© 2010 . All rights reserved.

17 Weeks – the baby naming dilemma

So here we are at week 17 and our food comparison of the week is now turnip. Which to me is a really odd comparison because I think I have eaten a turnip maybe once or twice.  But yes, our baby is now the size of a turnip. The two most frequent questions I am getting asked are now 1) do I know the gender of the baby and 2) do I know what we are naming the baby. The answer would be nope and nope. 1) we are not planning on finding out the gender. We didn’t with Simon and I really enjoyed the anticipation, plus you really have a lot to announce when you announce the birth. To us this is fun, to others it is torture – so sorry if you are tortured but just try and enjoy the announcement when it comes in October/November. 2) We kind of think that you have to meet your baby before you can really know his or her name (this is more obvious if you don’t know the gender). I have been told by friends that this concept of waiting to see if a name fits is pretty “hippy”.  But I have also met a lot of misnamed people and I don’t really want to risk that for my child.  (Yes, I am totally serious about that, I think there are a lot of people walking around with names that don’t at all fit them.) So we make a list of both boys and girls names and then we pick from the top few once we meet our baby.

So the Social Security Administration just released it’s top baby name list for 2009. It’s the first time in 70 years that a girls name has beat out a boys name for the top name spot.  The girl that beat the boys – Isabella. The last time it happened it was when Linda beat James in 1940.  After the Social Security Administration releases its list I wait a little bit for someone to make a combined spelling list. The Social Security list counts each name spelling individually, but really once in a group setting it doesn’t matter if Jacob B. and Jakob F. spell their names differently you can’t differentiate the spelling when Jacob’s mom is screaming for him on the playground. The list changes a lot when you combine all of the Kaylies and Kaylees into one ranking. For example with you combine all the different spellings of the name Aiden/Ayden/Aden its tally beats out all the Jacobs/Jakobs for the top boys name. Here is the true list of top baby names for 2009.  (Isabella is still queen but the boy’s list changes dramatically). I have found this sort of name analysis fascinating since I was in high school and I have been a long time fan of The Baby Name Wizard blog and website. The general rule of thumb is that if you name your child out of the top 25 then he or she will likely not have to deal with always being called Simon B. because there is also a Simon G. and a Simon T. in his class. In my 4th grade class there were 4 Sarahs/Saras and I remember thinking – “this is horrible, couldn’t their parents have picked different names?” (full disclosure, Sarah was one of the top names on my parent’s list for me – I’m glad they didn’t use it). Emily and Emma have been at the top of the Social Security Administration list for the last 13 years, so yes I still have a very popular name. Though Emily didn’t it it’s peak popularity until 2003 so I never dealt with having to share my name with anyone until junior high.  Also almost all other Emily’s are quite a bit younger than I am, so 20 years from now when people read or see my name they will likely assume I am 20 years younger, I think this will be a huge advantage. (If you want to see your name’s popularity though the years check out the name voyager) The name sharing is even worse once you hit the work force, when I worked at Boeing I always had to specify which Dan/Mike/Linda I was talking about.  I want my kids to be able to avoid this if at all possible so I purposely avoided names that are even in the top 100 ranking.  Not that there is anything wrong with top 25 or top 100 names, I like many of them and I know many sweet little children called by these names   they are just way too common for my taste especially considering our last name is Brown. I am sure there are going to be millions of Jacob, Aiden and Isabella Browns and I don’t want my kid to be one of them.  Not to mention that I have friends who have already named their children by those names.

A really interesting site for researching names is Baby Names World I like this site because when you are viewing a name under the “considering this name” tab you can view what people with that specific name have said about the name and how they like it. The site asks people to rate their name and has them take a brief survey asking: “Would you advise this name to parents? Do people mispronounce this name? Do people misspell this name? Is it pronounceable in other languages? Does this name result in bullying? Do you like having this name?” You can go in and rate your own name and read what others have said about how their name was made fun of. This was one of my favorite feature for looking up names when we were pregnant with Simon. If you look up the name Simon you can see under “Descriptions on how Simon can be used for name bullying” that most Simon’s listed that they were teased about the “Simon pieman” nursery rhyme but that most just found it annoying. 60% of survey participants said that they still liked the name a lot and 26% of participants said they were neutral about it, so overall we figured it was a pretty good name with not too much potential for being made fun of.  I don’t actually think you can completely bully proof your kid and the minuet that you find the perfect name your kid will have big ears or run funny or something so it’s best not to worry about it too much but to avoid the obvious targets (Ben Dover, Candy Kane, Ima Hog etc). But now as a playful nick name we actually call our Simon “Simon Pieman” he doesn’t seem to mind and the truth is that most kids have never even heard the Simple Simon nursery rhyme – it’s pretty obscure nowadays. What they do know is “Simon says” and our Simon loves that game!

