hunter

  • Origin: American/English
  • Meaning: person who hunts; English surname
  • Trend: moving down

7. Oakley

  • Origin: American/English
  • Meaning: meadow of oak trees
  • Trend: moving up

8. Grayson

  • Origin: English/American
  • Meaning: son of grey-haired man; English surname
  • Also: Greyson
  • Trend: moving down

9. Carter

  • Origin: English/American
  • Meaning: transporter of goods by cart; English surname
  • Trend: moving down

10. Riley

  • Origin: English/American
  • Meaning: rye clearing; English surname
  • Also: Rylee
  • Trend: moving down

11. Sonny

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: our son
  • Trend: moving up

12. Chester

  • Origin: American/Latin
  • Meaning: fortress, walled town
  • Trend: moving down

13. Brody

  • Origin: American/Irish
  • Meaning: ditch or muddy place; Gaelic surname
  • Trend: moving up

14. Kai

  • Origin: Hawaiian
  • Meaning: sea
  • Trend: moving up

15. Myles

  • Origin: American/Latin
  • Meaning: soldier
  • Also: Miles
  • Trend: moving down

Interestingly – and in strong contrast to the boy names (above) – only two American girl names make it onto the official top 100 list for girls, compiled by the Office for National Statistics.

16. Harper

  • Origin: English/American
  • Meaning: harp player; English surname
  • Trend: moving up

17. Hallie

  • Origin: English/American
  • Meaning: dweller at the meadow; diminutive form of Harriet
  • Trend: moving up

Traditional American names for girls

These classic American baby girl names have long stood the test of time. Some of them – like America, Aspen and Virginia – are strongly tied to the nation itself, while others signal virtues favoured by Puritan pilgrim fathers who established the first colonial settlements in the 1620s.

18. America

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: home ruler; from Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci, whose name America is derived from

19. Aspen

  • Origin: English/American
  • Meaning: aspen tree

20. Aubrey

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: elf ruler; derived from name Alberic
  • Also: Aubree

21. Brianna

  • Origin: American/Irish
  • Meaning: strong

22. Justice

  • Origin: American/English
  • Meaning: justice

23. Kennedy

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: helmeted head; Gaelic surname

24. Madison

  • Origin: English/American
  • Meaning: son of Matthew; English surname
  • Also: Maddison

25. Patience

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: patience

26. Serenity

  • Origin: Latin/American
  • Meaning: peaceful

27. Sloane

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: raider; from the Irish surname

28. Virginia

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: virgin, pure; name of a US state

Traditional American names for boys

We've found some properly star-spangled, all-American traditional baby boy names. Some of them – like Wyatt and Austin – sound like they have ridden straight in from the Wild West, while others have strong links with past presidents of the US. We've also included some Hawaiian boy names that are variations on classical bible names used all over the world.

29. Austin

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: great, magnificent; from the Latin name Augustine

30. Brad

  • Origin: Old English
  • Meaning: broad

31. Brandon

  • Origin: American/Celtic
  • Meaning: prince; from the broom hill

32. Bryson

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: son of Brice; English surname

33. Chad

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: protector

34. Everett

  • Origin: English/American
  • Meaning: strong boar; English surname

35. Franklin

  • Origin: American/Old French
  • Meaning: free man

36. Jameson

  • Origin: English/American
  • Meaning: son of James; English surname

37. Keoni

  • Origin: Hawaiian
  • Meaning: God is gracious; Hawaiian version of John

38. Kingston

  • Origin: American/Old English
  • Meaning: king's town; place name

39. Lincoln

  • Origin: English/American
  • Meaning: lake; from Lincoln; English surname

40. Makaio

  • Origin: Hawaiian
  • Meaning: gift of God; Hawaiian version of Matthew

41. Marlon

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: little warlike one

42. Tucker

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: cloth fuller, tailor; English surname

43. Washington

  • Origin: American/English
  • Meaning: from the clever person's settlement; English surname; name of a US state

44. Wyatt

  • Origin: Old English
  • Meaning: brave warrior

Native American names for girls

These Native American baby girl names are, of course, older than the US itself. We've selected some gorgeous girl names with origins in different Native American tribes, including Sioux, Cherokee and Choctaw. Many of the names have wonderful meanings linked to the natural world.

