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

Ask Now
Ask Now

Are These Sister Names Sweet or Silly?

We are expecting our second daughter soon and are struggling with a name. Our firstborn is Rylin, named from my maiden name and my husband's middle name. For the next girl, we like Taylin, but don't know if they are too close. We also like Logan and Remy. We're running out of time to decide!

–Too Close for Sisters?

"Too close" is generally a matter of personal taste. Some parents deliberately aim for a matching set, like Ethan and Nathan or Kayla and Kayden. It seems like you don't want that, though; you asked whether the names were too close, not whether they are close enough. Two names ending in –ylin do come across as a thematic set.

Read More...
Ask Now

Does My Baby’s Name Have a Pronunciation Problem?

I've always regretted my daughter's name. It's Esme, pronounced Es-ME (as in "me, myself, and I.") People regularly say Es-may. I really am struggling with the guilt of giving her a problem for the rest of her life. Is it worth changing her name when my husband loves it so much and it would hurt him a lot for me to change it?

–Me, Please!

You haven't mentioned how old your daughter is, which could make a big difference in how you respond here. Many parents experience pangs of regret or namer's remorse when their babies are little, and these fade as children grow into their names. And if your daughter is old enough to know her name, it is more difficult to change it.

Read More...
Ask Now

I Love Everything But His Name!

I've been seeing a man for about four months. We have incredible chemistry, we want all the same things in life, and a long-term relationship, including marriage and children, is a distinct possibility. There's just one problem, and I realize it might seem silly. His last name is McAnally, pronounced "MACK-an-al-ee." He joked about it briefly but otherwise it hasn't been a topic of conversation. I'm sorry, but I cringe at the thought of my children growing up with this name. How soon would it be appropriate to broach the possibility of changing it to McNally or giving any future kids my last name? It honestly bothers me enough to be a dealbreaker, so I'd want to know before I get any more attached to him.

–One Big But(t)

I feel for you: This is a challenging situation! It's not easy to figure out what the etiquette is on telling a man that you consider his surname cringe-worthy. But if it really is a dealbreaker for you, you might as well bring it up sooner rather than later. (Just be sure that it's a dealbreaker in case the conversation does lead to a break-up!)

Read More...
Ask Now

Is Our Favorite Baby Name Too Popular?

I'm having a boy soon and need help! I love the name Maddox and that's the one name that my husband and I can agree on. But is it too common?

–Mad About Maddox

"Too common" is in the eye of the beholder. Maddox is not a top-100 name in the U.S.; on the just-released official Social Security Administration list, it is ranked #143. The name ticked up just three places from the previous year's list. Names as varied as Eric, Santiago, Ezekiel, and Damien are all "more common" than Maddox.

Read More...
Ask Now

Is My Baby’s Name a Crime?

When my son was born, I loved his simple and original name. But a close friend responded to our announcement with shock that I had used her name, the name she had picked out for a future child. She's not pregnant, married, or in a serious relationship right now, so I never ran my name options past her. I was completely unaware of her plans for the name, and I let her know that at the time. She's still hurt, though, and (months after the fact) is telling everyone that I betrayed her. This recently led to a confrontation between us over the phone that grew so heated, with so much yelling on her end, that I've stopped communicating with her. I just don't think she can be reasonable about this issue.

Now my son is a year old and I have a negative association with his name. I can't stop thinking about how I should have called him something else to avoid this drama. I want to love his name, but I'm having a very hard time forgetting about the negative end to my friendship. How can I make myself love it again?

–Guilty by Association

I have long maintained that name thievery is not a prosecutable offense. Names are not scarce commodities that we need to hoard and preserve for future use. They lose nothing by sharing—as the parents of any Noah or Sophia will tell you!—even within the same family, let alone a wider social group.

Read More...
Ask Now

We’re Stumped by a Single-Sex Baby Name Style!

We have two boys, Grant and Clark. We are now having a baby girl and cannot agree on a name. We like older names, obviously, but not so outdated they're only for the elderly. Can you help? Our last name is two syllables and starts with W.

–Need a Name for Baby Sister

"Older but not outdated" is at the top of many parents' baby name wish lists, and unfortunately it doesn't do much to narrow down the field of options. There are hundreds of names that might fit the bill, and many ways to define both "older" and "outdated." If you then turn to your boys’ names for inspiration, you're up against a single-sex style: The sturdy, manly "thunk" of Grant and Clark doesn't correspond in any obvious way to a particular strain of girls' names. So you're once again stuck.

Read More...
Ask Now

Which Baby Name Is Better for a Blonde?

Do you prefer Maeve or Norah? I like Norah, but it's very girly and super popular right now. Maeve sounds tougher and is more unique. I like it better, but my husband prefers Norah. So the deciding factor will be her hair color: If it's dark, her name will be Maeve. If it's light, her name will be Norah. What do you think?

–Mad About Maeve

If all things were exactly even—you loved both names equally, and so did your husband; and you loved them both so much you just couldn't choose between them—then I'd call your hair-color tie-breaker a clever solution.

Read More...
Ask Now

Does a New Home State Mean a New Style of Baby Name?

We are looking for a name for our third son, but are feeling stuck due to our other two boys' names. They were both born in Hawaii and have Hawaiian names: Kai (meaning "ocean") and Koa ("warrior"). This baby will be born in Kansas, which is obviously not a language! We like short names with a nice meaning, but never intended to stick with "K" names, necessarily. Any ideas on a third boy name that is unique and short, and works with Koa and Kai? Thank you!

–My Three Sons

How about Kan or Kas for Kansas? Okay, just kidding. But you do have a unique dilemma: How do you maintain sibling name equity, given the big cultural switch between sibs two and three? In my opinion, you should avoid a massive style switch based just on birthplace.

Read More...
Ask Now

We Need a Baby Name That’s Not Too Old, Not Too New

We are having a hard time naming our baby girl. We have three boys, Dillon, Jacob, and Ryan. I want our daughter's name to flow with them. But I like more modern names (like Lylah and Mia), and my husband likes older names (like Olivia and Emily). Please help!

–It's a Girl!

It sounds as if you and your husband might be closer to agreement than you think. Set aside, for a moment, the idea of modern vs. old-fashioned names, and listen to the sounds of the names you mentioned. Now they have a lot more in common: the vowel sounds "ee" and "ah," and the consonants L and M.

Read More...
Ask Now

Do These Baby Names Go with the Flow?

My sons are Hunter and Tanner. I am having a third son soon and would like the baby's name to flow with theirs and not be very popular (in the top 100). What do you suggest I choose?

–My Three Sons

The idea of sibling name "flow" is a new one for me. Name flow typically applies to a single name's different components—to the smooth sound pattern of first-middle-last name combinations rather than to an easy verbal transition between three sibling names. But whether you're worried about the three brothers' names falling trippingly on your tongue or have the more common concern of wanting your kids' names to "go together"—to sound like a matched set—you've got the same major issue at stake: To –er or not to –er?

Read More...