the name game

Love 'em or loathe 'em, this year's celeb baby names continue to surprise. "I have books floor to ceiling with every name published in the Western world, and still celebrities come up with names we've never heard," says Pamela Redmond Satran, coauthor (with Linda Rosenkrantz) of Beyond Jennifer & Jason, Madison & Montana: What to Name Your Baby Now. Outside of Hollywood, traditional names still rule: The latest Social Security Administration rankings show Jacob in the No. 1 spot for boys; Emily is No. 1 for girls. But for celebs, especially given the current one-upping, says Satran, "it's difficult to choose a name that's newsworthy for more than three minutes."

what's your favorite recent celeb baby name? PEOPLE.com readers voted*

1. VIOLET
Daughter of Jennifer Garner & Ben Affleck

2. GRIER
Daughter of Brooke Shields & Chris Henchy

3. MATILDA (tie)
Daughter of Michelle Williams & Heath Ledger

3. SURI (tie)
Daughter of Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes

least favorite?

1. MOXIE CRIMEFIGHTER
Daughter of Penn & Emily Jillette

2. KAL-EL
Son of Nicolas Cage & Alice Kim

*results from a poll of 18,831 responses

the celeb effect

AVA:
The name has steadily risen by 250 spots (to No. 9) since Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe chose it for their daughter in 1999.

MADDOX:
Not even on the Top 1,000 names list until 2003—the year after Angelina Jolie chose it for her son—it has climbed to No. 277.

L is for lullaby

Get baby to dreamland with help from the stars

UNDER $25

Recording "My Heart Is So Full of You" last year, Jennifer Garner sang so tenderly, "I felt like she was holding a child," says Eric Vetro, the producer of Unexpected Dreams ($18.98), a new all-star lullaby album. "Two weeks later she told me she was pregnant. It was probably the first lullaby her daughter ever heard." Other celebs who lent their voices for the CD, which benefits the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Music Matters program: Scarlett Johansson ("Summertime"), Ewan McGregor ("The Sweetest Gift") and Teri Hatcher ("Goodnight"). Vetro's advice for vocally challenged parents? "Just sing like you're whispering in your child's ears."

ultimate baby playlist
Create a custom CD with these songs

If you know it's a girl

THE HORSES Rickie Lee Jones
FLOWERS FOR ZOE Lenny Kravitz
ISN'T SHE LOVELY Stevie Wonder
BALLERINA GIRL Lionel Richie
IN MY DAUGHTER'S EYES Martina McBride
CAILIN Unwritten Law
RAINE Bret Michaels
BUTTERFLY KISSES Bob Carlisle
FATHER AND DAUGHTER Paul Simon
LITTLE GREEN Joni Mitchell

If you know it's a boy

STILL FIGHTING IT Ben Folds
PONY BOY Bruce Springsteen
SWEET BABY JAMES James Taylor
DANNY'S SONG Kenny Loggins
WITH ARMS WIDE OPEN Creed
A NEW DAY HAS COME Celine Dion
TO ZION Lauryn Hill
JUST THE TWO OF US Will Smith
ST. JUDY'S COMET Paul Simon
KOOKS David Bowie

If you're not sure

BLESSED Elton John
YOU'LL BE IN MY HEART Phil Collins
LULLABYE Billy Joel
I HOPE YOU DANCE Lee Ann Womack
THE SWEETEST GIFT Sade
ALONG CAME YOU Gloria Estefan
LITTLE STAR Madonna
BABY, BABY Amy Grant
SUNSHINE Coko
THE THINGS WE'VE HANDED DOWN Marc Cohn

for a CD cover and download information, go to www.people.com/downloadthis

capture the moments

Celeb photographer Marc Royce shares his tips for beautiful baby pictures

• Nap first, then shoot.
Plan to photograph your child after he or she wakes up or following breakfast.

• Take it outside.
It's just better lighting. To avoid squints, shoot in a shaded area. Look for a backdrop that's clean and free of distractions.

• Get on their level.
Don't stand above the child; squat down.

• Make them look at the camera.
You want smiles and eye contact, so do what it takes. I'll start barking, quack like a duck or use props like bubbles.

• Be wasteful.
Take a lot of shots. You'll wind up throwing out more than half of them, but it's all part of the process.

splurge vs. save

Their kids will outgrow them in a matter of months, but that doesn't stop stars like Gwyneth Paltrow from picking up pricey designer jeans such as this True Religion pair for their tots. "Celebrities love to have their little ones looking just as trendy as they do," says Fraser Ross, owner of L.A.'s Kitson boutique. Check out how far the same sum goes at Target:

$143 VS. $143

$8.99
$9.99
$12.99
$12.99
$5.99
$12.99
$11.99
$12.99
$12.99
$12.99
$8.99
$5.99
$5.99
$5.99
$1.14
Two toddler Pullups, approx. 57¢ each.

adoptions from around the world

When Meg Ryan adopted daughter Daisy from China in December, she joined a growing trend: International adoptions in the U.S. have tripled in the last decade from 7,000 to 21,000. Stars help drive interest in particular countries; after Angelina Jolie adopted Zahara (left) from Ethiopia last year, that nation saw a spike in popularity. Here are the top countries of origin for adoptees in 2005:

CHINA 7906
RUSSIA 4639
GUATEMALA 3783
SOUTH KOREA 1630
UKRAINE 821
KAZAKHSTAN 755
ETHIOPIA 441

i can't live without my ...

