"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." That line might have worked for Romeo, but for most parents, choosing a name for their baby is pretty important. Of the many things that parents-to-be obsess over, baby naming is always at the top of the list. Some parents merely have to find a name that they like the sound of and hope not to offend any family members; others have to worry about the legality of their pick. In this globally interconnected world, names aren't necessarily region or country specific. Take this quiz to see the most popular monikers from around the globe.Take the Quiz
Here's a post from our partners at BabyCenter! Every week, we bring you the best parenting and lifestyle stories from the experts at BabyCenter, including this post from Denise Cortes about the future of middle names.
I always joke with my husband, Michael, that I knew I wanted to marry him after I found out what his middle name was. It's Dane. As in, Great Dane. Nothing says marriage material like a dude named after a large canine. Turns out, it was supposed to be Dan, but somehow the "e" got added on somewhere. Still, the name Dane is pretty cool.
I have a horrible middle name. Well, it’s not that horrible, seeing as how it's my mother's first name. But of all the beautiful names in this world, you had to go and choose Louise?
Louise. Like, seriously. It sounds like an elderly woman with saggy boobs, swollen feet, and garlic breath. I mean, it's practically prophetic. Thanks a lot, Mom.
When it came time to bestow a middle name upon my children, I thought long and hard about it. Not because I assumed they would use it in everyday life. And to be honest, had I known how many children I was going to have, and how often I'd have to fill out their full names on random forms throughout our young lives . . . I would have thought twice about that middle name. Are middle names even necessary anymore?
If I had to do it again, I would still give my children a middle name. A good middle name should reflect the awesomeness of the bearer. Out of my six kids, two middle names stand out the most to me. The first is the middle name of my firstborn: Noah Zion. We named him Zion after Bob Marley's song Iron Lion Zion and its heavenly connotations. The next is my first daughter named Maya Damisi. Damisi is Swahili for "cheerful and happy."
I'm not one of those mothers who yells out her child's entire name when she is upset. Nope. Their middle names are too special to be spoken in frustration. I reserve its usage for those special times, and I say it with love and a smile on my face.
What do you think? Are middle names even important anymore? Did you give your baby a middle name?
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Is your second-born child a second-class citizen?
A homebirth pictorial
How to find the sweet spot in parenting
7 supercool outdoor swings for kids
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Last week the Social Security Administration released all its baby name data for 2011. We’ve already shared the most popular baby names of 2011 based on that data, but now we’ve dug a little deeper! Comparing the popularity of the top 500 baby names in 2011 and 2010, we’ve unearthed some intriguing trends.
New Boys Names in the Top 100
Continuing their ascent (noted in 2010), Bentley and Grayson became even more popular in 2011. Both jumped 25 spots to #75 and #97, respectively. Also new to that top 100 baby boy names list is Bryson, which leapt 22 spots to #98.
New Girls Names in the Top 100
New to the top 100 list of girls names are Aubree (soaring to #99 from a #223 rank in 2010), Harper, Scarlett, London, Lydia, Ellie and Kennedy. Note: for more on the name Kennedy, see The Politics of Baby Naming.
Parents are really liking the look and sound of “ee” for girls' names lately. Nearly all the girl names with “ee” in the top 500 list — including Brynlee, Aubree, Charlee, Caylee, Jayleen, Brylee, Haylee, Reese, Aileen, and Kaylee — became more popular in 2011.
The X Factor
Of the 21 boy names in the top 500 list that contain the letter X, 16 increased in popularity or maintained their ranking from 2011. They are: Dexter, Axel, Xander, Jaxson, Jax, Knox, Paxton, Felix, Braxton, Jaxon, Maddox, Max, Maxwell, Maximus, Maximiliano and Maximilian.
The only X names for boys to fall in rank were Phoenix, Alexander, Alex, Alexis and Xavier. Interestingly, girl names related to Alexander (Alexandra, Alexia, Alexis, Alexa, Lexi, Lexie) also fell in popularity in 2011.
While Biblical boy names are enjoying higher popularity than they may have several years ago, the story between 2010 and 2011 is less clear-cut than you may have heard. While several names achieved a higher rank in 2011 (Abraham, Noah, Luke, Mark, Isaac, Levi, Micah, Eli, Emmanuel, Issac, Judah, Izaiah, Abel, Solomon, Ezekiel, Emanuel, Noel) others dropped in rank (Zachariah, Zion, Ismael, Nehemiah, Angel, Simon, Peter, David, Gabriel, Joshua, Josiah, Mekhi, Daniel, Malachi, Christian).
Parents also turned to literature for baby name inspiration in 2011. Among the ten boy names with the highest change in popularity this year was Atticus, which you may remember from To Kill a Mockingbird. That famous novel, written by Harper Lee, may also explain some of the popularity of Harper, now #54 for girls (although Harper is also the name chosen by Neil Patrick Harris for one of his twins, born in late 2010, and by the Beckhams for their fourth child, born in July 2011). Other names with literary leanings that saw an increase in popularity in 2011 include Emerson, Juliet, Scarlett, Dante, Holden, and Sawyer.
