Picking Out Baby Names- Love It or Hate It? Does Using Top 20 Names Bother You?

Updated on February 14, 2013
I.X. asks from San Clemente, CA
31 answers

I hate it. I work on it early, husband won't look at it until a few weeks before due date. We can't agree. We veto each others ideas. We always end up with a name neither of us wanted but neither of us hated. I dread it. Just curious if anyone enjoys the process. Also I have a problem using top 20 names. Am I the only one? It doesn't seem like it since most people use top 20 names! Also, did your not top 20 name creep into the top 20 and does it irk you? Both my girls were off top 20 in '07 and '10, but now are near the top. Grrrr.

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So What Happened?

no my real name is not jane and in fact, I've known very few Jane's. My real name was I. when I was born. My parents changed it a few day latter when visitors acted horrified at the name. I get a variety of reactions to my name, some calling it unusual, but in my small private school of 300, it was the second most common name next to Amy. I had always wished they'd stuck with I.. I don't care for common names, particularly of the top 10 variety.
I would love to name a son Grayson and call him Gray. Husband won't do it. We both loved Luke, however it got too common for a while. Now it has dropped off on the list some. I have two girls names starting in L and I just won't have three L names, I just won't- Not my style.
I like rare names. I hate conventional. My husband is conventinal and hates rare, so we have limped along by selecting vintage names. And with that trend, I was ready to name this one (if a boy) Henry (a family name) only to find it #3 on the list of popular for 2012. Really? Henry? I can't win.

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answers from Grand Forks on

I wanted names that were in the top 100, but not in the top 10. I did not want them to be one of five kids with the same name in their class. I did not want any unusual names or "kreativ" spellings that my kids would have to explain and spell for people for the rest of their lives. I wanted names that would be meaningful to us, and also sound like sibling names. Both my boys names are probably more popular now then they were when they were born. I still can't find Xmas ornaments with my younger sons name on them.
ETA: They ranked 40 and 44 last year.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I'd rather give a Top 10 name than have the child spell, respell and correct Mytyldeanna or Stryker their whole lives!
So, while I have no idea of the "ranking" of my sons name, it suits him. That's what counts, right?

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

DH decided that we should eliminate all the names we didn't like and we would be left with the perfect name. Really? The first name we eliminated was Vlad (as in the Impaler). That didn't move us much closer. That said, it really wasn't to difficult to narrow it down to two names we both liked - we used them as his first and middle name. One was in the top 50 and is still. His middle name however went from 23 when he was born to 5 last year. I would much rather pick a classic name that will always be pronounced and spelled correctly than some of the made up names people pick.

5 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

Our name picking process was so fun!! That is the ONLY part of my pregnancy, that was enjoyable.

I never thought of common names, until I took my niece to kinder one day. There were so many double and triple names. I thought to myself, that I didn't want to do that to my kid!!! Our names were naturally not on the most popular list, but we also didn't want them to be. His name is a bit unique, but not weird. Honestly, I HATE when people take a popular name and misspell it...attempting to make it unique. Sorry people, even if you name your kid Aydynn, there will still be 3 Aiden's in your class, and his name still isn't unique. Now, it's just annoying. Phew...sorry...got off on a tangent!!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I didn't care at all about top whatever with names. My oldest son's name has been in the top 20-30 since he was born but I haven't met another boy around his age with the same name and he's the only one in his school of 1200 with that name. My second son's name has been the #1 name for 13 years. He usually has another Jacob in his class. It doesn't bother him just like having a million other girls with my name didn't bother me. My youngest son's name was in the top 30 when he was born but has fallen off since. I had no say in naming my SD but her name was in the top 20 when she was born but has declined in popularity too. She knows maybe one or two other girls with the same name.

I didn't mind naming the kids - the PITA was getting my husband to agree. I had a name picked out for my youngest that I really loved (Dylan Patrick) but that got vetoed as being "too Irish." Grrrr. Or I liked Nathaniel, he liked Nathan and neither would agree (Nathaniel was too literary for him, Nathan was to "Coney Island Hot Dogs" for me).

