Baby Name Advice Column: Ask the Name Lady Baby Name Blog

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Is This Name One Lee Too Many?

My two girls are Mylee and Kynlee. Now that I am pregnant with daughter #3, everyone wants to know if we will give this one a –lee name as well. I am partial to Hadlee, but is it weird to start a pattern with name endings?

–Surrounded By Girls

Reality check time: By choosing two similar names for your older daughters, you already have started a pattern. But that doesn't mean you need to continue it. Other contemporary names would flow nicely with Mylee and Kynlee. Picture a sister named Braelyn, Skyler, Jayla, Jaycee, Larkyn, or Pyper. Names like these would fit right in with your baby's big sisters, and avoid a sudden swerve in style.

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Is Eva the New Ava?

When we had our first child, our agreed-upon girl's name was Eva, which I still love. Our first ended up being a boy, and now that we're expecting a girl, I was excited to return to Eva. However, my husband has fallen out of love with the name, saying it's too popular with all the little Avas running around our neighborhood. To him, Ava and Eva are basically the same name with overlapping pronunciations. I disagree, but I see his point. Is he right? If so, what is an alternative to Eva? I want something with a Jewish/Israeli connection and preferably short.

–Still Love Eva

Ava and Eva do overlap, as you mention, with similar letters and sounds. In some places and with some accents the two names could be confused, even though the first letter and its sound are different. But that connection between the two need not rule Eva out.

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I Want My Mom to Like My Baby's Name!

I really like the name Abby for my unborn daughter. I am African-American, and my mother would prefer a more “ethnic” name like Monica, Toya, or Jasmine. What should I do? Her opinion really matters to me.

–First-Time Mother

There are a couple of ways to approach this. First, consider that a big part of the taste difference between you and your mother is actually a generational difference. The names Monica and Toya were popular for African-American girls a generation ago (when your mom was naming babies). Today, more of those girl babies are actually named Abby or Abigail!

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It's My Family Tradition vs. My Wife's Wishes!

Everyone in my family has a name that starts with M. My wife is pregnant with our first child. It's important to my family to carry on the tradition of the M names, but my wife isn't too crazy about it. What should I do?

–Maleke

We don't always get the perspective of the guy caught in the middle of this kind of naming dilemma, so thanks for writing in. What you didn't mention, though, is how you feel about the M-name tradition. Do you want to continue it, or are you ready to move on?

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Satisfyingly Similar, or Tongue-Twisting?

I am pregnant with my first and really want to find the perfect name. My name was very common growing up, and I hated it. So I want to find something that is not too popular, but not unheard of. I've been really falling in love with the name Miles for a boy, but my last name is Meyers. Does Miles Meyers sound too similar? Or does it give it the perfect ring?

–Don't Want Miles Getting Picked On

Your signature says you're worried about a son named Miles being picked on. Generally, name-teasing is a thing of the past, and a too-similar first- and last-name combination isn't something that kids would tease about. So if teasing is your biggest concern about the name, I think you can set that worry aside.

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What If a Pretty Name Has an Ugly Meaning?

We are expecting our second daughter soon. Our first is called Sophia. I am of Greek descent and my husband is from South Africa. Our common language is English, and we live in London. We are thinking of naming our new baby Melina. We love the name, but since reading about it more on the Internet, we've discovered that, spelt "melena," it refers to black stool that contains blood from gastrointestinal bleeding. It's a term used in medicine and nursing, and is pronounced the same way as the name. We still like the name, but we are worried about its medical meaning and can't stop thinking about the implications. However, we can't agree on another name we all love.

–Confused Mama

I think you should set your worries aside and use Melina. It's an attractive name that's familiar enough for people to hear it as a name—not a medical term. And most people outside the medical profession are unaware of the medical meaning.

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Is My Baby's Name Doomed to Sound Dated?

I was reading my son a "Berenstain Bears" book when I came across one of Sister Bear's friends named Marsha, which instantly dated the book. All of a sudden I could tell you exactly when it was written, just by having a girl named Marsha. I am pregnant with my second (a girl) and I want to make sure to avoid our generation's "Marsha." The problem is, of course, it's so hard to know what will sound dated in the future. I'd love your prediction of what names/sounds we should try and avoid to have a timeless (and yet unique) baby name.
- Not Marsha's Mom

You've done a great job of illustrating why baby naming can be such a huge challenge. The perfect name has to hit a lot of targets, and often those targets point in opposite directions.

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Is There a Polite Way to Dislike a Name?

My daughter is pregnant with her second son. She likes the name Noble, but I'm not a fan. I prefer something like Sebastian or Dominique—something unique. How do I tell her I don't like her name choice?

–Second-guessing Grandpa

Sebastian is actually a far more common name than Noble (top 50 vs. out of the top 1000), and there are also many more boys named Dominique than Noble. So if uniqueness is important, Noble may be a better choice! But putting aside opinions on your taste vs. your daughter's, you ask a good question. If you don't like a baby name that someone close to you is considering, can you tell her so? And how?

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Are These Names Too Close for Cousins?

My husband and I are having a hard time finding a girl name. We both really like the name Ellison, but we are wondering if it is too close to Emerson (the name of our two-year-old niece). We don't want to cause confusion or have people think they are too close. What do you think?

–Cousin Conundrum

There are two questions here, so let's take them one at a time. First: Will it cause confusion to have cousins named Ellison and Emerson? It certainly could. I can easily picture elderly relatives, in particular, struggling to tell them apart, since both names are less familiar to older generations and share so many common sounds.

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Should We Just Say No to These Initials?

My husband and I love the name Lily Sophia, but our last name starts with "D." Should we be worried about the initials "LSD"?

–Lily's Mom?

This is a tough one: "LSD" doesn't spell an unpleasant word, nor is it an abbreviation that the name-calling playground set would know about. And yet, most adults will recognize these letters as shorthand for a dangerous and illicit drug. Given that, many parents would hesitate to attach these initials to their sweet little girl.

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