Sibling Names Require Individual Thought

Filed under: Baby Names, Expert Advice: Babies


Dear Name Lady,

I love interesting combinations of sibling names. It's so sweet to meet families with multiple children who have intriguing names that go well together. For instance, Sarah Palin caught my interest with her children's names Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper and Trig.

However, when it comes to naming my own children, I have long cherished a group of sibling names, but I don't really care for some of the names when they stand alone. It seems foolish, but I can't give up the sounds of the names together, nor can I find equally suitable alternatives. Help!

- Naming in Bunches



I'm a big believer in thinking about siblings when you pick a name. The names don't have to match like a set of china, but they should be equal in the ways that count. For instance, if one child has a middle name, they all should have middle names. It's the same story with wildly creative names, family namesakes and so on. But it's possible to go too far, and you, my dear, are about to cross that line. How do I know? It's simple. You're breaking the Golden Rule of Baby Naming:

It's not your name. It's the baby's name.

Naming babies should be creative fun for parents. Never forget, though, that this isn't really about you. We parents only get to choose the names because babies are, well, babies. A newborn isn't in any position to weigh the benefits of Ella vs. Chloe. So you make choices on her behalf, trying your best to prepare her for a healthy, happy, successful life.

When you start talking about choosing names because of how they sound as a set, you're thinking too much about yourself. I understand the impulse -- believe me. When you love names as I do, naming fantasy families can be irresistible. But this is your child's one and only name and she deserves the best you can give her, siblings or no siblings.

Remember that life is unpredictable. You may start out with a dream of three sons and three daughters, but end up with six sons ... or you may have a single, cherished child. So when your baby is born, celebrate that singular miracle with a name you can love for a lifetime.


Do you keep a list of dream names? Share your experiences! And if you have your own question to ask The Name Lady, click here to drop her a line!

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.