12 baby name strategies for when you’ve used up all your favourites

Posted in Baby Names.

Naming your first baby is easy: you just think of all your favourite names and you create one “super-name” for your firstborn child. Then you have another child and you realise that you should have held some of the ‘super-ness’ back for the next baby. Third child in and … you’re out. You’ve got nuthin’. 

If you have peaked too early and used up all your favourite names on your first child, here are some strategies you can use to think up some new names for your subsequent offspring.

1. The ‘name it when you see it’ strategy

If you agonise over the name for months you’ll be sick of the name by the time you give birth. Use your last gasp of energy after giving birth to trump your husband’s choices by calling out the name of the baby as soon as you see his/her face.

Warning: this may result in a lot of babies being named, ‘Squishy Pink Pruneface”

2. Grandparents’ names

A lot of people reserve family and grandparent names for the largely unseen middle name. But I say, put those weird old names front and centre. Most names are on a 20 year return cycle. So if you choose something that seems weird and old fashioned NOW, by the time your kid is 18, the name will be right back in fashion.

In hindsight I wish I’d used this strategy as it would have resulted in twin boys named Leonard and Vivian. Which would have been weird for the first 10 years, but then pretty great by the time they hit 18 years of age.

Leo and Viv, the twins. I LOVE IT!

If people think it’s a weird name just inform them with some gravity that it’s your grandfather’s name, making sure you imply that he’s now dead and you miss him dearly. Watch the judgement and derision on their faces dissolve into sympathy and compassion. 

3. The name of the lead character in the book you are reading RIGHT NOW

Ideally this should do away with the current Scout and Atticus problem because what are the chances that we are all reading, To Kill A Mockingbird, right now, at the same time?   

If I had utilised this strategy, my twins would be named: Alec and Billy

On account of the fact that I am reading Alec Baldwin’s autobiography, Nevertheless. I’m not entirely unhappy with that alternative reality.

4. The name of your favourite character in the Netflix series you are watching RIGHT NOW

In my case, I am watching, Anne with an ‘E’.

Marilla or Anne (for a girl)

Gilbert or Matthew (for a boy)

Again, not bad, not bad at all. And just quietly, how good would it be to bring back the name, Marilla? (But not all at once okay, or in 20 years time we’ll end up with the Bella situation all over again.)

5. The colour of your underpants plus the name of the last thing you ate

So in my case it would be: Beige Toast

Oh hang on,  I think that’s a strategy for naming your band.

woman holding flower in hope

6. The name of the flowers in your front garden

Spoiler alert: doesn’t work as well for boys unless you have some herbs planted in the front garden in which case you could call him, ‘Basil’

But for girls: Daisy, Rose, Camelia, Gardenia (okay that’s a bit weird).

7. The most unfashionable daggy name you can think of from your childhood

So from the ‘70s this would be: Sue, Janette, Richard, David.

And based on the 20 year baby name return rule, these are due for another big comeback any day now. Set the trend, people, set the trend.

8. The most out-of-date old person name you can think of

Not the cute ones everyone is going for, the real-deal old-people-in-homypeds names like:  Gladys, Marjorie, Joan (personally I LOVE the name Joan, let’s bring it back), Blanche, Alan, Kevin, Bernard, Earl.

Come on everybody! Let’s move on from Jack and Isabella and bring these suckers back.

Pregnant woman in winter clothes holding belly

9. The name of the supermarket checkout chick or assistant who served you this morning

In my case it would be Vaishali Sure, it’s culturally inappropriate, but I kind of like it.

10. The most popular name from 40 years ago

Again, this is about getting ahead of the curve, so if you applied this strategy today,  you would have these 1977 gems to choose from:  Jennifer, Amy, Melissa, Heather, Michael, Jason, Christopher, David.

11. Most popular baby name from 400 years ago

If you want to get really weird with it, add a 0 and choose the weirdest ones that come up on the Google list from 1617.

Top picks are: Dorothy, Humility , Priscilla , Suzanna, John, Love, Oceanus, Resolved.

12. If all else fails,  go ‘early settler’ and name them after yourself

Make sure you add ‘The Second’ on the end to avoid confusion. It’s practical, lazy and egocentric all at once.

Good luck everybody and remember: a baby name is forever. No pressure. 


Get more babyology straight to your inbox