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For some of us, the only thing harder than having a baby is naming a baby. Do you go old school or gender-neutral, do you pick a family name, pick something popular or come up with your own unique variation? There's just so much to consider.

Parents who are concerned about trendy names (either because they want to pick a cool, popular name or because they want to avoid more common names), may wish for a crystal ball. If only such a thing could tell them whether or not a name that's not-so-popular now will be shouted all over the playgrounds in a few years.

We don't have a crystal ball, but we do have data, and it can help us establish which names are going to be picking up steam over the next 12 months.

The Social Security Administration doesn't just release the top 100 baby names for a year, it tracks way deeper than that, and it keeps tabs on which names have the greatest changes in popularity year over year. When we combine that data with overall American naming trends (lots of vowels for girls, names ending in 'n' for boys) and the formula Names.org uses to track so-called "wildcard names" (those that weren't in the top 10 list last year but are mathematically primed for a stratospheric rise) we can get as close as possible to predicting the future (of kindergarten roll calls, at least).

These are 20 baby names you'll probably be hearing around town by this time next year.

Girls:

  1. Ensley
  2. Luna
  3. Adeline
  4. Oaklynn/ Oaklyn/ Oaklee
  5. Amora
  6. Aurora
  7. Mila
  8. Yara
  9. Selene
  10. Everlee/Everleigh

Boys:

  1. Bryson
  2. Greyson
  3. Lincoln
  4. Reign
  5. Kashton
  6. Caspian
  7. Gatlin
  8. Roman
  9. Easton
  10. Carson

These names are on the rise, and you'll probably meet a baby with a name from this list in the next year or so, but it'll take a lot for any of these names to beat the trendiest baby name of all time. That spot still belongs to Linda.

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When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

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The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I was blissfully asleep on the couch while my little one was occupied elsewhere with toys, books and my partner. She got bored with what they were doing, escaped from his watch and, sensing my absence, set about looking for me. Finding me on the couch, nose-level, she peeled back my one available eyelid, singing, "Mama? Mama? ...You there? Wake UP!"

Sound familiar? Nothing limits sleep more than parenthood. And nothing is more sought after as a parent than a nap, if not a good night's rest.

But Mother Nature practically guarantees that you are likely to be woken up by a toddler—they're hardwired to find you (and get your attention) when you're "away."

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