45. Awinita

  • Origin: Cherokee
  • Meaning: fawn

46. Cheyenne

  • Origin: Lakota/Sioux
  • Meaning: people of a different language
  • Also: Shayan, Cheyanne

47. Chenoa

  • Origin: Native American
  • Meaning: white dove

48. Kimimela

  • Origin: Sioux
  • Meaning: butterfly

49. Nayeli

  • Origin: Zapotec
  • Meaning: I love you

50. Nita

  • Origin: Choctaw
  • Meaning: bear

51. Nizhoni

  • Origin: Navajo
  • Meaning: beautiful

52. Shania

  • Origin: Ojibwa
  • Meaning: I'm on my way

53. Soyala

  • Origin: Hopi
  • Meaning: winter solstice

54. Tallulah

  • Origin: Choctaw
  • Meaning: leaping water

55. Winona

  • Origin: Sioux
  • Meaning: first-born daughter

56. Wyomia

  • Origin: Native American
  • Meaning: wide plain

Native American names for boys

Unusual and fresh to the UK ear, these baby boy names are steeped in the rich Native American history and culture. Some describe delightful aspects of personality, while others have wonderful meanings connected to the world around us.

57. Ahanu

  • Origin: Algonquian
  • Meaning: he laughs

58. Ashkii

  • Origin: Navajo
  • Meaning: boy

59. Atohi

  • Origin: Cherokee
  • Meaning: woods
  • Also: Atohe, Adohi

60. Bemidii

  • Origin: Ojibwe
  • Meaning: river by a lake

61. Chayton

  • Origin: Sioux
  • Meaning: falcon

62. Hopi

  • Origin: Hopi
  • Meaning: peaceful person

63. Hototo

  • Origin: Nez Perce
  • Meaning: warrior spirit who sings

64. Ishi

  • Origin: Yahi
  • Meaning: man

65. Jacy

  • Origin: Blackfoot
  • Meaning: the moon

66. Takoda

  • Origin: Sioux
  • Meaning: friend to everyone

67. Tokala

  • Origin: Dakota
  • Meaning: fox

The most popular girl names in the US

These are the top 10 baby girl names in the US, based on official information from the US Government's Department for Social Security.
  • Olivia. Origin: Latin; Meaning: olive tree
  • Emma. Origin: German; Meaning: universal or whole
  • Charlotte. Origin: French; Meaning: free man
  • Amelia. Origin: Latin; Meaning: work, industrious
  • Sophia. Origin: Greek; Meaning: wisdom
  • Isabella. Origin: Italian; Meaning: devoted to God
  • Ava. Origin: Latin; Meaning: life, bird
  • Mia. Origin: Latin; Meaning: mine
  • Evelyn. Origin: English; Meaning: desired
  • Luna. Origin: Latin; Meaning: moon

Cool American names for boys

All effortlessly stylish, these American baby boy names acquired their cool from their smart and interesting meaning, from their association with a celebrity or by being originally a surname that translates into a slick and trendy first name.

68. Archer

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: bowman; English surname

69. Ashton

  • Origin: American/Old English
  • Meaning: from the ash tree; English surname

70. Brooklyn

  • Origin: American/Old English
  • Meaning: lives near small stream; borough of New York

71. Brooks

  • Origin: Old English/American
  • Meaning: small stream; English surname

72. Cayson

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: healer; combination of Casey and Jason
  • Also: Kayson

73. Chase

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: to pursue; from the Old French word 'chace'

74. Colton

  • Origin: English/American
  • Meaning: from the coal town

75. Dyami

  • Origin: Native American
  • Meaning: eagle

76. Easton

  • Origin: English/American
  • Meaning: east town; English surname

77. Jaxton

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: God is gracious; inspired by Jack and Jason

78. Kayden

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: battle, fighter
  • Also: Cayden, Caden, Kaden, Kaidan, Kaydon, Caiden, Kaiden

79. Kekoa

  • Origin: Hawaiian
  • Meaning: warrior, the Koa tree

80. Makani

  • Origin: Hawaiian
  • Meaning: wind

81. Nakoa

  • Origin: Hawaiian
  • Meaning: warriors

82. Ryder

  • Origin: American/Old English
  • Meaning: rider, mounted warrior

83. Ryker

  • Origin: American/German
  • Meaning: rich; German surname

84. Sawyer

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: woodcutter

85. Weston

  • Origin: American/English
  • Meaning: from the western town; English surname

Cool American names for girls

Sleek and modern, these ultra-cool American baby girl names take inspiration from great US female celebs (and Games of Thrones stars!) or riff on K and M, the two most on-trend initial letters for girl names right now.

