Question of the Week: Can you reserve a baby name?

You’re several months pregnant, when the conversation turns — as it often does — to names.  You don’t have a name picked out yet and you say you’re considering several options.  So your friend or sister-in-law or neighbor says, “Just don’t use Sophie or Sadie or Benjamin or Nathan.  I’m reserving those names in case I have another baby.”

Well, as it happens, Sophia is on your list.  And so is Nathaniel.  You may want to use one of them, you may not, but you certainly don’t want to be forced to take them out of consideration just because someone else calls dibs on them.

Should you stand up for your right to use whatever name you want, no dibs allowed?  Should you just quietly go your own way as if the claim had never been laid down?  Or should you back away from the newly-reserved names?

That’s our question of the week: What’s fair in baby-naming?  Can you reserve a baby name?  Should you respect someone else’s “claim” on a name?

When is using the name another person has mentioned okay, and when is it name-napping?  How can you deal with someone who tries to unfairly (to your mind) reserve a name, or who uses one that you feel you claimed rights to?

Does it matter how close you are to the other person, emotionally and physically?  Does it matter whether they’re actually expecting or not?

And has this ever happened to you, either as the person who tried to claim a name, or the one who had a name you were considering claimed out from under you?

Tell all!

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65 Responses to “Question of the Week: Can you reserve a baby name?”

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Alexandra.Iseult Says:

April 24th, 2012 at 11:37 pm

My friend and her sister were pregnant at the same time and both decided on Catherine through different means. They couldn’t believe that they both had the same top name, and consequentially neither one budged.

One gave birth to a Catherine Marie while the other gave birth about a week later, naming her daughter Mary Katherine.

Well, Mary Katherine goes by Katherine, and Catherine Marie goes by Catie (both are 9).

I think you can’t officially ‘reserve’ a name since nothing can stop others from using it, but it is plain rude if you know of someone planning to use a name, and suddenly like the idea and use it first. Being stubborn on a name can end up hurting your children, so if it is really that important switch middle names or find variant or some other beautiful names, there are enough to go around! Perhaps this is a sign of name popularity, so then you should maybe use this chance to pick something more unique.

Meriyah2 Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 12:11 am

About 3 years ago my husband and I threw a fourth of July BBQ for our family. My mother, Aunt, cousin (who was pregnant), and I were on the back deck talking about what names she and her boyfriend were thinking of. She named a couple then the conversation changed to me and my husband and how we were trying for our 2nd baby. Like a fool, I said that if we have another boy we were going to name him Cassius. This was back before the name was becoming trendy or heard of again and that’s what we loved about it. Her boyfriend had entered the conversation just as i announced the name. He even asked me to repeat it.

Sure enough 1 month later they found out that they were having a boy and they were going to name him Cassius!! I was so angry. I decided to write her a email expressing how much my husband and I loved the name and that I would be so hurt if she used it, since there was no doubt in my mind that they got the name from us. She of coarse denied hearing it from us but in the end I had made such a stink that she named her son something different.

We conceived our 2nd child that next spring and had a beautiful girl! We still loved the name Cassius and this pass fall decided 2 children is enough for us. We decided to adopt a puppy and we gave him our favorite boys name. My husband and I even had the “are you sure we are done having children” talk before we gave the dog his name. So we brought home Cassius and about 1 month later got a big suprise! Baby # 3 is due this July. We do not know the sex and let him tell you if it’s a boy we have no clue what to name him!! I guess that’s karma for ya!!

cecisthebest Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 12:12 am

I think no one can ever really “reserve” a name. It’s a name, for crying out loud! People use them! You aren’t the first person in the world who wants to name their child Daisy or Luke or Jennifer or whatever.
You can’t claim a name.

blaire_em Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 12:28 am

I think it matters how close you are to the person, and how original the name is. I was pregnant at the same time as my cousin’s wife. Our daughters are just over a month apart. I found out on Facebook they had considered Rowan (my daughter’s name) I honestly wouldn’t of cared too much because we live so far apart and I very rarely see them. But if a close friend used a name they knew to be “my” name, I would be pretty peeved. Although, there are plenty of names I love but would never actually use, so if a friend had a baby named Peridot or Damian I would love it!

Kate1986 Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 1:09 am

I don’t think it’s fair to hold hostage a mile long list of names that friends and family can not use.

If I’m pregnant and I am in the naming process, and my sil is not pregnant (but might have another child eventually) I don’t think it would be fair of her to call dibs (which she has but thankfully we have different taste).

But I also think it is unfair of someone to steal a name if the baby/unborn baby is already named. I know I would be upset if a close realtive or friend used the actual name I was going to use after I told them.

hlplatt23 Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 1:12 am

I, in my mind, ‘reserved’ the name Sawyer, a few years ago. I was talking to a really close friend who was pregnant, and baby names came up. She told me the name they were going to use, so I felt it was safe enough to divulge my secret, special name. I told her that I was going to use Sawyer when I had a baby boy, and she didn’t say much about it, and the conversation flowed somewhere else. The next day on her facebook page, she announced that their baby’s name was changed to Sawyer. I was crushed. Completely and totally. I didn’t talk to that friend for a while afterward, still feeling hurt.

