Top Baby Names Of 2012 & Why I'm Glad We Didn't Pick One

Top Baby Names of 2012 & Why I'm Glad We Didn't Pick Pick One

The 100 Hottest Baby Names of 2012 were released today, and it's a familiar-looking list. Sure, there are a couple of newcomers to BabyCenter's top 10 boys' and girls' names, but Sophia and Aiden retain their iron grip on the #1 spots for yet another year.

Here's a look at how the top 10 lists round out:


  1. Sophia
  2. Emma
  3. Olivia
  4. Isabella
  5. Ava
  6. Lily
  7. Zoe
  8. Chloe
  9. Mia
  10. Madison


  1. Aiden
  2. Jackson
  3. Ethan
  4. Liam
  5. Mason
  6. Noah
  7. Lucas
  8. Jacob
  9. Jayden
  10. Jack

Sophia was actually tossed about when my husband and I were picking names for our first daughter, as were Olivia and Ava. Emma would have been, but we'd already bestowed it upon our first child, our golden retriever. I love all of these names, but I'm glad we didn't end up picking any of them.

Our first daughter is now six years old and on every playground, every playdate, at every soccer practice and school assembly, these are the names we hear. I've lost count of how many Avas we've met along the way. Maybe that's not such a bad thing; after all, it's a beautiful name. But I didn't want to one day call her name and have 10 kids come running.

I was also wary of jumping into a baby-naming flash mob: A couple of years ago it was Twilight, with Robert Pattinson and crew inspiring nurseries full of little Jacobs, Edwards and Bellas. This year it's 50 Shades of Grey. E.L. James' steamy best-seller may have caused a mini baby boom, but it's also spawned a new crop of baby names. According to the folks at BabyCenter, Grey is up 155 spots this year, while Anastasia jumped 43.

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None of this is to say, though, that I was intent on going the route of some celebrities — or the Twitter-tastic new mom who reportedly named her baby Hashtag (# for short, I'm guessing?) this week — and gave our kids names that were way over-the-top. I didn't want uber-popular, but I also wasn't gunning for totally obscure.

In the end, baby-naming was a much trickier enterprise than I thought it would be. I remember poring through the books during both of my pregnancies, calling my husband at work with various suggestions.

"So how about Maya?" I'd ask as soon as he picked up, before he even said hello. "What do you think of Maya?"

He'd mull it over, frustratingly non-committal about the whole thing. I could her the clack-clack-clack of his keyboard in the background. How could he type at a time like this? This was only the rest of our unborn child's life we we were talking about! I was a little dramatic during my pregnancies. Hormones.

"It's okay," he'd finally say. "But I don't know if I want a name with a 'Y' in it."

What's wrong with a 'Y?' Don't ask. He has some strange little ticks when it comes to baby names.

"Maybe Jessa instead?" he asked.

Jessa? What is Jessa? People will think we were aiming for Jessica but just got lazy and forgot the "ic." No Jessa. Baby names are clearly a very subjective business, but me being the one with the baby in my belly — not to mention the nausea, stretch marks and inexplicable sobbing sessions — I earned some veto power when it came to his picks.

There were dozens of these ridiculous, round-a-bout conversations before we finally settled on names that we both liked: Madeline for our first, Amelia for our second. Numbers 13 and 20 on the list, respectively.

So far they've stood up well. They like them, we like them, and while other little girls with the same names occasionally pop up at the playground, it's a rare enough occurance that it's a fun little ice-breaker.

I have to give my lovely husband credit where it's due, though: We've yet to come across a single Jessa.

What do you think of 2012's top baby names? Where do your kids' names rank?