So where does that leave us in the naming process… I keep asking Myles for suggestions and his response is usually along the lines of “oh yeah, we’re going to have a baby…” So really I have about 3 that I sort of like and he is totally non committal. So here is your opportunity to suggest some names for our list. Just leave me a comment and let me know what you think goes well with Brown. No top 100 names please. I think it’s a given that we won’t use anything that’s also a famous name like James Brown or Charlie Brown.  We also prefer that the name be pretty easy to spell and pronounce, but we do like the unusual or uncommon as well.  So suggest away : )

My Portfolio | Contact Me | Follow Me @emilyWbrown

Portfolio | Contact Me | Book a Session
connect with us on social media
Follow Me on Facebook   . Follow Me on Twitter  . Follow Me on Pinterest    . Follow Me on flickr


  1. Emily

    My favorite girl name has always been Felicity. I thought for sure when we had our daughter that I would pick that name but when she was born it didn’t match (and neither did the other 4 girl names we had picked). Other girls names that I like are: Evangeline, Camille, Bethany, Corrine. Boy names that are not on the top 100 list is: Rowan, Levi, Caleb.

  2. Kate

    We picked Conor for a boy and it was really, really hard for me not to name one of the girls Kathryn. Every generation in my mom’s family gets a Kathryn either as a first or middle name (I am the 6th). I also liked Tristan for a boy…

  3. sabbath

    I like my name 😉 Sabbath. My daughter is Autumn. I have always loved Violet, Eamon, Lily, Rosalie, Sage and Jonas. One of the names on our short list for Boys is Arlo. LOVE that name.

  4. I have a client at the moment called To-Quin, and I’ve absolutely fallen in love with that name, even though I’m usually drawn to common names (hence my kids are Steven, Christopher, Michael, and Katherine!)

    Anyway, she also goes by TQ, which I think sounds great too.

    I think To-Quin Brown has a certain ring to it!

  5. Oh boy, naming…. that’s such a frustration in our house. I wish William just let me pick the names, but he’s very opinionated. I like Evan or Ian for boys. I have no idea whether they are on the 100 list, probably. If we have a boy, he’ll probably be Jonathan. For girls, I have sooo many names I love. Kendall was the name of our daughter and if we have a girl this time around, we’ll have that as her middle name. I also love Lillian, Evelyn, Meredith, Reagan, Elizabeth (Libby), Sasha, Renae (my middle name), and I could probably go on and on. I really like “older” names lately.

  6. Well, you know how I feel about all this…I was always in classes with several Davids and Scotts and I always knew I didn’t want my child to have a name so common they had to use their last initial…I’m afraid I can’t help you in the baby name department since we’re in the midst of picking our own…maybe we should get Chuck and Myles together to brainstorm 🙂 But, I DO have to have a name picked out before the baby’s arrival. I like to call the baby by its name right after it is born.

  7. Meagan Joy

    Just some thoughts off the top of my head…

    Boy: Gideon, Strider, Corbyn

    Girls: Susannah, Mayra, Juniper, Calliope, Teagen

  8. Deborah Billingsley

    First of all I think it is so cool you are not going to find out what you are having. I didn’t either until my last one and then I wish I wouldn’t have found out.
    Names, I have a Philip Maximus, we call him Max. I have a William Samuel, goes by Sam (little too common), Elizabeth Kate and Emily Anne. If I had had another girl I would have named her Magdalena and called her Maggie. How about Karen? I love that name too.