About a year later I got a call saying she had been killed, and to this day I still hate myself for getting so worked up over a name, and even though she never knew I was upset, (we lived a ways apart, so she most likely didn’t notice my icy treatment) I can’t get over it. She was a dear friend, and really? Her baby is beautiful, and no other name could suit him like Sawyer does.

Moral of the story. It’s not a big deal. Or, don’t LET it be a big deal. People and relationships are more important, and there will always be another name out there that claims your heart when the time is right.

alibaba Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 1:54 am

As I commented on the Facebook page, I’ve never understood this concept. It’s highly unlikely that your child is going to be the only person in the world with the name that you choose so who cares if a relative or close friend chooses the same name?

koolchicken Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 3:46 am

I think if you hear a name from someone who’s telling you about it because they’re “claiming” it and you immediately turn around and use it then it’s wrong. But if you already had it on your list then it’s fair game. These should only apply to names that aren’t super popular though. If it’s a name in the top 100 you really don’t have a right to freak on anyone in any scenario. Those names are popular for a reason.

SheFliesWithHerOwnWings Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 6:07 am

Names are alway a hot topic with my friends and I so within our friendship there would be such a thing as name stealing. However, we all know each other’s favourites and we have a set 2 or 3 that no one is allowed to touch.

aunt_ning Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 6:43 am

My Oldest sister and cousins did a form of dibs. But slightly different. My one sister passed away in August of 95 when both my cousin Freddy and his sister Laura where pregnant with girls due in January. They asked if they could name the girls after my sister Kristina Richelle, we said yes of cource but that my oldest sister Mandy wanted to reserve the name Kristina itself. They flipped a coin to see who got the first name and who got the middle. Freddys daughter is Samantha Richelle and Lauras is Kristyn Lynn. And my 8 year old neice is Kristina Richelle. They all love the fact that they are all named after the same person and share a great connection that way.

rachel27 Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 8:05 am

I guess maybe most of my friends aren’t in the ‘baby-having’ stage, or have really different taste for me, so I don’t see this as an issue at all. It’s a name! You can’t “reserve” it and it certainly isn’t worth fighting over. My brother, sister and I ALL share names with cousins, but they are different ages and lived across the country and it was never a big deal.

jenniferleigh Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 9:18 am

I have two situations..my SIL and I were pregnant three months apart..she was ahead of me. At her shower, one the Aunts asked us about names. I said if it is a boy we will name him Jacob. She said she had no idea. Sure enough she named her son Jacob. It worked out fine b/c I like Dylan better. It was just the spitefulness that bothered me. Now, I have found out that I am due in November. My brother just announced he and SIL are due in October. Different SIL..no one knows yet we are expecting. SO, my mom is telling me their names which happens to be the same boy name..Harrison. What I have learned from all this…keep your mouth shut and name your baby what you want. The only person you owe any consideration is your baby! Good luck…I still need a boy name though!

xiabelle Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 9:23 am

I think it depends, in a way.

In general, I’m of the opinion that named baby = dibs. Or baby born first = dibs. The only exception would be a family name, for me. If your grandmother was named Mabel and you want to name your daughter after her, but your sister-in-law loves the name too, then your family connection trumps it.

We had a couple of names ‘stolen from us early on, but it was before we’d mentioned we were even trying. Miranda spent some time on top of our list, but some friends used it (and that wasn’t a big deal, because she was 5 months pregnant at our wedding!). Sebastian was a harder loss for us, because it was absolutely our boy name, but they were good friends.

We got over it and found other names we liked more. And we figure, our group of friends has similar tastes in names. It sort of shows why we’re all friends – similar sensibilities!

PinkPenguin87 Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 9:42 am

I think that if say, you and a close friend were pregnant at the same time and you told her your name choice and a week later she names her newborn that name, well, that’s pretty freakin’ rude.

On the other hand, if said friend is expecting and you’re not, its rude to “claim” names.

Taz Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 9:48 am

My great grandmother was named Elvira (Pronounced Elle-Veera) and my sister ‘claimed’ Vera for future use. She’s 7 years younger than me and nowhere near having kids and I love the name….but there are a lot of names out there. I would never use Vera despite the fact that she might never even have a daughter. It’s not illegal or something, but it’s just not a cool thing to do. If her list of claimed names was a mile long that would be another thing entirely!

LadyCap Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 9:51 am

I have friends who have had a (singular) favorite name for most of their lives, and I’d feel bad taking one of those, even though they never officially declared “dibs”; certainly if I was really considering one of them, I’d talk to the friend. But taking a name from a pregnant woman seems low, especially if it’s one specific name that she has her heart set on and you had not heard it/considered previously. I can understand someone being upset about that.

One the other had, through accident and coincidence, I ended up with 3 cousins named Jeremy (two are step-brothers), and we have all navigated around it just fine. I also have a sister named Jamie and a cousin named James who are 6 weeks apart in age. Any irritation was soon lost in being happy to have new kids in the family.

katybug Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 9:55 am

Unless you’re pregnant and announcing the baby’s name, I don’t think that it’s fair to call dibs on a name. Far better to keep quiet if there’s a name that you love so much that the thought of someone in your family or circle of friends using it is crushing to you. I do commiserate with people whose much-loved names have been used by someone else, though. My sister-in-law were pregnant at the same time 3 years ago but I had a miscarriage. They chose a name that was on my short list for a girl, which I had never shared with anyone so it was just a coincidence, but it was still very upsetting. Even through all that, I never once thought that it would be appropriate to ask them to choose another name. It was my issue, not theirs. I’ve since had a little boy and relished the opportunity to name him whatever I wanted without anyone telling me that a certain name was off limits. I wish everyone else would do the same.

katybug Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 9:58 am

*should read my sister-in-law and I were pregant at the same time

kmw1975 Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 10:07 am

I agree with people who say that you can’t officially reserve a name. However, I do think that is plain rude to turn around and use a name after someone tells you their ONE special name that they are planning on using. ESPECIALLY if it is not in the top 100. There may be no such thing as name stealing, but there IS such a thing as common curtosey which I think some people are just simply lacking.

