How Many Names is Too Many?

Filed under: Baby Names


I really want to name our soon-to-be daughter after my grandmother or my husband's grandmother. But my husband is not a fan of either name. We finally agreed to go with Lyla, using both of their names as middle names. Is Lyla Clara Melanie too much for a little girl? People keep telling me to just pick one but i'd hate to hurt either side of the family.

- Name Pleaser



You're not alone in wanting your baby's name to do double duty. Lot of parents today want to honor two (or even three or four) relatives with a single name. That's inevitable in this era of smaller families. When you have just one or two grandkids to carry on the traditions of two whole families, those kids' names have to do a lot of heavy lifting.
What's more, it's usually the middle name that carries the burden. Like your husband, most of us today are unwilling to give up first-name fashion to honor a relative -- and it's a rare, lucky family blessed with fashionably named grandmas. But what do you do when you have more grandmas than middle names to honor them with?

Some parents are turning to "mashup" names, merging all of their relatives into one. I get a lot of requests for attractive name ideas that combine, say, Joyce, Frances, Howard and Raymond. In your case, a mashup of Clara and Melanie might give you Carmela. That sure beats Joyfrowmand. Nonetheless, I like your more straightforward approach.

Yes, a second middle name can be a bother. I certainly wouldn't recommend it on style grounds alone. But think of it this way: wouldn't you rather have two middle names and two happy grandmas than just one of each?

How did you handle family names? Share your experiences here! And if you have your own question to Ask the Name Lady, drop her a line!

Related: My Mother Hates My Baby Name

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