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

Ask Now
Ask Now

What’s the Best Name for This Sweet Child O' Mine?

My fiancé and I are having a little boy! We have chosen the name River Axel Rose for him. We want to give him two middle names, following my parents' choice to give me two. Neither of us are big Guns N' Roses fans. We just thought the name sounded extremely unique and bad-ass! I've gotten strange looks after sharing the name with some, while others have loved it. Do you think it's a little too out there?

–Katherine

It's not necessarily out there; each name is both stylish and fairly established. (Note that River is being given to both boys and girls right now, in a 60/40 split favoring the boys.) And so is the concept of having two middle names.

Read More...
Ask Now

Is This Baby Name All Wrong for an All-American Girl?

Does the name Britton, for a girl, make you think of the country of Great Britain? Does it seem like it is just a changing of the spelling of the country? I went to high school with a boy named Britton and I have always loved it for a girl. But I am American and don't have any ties to Great Britain. I wouldn't want the name to be heavily associated with the country.

–Born in the USA

In this case, the name Britton is very different when it's read or written, vs. spoken or heard. On paper, Britton looks like a surname. Aloud, it does sound similar to the country, although you could pronounce it with more of a "ton" sound than "ten" to make a distinction.

Read More...
Ask Now

Is This Boy's Name Right for My Girl?

I recently found out I am expecting a girl, and I love the name Evan for her. I have tried to consider other names, but they all fall flat. I know that boys' names on girls are hated by many and are trendy now. Still, I can't shake Evan for this little girl. My sister and I both have masculine names, so it's not really uncommon in my family. My husband's family will think this is a bigger deal. What do you think? Should we go with it or avoid the conflict?

–Lovin' Evan

While Evan is a traditional men's name, its style—light, trim, and modern—crosses genders pretty fluidly these days. And Evan itself has been given to American girls at the rate of about 100 a year for decades (since the 1980s). So for most audiences, it should go over just fine.

Read More...
Ask Now

How Can I Change My Husband's Mind?

I love the name Cristal, and I even have a nickname picked out for it. But my husband doesn't love it. What should I do? He wants the name Vail, but I think it's weird.

–Jade

What should you do? Most likely, go back to the drawing board. You've found the perfect name, but your husband doesn't like it. He's found the perfect name, but you don't like it. The inescapable conclusion is that neither of you have found the perfect name.

I know that's hard to hear. Maybe you've loved the name for years, and dreamed of your daughter bearing it. It doesn't seem fair to have to give it up, when you could just get your husband to change his mind.

Read More...
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...