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Choosing the Right Middle Name

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Choosing a middle name that is just right can be a challenge, and it is often the most difficult step in choosing a name for your baby.  How can you get the full name to sound right?  You have your choices set, but which name do you use for the first and which for the second? 

Which combination is the best choice?  The process does not have to be so complicated – follow these helpful guidelines to come up with the name you have been looking for. 

Consider the benefits of a middle name.  The extra name can be an asset to your child in their life, as it can provide them with a choice if they are not happy with their first name.  Statistically, about one in ten people use their middle name instead of the first.  However, this is by far not the only reason.  Middle names can distinguish an individual in a crowd with other people with the same name as theirs.  It can add a nice atmosphere and ring to a first name.  A middle name can help accommodate the wishes of both parents or family and relatives by allowing each to include their choice in the name of the baby.   In addition, the middle name may be chosen for traditional or cultural reasons, such as to honor a family member or to commemorate a name that has been passed down for generations.

When considering a middle name, the most important thing to consider is balance and rhythm.

1.    The number of syllables in each name should vary.  For example, if the first name has one syllable, the middle name can be two or three syllables.  Example: Katie Lynn Thomas.

2.    The beginning of each name should sound different.  The same goes for the endings.  Try to avoid name combinations that rhyme, like Ray Jay Smith – aside from sounding a bit strange, they may become a reason for teasing.

3.    If you have chosen an exotic first name, try to choose a more common middle name, or vise versa.  A name that is easy to pronounce can be paired with a unique sounding middle name.  Your aim is to get the balance of the sound just right.

4.    Acronyms should be considered.  Avoid initials with odd spellings such as “RAT.”

5.    Finally, say the full name to yourself out loud to see how the combination sounds.  Remember, your child will have to hear the name over and over again throughout their lives.

Consider the meaning of the name in your decision.  Stick to names that are associated with pleasant thoughts and positive meanings.  You may want to choose a name from your native origin.  Such a name can give a child a sense of heritage and belonging.  Take into consideration that names that are difficult to pronounce or have complicated spellings can give a child problems throughout life – you don’t want them to constantly have to correct people.  For legal reasons, you may want to limit the number of middle names to one, as many legal documents and computer databases only allow a space for one middle name.

There are various other sources you can turn to for middle names.  It is popular to give middle names from the Bible, especially in the case of boy’s names.  Retro names can add a certain glamour and charm to a name.  You may want to consider names that were popular back in the 40’s.  

If you feel like the middle name just isn’t working out, don’t feel like you must give a middle name.  If the first and last names sound great as they are, then it may be best to leave the name as it is.  Giving a middle name is your personal choice.  Most importantly remember that naming a child is a precious experience.  Enjoy the process! 

Related readings:

Ten ideas on finding a name for your baby
Can a name affect your child's future?

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Comments (20)Add Comment
Finding a middle Name
written by Rhonda, March 31, 2008
I like the name Emma for the first name but can't really decide on a middle.
I've come up with

Emma Claire
Emma Hayden
Emma Riley

Any other suggestions?
Can you help me?
written by Elizabeth S., April 29, 2008
I am pregnant with my first baby, and while I dont know yet if it will be a boy or a girl, I am already scouring through name books and the like.
I really like the name Elsa, but I cant think of a middle name to go with it other than Rose(which my husband really doesnt like).

Any suggestions??
can anyone help please
written by rebecca, July 27, 2008
hey i need a middle name for bobby duffy any ideas
Eli's middle name.
written by Mikayla Carmichael, August 18, 2008
I need help finding a name that goes with Eli.
Eli's Middle name
written by RandomLaydii, October 12, 2008
Here's a few....

Eli Jayden Carmichael *Jaden*
Eli Cordell Carmichael
Eli Jeremiah Carmichael
Eli Emilio Carmichael *Amilio*
Eli Adonis Carmichael
Eli Caden Carmichael *Cayden*

Hope these helped...
Middle names for twins Jaslyn and Aiden
written by Ashley Stanley, October 23, 2008
HI im 17 years old and im having twins i know its i'm a little young but hey i dont care what people thing i need help finding the middle names for Jaslyn and Aiden please help thank you
Help me
written by Nancy A, October 23, 2008
i need help with my baby middle name .. its baby frist name is goin to be Carlos
wow. naming twin girls
written by Christina, November 30, 2008
They are going to be my 5th and 6th children, as I have 4 other daughters from my first pregnancy. their names are Parker Avery, Aven Presley, Natalie Rhys, and Cameron Eliza. Can you help me out with two names/middles that will go with my other daughters names? The last name is Janes.
written by sara1, December 14, 2008
Depending on whether my Italian fiancé's older brother has a son before we do to honor their father the name would be Luca Giovanni or Giovanni Luca.
I believe the first combination sounds better.

As for girls names, we can't decide which sounds better:
Isabella Elisabeth Maria
Violetta Elisabeth Maria
Chiara Elisabeth Maria
Emma Elisabeth Maria

Need help with a middle name for Tucker
written by Ariel, January 12, 2009
This is my first child and I am looking for some help in finding a middle name for him. His name is Tucker and i have been unsuccessful in finding the right one. I am looking for something short and bold, at the same time unique. Any suggestions are appreciated. Thank you
written by canzonetta, February 26, 2009
sara, I like Chiara Elisabeth Maria the best. It flows so well, and I love Chiara!
help for previous posts...
written by Emma Regnier, March 13, 2009
For Isabella, I always thought a pretty middle name is either Joy or Rose.

And for name is Emma lol & my dad wanted my middle name to be Leah but, in the hospital they wrote it wrong on my birth certificate so my middle name is Lee. I LOVE my name & I get complimented on it all the time cuz it sounds so much like Emily (Emma Lee). So that's an idea for you.
Middle Name for Maddox
written by Brandie, March 18, 2009
We really like the name Maddox and would like a one syllable middle name...any ideas?
Middle name help
written by Mommyof 2, April 23, 2009
Hi, I'm needing help with a middle name for Abigail.
Any suggestions would really be appreciated!
Middle name help
written by Brittney, April 25, 2009

Middle Name Help
written by Tabitha, July 30, 2009
I need help finding a middle name for the names Lucas and Gabriel
middle name for Erin
written by Elaine Tee, September 18, 2009
Hi, I'm preggy with my 3rd. My kids' names are Erika & Enrico. So I was planning to have Erin for my 3rd. The only middle name I have right now is Gabrielle. Any suggestions? Thanks.
middle name for Erin
written by Erin, September 26, 2009
My name is Erin and my middle name is Leigh
Ideas for middle name?
written by Judith, January 03, 2010
Any ideas on a one syllable middle name for a girl:

Ansleigh Price

Looking for something with a harder sound than the first name to balance it out a little.

written by Loralei Patience, December 05, 2010
My two daughters names are America Anistasia and Arabella Alexandria. I am currently pregnant with another girl and were thinking of naming her Annalyse Annabella. The first and middle name have -Anna in them. I wasnt sure if this looked okay? If noy our other choice was Ammelia Annabella. Whatdya think?

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