Please Let Me Name Your Baby

I’m obsessed with baby names. Freakishly obsessed. In fact, I’d like to name your baby.

Ask my friends. I’m breathlessly giddy when someone asks my opinion on a combination of first and middle names with the surname or the siblings’ names. My heart races just thinking about it.

Thank goodness I write fiction, which means I can legitimately waste time on baby-name sites when I’m creating characters. Although last year I actually published a story about a couple arguing in the hospital over what to name their third boy. I warned you–freakishly obsessed.

So . . . clearly I have a problem. But lucky for you, if you’re expanding your family or naming characters for stories and novels, I’m offering my collection of names as a good starting point.

The names below have stood the test of time. Whose test? MINE! Hey–it’s my blog. What is the “test” based on? Gut feel. That’s all. I like a name or I don’t. But for the purposes of the list below, I tried to provide some sort of logical headings. It should be noted (because I want kudos for my restraint) that I can provide an even longer list of names I think you should avoid, but I’d rather not insult the blogosphere. At least not today.


  1. The headings–my attempt to “explain” my gut reaction to a name–inherently reflect what I value and admire in a name. (aka, you won’t find a category entitled: “names from Jersey Shore”)
  2. I’ve included more names for girls than boys because I don’t like foofy boys’ names. I could only do so much with my boys’ list.
  3. If you know me in any capacity (and even if you don’t) please do not resent meΒ  for leaving your child’s name off the list. The list is hardly exhaustive. My kids’ names don’t appear on it either! And you know I love those names!
  4. In general if a name is not on this list, it doesn’t mean I hate the name. It means the name is not among my *favorites.* Or . . . it means I’m hoarding it for myself. Because you never know. I have to save the absolute gems.
  5. The list is not alphabetical. For reasons of laziness.


Feminine But Not Flowery: Lydia, Julia, Juliet, Elizabeth, Maya, Mia, Taryn, Caroline, Chelsea, Lindsey, Audrey, Sasha, Layla

Flowery or Cute But in a Way That Works (What do I mean by “works?” I don’t know. It’s subjective. Like I said–gut feel.): Daisy, Phoebe, Libby, Sadie, Lucy, Josie, Lila, Ellie, Ariella, Carly, Emily, April, Abby, Holly, Ivy, Chloe, Ruby

Simple Goodness: Margo, Anna, Annie, Jane, Kate, Lauren, Claire, Allison

Hebrew Names I Love But Didn’t have the Balls to Use for my Girls: Avital, Ayelet, Yael (pronounced YAH-el)

Names I Would Use or Almost Used But are Now Too Close to My Kids’ Names: Danielle, Ilana/Alana/Elana, Eliana, Aliza (pronounced: ah-LEE-za), Eliza (pronounced: eh-LIE-za)


Boy’s Names I Like: Eli, Jack, Seth, Miles, Asher, Daniel, Ethan, Evan, Julian, Ross, Noah, Jared, Gabriel (Gabe), Max, Micah, Nathan, Saul, Zack, Charlie, Drew, Liam, Jake, Simon, Will, Avi, Zev, Ezra, Levi, Judah

So does anyone else collect names? What names would you suggest for my lists that seem to go with the themes? I’m not ashamed to steal ideas!

UPDATE: Soon after I wrote this post, I found out I was pregnant with baby #4. In July 2011, I wrote a follow up called “Help My Husband Name Our Baby.” Why on Earth would I give over naming rights to my husband? You’ll have to read the post to find out!

(Photo credit kaatjeveroort via Flickr)

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Nina is a columnist at The HerStories Project and a contributing writer at and Her essays have appeared regularly at Brain, Child Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Jewish Daily Forward and have been syndicated in Jewish newspapers across the country. Her short stories have appeared in over a dozen literary magazines, and she loved participating in the 2013 cast of Listen to Your Mother. Nina is a co-founder of The Twin Cities Writing Studio. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and four children.

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98 Responses to Please Let Me Name Your Baby
  1. Amy Sue Nathan
    January 7, 2011 | 6:05 am

    When I wrote my first novel – through the whole process – I changed every name except two. I use the Social Security website and research top 100 names for around the time I want my character to have been born. Then I never chose the top names, but something on the list. Nothing irks me more than a name out of time – like a Tiffany who’s supposed to be 38, or something like like (no offense meant to any 38-year-old Tiffany’s).

