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Have I Missed My Chance at a Middle Name?

I had my baby 3 months ago and I didn't give her middle name. I just regret it so much it gets me whenever I think about it. Is there any possibility I can give her a middle name still?
- Regretful Mom

Of course you can still give your daughter a middle name. In fact, as naming "mistakes" go, this has to be one of the easiest possible to fix.

I can understand why you might feel that the die is cast on your baby name choice. You faced a deadline, submitted paperwork, and received a birth certificate. The name is now official. Yet you know that official names can be changed. For instance, I'm sure you know plenty of people who have changed their surnames because of a family status change, like marriage or adoption.

Most of us are more hesitant to tamper with first names. First name changes are less usual and require a lot more explanation. Some parents also worry that changing their kids' names will mess with their sense of identity -- even when the child is an infant who's just as often called "Baby" or "Captain Cutiepants." But you shouldn't have to worry about that. You're not changing what you call your daughter, just adding an element that will stay in the background.

Check with the local official who registers births in your city or town to find out the procedure for adding a middle name. It might be quick and easy, or it might involve a modest hassle and expense. But I'll take a bit of short-term hassle over a lifetime of regrets any day. If only all of our parenting missteps could be erased with such a simple do-over!


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August 26, 2013 4:16 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

You should add a middle name asap and here's why: all of the girls and women I've met who didn't have a middle name say that their parents' rationale was, "she'll get a middle name when she gets married and moves her last name to the middle." That may not have been your intention with your daughter, but it's how it will look to other people and possibly even to her. Do you want to give the impression that you consider your daughter incomplete until she gets married?

August 27, 2013 2:44 AM
By Woo (not verified)

I agree with ASAP, and for your own reasons. However, with the other comment here in mind, I think loads of men and women don't have middle names, and to assume they will feel that they are incomplete-until-when is inaccurate. It could also be considered tradition: family line, cultural, what have you. (BTW: I kept my middle name into my marriage and my in-law side doesn't give middles to females. They still love me and themselves no worries.)

August 27, 2013 5:56 PM
By Megan W. (not verified)

I'd recommend one in case her first name becomes common. Growing up, there were very few Megans. Now there are Megans everywhere. I need my middle initial to distinguish me from the others with my same last name.

August 28, 2013 11:47 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Additionally, for security reasons, a middle name/middle initial helps with future identity fraud prevention.

August 28, 2013 12:08 PM
By Charly NMN (not verified)

I am passionate about the middle name topic. At my work, there was already a CK, so now I have to go with my mom's maiden, my putative married surname, or an unwieldy X. A lot fewer chances for duplicates: 17,576 choices with three letters as opposed to only 676 with 2.

My birth certificate actually says NMN (No Middle Name), and I've had to argue with bureaucrats that my name wasn't "niminin." Change it, and change it now. Glad you recognized the error soon.

August 28, 2013 1:08 PM
By Deborah (not verified)

I agree with give the baby a middle and add it ASAP. I had a friend who, like Charly, had to use NMN. The Army gave him a hard time as did all sorts of businesses that handle documents. In addition, when filling out forms, especially on line, the middle name spot allows only one letter. How do you abbreviate NMN? N?

August 28, 2013 3:49 PM
By Anonymous (not verified) wife was Cheryl Sue when she was single and is still Cheryl Sue after 25 years of marriage. On the other hand, she willingly gave up her maiden name because it was a German name that was unpronounceable and unspellable, and that she'd had to correct people for all of her life up to then.

August 28, 2013 8:20 PM
By C.J. (not verified)

I have a feeling her brothers, if any, not only kept that "German name that was unpronounceable and unspellable," but that their wives and children are using it too.

August 29, 2013 3:08 PM
By Alison (not verified)

I kept my middle name and dropped my unpronounceable and unspellable German maiden name like a hot potato when I married. My brothers haven't yet married but I sure wouldn't blame any future wife of theirs for not taking it or encouraging the guys to take their names (not that would I blame any woman for not taking any last name, even a lovely one). It was tedious to have to spell it out so often and I also am glad not to be as easily Googled now.

August 29, 2013 9:49 PM
By Katharine (not verified)

Strange. I have no middle name. I'm a woman and kept my own surname because I like it and I truly don't see the need to take my husband's name (not judging - it just wasn't for me).

I have always LOVED not having a middle name. I am in a tiny minority and I always thought it was awesome. During the very early days of data forms I did have to use x and I loved that too. Now computers are absolutely fine with a blank middle name - it's a non-issue.

My husband and I discussed for a long time whether our child would have a middle name. Ultimately we compromised - she has one but I picked it and it was a name he didn't entirely love at the time (he didn't hate it - just didn't love it).

By the way, my sister and my brother (and my parents actually) all do not have middle names and we all feel the same - that it is special and distinctive.

September 4, 2013 3:24 PM
By Allie (not verified)

Ugh, I can't tell you how much I hate that "I didn't give my daughter a middle name because she'll get married and move her last name up" rationale. It smacks of sexism. Why give your son something your daughter doesn't get? Why assume she'll get married? Why assume she'll change her name if she does? Why assume she'll use her former last name as a middle name if she a) does get married and b) does choose to change her last name if she does? None of these things are guarantees and they ALL assume a severely sexist and misogynistic worldview.

July 20, 2014 3:26 AM
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