How I Named My Baby: Laíla Brooke
Dr. Laria Herod, a veterinarian, and Bradford Herod, a special education teacher, live in Phoenix, Arizona with their two daughters: Lariah Braé and Laíla Brooke.
Laíla was born on July 18, 2022. Here, we talk to Laria about how she and Bradford named their little girl.
Tell me how you named Laíla!
When we were naming Lariah, we were choosing between two names — Lariah Braé and Laíla Brooke. As soon as she was born, we were confident she was Lariah.
When we were expecting our second baby, we wanted to follow the same name scheme, using names that start with L and names that start with B. We were thinking about a bunch of different B names, trying to bring in Bradford’s name.
One day in the car, we were telling Lariah that her name was almost Laíla Brooke, and she said, “Wow, I love that! Let’s name the baby Laíla.” I wasn’t sure — it felt like a hand-me-down to me. But we still didn’t have a name for the baby when I went into labor.
I was in the hospital laboring for 55 hours, and the minute we saw her, Brad looked at me and said, “It’s feeling like a Laíla Brooke.” I said, “It’s feeling like a Laíla Brooke.”
How did you decide on the spelling of Laíla?
With my name being very unique and Lariah's name by proxy also being very unique, we wanted to keep that trend. Brooke felt more common, but we wanted to use it to incorporate the letters from Brad’s name.
We chose Laíla with an I because there isn’t a Y in my or Brad’s names. I was just going to use Laila — no accent mark — but Bradford is really keen on his accents, which is why Lariah has an accent on Braé.
When we were signing the birth certificate, we wrote Laìla with the accent in the other direction, which they told us we couldn’t do! I don’t know the significance of the directionality, but that was why it’s Laíla, not Laìla.
It’s a unique yet traditional spelling — I always think of Laila Ali.
We were looking up other people with the name Laila and didn’t find anything negative. With my name and Lariah’s name, there isn’t that much to look up. There are a handful of other people with our names, but they’re not famous enough to find a ton of information about them.
Laila Ali is the first person to come up, and there are only positive associations. The name hasn’t been sullied by time or reputation, and that definitely helped us move forward with this name.
Did Lariah have any other name suggestions?
Most of the names she was suggesting were things she was getting from TV shows that she watched. She liked Navey, A for Adley’s little sister’s name.
She also liked Bluey. I was like, “Girl, I appreciate the B, but that’s not what we’re going for!”
Which names are on your list for a potential third child?
I felt very strongly about the name Baíla because it would have been just as unique as Lariah and Laria. But my husband was not a fan! If we do have a third daughter, I’m going gung-ho for Baíla.
Baelor was another name we considered, and we also liked Braelyn. We never nailed down a middle name that started with L for those. We were trying to tie in Brad’s middle name, Eugene, and bless his heart, his name is just really difficult to mix and match!
What baby names did you like when you were younger?
I’ve always been into mixing names, so it would just be the names of me and my crush mixed together!
My name is like that too. My parents are Jennetta and Larry. I’m Laria Jenae, my sister is Lori Jennessa, and my brother is Jon-Paul Lawrence. I always thought it was cool. It’s a conversational bit — people easily pick up on the pattern.
It’s even more fun now that I have two daughters of my own. The pattern is getting longer!
Did you have any big fears about baby names?
Yes. I feel like in the African American community specifically, if you get really cultural or give your child a really Black-specific name, there's sometimes a stamp put on your back. So I definitely had some fears about getting too creative.
I wanted to give her a unique name, one that I think is beautiful and reflective of where we are and where we think she will be. But I also don’t want to give her a name where someone would question her qualifications on a job application.
At the same time, it didn’t deter me too much, because the names I was considered weren’t too extreme. But it bothered me that I even have that thought. A name is beautiful — it helps track who you are and your history.
What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting the baby name process?
Give yourself grace! Make your list but be willing to change your mind.
We have a tendency to put a lot of stress on ourselves about names because they do hold so much weight and value. But the beauty of today's society is you can change it if you feel differently about it later. So pick a name that speaks to you, and if at any point it no longer resonates with you, it’s between you and your family to change it.
As a veterinarian, what pet names do you encounter?
Bella — I can’t even quantify how many Bellas I’ve seen! And combinations of Bella like Bella Rose.
We do see a lot of pets name Phoenix out here since we’re in Phoenix. I get a lot of Maddies and Sweeties. For boys, we get a lot of pets named Buddy. Baby is popular for males and females. There are a lot of pets named after popular kids characters like Elsa and Anna.
Naming a cat Dog or a dog Cat is common, along with other random animal names like Duck or Chicken.
Angel is also very popular. Pets named Angel are always evil. It doesn’t matter if they’re a cat or a dog — Angels are never good!
Does being a veterinarian make you want to choose more unique pet names?
Yes — both of my pets have very unique names. We have a dog named Gianna Ohana, but Gigi is her nickname. Our cat’s name is Ruby Rue Biscuits because she is a biscuit machine.
Ruby is another name that I see a lot as a veterinarian, but Lariah was set on it. I added some pizzazz and made it Ruby Rue Biscuits to be more unique.
Laria's (and Laíla's) Favorite Things
Lovevery The Play Gym
We're very into Lovevery. Laíla loves it all through and through!
As far as getting those boogies out, it’s unmatched.
Elvie Breast Pump
I work in a fast-paced environment. As a general practice veterinarian, I’m always on my feet and don’t have time to go sit and be attached to a cord.
This was great for pregnancy, and we still use it for naps!
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Thank you so much, Laria!
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