    As soon as I found out I was pregnant the first time (whoa, almost 20 years ago) the baby’s name was chosen if he was boy, which I knew he would be, and he was. Took much more trial and tribulation to choose a girl’s name.

    Now I’m anguishing over my main character’s ex-husband’s name. And — my real obsession? Choosing last names. That’s tough for me.

    Suggestions welcome, Nina. Although I can’t offer you sweet smelling heads or tiny toes to go along with this job! πŸ˜‰

    • Nina Badzin
      January 7, 2011 | 7:50 am

      Amy! I collect last names too. I’m serious! I have entire list for when I’m writing (mostly Jewish ones). Email me the details of the character!! And I LOVE the social security name site. It’s my drug of choice!!!!!!!!

  2. Pop
    January 7, 2011 | 6:53 am

    Girl Names for Dad’s: Chastity, Virginity, My Dad Knows Karate

    • Nina Badzin
      January 7, 2011 | 7:50 am

      POP!!! You’re hysterical!!!

      • linda
        March 28, 2011 | 1:42 pm

        I just came across your site and am trying to think of a name for baby #2. Big brother is Jack. If it’s a girl we are thinking Isabel (I know it’s popular but we like it), Allie, and Nina (my grandmother’s name). :) Any other suggestions?

        Boy names are much tougher….Luke/Lucas has always been in the running, Tyler, but we’d really like to come up with some other names. Ruled out henry, william/liam.

        Thanks for your input!

        • Nina Badzin
          March 28, 2011 | 10:56 pm

          Hi! So I’m not just saying this because it’s my name . . . but I’ve loved the name Nina. Feminine but serious enough. Easy to say and spell. Nice and short with no nickname (so goes with Jack).

  3. bubbe
    January 7, 2011 | 7:06 am

    You know my faves. Regal, strong, and surprisingly not on your list.

    • Nina Badzin
      January 7, 2011 | 7:51 am

      They might be on the secret list I’m hoarding. It’s a short list, but you probably know what’s on it since I’ve been telling you the names I love for the past 7 years.

  4. Lisa
    January 7, 2011 | 7:19 am

    My imaginary third daughter is Juliet. Ellie, Nina and Juliet. Alas she will remain in my imagination. I don’t have an imaginary son…

    • Nina Badzin
      January 7, 2011 | 7:53 am

      That’s a great name and I might add it to the list! Hope you don’t mind. Close to Julia but with a twist. And of course I love “Nina!” Actually, I heard a father in Trader Joes calling his little girl Nina. I literally stopped him and said, “Is your daughter’s name Nina?” Then I told him my name is Nina and we spoke for like ten minutes about names and why Nina is a good one–easy to say, easy to spell, feminine, but not flowery, different but not weird!

  5. cym kibort
    January 7, 2011 | 7:24 am

    Well obviously I love the list of “feminine but not flowery” since both of my girls are on your short list! I’m laughing because we’ve had name conversations so frequently. I don’t collect names anymore but I certainly used to. I always wanted to spare my kids the trouble that I went through with an. “Oh, I’ve never heard that name before” name. My boy’s name that I will never get to use is “Ben”. Cute post.

    • Nina Badzin
      January 7, 2011 | 7:55 am

      They’re great names, Cym! Your boy’s name too!

  6. Jana @ An Attitude Adjustment
    January 7, 2011 | 7:29 am

    I also really like thinking of names. It’s a good thing if you’re a fiction writer, ay?

  7. Nina Badzin
    January 7, 2011 | 7:56 am

    Jana- I have been on the social security popular names site??? It’s AMAZING.

  8. Allison
    January 7, 2011 | 8:00 am

    Love your list Nina! My three kids are on it-Ethan, Daniel and Abby.

    • Nina Badzin
      January 7, 2011 | 1:53 pm

      All excellent choices, Allison! And your name is on my list too!!! Everyone but the G-man!

  9. NanC Meinhardt
    January 7, 2011 | 8:01 am

    If I had been a boy, I was to be named Ethan. Fine now but we are talking about 1943!

    • Nina Badzin
      January 7, 2011 | 1:52 pm

      Interesting! I wonder how Grandma and Grandpa thought of it?

