I LOVE your blog and we need some major baby-naming help! My husband and I are 2 weeks away from having our first child, a boy – due June 5th - and are completely stuck on names! I have been thinking about names for a while now and did not think I’d be in this situation. We just can’t make a decision!
My name is Katie and my husband is Daniel, but goes almost exclusively by Danny (and has since he was very young). Our last name sounds like “Lawson”. Our original criteria for names was…
1. Not super popular (Our last name is relatively common and I don’t want my child to have a common first and last name.)
2. Not girly at all (I would prefer not to have a name that could crossover and ‘go girl’. I know this is hard to predict, but would like to avoid if possible.)
Our current front-runner is Milo. We both really like it, but are worried now since all the buzz about the rising girl’s name Mila. Will the popularity of Mila make Milo seem more girly and/or more like an afterthought? Do you think Milo is too soft? We like that it is uncommon, but not ‘made-up’ or new, but can’t decide if it is just right for our baby.
Other names in consideration are…
- Henry (I love, but husband does not… thinks it sounds too ‘rich’ or ‘fancy’, also it may be too common)
- Silas (I’m not sold on this one)
- Lucas/Luke (too common?)
- Walter/Walt (I love, but husband thinks it is too much of a potential tease-magnet..)
- Everett (will it cross-over to the girls?)
Names that we like but can’t use due to friends/family/etc: Evan, Owen, Cole, Elias, Arlo, Jack (due to the Titanic association with our last name), Leo (slight Titanic association…), Chase
For the middle name, we are hoping to use a family name. Options are Michael, Charles, Robert, David, Walter, or Matthew (We would consider these for first names, as we’d love to have even more family connections in the name, but most of them are too common for us.)
Oh and we do hope to have more kids. For a girl, our top pick is Blythe which is pretty rare, so I am not sure how some of these names would match up with that…
So, as you can tell, we are kind of all over the place… Any advice?!? What do you think of Milo??
Thank you for reading.
Milo is one of my own favorite boy names, and was on the Final Three list for my youngest, so it is safe to say I am greatly in favor.
Some of the warning signs for a name "going girl" include: a gentle sound to the name (Noah, for example); having an easy feminine nickname (Ellie for Elliot, for example); the boys being done with it for now (Sydney, for example). Milo has the first but not the second or third.
I think sometimes having a feminine version of a name can encourage people to use the boyish version for girls---but other times it protects the boyish version. To use dated examples, having Paul and Paula seems to make people less likely to use Paul for a girl, not more. Same with Carl/Carla, and Robert/Roberta, and Eric/Erica: it makes it additionally confusing to use the masculine version for a girl, since a feminine version already exists. Instead of the masculine version seeming androgynous, it seems fully boy. [An anonymous commenter brings up a great current example: Oliver and Olivia.]
But does this apply with more modern versions? There's Kyle and Kylie/Kylee/Kyleigh---and Kylie is rising as Kyle falls. As Kylie is used more and Kyle is used less, what happens to Kyle for girls?
2000: 53 female Kyles; 11,964 male Kyles
2001: 56 female Kyles; 10,566 male Kyles
2002: 45 female Kyles; 10,059 male Kyles
2003: 61 female Kyles; 8,646 male Kyles
2004: 74 female Kyles; 7,818 male Kyles
2005: 38 female Kyles; 6,680 male Kyles
2006: 47 female Kyles; 6,147 male Kyles
2007: 41 female Kyles; 5,346 male Kyles
2008: 30 female Kyles; 4,694 male Kyles
2009: 34 female Kyles; 4,162 male Kyles
2010: 33 female Kyles; 3,560 male Kyles
2011: 57 female Kyles; 3,233 male Kyles
It's kind of hard to see a big obvious pattern, isn't it? The name Kyle is going steadily and obviously down for boys, but it's hopping all over the place for girls.
So how does all this apply for Milo/Mila? Well...that's why I'm just sort of talking around it, without seeming to make any clear points: I can't tell. Maybe the increasing popularity of Mila for girls will increase in a parallel way with Milo as the sounds come into style together. Maybe the increasing popularity of Mila will make some parents think of Milo for girls. Maybe the increasing popularity of Mila will make Milo even more solidly a boy name.
If you want my personal guess, it's that some people will always use "boy names" for girls---but that Milo is not likely to become "a girl name." There were fewer female babies named Milo in 2011 than there were female babies named Jonathan (12 vs. 20).
And we've already had a test period for this as the name Miley/Mylee/Myleigh came into style without causing Milo to become popular for girls.
But the rising popularity of a similar name for girls may make some parents wary of the name, making it less common for boys. Every time a name comes up, someone will mention that they know a baby girl (or three) with that name. There might be hardly any female babies with the name compared to the number of male babies with the name, but the impression sticks: people say "Watch out!"---and parents do. And other parents think, "It's going girl? I didn't like it for a boy, but I do like it for a girl!" [Thanks, Nedra, for pointing out a major data fail: something was amiss with my files, and the number of female names in the example I originally used here was significantly different than I wrote. I've fixed the error here by taking out the specific example, and I'm looking into finding out what went wrong.]
So far there's no indication that Everett is going to turn into a girl name, either. The Social Security database shows 14 female babies named Everett in 2011, and another 6 named Everette. That's nothing, relatively speaking: even Henry was given to 7 girls, and 22 were named Matthew. The similar name Evan was given to 99 baby girls. (Hayes was given to 286 boys and 16 girls.)
If it were me, I'd consider Milo and Everett both safe choices, and I think both go well with Blythe. If you want to play it extra safe, your traditional middle name options are great for that: if the unexpected occurs and the first name becomes popular for girls, there's a good completely masculine middle name to go by instead. (Or maybe not: 9 baby girls were named Charles in 2011! And another 9 baby girls named Robert! And 18 named David, and 36 named Michael!)
Other names that sprang to mind while writing the post: Simon, Isaac, Oliver, Warren, Emmett, Felix, Malcolm.