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Have a baby name dilemma?

Ask the Namesage!

Welcome to Nameberry’s newest column, The Name Sage. Every week, nameberry’s Senior Editor, Abby Sandel, will answer one reader’s questions about naming a baby-on-the-way, or general baby name angst. And here’s the best part: we’d love it if you would add your thoughtful suggestions and comments to help expectant parents decide. The world needs more nicely named children, berries! Want to see your question featured? Please email namesage@nameberry.com. Be sure to include your due date.

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Rule-Breaking Baby Names

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They’ve found the perfect name, but it breaks all the rules. How can they reconcile using the name they love with their long-held preferences?

Julia writes:

My husband and I are expecting our first baby, a daughter, in May. We have finally found “the” name, but I feel like a hypocrite! We spent years carefully compiling and editing our name list, only to find that our little girl’s name was never even on it. I like Lucille, Sybil, and Marceline. My husband likes Winifred and Violet. But sweet little Jay will be given her daddy’s middle name, and it feels incredibly easy and right. We knew it was her name the minute we said it aloud. We love the simplicity of it, that it FEELS so good, and I love naming her after her dad. But Jay is a boy name!

While I certainly support the new gender neutral naming trend, I often feel that what people perceive as genderless is actually anything but. It’s odd to me that naming daughters things like James and Elliot is so trendy right now, but these same parents wouldn’t necessarily name a son Sarah or Jennifer. Seems like a one-way street of “boys” names for girls, but not “girl” names for boys.

How can I make peace with bestowing a traditionally “boy” name upon our daughter, when our taste is otherwise feminine and vintage?

The Name Sage replies:

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Boy Baby Names: Gone to the Dogs?

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They have a favorite name picked out for their son, but some have dismissed it as a dog name. What does that mean, exactly, in 2017? Should they choose another name, or stick with their first choice?

Monica writes:

We are expecting our first baby boy in just a couple weeks and still haven’t decided on his name.

We have a 2 year old named Betsy Ray, both inspired by family. We love the country casual vibe of her name, and really want to match that style for baby boy.

Hipster baby names are big where we live. I love most of them, and prefer “old man” names for the most part.

The middle name will be John, another family name. Our last name starts with a T and sounds like tunes, so names ending in a T don’t work well, and I tend to think names ending in S don’t sound very good, either.

Our current frontrunner is Murphy. My husband is a surfer, so the meaning – sea warrior – is perfect. Plus, there was a comic strip from the 1960s about a little surfer dude named Murphy, drawn by one of my husband’s favorite artists.

We’ve also considered Louie, Stanley, Victor, Fletcher, and Otis, but none of them have the same meaning.

I’m not sure about Betsy and Murphy together. Are they too matchy? When I look online, I see mentions of Murphy’s Law, Murphy Brown, and Murphy beds.

Also, lots of people call it a “dog name.” Which I’m really sick of on the whole. I always seem to like all those so-called dog names. Who cares if people named their dog a GOOD name? Does that mean we should just turn the name over to the dogs indefinitely?

Thanks for any advice you have. I want to just fall in love with Murphy, but I can’t shake this feeling that I’m not all the way done looking yet!

The Name Sage replies:

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They found a great family name for their firstborn, but now they’re stuck finding something every bit as meaningful and stylish for their new daughter.

Meghan writes:

My daughter’s name is Clementine Jay and we just love it.

Clement is my father’s middle name, and Jay was my father-in-law’s middle name, so it is meaningful as well as adorable (in our opinion).  We call her Clemmie.

We are now expecting a second girl and are at a stalemate.  We feel compelled to give her a family name as well, because we love having that connection.  My husband’s mother, Brenda, is deceased and so we’d love to honor her.  But Brenda (and similar names Brenna, Brianna) just don’t resonate with us.

We’ve come up with a few names that start with B to honor her, but nothing is really exciting us yet.  We are also considering Annabeth Claire (a mashup of our three sisters’ middle names) but aren’t quite sold on it yet.  Any suggestions?

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They’ve narrowed down names for Cora‘s brother, but they’re still feeling stuck! Is the best name already on their list, or is it time to start fresh?

Danika writes:

We are stuck! Our son is set to arrive in April, and we’re not in love with any of the names on our short list.

Our daughter’s name, Cora, felt right from the start. We’re not having the same feeling with any of our choices this time around.

I really like to use family names somewhere in the mix, and the meaning of names is important as well. Our daughter’s middle is Brewster, a family surname, and we’re considering Christopher, Cameron, Thornton, or Guy for a middle.

Some names we’ve considered:

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Family Names: Yes, No, or It Depends?

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He’s all about family names, but she’s not convinced. How do they move forward when he thinks their son is already named?

Amanda writes:

My husband’s father’s name is John.  To incorporate the name he wants to name our son Jonathan Wallace, after grandpa and great-grandpa.

The dilemma? I don’t care for the name Jonathan!

Any ideas?

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