I had it happen to me and I was heartbroken over it. I know for a fact that the person who used my chosen name did not have it on her list and that our conversation gave her the idea. I could tell from her response to it. It’s not a close friend, although it is someone we have known for a very long time – and they have the same last name as us. I’m still using the name (after all, she knew that I was planning on using it!), but I’ll use it as a short form of a longer name. I feel that solves the dilemma, in a way. They live 3 hours away and our kids will not be in school together or anything, so I think it will be fine.

I’ve never told this friend how I felt about it, and I’m sure I never will. She knows what she did, though. The times I have been around her, she went out of her way not to say her daughter’s name. I do wish that I could go back in time and keep my mouth shut. I am 99% sure that her child would have ended up with a different name. Oh well, nothing I can do about it now!

So yeah, while I don’t necessarily believe in name stealing, I do think that there are times when it is not appropriate to use a certain name. Why do you have to use someone else’s beloved name? Why can’t you come up with your own idea? Is it really that hard? It’s one thing if you had already chosen the name, but if not, back off and use your own brain! And that’s my 2 cents!

Saracita00 Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 10:14 am

I don’t think I would pay much attention to a “calling dibs” like the scenario presented above. It would have to be a really special person, who we would see an awful lot, and I would want to be able to to talk to them about the situation.

Case in point, my sisters and I check in with each other about current name favorites. A few years ago, two of the sisters were in a “race” to use a certain boys’ name, but one had a girl and the other decided to put off starting her family for awhile. It turned out that I was the next one to have a boy, and eventually I worked up the nerve to ask if they were still racing for that name. Turns out that BOTH of them had moved on to other favorites, and I never would have known if I hadn’t asked. (For the curious, it was on the final list we took to the hospital but we selected a different name when our son was born). Mom thinks we are silly since the cousins will all have different surnames, but we sisters appreciate the consideration given in the family.

Amenspanglish Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 10:26 am

This is a great topic since it’s talked about in the forums all the time! I can’t believe some of the things that people do! My sister and I have a feeling we’ll get pregnant at the same time, especially since we are both thinking about starting ttc next year, and we talk about names all the time! She has had a favorite boy name since high school, and I would never consider using it. And when I told her my favorite and said “please don’t use it because it’s one of the very few names my DH and I can agree on!” She was disappointed because she also really liked it, but decided to never use it. I realized how silly I was because there are so many great names out there, and we could always change our minds. I later called her and told her that she could use it if she wanted to. We decided that whoever gets pregnant first has the rights to whatever name they choose.

I agree that no name is claimed before the baby is born.
But at the same time, if I’m pregnant and talking to my pregnant friend who tells me their favorite name that I had never considered before, I definitely wouldn’t use it. If it was a name that I was considering, rather than sneaking behind her back I think I would tell her that I was considering it too, what great taste we have! I’m not sure what I would do if she then freaked out. What would you berries do?

Would you still use your favorite name if someone used it on your baby? It all depend on the acquaintance for me.

Amenspanglish Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 10:35 am

Oops! Those last sentences are supposed to say,
Would you still use your favorite name if someone else used it on their baby?
It all depends on the acquaintance for me.

xinglongneo Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 11:04 am

I think the rule in my family is whoever has the baby first gets the name. Or some such.

Case in point: when my mother’s parents were pregnant with her only sister, they wanted to name her Jane. However, one of my grandfather’s brothers was also expecting a baby that HE wanted to name Jane. Long story short, my aunt is named Janet because she was born second, even though the brother ended up not naming his daughter Jane.

Good thing, too, because my father’s sister is named Jane.

kmw1975 Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 11:28 am

Amenspanglish – I’m still using it. Since we’re not super close with this friend, I don’t think it would have been such a big issue for me if it weren’t for us also having the same last name. That is why I have decided to go with a longer, more formal name, but still call her by the much loved name. That way, these 2 little girls won’t actually have the exact same name. I am loving the longer version more, anyway. It has a nicer meaning and more substance – plus, I can still call her by the short name that I love.

TinaBina Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 12:22 pm

I think there are unofficial courteous rules. Pregnant vs non pregnant, pregnant person gets claim. If you have a favorite name DON’T suggest it to a pregger. You can’t claim something that may never exist. Pregnant vs pregnant is different. If the person is a very close friend names will likely be discussed, and then you’ll have an idea if you have similar tastes. Simply dot share the name if you don’t want it “stolen”. If they have the same name it’s coincidence or they stole it from a born child. My dad’s gf’s family did this. There was some name thievery and all the boys are named Alex. It’s a weird family because NO ONE in any other generation is named Alex. We live out of town do its annoying when refering to Alex, because they all have the same last name, they get refered to by their parent’s name Alex. This is a very small town too. It’s creepy lol. I don’t have any prego close friends or family so I am not concerned about it right now. Luckily.

missoneill Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 12:25 pm

I think the moral of the story here is if you have a name in mind that you don’t want someone to “steal” – keep your mouth shut!

