by Laura Sussely-Pope
Choosing the right name for your baby can be a tall order. With thousands of options, you need to decide on a first and middle name that's just right for your child (not to mention having it match your last name!).
You might prefer true and tried classics, the slightly daring or a name that will have your child living on the edge. You probably want unique, but not too unique; something common, but not too common.
Do you want to know the most frequently used baby names in the year 2012? So do we! To tide you over until the Social Security Administration releases that information, we're offering a look at the trends and predictions for the year.
Modern heroes influenced by celebrities, sports and pop culture: Social Security Administration tracks which names are climbing the charts the fastest. This year, the girl's name Briella is showing the biggest jump, thanks to the reality show "Jerseylicious." Iker, perhaps influenced by the goalkeeper who led Spain to a World Cup championship in 2010 has also soared in popularity.
Alphabet trends: We've seen names like Karson, Kamden and Kieran in the forefront. This year "M" is taking the lead. You'll meet Maisie, Magnus, Montgomery and Magdalena. For both genders, "A" names have been moving up in rank. Aubrey, Adam and Archer popped up on our birth boards in 2012.
The long and the short: Longer hemlines seem to indicate a tough economy. We wonder if the theory guides name selection. This year, longer names seem popular. Angelique, Finnegan, Jameson, Genevieve, Vivienne, Mckinley and Evangeline are top choices. Short names like Nico, Milo, Iker, Axelm Mila, Gia and Nyla have leaped up spots.
Endings go vintage: If you'd been born in the 19th century, "e" sound on your name probably was spelled with an -ie. In the modern 20th century, -y and then -i and later, -ee, -eigh and -ea. Now parents are choosing vintage nicknames for girls spelled the authentic vintage way like Addie and Hattie.
Strong, brave, loyal... It's been a frightening year in many ways. Some parents have given babies names that seem equally fierce, like Leo, Ranger and Wolf. For years, word names have leaned toward nouns. This year we've been hearing a lot of virtue names like Golden, Noble, Sunny and True.
In the middle: Classic one-syllable middle names like Lee, Rose and Ann have given way to different one-syllable names like Bee, Wren and Dane. Choosing family middle names is another trend this year.
The most popular baby names in 2011 were Jacob and Sophia. Which names to you think will take the honors in 2012?
Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.