86. Beyonce

  • Origin: American/Creole
  • Meaning: beyond others; Creole surname

87. Kaylen

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: keeper of the keys
  • Also: Kaylin, Kaylynn, Kahlan

88. Kehlani

  • Origin: Hawaiian
  • Meaning: sea and sky
  • Also: Kailani, Kaylani, Kalani, Keilani, Khalani, Kahlani

89. Kendall

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: from Kent Valley; English place name

90. Kendra

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: knowing

91. Khaleesi

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: queen; from Game of Thrones

92. Makenna

  • Origin: African-American
  • Meaning: happy one

93. Montana

  • Origin: American/Latin
  • Meaning: mountain; name of a US state

94. Rhianna

  • Origin: American/Welsh
  • Meaning: great queen; adapted from Rhiannon

95. Sedona

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: city in Arizona

96. Wrenley

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: small songbird, adapted from wren

African-American names for girls

We love these baby names for girls for their strong, positive and hopeful meanings, and the way their (mostly) African beginnings have been shaped and varied by years of use Stateside.

97. Brielle

  • Origin: Cajun
  • Meaning: hunting grounds; contraction of French name Gabrielle

98. Dazzline

  • Origin: African-American
  • Meaning: dazzling, luminous

99. Destiny

  • Origin: American/Latin
  • Meaning: fate

100. Imani

  • Origin: African-American/Swahili
  • Meaning: faith

101. Kalisha

  • Origin: African-American
  • Meaning: noble, kind

102. Keysha

  • Origin: American (African-American)
  • Meaning: cinnamon tree
  • Also: Keisha, Keziah, Keesha

103. Kimani

  • Origin: African-American
  • Meaning: sweet, beautiful

104. Lacresha

  • Origin: African-American
  • Meaning: succeed; version of Latin name Lucrecia

105. Ladonna

  • Origin: African-American
  • Meaning: the woman; derived from Italian name Donna

106. Nala

  • Origin: Swahili
  • Meaning: successful, queen

107. Promise

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: promise

108. Sheniqua

  • Origin: African-American
  • Meaning: God is gracious

109. Zari

  • Origin: African-American
  • Meaning: golden; shortened form of Persian name Zarin

110. Zuri

  • Origin: Swahili
  • Meaning: beautiful

African-American names for boys

All these African American baby boy names are strong and distinctive, often paying clear tribute to Black history and culture. We particularly love Booker, inspired by Booker T Washington, an influential educator and speaker who was born into slavery and became the first African-American to be invited to dine at the White House with a president.

111. Booker

  • Origin: English/American
  • Meaning: someone concerned with books; English surname; after Booker T Washington

112. Cleavon

  • Origin: African-American
  • Meaning: of the cliff
  • Also: Kleavon, Clevon, Klevon

113. DeAndre

  • Origin: African-American
  • Meaning: manly

114. Dion

  • Origin: African-American/Greek
  • Meaning: after Dionysus; the Greek God of wine
  • Also: Deon

115. Elroy

  • Origin: African-American
  • Meaning: the king; from the French word for king

116. Jabari

  • Origin: Swahili
  • Meaning: brave

117. Jaylen

  • Origin: African-American
  • Meaning: healer
  • Also: Jalen, Jaylon, Jaylin

118. Lamarcus

  • Origin: African-American
  • Meaning: warrior
  • Also: Lemarcus

119. Lemar

  • Origin: African-American
  • Meaning: the sea

120. Leroy

  • Origin: African-American/French
  • Meaning: the king; from the French word for king

121. Treyvon

  • Origin: African-American
  • Meaning: fair town
  • Also: Trayvon, Trevon, Tre'von, Trayvonn

Pretty American names for girls

These American baby girl names are pretty, easy on the ear and have lovely meanings. One of them – Jolie – even means pretty in French, although we have a soft spot for Alayna, which means precious.