The only name goal I had was to not recycle names from either of our families. My family has 6 named Michael, 3 named James, 3 named Thomas, 4 named John, 2 named Shaun, 3 Colleens and 2 Colins, 2 Kathleens a Caitlin and a Katherine, 2 Margarets, 2 Marys and several Mary-somethings, 2 Franks, 2 Freds, 2 Joes, etc. My grandmother had 7 kids - one named after her, one named after her husband, 4 named after her siblings and only one with his own name. Most of my dad's cousins were named after their aunts and uncles too! We never know which person is being talked about by first name alone.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I always wanted a little girl named Emma. When my husband and I met, it was fate that his favorite Grandma was named Emma! So naming our little girl was a no-brainer! What I HATE, though, is that was the year that Rachel on "Friends" named her baby Emma. So its popularity exploded and for an entire year after that everyone assumed we got the name from Friends ....grrr!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Stop looking at the list.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I have 2 kids and sort of obsessed about not wanting the names to be too popular. I analyzed ssa.gov/babynames all the time and trended popularity. My son's has risen in popularity a little but is in the 30s now. My daughter's in the 300s.

To pick the name this last time, we printed the top 500 names and crossed out any obvious no names (1 syllable for example, we didn't want). We kept going through it every now and then and crossing names off together. We agreed on a girl name quickly, but were stuck on boy names. So then we took the remaining boy names and put them on post-its on the bathroom mirror. We then moved names over into the "No" column gradually. It was a good way to do it...the names were in our eyesight often enough for us to get a feel for them and see what we liked. It was funny when I would move No names back to the Yes side, but we ultimately formed an agreement! And ended up with a girl. :)

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answers from Redding on

Well, my first baby, my daughter, was four days old before dad and I agreed.
People said they wouldn't let me leave the hospital unless I had a name.

Growing up with an unusual name, I wanted to spare my kids.
I gave them fairly "generic" names and neither one of them ever had another kid in their class with the same name.

Having worked at a hospital doing birth certificates, I dealt with names that ranged from the very, very strange, to the very, very popular and current.
Within two months, we probably had 12 Nevaeh's. We definitely had all the "fad" names, or top 20, if you want to call them that, both for boys and girls.

As a kid, I didn't necessarily like my name, but I came to appreciate the fact that it was unique without being unpronounceable for the most part. When someone called my name, I knew who they were taking to. I wasn't one of 5 Jennifers or Madisons or Chloes or Zoes.

Don't stress.

Name your baby what you want.

I really believe that everything old becomes new again so even solid, old fashioned names are in vogue again.

I'd rather that than one of these newfangled names no one can figure out how to spell or pronounce.

Just my opinion.

You don't mention if you're having a boy or a girl.

I, personally, love the name Elliott for either sex.

Best wishes.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

We had never met a girl with my daughter's name, nor heard it anywhere, when we named her. After she was born we got all sorts of "isn't that unique!" comments. Now I hear her name everywhere, especially among the 2-3 year old crowd (she's 6). So, we figure we're trendsetters. ;) (It still drives me crazy.)

My son's name also was somewhat rare, according to the rankings, and has moved up quite a bit. It doesn't bother me as much - maybe because I haven't actually heard his name being called by someone in a public place.

We had my daughter's name narrowed down, and chose it when we met her. We couldn't agree on a boy's name, and I am pretty sure my son ended up just telling us his name (enough already!).

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

For our first, a girl, it was easy. When I met my husband he told me he loved the name Elise. A told him I loved the name Annalise. He loved it too, so we had our daughter's name picked out long before she was born!

For our two boys, it was torture both times. I wanted to use Zachary for a boy's name with all of our pregnancies. He HATES the name Zachary. He wanted to use James and call him Jamie. YUCK! We each vetoed each other's favorite. I talked him in to Joshua for our first boy and luckily he didn't know that it was in the top 5 that year or he never would have agreed! We went with Brendan for our second boy. It was one of boys names we liked during the first pregnancy and our daughter would have probably been named that if she'd been a boy. So, it went to the third baby instead. I'm glad we named him that now, though I second guessed it for awhile after he was born because everyone called him Brandon. I still have to correct people, but I like the name.

Good luck finding the perfect name!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We have all boys, and they all happen to be mainstream Judeo-Christian names. They'll never be "trendy," but they will always be "in."

I hate picking boy names, because it is hard. Girl names I feel have many more options for being creative without getting on that top 20 list. If we ever have a girl we know she will be Elena Marie. Elena we are choosing as a derivative of Helen--St. Helen who found the cross of Christ. My husband happens to have a necklace with a gold cross, and inside of his cross is a sliver of the cross of Christ, so, St. Helen is an important figure for us.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

I didn't have anything picked out before I had my son. I spent about 10 minutes picking a name. Luckily, it worked out! :)

I named him after both my grandfathers. His first name is Luke and it was 43 on the list the year he was born. Middle name is 436 on the list, so that's a little unique. Even though it is a simple name, people still ask me if it is short for Lucas. Nope, just Luke. And I didn't name him after Star Wars, either!

