Ask the Name Lady

Ask Now

Is It Too Late for a New Name?

Naming my daughter was the hardest thing I've ever had to do! When she was born, we didn't have a name that we both agreed on. We decided to compromise by using my husband's first choice for her first name and mine for her middle. I wanted her to go by her middle name, which is Scout. But everyone said it was ugly, a boy's name, a dog's name, or a nickname.

So we ended up calling her by her first name—which I hate! It sounds horrible just saying it, but I don't like it. My daughter just turned one. Would it be okay to change her name now? We have a name we both like. I feel silly even considering it, but I'm so in love with this new name.


Since your daughter is a year old, this is borderline territory for a name change. She is too old for you to just switch the name casually, but she is too young to be involved in the decision. However, since you have such a powerfully negative reaction to her current name, it might be healthier to go ahead and make the change.

Introducing the new name gradually, as a nickname, is one option—perhaps as a trial period, just at home, to be very certain that you're happy with the decision. You need to be sure, because if you do decide to make the change, it will take some doing.

I don't just mean the paperwork and fees, which will vary depending on where you live; you may need a lawyer. That's all manageable. What may be more challenging is selling this change to your family and friends. It concerns me that you struck out the first time around, with Scout. It could take a lot of strength and conviction to make sure your wishes are known, and respected, now.

So it's good that you're really fond of the new name, and that your husband is on board as well. A positive attitude usually works best in these situations. Practice saying, "Now that we've gotten to know her, we realize that this name is what fits!" Repeat, firmly and politely, as often as you need to—and don't back down.


Please do not add links to your comments. Thank you.

August 30, 2016 5:58 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Yes, change it now so you don't have to spend the rest of her life hearing a name that makes you cringe. Think of her current first name as just her baby nickname. There are some cultures where children get new names at different stages in their lives.

September 4, 2016 11:13 AM
By Sabby (not verified)

Honestly, I don't think you can pull it off. You let people, who you are not married to, tell you that you couldn't call YOUR child Scout. These folks are now attached to this name. They'll claim that they forgot, they can't get use to it, they don't like the new name as much as they like the old name, etc. They'll continue until the day you die. You may never be free of that ugly name. I suggest calling her a nickname. If you don't force people, they are more likely to follow along. Plus, you sound more in control that way. People will judge you for changing your child's name. That's a whole other can of worms.

September 7, 2016 11:27 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Do it! Make the change without delay and use the name you now love. Don't let anyone affect your decision!

September 10, 2016 2:18 PM
By Zara (not verified)

My husband and I were in this same situation, and we arrived at the same solution (his choice first, then my choice in the middle), except that we use a standard nickname for the first name.

I was at best lukewarm about her first name, but he loved it. He had suggested it for all our older daughters too. I vetoed it every time. My youngest daughter is now 4, too old for us to change her name, but for awhile, I did daydream about changing it, especially when I fixated on the name by itself. But when I remind myself how much my husband loved (and still loves) the name we chose, I am not just accepting of it, I am happy we gave it to my daughter.

September 20, 2016 1:52 PM
By Teddy (not verified)

So my suggestion is kind of different. I say, call her Scout if you want, but you don't have to necessarily make everyone else call her that. Especially if your husband loves the name. If the decision to name her this was made under duress (such as your husband was bullying you), then I would say go ahead and change it.

I like Zara's input, and I'd like to add that you could consider waiting until your daughter can talk about it, and see if SHE likes it or not. It's her name. Who knows? She might like her current name, but if she hates it, then that's more reason to go ahead and make a change.

Good luck.

November 9, 2016 8:06 AM
By Cee (not verified)

Maybe keep the name as Dad loves it but you get dibs on next bub! I would avoid calling her Scout if Dad uses first name myself as too confusing for her. I also wouldn"t ask the child.. (I wanted to change my name to Penelope Pink Pitstop by deed poll when I was 5). Could you look for a short version/nick name you could like & is connected enough to her name for it to make sense? Something short & edgy like the feel of Scout?

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.