  10. Ali
    January 7, 2011 | 8:30 am

    F-I-N-A-L-L-Y… You write a post about names. I love it! Since I used to work for the #1 baby name author in the country this piece is write up my ally (no pun intended). The two of us have had countless conversations about names and I remember the one last year when we were in your kitchen. I was pregnant and we were discussing girls names and you mentioned how much you adore the name Lauren and little did you know at the time that Lauren was our #1 choice. So, I love that Lauren makes your “Simple Goodness” list. Well, I am looking forward to our name chit chat on Saturday night. Again, L-O-V-E this one!

  11. Jennifer Karol
    January 7, 2011 | 8:31 am

    Ha! Great post. Talking about baby names for women is like men talking about sports – it never gets old!

    • Nina Badzin
      January 7, 2011 | 1:55 pm

      ALI- I loved when you had that job. Of course we’ll still discuss names. I remember sitting in a restaurant with Nancy and Emily talking about names many moons ago. I really am singularly focused!

  12. Jael
    January 7, 2011 | 10:03 am

    Hey, if you like Yael but want something even more usual, I highly recommend Jael.

    Sure, you have to explain how it’s pronounced, and for that period in your life where you go by JL instead of Jael to make things easier you still end up getting asked what it stands for, and people think it’s Joel, or Jail, and you have to set them straight, and also there are Superman jokes, but the reward for that is that Jaels are so rare that the first time you hear someone say “Hey Jael” and they’re not talking to you is when a Jael appears on America’s Next Top Model, and you never get lost among the Heathers and/or Jennifers.

    When I was in fourth grade I really wanted to be called Liz. It didn’t take.

    • Nina Badzin
      January 7, 2011 | 1:59 pm

      Jael, I love that you commented on here! I feel like it’s a celebrity visit. EVERYONE- Jael’s novel’s The Kitchen Daughter comes out . . . I don’t know exactly. Jael, when does it come out.

      You’ll appreciate that after I had my 2nd daughter, we wrote down the name Yael on the dry erase board and asked several nurses to say it. It was YALE every time. Nixed it. But we grow to love our names, I think. I never liked Nina growing up and now I totally appreciate it!! Jael is a VERY pretty name!

      • Jael
        January 7, 2011 | 4:07 pm

        You are so sweet! And I will never turn down an opportunity to mention the book’s release date. It’ll be out on April 12. (I finally get to stop adding “2011” to that, since it’s finally this year!)

        (And BTW, a brilliant idea to have strangers pronounce any name you try.)

  13. Cindi
    January 7, 2011 | 10:05 am

    I love this Nina….so glad I do not have to obsess anymore over names!! But when it came down to it for me…I literally named my children after their relatives(namesakes)—I didn’t take a letter, or make it a middle name…I took the actual name….I couldn’t possible imagine picking a name with the full 26 letters of the alphabet to choose from!

    I think your lists are great!!! Love reading you!

    • Nina Badzin
      January 7, 2011 | 2:05 pm

      Thanks Cindy! I think it’s beautiful to name after relatives–especially using the actual name. That’s what the Orthodox do! None of that initial for the middle name thing! πŸ˜‰

  14. Jen Erickson
    January 7, 2011 | 10:34 am

    When we were adopting our daughter, after having three sons, I so wanted to name my dark-eyed, long-lashed beauty Francesca. My oldest son, Ben, had a little “girlfriend” in Reception (Kindergarten in the UK) by that name. She was olive skinned, raven haired and had the eyes so dark you could swim in them. My Norwegian husband looked at me with a wry smile and said, “Francesca….Erickson?” So Anna it was. A good, multicultural family name on both sides of the tree. I will put in a plug for the boy names- Ben (strong and steady) and Brady (Irish twinkle in your eye energy and wit). Love the lists, especially Lucy. You can’t say the name without smiling.

    • Nina Badzin
      January 7, 2011 | 2:07 pm

      Your husband hit on something that makes me chuckle with Jewish names . . . when I see something very, very “un-Jewish” matched with something like Schwartzberg. I won’t give examples because I’d get in trouble!