Celebs reveal their must-haves for bringing up baby

UNDER $25

diapees & wipees
"It's a pouch where you can put wipes and a couple of diapers instead of carrying a whole diaper bag. It's the best invention ever."
—Holly Robinson Peete
$14.99; diapeesandwipees.com

gymini activity mat
"It kept Sofia, our eldest, entertained while I took a shower."
—Soledad O'Brien
$39.99-$69.99; amazon.com or toy stores nationwide

robeez shoes
"They're great for when they learn to walk because they're not slippery and they don't slip off."
—Ming-Na
$26; robeez.com; 800-929-2649

UNDER $25

baby einstein dvds
"They're all singsongy and music and learning. They're incredible."
—Angie Harmon
$19.99; babyeinstein.com; 800-793-1454

kid clothes from rock moms

When Mom's a rock star, plain-Jane clothes just won't do. Gwen Stefani has expanded her Harajuku Lovers line for her littlest fans—including her new arrival. Madonna also recently added toddler sizes to the clothing line inspired by her children's book The English Roses. Lourdes, her 9-year-old daughter, "saw a Renaissance-inspired skirt and requested it in her size right away," says design consultant Lisa Barretta-Lloyd.

Madonna
Tank, $68, and denim skirt, $52; Neiman Marcus stores nationwide

UNDER $25

Gwen Stefani
T-shirt, $22; lalaling.com. "Love" shoes, $50; lambshoes.com

Ellen's hot wheels

What do you get the parent who has everything? Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres surprises celeb guests with lavish, one-of-a-kind baby swag. Says a show spokesperson: "Ellen loves to give gifts that suit her guests' personal style and interest."

flying high
Ellen presented pilot dad Tom Cruise with a Fantasy Flyer pedal-plane-cum-carriage. She even supplied a satin flight suit and shades, so new baby Suri can be styling in her own plane or one of Dad's.

pimp my pram
Britney Spears cooed over a carriage tricked out with lighted wheels and faux fur. "We will be bling-blinging with my child," she said.

trump transit
How else would you expect a real estate scion to travel? But The Donald's heir Barron William won't be hitting the streets in the golden carriage, complete with marble bottom and chandelier. "That's for home," says mom Melania.

fast track VS. mommy track

Back to work or stay at home? These celeb moms decide in their own time.

6 DAYS

Heidi Klum, 33

pre-baby: Taped the second season of Project Runway until July 1, 2005.

baby: Gave birth to her second child, son Henry, on Sept. 12, 2005.

post-baby: With Runway nominated as best competitive reality series, Klum attended the Emmys on Sept. 18, 2005. Eight weeks later, she was on the runway in a bra and thong in the Victoria's Secret lingerie show. "I had a great birth, the baby was fine," she said. "I thought, 'Maybe I can get back into shape by then.'"

6 WEEKS

Tina Fey, 36

pre-baby: Made her weekly appearance on Saturday Night Live on May 21, 2005.

baby: Gave birth to her first child, daughter Alice, on Sept. 10, 2005.

post-baby: Returned to SNL on Oct. 22, 2005. "I'm a few weeks into it and feel like my brain is coming back to me," she told The New York Times in December. The speedy return to work also meant an end to breast-feeding. "If my life was set up differently, I would have tried to do it longer," she said.

2 MONTHS

Jennifer Garner, 34

pre-baby: Taped her last episode of the ABC drama Alias on Nov. 18, 2005.

baby: Gave birth to her first child, daughter Violet, on Dec. 1, 2005.

post-baby: Returned to work on Alias on Feb. 1, 2006. "I think the primary problem of women of our age is, 'What are we and how can we be everything and do it all well?'" she said on Good Morning America in May. "I am trying to figure out how to balance it."

10 MONTHS

Geena Davis, 50

pre-baby: Taped a guest spot on Will & Grace in December 2003.

baby: Gave birth to twin boys Kian and Kaiis (daughter Alizeh is 4) on May 6, 2004.

post-baby: In March 2005, she shot the pilot for the drama Commander in Chief. Until the show was canceled, her children were daily fixtures on the set—"I don't think the chairwoman of IBM could bring the kids in the boardroom, and it really helps a lot," she said.

15 MONTHS

Julia Roberts, 38

pre-baby: Wrapped Ocean's Twelve in July 2004.

baby: Gave birth to twins Phinnaeus and Hazel on Nov. 28, 2004.

post-baby: She did voice-overs for a pair of upcoming films in 2005 but didn't resume full-time work until hitting Broadway in the drama Three Days of Rain in March '06. "My tastes are even pickier than they've ever been," Roberts told Playbill in April. "To pull your focus away from your family life, it has to be great."

STILL AT HOME, WITH TWO BABIES!

Gwyneth Paltrow, 33

pre-baby: Wrapped Proof Nov. 25, 2003.

baby: Gave birth to daughter Apple on May 14, 2004. (Son Moses arrived April 8, 2006.)

post-baby: After welcoming Apple two years ago, she explained, "I've done everything career-wise that I wanted to do." Since then, the actress has taken no major acting roles, but she has filmed small parts in a handful of upcoming movies.