If someone still ends up using that name, you’ll know they discovered it on their own, and there’s nothing you can do about that.

As far as non-pregnant friends laying claim to names – seems like a bit of a stretch.

Michell Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 12:29 pm

In short, no, I don’t think you can call “dibs” on a name. However, it’s extremely rude to use a name someone has mentioned as one of their top choices, if that name wasn’t already on your list. In the end, I guess the lesson is, keep your favorite names to yourself. And if you don’t, then be okay with someone else using your favorite name.

k8d Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I talked to my mom about this in regard to our family. Since I’m the oldest and only one having kids, I said I didn’t want to use all the “good” family names. Her response was that the first one to have a baby had the right to use the name.

As far as friends go, I think it’s ok to want to keep a certain name for yourself because it’s special to you, but having a unique name for my child isn’t that big of a deal to me. A lot of the names we’re considering are top 100 names already.

However, we have friends who wanted to call dibs on a number of names. The things that bothered me most were that they’re not pregnant and not sure if they will be having another child, and they already have a couple kids. I think if a name was that special to them that they would have used it on the first few kids.

BlueMoon Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 12:55 pm

I very much agree with kmw1975. It is very upsetting when someone knowingly chooses your one favorite name. We had this happen – friends used our chosen girl name one week before our own baby was born. They used it knowing that it was our one girl named that we planned to use. A name that had been my husband’s favorite for 7 years. A name that we almost used for our first child. A name that would have been used for our 2nd child, but he was a boy.

We regretted not announcing our name plans on Facebook earlier in the pregnancy, when we’d decided on names. We had two more pregnant friends and they started referring to their babies by their chosen names on Facebook and in conversation, after their big ultrasound. I think if we’d done that, this other family wouldn’t have gone with our favorite name. They were having their 3rd daughter and were very unsure on names. So our favorite name was just one possibility on their list, rather than *the name*.

In the end we had another boy instead, so we couldn’t use the name anyway. But their using it did ruin the name for us – even though, if our baby had been a girl, we were still going to use the name anyway. And it would have looked like we ‘stole’ the name from them.

Poppy528 Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 1:05 pm

If you are talking baby names (to a pregnant or future-pregnant person) and you say this is my FAVORITE NAME OMG aren’t you just planting a little seed of the forbidden fruit? I mean really, you just put the name on a platter for them. A person who “steals” a name is probably attracted to how confident you are in your awesome name choice. They want to be awesome and confident too. I’m keeping quiet about my top choices right now, especially to ladies more likely to pop out babies sooner than us.

I think it is completely ridiculous to call dibs on any popular name. I would for real LOL at anyone that claimed Sophie or Aiden. I also think it is silly to claim family names between relative. We all loved our dear grandparents, but you can’t qualify any relationship as more personal than another’s. Get preggo first if you love it so much! That being said, cant any of my cousins plz claim Irving &/or Yentel?! I’d really like those taken off the table.

C in DC Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 1:34 pm

When my sister was pregnant, I asked her not to use my FIL’s name, Peter, since I knew my DH would want to use Peter if we ever had a son. (My FIL passed away before any of us had kids.) Fortunately, it wasn’t a name she was considering, and she agreed that she wouldn’t use it. But, since she had kids first, she got to use the “cool” family names from our side before I had a chance, and I was and am fine with that.

My MIL and her SIL were pregnant at the same time. My MIL is still slightly peeved that her SIL used a close variation of the name my MIL used, especially since the boys have the same last name, making for some confusion.

mermuse Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Yes! I’ve already reserved my names with my BFFs and sister.

bderosia Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 2:27 pm

This kinda happened to my mom about me actually. My aunt was in the process of adopting a baby through a christian adoption agency at the same time my mom was pregnant w/me. She already had two kids but with her first husband. It took my parents all nine months to agree on my name and when they told my aunt she was so upset. It turns out my name, both first and middle name together, was what she wanted to name her daughter if they adopted a girl. My parents told her tough luck they would name me what they wanted. She ended up adopting a boy four years later so it didn’t matter much in the end.

That being said all my favorites I mentioned to pregnant friends they ended up using, so I got wise and learned to keep my mouth shut. I don’t think you can call dips on the thought of a baby not yet born. But if you got a favorite name just keep it in your back pocket.

isabel_r Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 3:11 pm

I’m only a teenager, so of course I have not really had any experiences. Most of the names I like are too dweeby or strange for my sister, so on the very few chances I’ve had to talk with her about names, I’ve realized that unless something drastic changes, we will not be naming our children similarily. The only two names we have in common are Aaron, Liam, and we both used to like Madalyn (which I hate now).

Another problem might be with my parents, because I absolutely love their taste. Both the names they chose for their kids (Isabel, Grace, & Thomas), and the names they were considering (Lucy, Claire, Amelia, Theodore, Henry, Hale, Harrison, Olivia, & Sophia)are on my list. I guess it wouldn’t be weird to choose a name they chose because it’d be honoring really, or a name they considered because they didn’t use them (although it’d still feel weird to me).