  15. Sandy
    January 7, 2011 | 10:55 am

    Nina, I love your obsession with names! I just saw the 2010 top baby names from and was impressed that all 4 of my parents’ grandsons made the top 12, including Caleb! Harlow and Ashley were not even on the top 100– not surprised about Harlow, but I was surprised about Ashley. My name obsession is that I don’t like nicknames — My parents named me Sandra and never once called me Sandra! I recently went to a doctor’s appointment with Aidan and they called my name, “Sandra”– Based on my insurance card. He later asked me what my name was! He was very confused (and actually, I have to remind myself that is me when they call that name)!

    • Nina Badzin
      January 7, 2011 | 2:09 pm

      Hi Sandy!!! What a great comment! With research! πŸ˜‰ I’m SHOCKED about Ashley. Are you sure?????

      My mom’s criteria in naming my sister and me was no nicknames. Karen, Lisa, Nina. It does make life a little easier!

  16. Nancy
    January 7, 2011 | 11:01 am

    2 out of 3…not bad!!! Love it and am surely glad that is someone else out there that is just as obssessed as I am!!!

  17. Bekki
    January 7, 2011 | 1:24 pm

    Love it! Seriously, it is like men talking about sports. I will have to hit you up one day when I’m ready for naming consultation. Great post, Nina (which now that you mention it, is a really wonderful name)!

    • Nina Badzin
      January 7, 2011 | 2:11 pm

      NANCY– Isn’t it nice when my daily obsessions make for a decent blog post!? Yay!

      BEKKI– EVERYONE- please meet my genius friend Bekki who knows everything about everything and helped me pick the perfect middle names for my daughters.

  18. Shanna
    January 7, 2011 | 2:03 pm

    Since I don’t think I will be having anymore I will give up my secret girl name. I LOVE the name Ruby! I know a lot of people probably won’t like it (my husband) but if I had a third girl I would have fought for that name.
    I also love boys names for girls.

  19. Nina Badzin
    January 7, 2011 | 2:12 pm

    Oh! I love Ruby too. That should really be on my list. I’ll go back and edit later. As for gender neutral . . . I guess you can see from my list that they’re not my absolute favorites. πŸ˜‰

  20. Ali
    January 7, 2011 | 4:05 pm

    Love your taste in names! I have 2 boys, Noah and Jake and they made your list! I think naming your child is the hardest thing to do! You are giving them a name for the rest of their life – and you hope that they like it!

  21. Galit Breen
    January 7, 2011 | 10:01 pm

    Love it, Nina! There are, for sure, worst pastimes than this. Your lists are lovely and bring me right back to making baby name lists for my kiddos! Ahem, Sappy moment over! :)

  22. Jack
    January 8, 2011 | 7:19 pm

    I always liked the name Shachar, but didn’t use it in part because Americans would never be able to pronounce it.

    Loved Barak too, but kept hearing kids yell Barak-Marak so opted against that one.

    Always been a fan of Dov, Lev, Chaya, Jack, Samantha and a few more.

  23. Leigh Ann
    January 9, 2011 | 7:00 pm

    Me = Tickled that my big boy’s name is here (Asher)

    I am obsessed with baby names too, but more in an embodying-the-Jewish-matriarchs kind of way. All my kids’ names have a loooong story behind them. Here’s my littlest one’s, if anyone cares to read. :)

  24. Nina Badzin
    January 10, 2011 | 8:07 am

    Ali- great names!

    Galit- Maybe you need one more for one more list! πŸ˜‰

    Jack- Thanks for sharing yours!! Lev is one of the main characters in my newest attempt at a novel. It’s a great name!

    Leigh Ann- Going to check it out! I like the matriarch/patriarch names too. Mostly that’s why they’re not on the list. They’re on my hoarding list. Also, I’ve used some already!

  25. Andrea
    January 10, 2011 | 8:47 am

    I sued to collect names, sort of still do but now I am not the only one making name decisions, ugh, it was easier in my imaginary family:) hahaha. Zelia was on my list forever, Zohar new to many on several accounts but I obviously like the Z’s!!! Lazer I loved the minute I heard, Erez I have loved since I was little and I am obsessed with family names so other I LOVE Emita, Isabel, Sita…I totally tend to the less known side, always loved that at least my pronunciation was a bit different and super envious of Baki’s name always, btw that one is on my list.

    • Nina Badzin
      January 10, 2011 | 12:18 pm

      I was so bossy on the last three that Bryan insists he gets to name the next IF we have another. We’ll see about that . . .

