As an expectant parent, one of the easiest, or most nerve-wracking, decisions you make is your child’s name. There’s so much to consider, from honoring family to setting your own trend. Then, of course, you wonder how this name will sound in a classroom among his peers. Do you want a name that blends with everyone else’s? Or are you more interested in making sure she/he isn’t one of six Jessicas or Johns?
Baby Center’s annual list of Top 100 baby names if filled with great suggestions for naming your little one, and since it’s a national list, what’s trending in California or New England may not be what you’re hearing on the streets of San Antonio or Austin. This list is a great starting place and may help you find a name you love, or at the very least, it will help you and your partner eliminate those names you both absolutely hate. Either way, here are some tips to help you narrow down the options to the perfect name for your little one.

Choose Classy

The list is solid with classics, which are characteristic of this parenting generation as we seek to honor grandparents or older mentors by using names that have formerly been considered old-fashioned. In the top 10 list for girls, you’ll find Emma, Olivia, and Charlotte still going strong. Amelia and Emily, variations on the same name, are back to back at #13 and #14. Making a surprise leap already in 2017 is Hazel, which appeared as #89 in 2016 and is predicted to soar to #5 by the end of this year.
For boys, biblical names hold strong on the classic side though the trends are changing. Noah, Elijah, Jacob, and Benjamin weren’t surprises for the top 15, but Oliver snuck in at #9 as a new offering. William, Matthew, Gabriel, and Owen helped round out the top 30, and Muhammed struck a cord for diversity by coming in at #34.

Get Trendy

Once again, Sophia and Jackson topped both lists at the most popular names for 2016, and girls and boys names alike followed their sound. Ava and Mia hit #4 and #5 for the girls’ list, while Aiden came in at #2 for boys. The list has Lily at #11 and its variations: Layla #12, Lila #55, and Liliana #70. Ella and Ellie remain cute and popular at #26 and #27. So if you’re looking for a name that’s similar to what others are choosing, think short and sweet.

Be Unique

While celebrities are known for their interesting name choices, you can give your child a name that’s unique to your setting and family, without confusing them with a direction or food. Names that appear in the top fifty for girls, but still don’t seem to be overused, included: Aria #8, Zoe #9, Chloe #19, Aaliyah #22, and Penelope #58. Luna came in at #100 to round out 2016, but expect this name to soar in 2017. Must be all those Harry Potter fans who are now old enough to have kids of their own.
The boys’ list offered up names that deviate from traditional offerings. Caden was #8, while Sebastian, Julian, Jayce, and Lincoln all hit the top 50. Expect Mateo and Ezra to be popular, yet unconventional, choices as well.

Go Neutral

If you’re holding out until delivery to name your baby, but still hoping for some monogrammed blankets, consider a gender neutral name. These choices were all popular enough to make the list, but versatile enough to go either way. “Girl” names for boys: Riley (a surprise at #7), Peyton, Aubrey, Reagan, and Avery. From the “boys” list to your sweet girl try: Jayden, Brayden, or Adrian.
No matter what you choose, know your baby’s name will be perfect for them–and you!