I think if a friend ever asked me about names I’d be too excited to keep my favorites a secret.

kmw1975 Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 3:15 pm

I have a friend with 2 boys who wants a daughter named Lucy. I would not dream of taking that from her – just because I could. I don’t care if I decided I LOVED it after she told me. I do not care if her Lucy may never exist. I have respect for my friend, and I would not do that to her. Period. To do so would be rude and tactless in my opinion. Yet, that’s exactly what my friend did to me. I had 2 boys and told her my girl name. She already had 2 girls, got pregnant with another one before I did, and took my beloved girl name after getting the idea from me. Flat out RUDE. It put me in a really crappy position when I did get pregnant with my girl.

I’ll say it again, there are times when you just need to use common courtesy. To intentionally use a name that you know a friend or family member thought of first and is set on using is just plain not cool. I don’t agree with putting dibs on a whole list of names, or claiming a name that you “might” want to use, but if there is one special name that someone has their heart set on, I think friends and family should have the decency to respect that.

rollo Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 3:17 pm

I know sisters who have sons with the same name. I am on the side of alibaba who cares? If that is the name you like use it, and hopefully the other party will be grown up about it and not start a family or friend feud.

edenlyla13 Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 3:22 pm

I dont think you can claim a name. However,if the person who is pregnant knows that you love that name they should have the courteousy to not use the name.

alecto Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 3:49 pm

I find the whole idea of reserving names to be pretty ridiculous–especially if the person hoarding the name isn’t even pregnant yet! Unless the two babies are going to be in constant contact with each other for their whole lives, who cares if they have the same name? We named our son Ian in spite of the fact that I already have a cousin named Ian, and one of my husband’s good friends is named Ian. And life went on!!!!

Samantha-Bianca Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Yeah, I agree with alecto. The name-reserving thing is absurd. I had friends in high school who would say “This is my favourite name and you’re not allowed to use it”! But that was in high-school…you know, when we weren’t proper adults!
People do get very defensive about the names they have chosen. And hey, if you’ve gone through that pain-staking process and arrived at a certain name, why let someone else discourage you from it? Even if you and your best friend have a kid the same age with the same name – but you both arrived at the name on your own – then just both of you use the name. It won’t be as big of a deal as you think. The only way to guarantee that won’t happen (unless someone deliberately copies you, which is weird, but whatever) is make up a name or use something really obscure.

As long as the name means something to you, who gives a frak?!

librarybooks Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 6:04 pm

I think if your favorite name is in the top 100 or even top 200, it’s unreasonable to call ‘dibs’ on the name. If you’re using a popular name, you have to accept that your kid will never be the only Michael in a classroom, at the office, at a birthday party or even at the family holiday gatherings. So who cares if your friend has a Jimmy too?

If you are in love with a more unique name, we tend to get attached to these “perfect” names and feel like we want to have the only kid named that. If you feel really strongly about your perfect name, don’t mention it to anyone you know who might have a kid soon/before you have yours/ever.

I made this mistake when I casually name-dropped my secret favorite name to a friend. A few weeks later she told me that she and her husband had decided to name their future child that! I don’t think I invented the name, but I’m certain I put the idea in her mind. I was flustered about it for a while, but eventually I confessed to her that it was my secret favorite name. I told her if we had daughters with the same name, I could make my peace with that. I only thought it was fair that she knew that even if she used it, I would not give it up. I’m pretty sure she changed her mind about the name after that. It was less “special” to her once she knew I would use it anyway. I think in this case, honestly was really the best policy.

It would do all of us some good to not being so precious as to imagine that we invented or discovered a name. I learned that my spouse’s favorite boy name was in the top 500 – imagine my horror! but then I realized how ridiculous my reaction was. I don’t know any babies with that name, and it’s not likely to skyrocket this decade. If we really love it, that’s the most important factor in our baby’s name.

thetxbelle Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 6:34 pm

“In general, I’m of the opinion that named baby = dibs. Or baby born first = dibs. The only exception would be a family name, for me. If your grandmother was named Mabel and you want to name your daughter after her, but your sister-in-law loves the name too, then your family connection trumps it.”

This doesnt seem fair to me, it’s insinuating that the Brother isnt allowed to want to name his child after a family member. Shouldnt he have equal standing when it comes to his Grandmother’s name?

domsmomma824 Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 8:07 pm

the trick is to not tell anyone your name until after you find out what you are having. and then don’t tell anyone who is due before you unless they are already in love with a certain name. if your favorite name isn’t one of the top 25 names, you have a chance with getting the name you like.

i will say though, both my sister and i liked the name madison. our kids were born 7 weeks apart. luckily for me, i had a boy and she got to keep her name.

sweetpez13 Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 8:25 pm

I’m in a situation where we are expecting our first, none of our close friends are pregnant yet, or planning to start trying for another couple of years…but they all dibbed a name or two.

Makes it a bit harder for us, real problem being I have a set list of three boys names I chose in high school about ten years ago that I love, like I really love them, if I was to have three boys these would be there names, but one of our friends who recently got married turned around and said we positively can not use it, as it is her husbands family traditional name.

I liked it way before she ever met her hubby, I might try to use the other two first, as not to create problems, but if hubby likes that one better bad luck friend.