We just did Valentines for my son's class and out of the 20 kids, only about 5 kids have "traditional" spellings. I had to keep a close eye on the list so I could tell my son the right letters to write on the cards. Drives me crazy!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Bellingham on

All three of my children's names were in the top 20 in 1901, and one of them has stayed there until now. It obviously doesn't worry me.

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answers from San Francisco on

We had a hard time agreeing too, but we never looked at any lists. We just talked about names we liked/not liked and I had name/definition book that we looked at.
Luke was the only boy name we agreed on so that is our son.
We had three or four girl names picked out but as the mom I had the final say. We have two wonderfully named girls (Alicia and Olivia) not too weird nor too common.
Luke is named after Luke Skywalker (also the book of Luke follows Mark in the Bible, my husband is Mark so that seemed fitting) Alicia from Alice, as in Alice in Wonderland, my favorite childhood heroine, and Olivia from Olivia de Havilland, a classic Hollywood actress from one of my favorite movies, Gone With the Wind. All three represent characters of great beauty, imagination and/or nobility :-)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

We picked names we liked and narrowed them down over the last few weeks. She has a fairly common name, but I know from experience it can vary place to place. When I was a kid, I was the only one with my name. I moved and there were 3 of us in one class. Bottom line is DD's name means something TO US and it fit my other criteria (has a nice nickname, common enough that people can spell and pronounce it and something she can grow up with). I did enjoy the process.

Friends just had a son. They had 2 names at the ready and chose one when they met him face to face. I liked that.

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answers from Washington DC on

we loved it, but i'm so with you on the top 20. it's a silly thing to have bug me since i also dislike the opposite trend, to make names up totally or pick something wacky or 'creative spelling.'
but i was frosted when a soap opera star named her baby 'dylan' a week after i named mine, and the next thing i knew there were zillions of dylans!
look at it this way. you were the trend-setter for girl names! EVERYONE's following you!
;) khairete

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answers from Seattle on

I loved picking out names with my husband. Our daughter's first name was chosen a few years before she was even born, little did we realize how popular it would become. My son's name is a popular name and is traditional as well but it works for him. I haven't looked at the charts in years to see where my children's names rank, maybe I should do that?! :)

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answers from Dallas on

I do NOT like overly popular names. In fact, I loved the name 'Emma' so much, but it was too popular for me to want to name my child that, so my dog's name is Emma. :)

We never had a hard time picking names, and it's a process that I absolutely love. We like to do it early because I want to call my baby by name while I'm pregnant. With my oldest, a daughter, we knew what her name would be before I was pregnant with her. Cheyenne Elizabeth (now 9), I just fell in love with it and it stuck. With my second daughter, we agreed on a name early on (Adrienne), but in my last trimester I decided that I hated it. Natalie Claire (now 6) just popped in my head and I loved it, and so did my husband. With our son (now 2 months old), we had a lot of fun picking out names but we still decided early, and even our girls got to throw their suggestions in and tell us what they liked and what they didn't. We all loved the name 'Ian', so that wasn't hard to settle on. His middle name is my husband's name. Ian Joshua. All three of my kids have names that aren't uncommon, and not oddly spelled, but they aren't too common. :)

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answers from Washington DC on

Jane, is that your real name? Pretty common, but you're still you, right?

I think kids are the same. I remember asking a guy I had just met about his very unique name - I asked how he felt about it as a kid (he was in college). He said he loved it and would hate a 'normal' name like John.

So I asked some guys with 'normal' names, and they all loved their name too! I asked if they wanted something more unique, and they all liked their current name.

So I think it might just be a few of us who have name issues (I'm one). We went unique and ignored everyone else (and their lists).


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answers from Washington DC on

I sooo enjoyed the name picking process!!

My daughter - husband picked. he wanted something "unique" - but common. When she was a child - we could find her name on things when we went on vacation - so it it wasn't a battle of "why can't I have one of those?"

Oldest son - used paternal grandfather's name and my father's name.
youngest son - chosen the day he was born. Middle name was paternal grandfathers.

