Psst... Here’s how your own name may affect what you name baby

Love it or hate it, you probably consider feelings toward your name when picking baby’s moniker.

Psst... Here’s how your own name may affect what you name baby

In the 1970s, Melissa was the third most popular name for girls in the country. So naturally, my parents named me Melissa, and thus, not a year went by without me being one of several girls with my name in my class.

In case you can’t tell, I hated it.

So, when it came time to name my first daughter, I was determined to pick a baby name that no one else her age would share. I can proudly report that Dana has never met another little girl with her name, as it was far more popular in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s.


The fact that my name strongly influenced my baby name choice made me wonder how other parents’ names might inform their decisions.

“Naming is such an interesting practice” says Anne E. Lincoln, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Sociology at SMU in Dallas, Texas. “Naming is a highly gendered practice in the United States, with boys often named after other family members.”

The Bible largely influences name choice for both genders, but Lincoln adds parents have displayed a great deal of creativity with females. (As we’ve been seeing on Nameberry, though, this has begun to change, with more creativity and diversity now being seen on boys’ names.)

Let’s look at how your own name might influence the choice you make for your baby.

Common names

Like mine. As I explained, I was all about picking names that aren’t anywhere near the Top 10. No Ava or Jack for me! If you are hunting for a unique baby name, how about something like Evalina for a girl? Or Brenton for a boy?

Unique names

The opposite effect could come into play here, depending on how you feel about your uncommon moniker. Love being the only Joelle or Kipton you’ve ever met? Then you might go for a similarly-special name like Sela or Ames. But if you wish your name wasn’t so unusual, Olivia and Mason could be the names for you!

Family names

Do you dare break from custom?

“I was named after my mother, which is super weird, and [has] always been a tad annoying,” Ivette Garcia Davila, author of I’m The One Pushing, says, adding, “Especially for my husband. No guy wants to call his mother-in-law by his wife’s name.”

She says being Latina, it’s common for first-born girls to be named after their moms. “And so my mom named me Ivette, like her.” But, Davila adds, “When we had our daughter, we made sure to break that tradition.” Would you?

Conversation-starter names

Were you named after the Colfax Marathon where your parents met? If so, of course everyone wants to know the story behind your name. It might be fun to honor the tradition of picking a place name for your own child. Among the many to consider: Sydney, Cuba, Holland, Vero, Montana or Orlando.

Too-long names

Being named Arabellina or Constantine got you down? Then you might go to the opposite extreme with a one-syllable name like Eve, Brooke, May or Bryn for a girl. Or for a boy, Kent, Finn, Grant or Luke.


Love being Andrew but despise Andy? Or adore Madeline but not Maddie? Here are some nickname-proof monikers you can marinate on: Beau, Jude or Kai for a boy, and Reese, Mia or Grace for a girl.

In the end, it seems that if you love your name, you’d be likely to pick a name for your baby with a similar theme. If you don’t love your name, well, it’s more about going in a completely different direction.

Ultimately, your relationship with your own name is a very powerful thing that can inform your choice for your child in one way or another.

Has the way you feel about your own name influenced your baby name choice?

Original story by Melissa Willets for Nameberry.

In This Article

    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    With fall in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in outside-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

    Wooden doll stroller

    Janod wooden doll stroller

    Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


    Detective set

    Plan Toys detective set

    This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


    Sand play set

    Plan Toys sand set

    Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


    Water play set

    Plan Toys water play set

    Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


    Mini golf set

    Plan Toys mini golf set

    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


    Wooden rocking pegasus

    plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

    Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


    Croquet set

    Plan Toys croquet set

    The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


    Wooden digital camera

    fathers factory wooden digital camera

    Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


    Wooden bulldozer toy

    plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


    Pull-along hippo

    janod toys pull along hippo toy

    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


    Baby forest fox ride-on

    janod toys baby fox ride on

    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


    Balance board

    Plan Toys balance board

    Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


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