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Drum roll please! The most popular baby names of 2016 have been released and while none will come as a huge surprise, others may help inspire parents in search of the perfect name.

SPOILER ALERT: If you had a baby last year and named them either Liam or Sophia – you’re right on trend.

Topping the charts for baby girls born in Canada last year was Sophia, followed by Emma and Olivia. Liam proved the most popular name for boys, followed closely by Noah and Lucas. You can find the entire list on babycenter.

Baby Name Ground Rules
Choosing a baby name can be treacherous. Competing traditions, priorities and preferences can make agreeing on a baby name more complicated than you ever thought possible. Here are a few tricks to help you negotiate a baby name you’re both going to love.

Identify names that are absolutely off-limit
Everyone has a no-go list. This is a non-negotiable list that contains the name of every ex-girlfriend, ex-boyfriend, bad teacher, bully, obnoxious second cousin, and annoying neighbour you don’t want popping into your head every time you say your baby’s name aloud. Create it. Respect it. Move on.

Instigate a 24 hour rule
If your partner suggests a name that doesn’t strike quite the right chord, take the time to take it in. 24 hours to be exact. If, after 24 hours, you still don’t like the way it rolls off the tongue, move with confidence to the next name on the list.

The middle name bargaining chip
Middle names play a very important part in the negotiating process. Whether you’re feeling the pressure to pass on the family name or married to someone unwilling to give up the dream of naming their first child after an Avenger, consider the middle name an easy out.

Note – middle names are also a great alternative to hyphenation. Using one person’s last name as a second middle name can be a good compromise when negotiating baby’s first, and last, name.

Avoid the nickname debate
Don’t base your name choice on nicknames that could potentially be associated with your child. While obvious nicknames can put you off – less obvious nicknames can be even worse. It’s pretty much a guarantee that whatever name you land on, a nickname you hate will eventually surface. It’s only a matter of time.

Think outside the family tree
If family names aren’t doing it for you and your obvious preferences seem oceans apart, maybe it’s time to expand the search. We’re not suggesting to rush into naming your kid “Apple” just because you guys both like fruit, but don’t be afraid to push the envelope and get creative. Focus on shared experiences and start throwing out names of people and places that come to mind. If anything, you and your partner will enjoy an evening spent reminiscing on what brought you together in the first place.

To Tell or Not to Tell?
You and your partner have finally landed on the perfect name for baby-to-be. Now what? For some parents, bringing friends and family into the loop can make the pregnancy seem more real while for others sharing can be followed by anxiety, worrying about what others think about the name it’s taken you ages to figure out.

The truth is, there are definite advantages to both. If you’re sick of people referring to your child as an “it”, telling them your chosen name will nip that habit in the bud fairly quickly. That being said, by sharing your name with others, you also expose yourself to the unsolicited opinion of your entire entourage. Brace for a selection of grumbles and highly raised eyebrows.

Be confident in the name you’ve chosen and make the decision that’s right for your growing family.

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