122. Aiyana

  • Origin: Native American
  • Meaning: eternal flower
  • Also: Aiyanna

123. Alanis

  • Origin: Hawaiian
  • Meaning: cheerful

124. Alayna

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: precious; from Alana (Irish) and Elaine (French)

125. Aniyah

  • Origin: African-American/Hebrew
  • Meaning: God is gracious

126. Jolie

  • Origin: French/American
  • Meaning: pretty; after the French word for pretty

127. Keyla

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: slim and fair; from the Yiddish name

128. Maleia

  • Origin: Hawaiian
  • Meaning: calm, gentle waters

129. Malia

  • Origin: Hawaiian
  • Meaning: probably

130. Nevaeh

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: heaven – the letters of the name spell heaven in reverse

131. Tayen

  • Origin: Native American
  • Meaning: new moon
BABY wrapped in US flag

Cute American names for boys

These American baby boy names are just adorable. Most of them started out as surnames but sound super-cute when turned into a first names for a little boy.

132. Bennett

  • Origin: American/English
  • Meaning: blessed; English surname

133. Bentley

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: field with bent grass; English surname

134. Brayden

  • Origin: American/Irish
  • Meaning: brave, salmon
  • Also: Braden, Braeden, Braydon, Bradin, Bradyn

135. Cooper

  • Origin: English/American
  • Meaning: barrel maker; English surname

136. Jefferson

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: son of Geoffrey; English surname

137. Keanu

  • Origin: Hawaiian
  • Meaning: cool breeze

138. Orlando

  • Origin: Italian
  • Meaning: famous throughout the land; city in Florida

139. Parker

  • Origin: American/Old English
  • Meaning: keeper of the park; English surname

140. Walker

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: someone who walks; English surname

The most popular boy names in the US

Here are the most common names given to baby boys born in the United States according to official data from the US Government. All the names are, interestingly, very traditional.
  • Liam. Origin: Irish; Meaning: protector
  • Noah. Origin: Hebrew; Meaning: rest
  • Oliver. Origin: Latin; Meaning: olive tree
  • James. Origin: Hebrew; Meaning: supplanter
  • Elijah. Origin: Hebrew; Meaning: Yahweh is my God
  • William. Origin: German; Meaning: strong helmet
  • Henry. Origin: German; Meaning: house ruler
  • Lucas. Origin: Latin; Meaning: bringer of light
  • Benjamin. Origin: Hebrew; Meaning: son of my right hand
  • Theodore. Origin: Greek; Meaning: a gift from God

Cute American names for girls

When it comes to lovably cute names for baby girls, America has plenty to offer, ranging from shortened forms of classic names – like Dolly – to names with sweet meanings and names that just sound as cute as pie.

141. Alabama

  • Origin: Choctaw
  • Meaning: vegetation gatherers, thicket clearers; name of a US state

142. Dolly

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: gift of God; diminutive of Dorothy or Dolores

143. Etta

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: diminutive of Henrietta

144. Harlow

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: from the rocky hill; English place name

145. Isi

  • Origin: Choctaw
  • Meaning: deer

146. Jaelyn

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: supplanter
  • Also: Jaelynn

147. Jovie

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: jovial, joyful

148. Kaylee

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: laurel, crown; combination of Kay and Lee

149. Leilani

  • Origin: Hawaiian
  • Meaning: heavenly garland of flowers

150. Piper

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: pipe player; English surname

151. Presley

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: priest’s meadow; English surname

152. Sage

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: wise; the name of a herb

153. Scout

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: first explorer; after the heroine of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

154. Skylar

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: scholar; Dutch surname

Unusual American names for girls

If you don't want a girl baby name someone else might choose, these unique and distinctive American girl names might be just what you are searching for.

155. Aalilyanna

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: combination of Lily (pure) and Anna (grace)

156. Brynlee

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: combination of Bryn (hill) and Lee (meadow)

157. Ember

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: spark

158. Emersyn

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: brave, powerful; adapted from Emerson

159. Jaylene

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: blue-crested bird

160. Luana

  • Origin: Hawaiian
  • Meaning: enjoyment, happiness

161. Memphis

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: enduring beauty; an ancient city in Egypt and a city in the US

162. Nalani

  • Origin: Hawaiian
  • Meaning: serenity of the skies

163. Raelynn

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: beam of light

164. Zinnia

  • Origin: American/German
  • Meaning: after the flower

Unusual American names for boys

These American baby boy names offer something different and original. No chance of another boy in your child's nursery having the same one...