The thing I don’t get is, my cousin also loves that name and an old friend from high school when she was pregnant needed a middle name and I suggested it and she used it. Quite happy for her to as ‘William’ is such a popular name I don’t see how they can call dibs.

I felt the pain though last year my SIL fell pregnant before us and was considering one of my names first and middle that I had told her in confidence years ago. I didn’t even know till the day her son was born if she had used it. Luckily she hadn’t.
But if we have another son I will be using the first name for number two, I am using that middle name with my last hopefully non contentious first name for my boy.

But everyone knows she nearly used that name as she posted it on Facebook so they will think I am copying. Grrrrrrrrrrrr, I love this name as its one of the characters from my favorite book, Jedediah from to kill a mockingbird, she ended up using Atticus, saying it was because it was her favorite story, then it turns out she’s never read it!!!!!!! Majorily annoying.

as for girls my best friend has this long list of names that she has Vitoed, she is not even in a relationship and when ever I like a name…seriously it feels like every second name she’s like noooooooo! Really pisses me off.

sdocain Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 8:31 pm

I made the mistake of planning out names before my child baring years and telling my sister. She had my first nephew and just used the middle name I chose. Not too major. When she had my second nephew she used the exact name I had re-chosen. I was upset but she insisted “you can still use the same name”, I said no…Right now I have 27 pregnant acquaintances and most do have names picked but some aren’t due until after me so I’m not taking ANY chances. The choices are family names (again) so its pretty important for me to keep them “secret”, only my mom and sister know. One of my non-pregnant friends and I were talking and joked that I should come up with a random name that hubby and I are “thinking” about so if someone steals that, no big deal. I just might do that…

PhillipsWife Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 9:03 pm

I agree with what others have said regarding it being rude to use a name that a friend has clearly shared in close confidence that you clearly weren’t considering before.

I’d also caution that people like to pick a name that others’ like… we like to look to others for approval, for ideas, for support. Unfortunately, this means that when you disclose your chosen name, you immediately up the attractiveness factor. ESPECIALLY if it’s an unusual name… after all, many folks aren’t gutsy enough to use an unusual name until they see someone else “approve” of it or show the guts first.

I also tend to see a name as “official” whenever the parents make it official and announce it. The baby doesn’t have to be born yet, IMO. It’s common in my circle to name the baby long before birth. It would be really rude to then duplicate or “steal” a name that parents have been formally calling their LO for weeks and months (if they are say, close family or friends where it would make life a little more complicated to have two babies the same name).

corsue Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 9:47 pm

This question is obnoxiously selfish. If you like a name, use it. If someone else uses a name you like, they have good taste. Move on.

OddCreature Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 10:53 pm

The story you’re just told, the person is calling dibs “in case” they have another baby. That’s unfair. If they actually intend to have another baby and have picked that name then it’s different, but you reserving a name for a person that may never exist is ridiculous!

In any case if I were really sold on a name, and a person had laid claim to it, I would have a chat to them before using it. And I wouldn’t be offended if someone else used a name I liked.

thetxbelle Says:

April 26th, 2012 at 6:14 pm

So what happens when someone is expecting and so are 15 of their friends? Do you really cater to what they all tell you not to name your child even if the names are classics like Henry and Elizabeth?

It seems a little ridiculous to me. I wouldn’t go plucking names off my friends lists but if a multiple people were claiming every name I ever liked I wouldn’t hesitate to stick with one that means the world to me.

If it ticked off a girl I talk to on FB because we knew each other in college then so what!? You will know your child the rest of your life, some of these people you may only see twice a year if that. I’m not going to let them make life decisions for me.

pixiewoo Says:

April 27th, 2012 at 8:48 am

I agree with thetxbelle. Also, I fail to see how it is harmful if two friends have children with the same name? How is it logical to think that you can expect your friend to not use the same name, yet in life your friend circles evolve and you will meet new friends with kids with the same names. So what is the difference? If everyone you know, both friends and family are making names unavilable to you, then what, your left with name scraps? If a person has a large network of friends and family, then your really going to be left with name scraps, Therefore you need to stand up for your child and name him or her the name you love, and if your friend gets mad, well then maybe the she isnt the right friend for you. All in all, I think this notion of name napping only applies to one of kind names, where the person tells name before giving birth and then a sister or bbf use it a week before with no notice. The name has to be rare! You cry namenapper if the name is realatively known.

pixiewoo Says:

April 27th, 2012 at 8:51 am

Correction: you cant cry namenapper if the name is relatively known.

catloverd Says:

April 28th, 2012 at 8:02 am

I don’t think you can claim a name. It’s a name. Even if someone else uses the name, I think you can still use it. If you are really close to them, then maybe not.

Caz Says:

May 2nd, 2012 at 9:49 am

Whilst sometimes I feel that it’s silly to claim names I can understand how people would feel upset – especially if it was known that you were calling the baby that or you’d said from an early age you loved those names.

Two examples;
My cousin is a lot older than me and my sister, she has 2 daughters (Astrid and Vivienne). My sister adored the name Astrid but was 19 when my cousin was pregnant, so she had no right to call the name (and she didn’t, she complimented out cousin and said she had always loved the name Astrid). Both she and my cousin also love the name Toby, they have similar naming styles, but my cousin has decided that 2 children is enough. So Toby is happily up for grabs.

