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baby names and gender

Most parents today have the choice of whether to learn their baby’s gender long before birth, even without invasive tests.

Other reasons for finding out the gender aside, we’re wondering whether it helps or hurts in choosing a name.

What’s your experience?  Did you, would you, find out your baby’s gender before birth?

Did it make it easier to find the right name….or maybe harder?  Did you announce both the gender and the name before your baby was born, or keep the name announcement separate?  

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Buttoned-up Girls’ Names

classic girls' names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

The trendiest girls’ names of recent years have been flowery and elaborate: Isabella and Sophia, Olivia and Arianna.  They end in vowels….and often begin with them too.  And if they’re not exotic confections, stylish girls’ names are often gender-and-tradition-confounding novelties such as Harper and Hadley and Neveah.

You can almost hear your granny asking: What ever happened to a nice name like AnneAren’t any babies named Mary these days?

Well, fewer and fewer, in many cases, yet all the frippery in girls’ names is enough to make the old-fashioned buttoned-up standards feel downright refreshing.

A few of these buttoned-up names – Eleanor, most notably – are already making a comeback.  But most are simply lovely standards that may feel buttoned-up, but come with fanciful nicknames for now that can be shed (or not) if and when the future demands more seriousness.

Supreme Court Justice names, anyone?

The buttoned-up names for girls we think deserve a closer look include:

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abby1-27-14

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

I’m imagining next Christmas morning at Buckingham Palace.

Sure, it is a palace. Even the simplest room is probably chock full of history and priceless antiques.

The children opening presents might be members of the royal House of Windsor, but they will share their rather ordinary names with children throughout the English-speaking world.  The current generation includes the princely George Alexander Louis, but also three girls – Peter Phillips’ daughters Savannah and Isla, and now Zara Phillips Tindall’s new arrival.

Any of the extended Windsor family names could be overheard on local playgrounds almost anywhere.

Some called the Tindalls’ choice disappointing, hoping for a Eugenie or a Zara.  But it also speaks to the incredible freedom we enjoy when naming children in 2014.

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girl names

The Nameberry 9 by Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain

If last week’s baby name news was all about modern classic picks for boys, this week goes to the girls.

From Laiyah to Lucy, a number of birth announcements were brought to us by the letter L. L continues to be the marker of many a popular name, from Ella to Lily to Annabelle.

It wasn’t all about L, though – popular choices from Israel and Brazil, and unusual possibilities from the wider world round out a list of names that range from the mainstream to the out-there.

When I look at the list, I think this: we talk about names. We discuss their history and associations, their meanings and use.

But do we really fall in love with sounds? I’m drawn to the lilting l and the vibrant long a, the sharp v and the cool oo.

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avalon

by Pamela Redmond Satran

It’s a common baby name dilemma: You love a name like Cora or Lila forever, holding it close as your own special secret choice, and then bang!  Right when you’re finally in a position to use it, you discover it’s become a trendy new favorite, vaulting up the charts.

What are more unusual baby names that may relate to trendier names but are more distinctive?

Here, drawn from our new  book The Nameberry Guide to Off-the-Grid Baby Names are ten girls’ names that offer some of the feeling of today’s most stylish names but are more adventurous. 

AvalonIf you like Ava and Adeline, but want a name that’s more unusual, you might love AvalonAvalon is the name of a mythical island paradise – literally, “island of apples” — that offers a fresh take on several trendier girls’ names.  And okay, so it’s also a car name, but so are Mercedes and Portia.

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