  9. My poor kids! Both of my daughter’s names are in the top 50 (Emily Grace a.k.a. Gracie) and my son is Michael Edward. There are always lots of Michaels. Given the Twilight craze I am amazed that Edward isn’t in the top 100. Yet. I have had my daughter’s name picked out since before I was married. It is a family name that means a lot to me and at the time was hardly ever used. Then Ross and Rachel named their baby Emma Grace. I was SO mad!! I knew everybody would be using that name (Emma was what I had originally picked out instead of Emily.) And I was right. But because of the family connection I decided to use it anyway. I also liked the name Avanelle (another family name) but got voted down on that one, and Everett for a boy. Good luck finding a great name!

  10. A girlfriend of mine here in CA is naming her daughter Cambria – beautiful and unique!

  11. Laurie Miller

    I’ve had two names floating through my mind today – Greta and Gretchen. A friend of mine is due in August and is asking for name suggestions too.

  12. We used basically the same algorithm and ended up with the same name:-)

    Amen on the common name thing…I was one of 11 Sarahs in my high school class…wanted to avoid a repeat of that.

    We also had to consider how the name would be percieved in the US and the UK. Some names are standard here but ripe for teasing in the US (Harry) or vis versa.

    Also – we so tried to avoid the cute “everybody’s name starts with ‘S'” but in the end we just really liked Simon, other considerations were stronger and we promise not to name any subsequent children with ‘S.’

  13. I really think the only reason you weren’t surrounded by other Emily’s growing-up is because of where you lived. We’re the same age and I always had at least one other Emily in my class growing-up (in several different states), and one time I had five Emily’s in my class. I pretty much learned to not respond when someone called my name because I was so used to it not being me. But it really never bothered me, it just wasn’t a big deal. Sorry, no great name suggestions. The only one that comes to mind is my girl name if I have another one, and I don’t want to give that one away. =)

  14. elizabeth heitman colvin

    Good luck Emily!

    We had no problems with our first daugher, but I swear we almost had WWIII with naming our second daughter(not really :0)

    For a girl: I second Corinne. I also like Audrey, Savannah, and Lauren. I like others but those are the ones that first come to mind that are NOT in your top 100.

    Boy: Blake, Liam, and Nathaniel.

    Whatever name you choose, might I highly suggest making sure you call your child by their FIRST name. Everyone knows me as Liz or Elizabeth…not NANCY.

    I still have to use Nancy on legal documents and when I sign my name…it has caused a great deal of confusion.

    Best wishes on a happy and healthy pregnacy!!

  15. Girl names: Ellary, Merit, Paisley
    Boy names: Lawson, Jasper, Jude

  16. Chanda

    Penelope, Eloise, Jillian, Samantha, Phoebe, Elliot…I’ve also heard the name Charlotte recently and love it too.

  17. Henry, Harlan or Duncan for a boy. Girls… you’re on your own there!

  18. Rane dae

    I love Phoebe and Fiona, Siobhan (pronounced Shavon), Sephina, Dierdre, Zsuzsu, Ziadee. For boys, Seamus (shaymus), Fergus. I know, crazy Celtic names. Also, Liam, Lenihan (a family name), Lane, Vance, Rhett. Unisex names I like are Ari, Reyn (like wren), Jude/Judah/Judy.

  19. I’m with you when it comes to picking something less common. I think my preferences fall somewhere in the middle, though. My name, Michaeleen, is REALLY uncommon. Too uncommon, actually. I hated it growing up.

    Here are some I remember liking (off the top of my head):

    Girls: Julia, Louisa, Annabelle, Charlotte, Lillian, Zoe, Lorelei, Adeline (with a German pronunciation)

    Boys: Ciaran, Riordan (Rory), Eli, Noah, Finnegan (Finn), Sullivan (Sully), William (Liam), Levi

  20. We just had our first and waited until we saw him to choose his name as well and I will tell you when we saw him our favorite names didn’t even fit, so I am glad we hadn’t already announced a name without seeing him first! So thumbs up to you for having something fun to announce both gender and name!!!

  21. I like Cameo for a girl. Pronounced like the cameo broach. And Beckett for a boy.

  22. Cortney

    Hi Emily, I’m way behind on this one, but just saw it…

    So many great suggestions!

    We had Piper picked out if Griffin had been a girl… I really love that one. And Liam was our second choice for Griffin but he looked like a Griffin to us!

  23. girls: london, myla, denaya, brinaya, ensley, adelaide, sage, kaidence, bryelle, irelyn.
    boys: tuxton, slade, thor, wayden, zadok, xen, dennon