My second example is of myself and my best friend (Abi). From our extensive discussions she knows that I love the names Felicity, James, Simon and Eliza (and various others that I would never be brave enough to use on children e.g. Artemis). As such, she wouldn’t use those names out of curtesy to me. Similarly she loves George, Edward, Esther and Dora and I would never use them.
We would both consider it stealing if one of used the others names, but if someone else e.g. one of our sisters use them, then it wouldn’t be as bigger deal because we have only made our preferences really clear to each other.
If we did want to use a name on each others lists we would ask first.

If you have made it clear, it is rude. If your list was secret or you mentioned the name once, then that’s unfortunate but for all you know they’ve also loved the name for years.

erin13 Says:

May 7th, 2012 at 10:53 am

It depends. If the unborn baby is already definitely named, and/or one of the parents has loved that name for ages and the person who stole it knew that, then that’s pretty low.

About 5 years ago me and my sister were pregnant at the same time, I was literally about a week ahead of her. Ever since we were young I’ve told her that if I had a son I really wanted to name him Lucas James. When I found out I was having a boy I told her that that was absolutely going to be his name. She wanted the sex of her baby to be a surprise, but a couple of days later she posted on Facebook that if her child was a boy she was going to name him…yes you guessed it…Lucas James.

I was really upset and I called her and begged her to at least use Lucas as a middle name (James is a family name for us and so I didn’t mind quite so much if she used that) but she flat out refused to change her mind. She hadn’t even considered the name Lucas James until I told her my son’s name.

Weeks past and she went into labour four days before me. Neither of us had budged on the name, but I had sort of decided that no matter what she named her baby, I was still calling mine Lucas James because it was the one name I’d always loved and wanted to use. I was so so relieved when she rang me and told me her baby was a girl – Madeleine (Maddie) Rose.

If the baby’s name is absolutely decided then yes, it is wrong to take the name. However if you’ve kept it a secret and somebody else just so happens to love the name too then you don’t have a right to reserve it. I think it matters more if it’s a family member or close friend. I wouldn’t have minded so much if it was a neighbour or something.

ivorypom Says:

May 11th, 2012 at 4:19 am

I think no matter what, I’d still use my favorite names even if someone I knew named their baby after one of my favorites. Lucky for me, I feel pretty safe about getting my first choices, as my sister won’t have kids any time soon and our styles are totally different, and my husband’s sisters also won’t have kids anytime soon. None of my close friends are pregnant either.

I was in a funny situation when I first started dating my husband. We had been dating for a few weeks and he took me to meet his parents. I don’t even remember how it came up, but at the time I loved the name Stella for a girl, and his mom told me (nicely!) that I couldn’t name my future daughter Stella because it was my husband’s adopted sister’s biological grandmother’s name (follow?) and she had “claimed” it. I have since fallen out of love with the name, but I thought it was kind of flattering that his mom, even then, was thinking ahead with me in mind!

In another related story, I have a younger cousin (about 6 years younger than me) who is sort of named after me. I remember my aunt (her mother) telling me that she really loved my name while she was pregnant. She modified it slightly (Kirstin versus Kristin). It causes plenty of confusion in our family, but I don’t think there has ever been any bad feelings about it (although I’ve never asked my mom!). Also kind of flattering 🙂

Nedra Says:

May 15th, 2012 at 12:45 pm

This is an interesting question.

Personally, I think that nobody can call dibs on a name in advance. If I heard that a friend of mine (particularly one who I knew was having difficulty getting pregnant) was in love with a particular name, or if I had a pregnant friend who already had announced the name of her child, I would mentally remove it from my list. But if a friend told me not to use a name that she was reserving for long into the future, I’d probably be peeved. After all, she doesn’t know that she’ll be having a kid of that gender and she or her partner might change their minds. It’s the same annoyance with parents who say, “Well, just don’t name your kid something awful, like Walter!” when Walter is the name that’s secretly at the top of your list. I feel like people should just recognize that this is a delicate process and keep their opinions out of it — unless you have a helpful suggestion of a name you LIKE and would WANT a friend or relative to use, then you shouldn’t make any suggestions.

Recently, I told a friend that my husband and I had started talking about baby names (we are planning to start TTC in another month or two). She asked what names we were thinking of and I told her that I’d promised my husband I wouldn’t discuss it. She told me that she and her fiance had two girls’ names and one boys’ name and she shared them all with me. I sheepishly told her (truthfully!) that their boys’ name was the one that we were thinking of as well. We both marveled in the fact that we’d independently come up with the same name (not all that unusual, but not too common either) and that we were both pretty attached to it. We both felt, though, that it wasn’t a big deal if we both used it. We live over 500 miles away and only get to see each other about once a year. If, one day, we introduce our kids to each other, I’m sure it won’t be a big deal that they have the same name — and who knows what will happen between now and then anyway? We don’t even know that we’re going to have any boys at all!

