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

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Don't Judge My Baby's Name!

I have two children: Adaline is 9 months old and Kristof would be four and a half, but he passed before Adaline was born. I just found out I am expecting again. If we have a boy, I'd like to name him Adolf. To me, it's in memory of Kristof and I also love it coupled with my daughter's name. My husband won't go for it. The obvious reason is he's too afraid of the name's history. I personally don't hold the name as a reminder of Adolf Hitler. Will other people really judge my son if his name is Adolf?

–Destiny

I'm so sorry for your loss. I understand your impulse to want to honor your first son, but this isn't the way to do it. Will people judge? Well, yes. Think of it this way. If you met a boy named Elvis, could you imagine that his parents never even considered Elvis Presley when choosing the name? That would be preposterous. So you can't expect people not to think that the name Adolf references Adolf Hitler. Your child will spend his life refuting rumors that he’s a neo-Nazi—or that you are.

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Is Indigo a No-Go?

I'm expecting our second daughter. I stumbled across the name Indigo and am surprised by how much I like it. I also think the nickname Indie is great. My husband likes it even more after discovering what a "rainbow baby" is; we have had several losses prior to this pregnancy. My concerns: Is it too masculine? Does is scream "my parents are hippies"? (We aren't). Our first daughter is Roxie. The other name in the running for this baby is Zora.

–No Hippies Here

This true-blue name does ring a little bit boy, with its –o ending, and a little bit hippie, with its origin in the worlds of color and nature. And yet Indigo has been considered an option for girls ever since the Indigo Girls hit the music scene in the 1990s. The only celebrity baby Indigo in our database is a girl (the daughter of actor Lou Diamond Phillips, born in 2007).

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Will I Ever Fall in Love With a Name?

My husband and I are at a stalemate when it comes to choosing a name for our baby girl. I don't like his favorite name, Laila, and he doesn't like my favorite name, Ivy, nor any of my second favorites. We finally agreed on Lila. But I have yet to fall in love with it; it just doesn't feel right.

I haven't been considering names starting with M because our last name starts with F and I don't want to give my poor baby initials that will cause teasing. But I'm beginning to wonder if the perfect name that both of us would love is out there in those Ms. Am I being ridiculous or should I keep M names off the list?

–Mama F.

You're not being ridiculous, but you are being tempted by forbidden fruit. The letter M just looks special because it's not available. So don't let it distract you. Put it aside, and consider your remaining options.

Lila is a lovely choice that combines some of the sounds and syllables from both your favorite name and your husband's. It might be just the compromise that you need. You may fall in love with it yet, either before or after your little girl is born.

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My Miracle Baby Needs a Perfect Name!

I was told I had no viable eggs after going through chemotherapy for cancer, but now I am pregnant with a little girl. I have always loved the name Claire and my husband loves it as well, which is great, but we are stuck on a middle name. Ann is both my mother's middle name and mine. Its meaning in Hebrew is "God has favored me," which I love. But "Claire Ann" doesn't flow and we have a short last name, too, that goes with NOTHING. What should I do?

– In the No-Flow Zone

First of all, allow me to congratulate you on your amazing, unexpected pregnancy! Whatever one's religious beliefs, it's impossible to hear a story like yours, with this immense joy coming out of suffering and despair, and not feel grateful. Not only are you pregnant after doubting you ever could be, but you also have a chance to give your daughter the name you've cherished for years, without husbandly vetoes or uncooperative baby genders: a truly rare event!

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We Have the Last-Name Blues!

My fiancé and I are torn between two names we really love: Flynn and Gavin. We have the difficult last name Dix and I'm worried our son will have his fair share of teasing regardless of what first name we pick. Which name would you choose?

– Need a Teflon Name

Schoolyard teasing can leave a deep mark on a child's developing sense of self. Understandably, then, future parents expend generous mental energy analyzing potential names from the vantage point of the class bully. Reasonable people don't want their kids to face ridicule and hardship for choices their parents made.

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Why Doesn’t Anyone Want This Name?

My dad died when I was young. He was the most amazing person I have ever known. He went by Herb or Herbie, which was his middle name. I'm pregnant and want to name my baby after my dad. We like Phoenix Herbert for a boy and Phoenix Herbie or Herby for a girl. I have several nieces and nephews but none are named after my dad. Is there a reason? Do you think it's weird to use that name? Should we choose something else?

– Audrey

Audrey, I'm so sorry for your loss. It would be lovely—not weird—for you to use your father's name as a middle name for his grandchild. Honoring a grandparent with a namesake is a time-honored tradition and a sweet remembrance of someone you love and miss.

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Should My 3-Year-Old Become a Fourth?

I have a 3-year-old son and have been having name regret for the past year. My husband is John Christopher [surname] III and really wanted our son to be John Christopher IV. At the time, I was against it because it seemed like a lot of name for a kid. Instead, we called our son Michael John. Now I feel bad about that decision, especially since my son reminds me so much of my husband.

Would it be completely ridiculous to legally change our son's name now--but still call him Michael, since he's already used to it? Or could we add Christopher, so he becomes Michael John Christopher [surname] IV?

--Michael's Mom

Namer's remorse is a common problem, as the Name Lady's archives will attest. But there's no common solution, one that works best in every situation. In your case, your feelings have persisted for a year, your husband is on record as preferring a different name, and you would be changing your son's name to one that’s been in his family for several generations. All these support a decision to make a change.

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Should I Give This Name a "Greene" Light?

My husband is stuck, and has been since before we ever met, on the name Hunter Greene [surname]. He loves Hunter, as do I, and while I agree with him that no one would forget the name, I don't think it is memorable in a good way. I don't even like the color hunter green! Any suggestions for an equally memorable, but still tough, middle name?

--Mom at a Crossroads

Choosing a noun name for your baby can be quite meaningful, but sometimes the meaning isn't what you intended. That goes double for a double-noun name like Hunter Greene, which turns the strength and power of "hunter" into a mere adjective describing the color green. Remember the response when baby Blue Ivy Carter was born? "There’s no such thing as blue-colored ivy!"

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Has This Name Gone Girl?

Is Ramsey more of a boy's name, or girl's?

--sassandahalf

I'm a Name Lady, not a fortune teller: I can tell you that this name has mostly been given to boys in the past. But I can't say for sure whether that trend will continue.

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Should I Be Traditional or Trail-Blazing?

Is it too cliché to name a baby with dad's initials when all his children from previous relationships have been named that way? Should I stick with the tradition, or blaze a new trail?

--Angel

A tradition can be a beautiful way to bind a family together. Or it can be a constricting tie, one that brings more conflict than comfort. The real question here isn't about whether this tradition is a cliché. It's whether this tradition helps cement a bond—or tries too hard to establish one that isn't really there.

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