165. Braxton

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: Brock's town, badger; English surname

166. Cedar

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: cedar tree

167. Davin

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: combination of David (beloved) and Devin (poet)

168. Hollis

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: holly tree

169. Kaleo

  • Origin: Hawaiian
  • Meaning, voice, sound

170. Lafayette

  • Origin: American/French
  • Meaning: beech forest; French surname

171. Landon

  • Origin: English/American
  • Meaning: long hill; English surname

172. Nolan

  • Origin: Irish/American
  • Meaning: champion; Irish surname

173. Ransom

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: warrior's shield; English surname

174. Sutton

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: southern homestead; English surname

175. Waylon

  • Origin: Old English/American
  • Meaning: land by the road; variation of Wayland

176. Wilder

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: wild, untamed; English and German surname

Unisex American baby names

Gender-neutral baby names are growing in popularity all over the world but especially in the US – where many Native American names are gender-neutral anyway.

177. Addison

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: son of Adam; English surname

178. Alaska

  • Origin: Aleut
  • Meaning: great land

179. Arizona

  • Origin: Native American
  • Meaning: little springs; name of a US state

180. Avery

  • Origin: English/American
  • Meaning: elf king

181. Blake

  • Origin: American/Old English
  • Meaning: black; English surname

182. Dakota

  • Origin: Native American – Sioux
  • Meaning: friend, ally
  • Also: Dakoda

183. Dallas

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: from the dales; Scottish surname

184. Denali

  • Origin: Kuyokan Athabascan
  • Meaning: the tall one

185. Emery

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: brave ruler

186. Everly

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: boar clearing; English surname
  • Also: Everleigh

187. Hadley

  • Origin: American/English
  • Meaning: hay meadow; English surname

188. Indiana

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: land of the Indians; name of a US state

189. Jaden

  • Origin: American/Hebrew
  • Meaning: God has heard
  • Also: Jayden

190. Kinsley

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: king's meadow; English surname

191. Mackenzie

  • Origin: Scottish/American
  • Meaning: son of Kenneth; Scottish surname

192. Maverick

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: independent, non-conformist

193. Oregon

  • Origin: Algonquin
  • Meaning: beautiful; name of a US state

194. Peyton

  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: fighting man's estate; English place name
  • Also: Payton

195. Quinn

  • Origin: American/Irish
  • Meaning: descendant of Conn; Irish surname

196. Reagan

  • Origin: American/Irish
  • Meaning: little ruler; Irish surname

197. Reign

  • Origin: American/Old English
  • Meaning: to rule

198. Sequoia

  • Cherokee
  • Meaning: redwood

199. Taylor

  • Origin: American/English
  • Meaning: tailor; Anglo-French surname

200. Tennessee

  • Origin: Native Cherokee
  • Meaning: where the waters meet

How to choose the right American baby name

Naming your baby will probably be one of the most important decisions you ever make. 

If you're not sure where to begin, remember this isn't something you need to rush. Take your time looking at different options and discussing them with your partner. You could even wait to meet your baby so you can see what sort of name would suit them. 

Here are our top tips on picking the right American name for your baby:

  • Think about the kind of name you want for your baby. Do you want it to reflect a particular culture or have a certain meaning? Do you like strong, assertive names or something softer and more delicate? Is there a particular letter you want it to start with? Once you work out what your must-have elements in a baby name are, it will be easier for you to draw up a shortlist.
  • Practise saying your favourite names again and again. Can you imagine calling this name across a crowded playground? Does it sound good with the surname your baby will use? What will their initials be?
  • Consider any potential nicknames people may use to shorten the name or make it less formal. Do you like them or are some of the options a dealbreaker?
  • Check what the name means. If you love the sound of the name, make sure you also like its meaning and it doesn't have any negative connotations. 
  • Think about how well the name will age as your child goes through life. If it is super cute and perfect for a newborn, will it also suit a teenager, a working adult and a pensioner?
  • How practical is the name? Think about how easy your favourite names are to say and spell. You may want something which is very unique but bear in mind that people will often make mistakes if they haven't come across the name before.
  • Look at how popular it is. If you hate the idea of your little one having the same name as several other children at school, you may want to avoid anything from the top 10 lists. Of course, you may like the idea of choosing something you know others will like and which is tried and tested. 

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Catherine Ball is a freelance journalist who specialises in writing about parenting and health. She has been a journalist for 20 years, writing for a wide range of regional and national publications.