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

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You Can't Hold Back Nicknames

My column on parents who loved the name Edmund but cringed at nicknames Eddie and Ned spurred a flood of reader letters. One message came through loud and clear: Parents, if you think you'll get to control your child's nickname forever, think again. In the long run, it's his name he and his friends will determine what he's going to be called. Here's a sampling of tales from the nickname trenches:

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My Nephew Has No Name!

My sister had a baby boy a week ago. She was undecided on a name as she didn't know the gender of the baby ahead of time. She finally decided on a name last night (eight days later) and made the official announcement to family and friends this morning. Tonight she is now saying she doesn't like her choice. I feel so sorry for my nephew. He needs a name so he can have an identity and personality. - Aunt of Nameless

 You're a good-hearted auntie, but don't trouble yourself feeling sorry for the baby. Instead, feel sorry for the parents. They're the ones fighting through new parent haze with the pressure of choosing a name hanging over them every moment. Your nephew, meanwhile, is paying no mind to the naming problem. He's too engrossed in new hobbies like eating, pooping, and learning to focus his eyes.

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The Changing Baby Names of Christmas: Noel, Meet Messiah

What's a proper Biblical name for your Christmas baby?

Bible names are a core part of English naming tradition. John and Mary alone once accounted for a quarter of all babies born in England. Yet there's one key name that English baby naming tradition never touched: Jesus.

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Beyond John and Priscilla: Surprising Names of the Mayflower Pilgrims

Looking for creative baby name ideas? You could flip through an atlas, check tonight's reality TV listings or even browse the models at your local car dealership. Chances are, though, that even at Thanksgiving time you won't be tempted to search the passenger manifest of the good ship Mayflower. Most parents today give 17th-century style a pass. After all, of the 74 men aboard the Mayflower, 16 were named John.

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Has Twilight Ruined My Favorite Baby Names?

I have always loved the names Jasper and Edward, but my mother thinks I'm crazy to even consider them because they are both names of characters in the Twilight saga. I think she might be right that my son would constantly be telling people that no, he was not named after them. Should I stick with my gut, or find a less complicated name? - twilightzonedmom

Hollywood can make or make or break a baby name. For every mom who fell in love with the name Ariel in The Little Mermaid, there's another still bitter that Disney "ruined" her favorite name. Right now, the "Twilight" saga is trapping a lot of parents like you in that push and pull.

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My Favorite Baby Names Don't Work Together

Dear Name Lady: I have always loved the names Vesper (for a girl) and Kaspar (for a boy) ... but people laugh when I say them together, and I can see why. They are rare names and they have similar structures. I came upon them at different times but adore them both equally! I've thought of variations but in the end I wouldn't use them, it would take away from what I love about these names. Will I have to wait to see which gender comes first and then say goodbye to the other name? Signed, V or K?

Vesper and Kaspar are an unusual pair, but your basic dilemma is more common than you might think. Lots of parents fall in love with incompatible names. Choosing Charlie for a boy means you can't name a future girl Charlotte. Tyler means no Taylor, Jack means no Jill, Houston means no Whitney. You may yearn for both, but you have to pick one.

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I Love the Name, but Hate the Nickname

We love the name Edmund for lots of reasons. We strongly dislike Eddie/Ned (I still don't understand where people get Ned from Edmund). We can bear people once in a while asking "how's little Eddie," but it is not our intention for him to be called anything other than Edmund on a regular basis, unless we develop a cool nickname between his first and middle name. At this point, the middle name will either be Phillip or Charles. Any suggestions on things to help avoid Eddie/develop a cool nickname? - Edwhat

It's time for a gut check. Do you love the name Edmund more than you loathe Ed and Ned? You have to be honest with yourself about this, because I can't promise you'll be able to keep Ed at bay. Sure, you might be able to keep your in-laws and preschool teachers on the straight Edmund path, but there's one person who can scuttle your best-laid plans: your son.

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John And Jack: Can Sibling Names Be Too Close?

Dear Name Lady: I have a 2-year-old son named John. We just found out that we're expecting another boy, and my husband and I really want to name him Jack. I come from the generation where Jack is Jack and John is John, but others see them as one and the same. Your thoughts? - J

The idea that Jack is "short" for John may seem odd on the face of it. The names are the same length and have only one sound in common. In this century they're both standalone names, high on the charts. But for hundreds and hundreds of years, almost every Jack was actually christened John.

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How Can I Avoid Giving My Baby the Next Big Trendy Name?

Dear Name Lady: We have a very common last name, so we don't want to choose a name for our baby girl that is too common. We've ruled out the current top 25 names. But there are a lot of names that we like (e.g., Annabelle and Eva) that are in the top 100s now and seem to be rising in popularity. Do you have any suggestions -- either of specific names or general trends to look out for -- on how to avoid choosing a name that will top of the charts in a few years? - Jane

A lot of parents today suffer from "name acrophobia" -- the fear that their favorite baby name will climb to the dizzying top of the popularity charts. Is there any surefire way to avoid picking the next Jacob or Emma?

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How Can I Talk My Husband Into My Favorite Baby Name?

I love the name Dominic, nicknamed Nico, for our unborn son, and I've gotten my husband to finally admit he likes it, too. But he won't go for it because he has a very distant cousin named Dominic who he's only met once. Every time the 60-something-year-old cousin is mentioned, the family pronounces it Dominque, the Sicilian pronunciation. So the easy answer is to name the baby, Nicholas, but he flat out hates that name. It's very frustrating! Any other names go with Nico? Any way to convince my hubby to go for Dominic? - Nico or Bust

Not many boys' names shorten to Nico aside from the two you've already mentioned. (I'll wager that Nicodemus and Nicomachus aren't quite to your taste.) If you're absolutely determined to use the name Nico, then I suggest doing just that. Give the nickname as his full name. In an era of just-Jakes and simply-Sams, your nothing-but-Nico won't ruffle any feathers.

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