Oh, the Places Names Go!
Last year we pointed out the growing popularity of place names, and this year the trend is still going strong. Brooklyn, Brooklynn, London, Londyn, Savanna, Savannah and Georgia are all climbing the charts. The only place names that are bucking the trend (with decreases in popularity) are Sydney and Paris.
Classical Boy Names
Looks like some parents have been turning to their history books for inspiration! Boy names with classical connections — Roman, Troy, Maximus, Titus, and Julian rose in popularity this year.
Nature-Inspired Girl Names
The natural naming trend we highlighted in our previous baby names summary has continued, with girls' names such as Olive, Willow, Luna, Rose, Violet, Iris, Lilly/Lily, Jade, Sage, Ruby, Ivy, Aurora, Skye/Skyler/Skylar, and Savannah/Savanna all rising in 2011. The only sinkers in the natural realm are Daisy, Amber and Jasmine.
Months and Seasons
Do parents prefer fall babies to spring babies? Autumn is trending up while April is trending down. We can’t make any sense of the months between, however… Summer fell in popularity, but June and August rose.
How did you choose your baby's name?
The top baby names of 2011 are out thanks to the U.S. Social Security Administration. Sophia is the new most popular baby name for girls, while Jacob is the top name for boys for the 13th straight year.
The big surprise this year is...Mason. Mason was previously not even ranked among the top 10, but zoomed to the number two spot in one year. Experts believe its popularity can be credited to celebrity Kourtney Kardashian who named her baby boy Mason in 2009.
Related Articles: How Baby Names Have Changed in the Last 70 Years.
Do you prefer popular names or unusual names for your kids?
Pregnancy is the easy part. The true task of parenthood is picking a name your child will go by for the rest of his or her life. If you and your spouse are having trouble agreeing on a moniker for your impending mini me, there are several sources of inspiration that might assist you in your search.
Jessica Simpson recently gave birth to Maxwell Drew, a healthy 9-pound, 13-ounce baby girl, who sports two traditionally male names. The Maxwell came from the tot's dad, Eric Maxwell Johnson, while Drew is the maiden name of Tina Simpson, Jessica's mother. In the April issue of Elle (posed nude on the cover), she talked about the name, saying, "It's nothing shocking and nothing you'll have to add to the dictionary. Still, when people hear it they'll know . . . why."
Maxwell — or "Maxi," as it's been rumored the babe will be nicknamed — joins Charlie O'Connell (daughter of Rebecca Romjin and Jerry O'Connell), Mason Grammar (Kelsey and Camille's daughter), Rowan Henchy (Brooke Shields's daughter), and Sam Sheen (daughter of Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen) in the league of little girls with cute boys' names.
Would you give your daughter a traditionally male name? Weigh in below.
Get ready to meet your lil one! In the final days of pregnancy, expectant mamas have a lot on their minds. But as the nesting instinct sets in, take advantage of the downtime to read up on what lies ahead. Before heading to the hospital, check out our guide of things every mom-to-be should know.
While Aiden and Sophia set the national trend in baby names for 2011, we're curious to know, what influenced the name you selected for your lil one? It's one of the first important decisions that you make as a parent, and one that your child will carry with him for the rest of his life . . . talk about pressure! From the traditional to the avant-garde, tell us how you chose a name that stands the test of time for your little guy or girl.
Plenty of people rely on social media to ask for restaurant advice or their friends' favorite movies, but we'd never heard of anyone using Facebook to name their baby — until now. According to Yahoo, an Illinois couple recently turned to the social network to choose their baby's name.
Dave and Lindsey Meske had selected the name Cooper for their baby boy, but when their doctor informed them that a little girl was actually on the way, the couple launched an online poll — "Name My Child" — in which family, friends, and even strangers could weigh in. From the options Addilyne, Madelyn, Emily, and McKenna, Madelyn won out with 1,310 votes. Madelyn Rae Meske was born on January 31.
We're excited to share this post from our friends at Celebrity Baby Scoop! Every week, we will be bringing you the best celebrity baby stories from the Celebrity Baby Scoop, including this post from Jenny Schafer about the best and worst baby names in Hollywood.
With the recent arrival of Blue Ivy Carter — the first child of R&B royal couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z — we couldn't help but reminisce on the best and worst baby names out of Hollywood.
Who will be the next Shiloh, Suri, Pilot Inspektor, or Moxie Crimefighter?
There's a fine line between unique and just plain cruel when naming your child, and nobody does that better than our favorite celebrities! Let's take a look through some of the best, worst, and wackiest celeb baby names . . .