We put names in a bowl and would draw them out - then we would YELL them like we were calling him in for dinner, etc. We used the "full name" for the "you are in big trouble" to see how it sounded....it was fun!!!

Write down names on a piece of paper. ONE NAME ONLY - like James, John, etc. and then put them in a bowl and start picking names out...

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answers from Kansas City on

We always agreed on boy names right away--which was a good thing because we have 3 boys. I would pick a name you like--don't worry about other people or top 20 lists. My oldest son is Liam. When we picked the name over 8 years ago, nobody was using it. Now, it is pretty common. It doesn't bother me at all.

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answers from Washington DC on

Hubby and I agreed on the names. With our second son, I loved the name we used for our third son, but hubby didn't like it then. I also LOVE his name now, so it's good :).

No, we stayed away from popular names. But as my daughter gets older, we find more girls with her name - boo!

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answers from Atlanta on

I love choosing names. I've been thinking about it since I was a teenager. My husband likes to joke that I really want a third child just so I can name it. Ha! He's only partially right. ^_~

He and I don't really share our opinions of names at all. He tends to hear a name he's never considered and veto it right away as too "out there," even if it's not particularly out there at all. I don't mean made-up names, but just names that aren't as common. And it's funny to me, because his name is very rare, and yet he loves it. But we've been lucky, because we both really love the first names we chose for our son and daughter. There were very few names we could agree on, but those, we did.

I don't like using top 20 names at all, but for my daughter, it was unavoidable. I had had her name picked out since high school, like I said. It was NOT a top-20 name back then. When I found out I was pregnant with a girl, I was distressed to learn my favorite name had crept all the way to the top 10! I was completely torn. I kept coming up with other names, because I didn't want her to have a "trendy" name. I found two other names I loved, but when she came out, we really couldn't name her anything else. I had loved that name for too long.

If I have a third, we've basically agreed on two possible boys' names, so as long as we don't fight over which we love, we're pretty set. For a girl, I have about four favorites, and my husband isn't crazy about any of them. But since that particular pregnancy isn't even in process yet, I'm not too worried about it. It's more that I enjoy thinking about it. ^_^

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answers from San Diego on

Our hardest part was narrowing it down from the list of names we both liked. Our kids all have 2 middle names along with their first and last names for a total of 4 names.
Neither one of us wanted one of those names that if you call it in a crowd half the heads turn to see if you mean them. It always drove me nuts when going to school and you'd have 3 Johns, 2 Richards and 4 Erics and that was most of the boys in the class *GAG*
Every name we chose has meaning. Characters from books and/or movies that we admire the traits of. Or actors or musicians.
It was harder to pick a name until we knew if we had a boy or a girl and then it wasn't long before it clicked.
My oldest has a name that wasn't even in the top 100 in '01 if I remember, certainly not in the top 20. Now it's in the top 10. On one hand it does bug me but on the other hand, I was a trendsetter LOL
My second son is still not on the charts in the US. My daughter might be creeping.
But, their name fit them perfectly. They love their names. They don't even hide their middle names like so many people I know because they were carefully chosen and have meaning that we have shared with them.

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answers from Miami on

I love the process!
I DON'T like common names... We love different... That's why our son's name is Banyan :)

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answers from Raleigh on

Both my kids have family names. My son after my husband and my daughter after my mother and grandmother. All top twenty names. I think they cycle through each generation.

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answers from Santa Fe on

Both our kids have unique names...they are still names but not popular ones. I have Finnish in me and we ended up going with these cool scandinavian names. I love researching names. My husband and I also could not agree...but he likes really off the wall names! Names that are made up, comic book like, or places...not really names. Things like Thor or Tolovana (after the hot springs). I vetoed his ideas. In the end he had to help pair down my list of names to 5 names and then we both talked about which ones we liked and narrowed it down to one. My kids both LOVE their unique names and they suit them very much. Good luck with your name search.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

My husband and I couldn't agree on a name for our daughter so my son picked her name:) and no it's not in the top 20.



answers from Little Rock on

I wouldn't consider a top 20 name for a girl but I would for a boy. I can't explain my reasoning - but I guess I'm more ok with a common name for a boy than for a girl.

I hated the naming process... I liked a name for a short time and then I'd lose interest. And my husband and i couldn't agree - we had to quit talking about it, I got so frustrated.



answers from Honolulu on

I only have 2 kids.
Each time it was fine.
We chose names according to its meaning.... and their names reflect our cultural background.

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