Baby Name Battles and How to Solve Them
Baby naming battles
The thing about naming a baby is that it’s not just about names. It’s a time when other things – like family relationships and values – come to the fore and sometimes cause conflict.
Increasingly, news and entertainment media are picking up on the naming issues people share on the internet. While they’re not exactly news, it’s interesting to see which stories capture the public’s attention – often because they touch on something that’s relatable
A few recent examples:
And more unsettlingly, a spelling change on a birth certificate casts all sorts of light on a couple’s relationship with each other, and with mother-in-law.
If you’re having baby-naming conflict, what’s to do? These five pointers are a great starting place, whether you’re feeling under pressure from the grandparents or overwhelmed by all the options. And as ever, there’s also the collected wisdom of the Nameberry forums.
Globe-trotting birth announcements
First let’s take a trip around the world and look at what some parents – well-known and less so – have been naming their babies.
In Australia, comedian Em Rusciano is ahead of the curve with her son’s name, Elio Arthur. Elio feels like a fun alternative to names like Eli and Arlo, and is in the Top 50 most-viewed names on Nameberry, but in real life not many parents are using it. Em’s older daughters are Marchella and Odette, so it looks like quirky international names are her family’s style.
For a real culture-blending name, we turn to Bollywood. The actor Purab Kohli has a British wife, and they’ve just welcomed a son, Osian Nur. One Welsh name from legend, and one Arabic name meaning “light”: both ripe for more use in the English-speaking world. Osian’s big sister Inaya Amelia also has a name that combines both parents’ cultures.
Turning to Ireland, martial arts sportsman Conor McGregor has given his daughter a name that really would be one-of-a-kind in any other country. Croia (pronounced “cree-a”) derives from the Irish word for heart – appropriately for Valentine’s Day.
In the UK, in case you missed it, two sets of actors welcomed children with more mainstream, on-the-rise names last month. Billie Piper, of Doctor Who fame, called her daughter Tallulah – a name that’s in the British Top 300, but doesn’t appear in the US Top 1000. Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley, who met playing the leads in Wuthering Heights, reportedly chose Forrest for their son. We don’t know if he has a middle name, but it’s nice to imagine it’s something like Heathcliffe.
US baby names: what’s hot near you
Have you been following HuffPost’s series on the most popular names in different parts of America? At the top of the list, the difference isn’t dramatic – parents everywhere love Liam and Emma – but there are still regional favorites. Like Elijah and Layla in the southern states, Sebastian and Sofia on the west coast, Ryan and Gabriella in the northeast, and Lillian and Henry in the Midwest.
A frequent naming dilemma is whether, and how, to honor family members in a baby’s name. Stuck for ideas? Here are a couple of ways to do it from this week’s news.
Nicola Vincent Apollo, actress Cerina Vincent’s new son, has a name that involves multiple family members. Nicola is after mom’s great-grandfather, and her middle name Nicole. Vincent is her surname. Apollo reportedly has significance for his big sister, and he gets dad’s surname.
Moving over to the patriarchy, New York Giants footballer Eli Manning’s son was born on Super Bowl Sunday (and yes, there was at least one baby named after the Patriots’ Tom Brady). Eli broke a family tradition with his son’s name…kind of. Dad’s name is Elisha Manning IV, but the “IV” is debatable as he has a different middle name from his father. His son’s name, Charles Elisha, strays a little further from the pattern.
There’s also this girl named Kensington after her grandfather Ken. It’s a close parallel with Kate Hudson’s daughter Rani, honoring grandpa Ronnie, and it makes me wonder: what other grandparent names can be adapted to be fresh for a new baby of a different gender?
A lot of zoos nowadays give the public a chance to pick names for their cute baby animals. But did you know that some zoos are offering the chance to name their less cuddly creatures? Just in time for Valentine’s Day, you could name a snake after your ex, or a cockroach that is destined to be fed to meerkats. It’s, er, a novel way to capitalise on the fact that we love naming things, and that those names have power.