KaylaRenae Says:

May 27th, 2012 at 11:38 am

Both of my friends, Jada and Melissa, who are sisters, I might add, decided they loved the name Miki.. it was pandemonium. Jada likes it spelled Miki, Melissa likes it speled McKee.. Personally, I too like it spelled Miki.. but neither is budging on it. I think if a name is that important to you you should talk about it with your friend, or sibling, or neighbor or whatever and sort things out.. if that doesn’t work, its a name. Not that big of a deal, there can be two “Mikis” in the family.

sleepyjaime Says:

May 30th, 2012 at 4:46 pm

My brother’s girlfriend and I are really close and she and I both like a lot of the same names. We both liked Elijah Alexander for a name, and I told her that I want to use Alexander as a middle name for my kid in the future. But the thing is, I’m not making kids, yet, and she is having her second really soon. We don’t know if it will be a boy or a girl, but she said that if it’s a boy, Alexander is one of her top choices. Honestly, I think she has every right to use the name, because she has every right to whatever name she wants to use. Even if I want them, too. I don’t think she should settle for second best just because she doesn’t want to take the name from me.

JamieJamieMoMamie Says:

October 9th, 2012 at 9:26 am

The only name I am “claiming” is my father’s name Jeffrey, and the only people I am expecting not to use it are my cousins and three of my best friends. If they have a family connection in their family, they are more than welcome to use it then as well. All other family names I’m making middle names, so it’s not a big deal.

I think after a baby is named though, if it is not a family name, it should be off limits within close families and groups of friends.

caseyvastardis Says:

December 10th, 2012 at 2:22 am

i’m of the philosophy that you shouldn’t name your baby until you meet them so this situation can make it even more difficult without boundaries. what i plan on doing when i have kids is a week or two after announcing i’m pregnant go to my close friends and family and tell them they all have a week to “reserve” 3 names and i will promise not to use them for my baby’s first name. it can be all girl names, all boy names, all unisex or any combination there of but they only get 3. and if they try to come back and reserve different names later, tough cookies.

Trillium Says:

January 2nd, 2013 at 5:10 pm

I’m super late to this discussion, but this exact thing happened to me this week and I’m just in the mood to rant about it! I understand that names are fluid and that you can’t officially claim a name as yours, but I would never steal a friend or family members’ top choice out from under them no matter how popular it was. I’ve had a favorite girl name since I was in the third grade. It’s barely squeaked into the top 1000 recently and is the name my husband agreed to for a girl when we first started dating. It was such common knowledge that it was “our name” in the family that we never went out of our way to protect it. I have a friend who loved it when I shared it with her and she decided she was going to use it too. To her it was no big deal to like the same name and while I was a little irked, neither of us have kids (yet) and she is my friend, not family. I let it go. My husband’s sister recently gave birth to her fourth child, a girl and they announced that they were keeping the special name a secret until after the birth. I was dying to know what it was but never ever imagined the reason they were keeping the name secret was that they were name-napping our longtime favourite! They announced the name and told everyone that they knew it was the one when they saw it on a website. It’s the same name we’ve been talking about to them for years as our future little girl 🙁 I now feel I have to let it go because I will always associate it with this unpleasant experience. I’m so sad even though I know I have no right to hoard a name for a hypothetical child. It will take something very special to replace it.

Tomorrow Says:

March 6th, 2013 at 11:05 am

Well, I would say dibs are allowed in the following circumstances:
1. If they’re actually pregnant. (But only if they’re totally set on the name. If they’re just considering it…)
2. If it’s been their favorite name since they were 10.

Say you and your friend/sister/whoever are discussing baby names. You mention a name, and they say, “No, you can’t use that. I’m reserving it.” That’s just unfair. If they bring it up first…it really depends on the circumstances.

I wouldn’t not use a name because someone else MIGHT use it. If they’re totally set on using it, I’d let them.

AmeliaWilliams Says:

March 28th, 2013 at 4:25 pm

When my cousin was about 8 months along, they announced to the world that the baby’s name would be Adelaide. Sometime afterwards, she was talking to my older sister about baby names and my sister mentioned that she’d always loved the name Gwen for a girl, to which my cousin had no real reaction. Then, a month later when she had her baby, my cousin announced that they’d looked at the baby and decided she looked like a Gwen. My sister was angry for a while, but got over it and still named her own daughter Gwen.
The two Gwens have met all of three times their lives, so its clearly not much of an issue, but part of me still thinks it was a really rude thing to do, since she clearly hadn’t been considering the name.

ChrisRobin Says:

July 28th, 2013 at 11:50 pm

One thing to consider is if the friend/relative has been trying and failing to have a child for some time. If so, it’s really hurtful to take a name that she has hung her dreams upon for years. It will be a constant reminder to her every time she sees your child of what she has lost in life.

As someone who has been through the infertility struggle (I’m so lucky to be 16 weeks right now), I know how much this hurts. From my discussions with other women dealing with IF, I can tell you that it’s truly salt in the wound when someone “steals” the name. Why would you want to hurt your loved one when she’s already hurting deeply?

Just a different perspective to consider…

degrasswizkid Says:

June 3rd, 2014 at 11:41 pm

I think it depends on the situation…

If I wanted to name my child Isobel (which is an old family name), than my friend who is pregnant shouldn’t put up a big fuss because she decided she liked the name, too. Family names trump…as for other family members, the name is also fair game in my opinion…

The_Supernatural_Hufflepuff Says:

November 5th, 2014 at 3:35 pm

My close friends and I talk about names a lot and none of us like any of the same names except for one of my friends we both like the name Sawyer but I told her she could use it since it wasn’t a top favorite of mine and she likes it a lot. Another friend of mine likes the nickname Adalyn or something like that and call her Addie while I like Adelaide but would never call her Addie so it all works out 🙂

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