  26. Jamie
    January 10, 2011 | 9:43 am

    cute post! I followed you from Scary Mommy.
    I keep a list of names on my iphone and add to it every now and then when I come across a name I love. I don’t have kids yet, but I love names and I love making lists. A few that I like that are different: Allegra, Sloane, Chase, and Tyson. My husband will never agree to these names so they will forever be my imaginary.

    • Nina Badzin
      January 10, 2011 | 12:19 pm

      HI Jamie!! So glad you found me. :) My husband had to agree, too, BUT I made the master list. So he had to chose from that specific list. I’m not normally so controlling, but when it comes to names–my favorite past time–I had to take the reigns.

  27. liz
    January 10, 2011 | 9:56 am

    You are a wise woman to say the names you DO like instead of listing those you think people are crazy for giving their kids. :)

    I was happy to see Kate made the list, and although I do not have boys, we named our dog Jack because that was our fave, had Max for a potential name for a son, and I also really liked (though Craig wasn’t so keen) Eli, Ethan, Evan and Noah.

    • Nina Badzin
      January 10, 2011 | 12:20 pm

      Hi Liz! Thanks for coming to the blog! What “base” are we on now . . . πŸ˜‰

  28. Vicky
    January 10, 2011 | 10:54 am

    I actually DID get to name a friends baby years ago: Juliana
    And I still love the name.
    If Mayer (pronounced My-er) had been a girl I wanted her to be named Ema but I didn’t think it sounded good with Matalon.
    And, for a moment, Mayer was going to be named Ben, except that I ended up realizing that my son really should be named for his paternal gfather for many reasons.

  29. Vicky
    January 10, 2011 | 10:55 am

    P.S. Who is Pop? He IS hysterical

  30. Vicky
    January 10, 2011 | 11:00 am

    Oh, and there are people names that I would never name a person but would name a dog.
    Lulu is one of those names, and I recently realized that it’s perfect for one of my two old dogs so I’m calling her that frequently.
    She could also be known as The Dog Formerly Known as April

    • Nina Badzin
      January 10, 2011 | 12:22 pm

      Hi Vicky! I love when you visit the blog. POP- IS hysterical! He’s a dad-blogger I “met” online when I guest posted for the blogger Scary Mommy back in July. He’s helped me figure out how to use WordPress. I’m forever indebted to him!

  31. InspiredDreamer
    January 10, 2011 | 12:43 pm

    Hey there, stopped by from SITS! I love putting names together too, although I haven’t really made lists of them, I prefer to just let them roll about in my head. What’s super-fun is my day job is in HR so I get to see names upon names upon names and there are some I’d for sure love to use!

    Have an Extraordinary Day!

  32. Scary Mommy
    January 10, 2011 | 12:47 pm

    Naming babies is one of the most stressful parts of the whole thing for me. So, should I have a forth, I will let you name the child. I think it would make for a great blog post!

  33. Natalie
    January 10, 2011 | 10:17 pm

    Yay! All three of my kids’ names made your list :)

  34. Jacy
    January 12, 2011 | 9:52 am

    Um, Nina — why aren’t YOUR kids’ names on your lists? And why not my kids’ names? (Kidding about the latter).

  35. Angela
    January 13, 2011 | 10:26 pm

    I’m also an obsessor over names. I read baby name books for fun and write lists of my favourites (I could probably write my own book of just my favourites). We’ve got one son, and before he was born, we came up with 5 combinations of first and middle names that we liked…
    I love most of the names you have up there (although since I’ve only got one, I have to keep a secret stash as well…) especially Lydia, Audrey and Eliza for girls, and Eli, Asher, Gabriel, Liam, Levi and Judah for boys.
    I also adore the name Lucy, but since that is the name of my parents dog…I’m pretty sure it’s out.
    My favs are: Abigail, Lillian, Isabella, Moriah and Naomi
    and: Caleb, Isaac and Isaiah

    • Nina Badzin
      January 15, 2011 | 9:06 am

      SCARY MOMMY- that would be a great crossover post. Like when the Flinstones Meet the Jetsons!

      NATALIE- yay! :) And thanks for visiting!

      JACY- I don’t know why I didn’t put my kids name in there . . . that’s a good question! Maybe to keep it fair and square. πŸ˜‰

      ANGELA- great names! Naomi is my Hebrew name and Isaac is my son’s middle name. :)

  36. Baby Names
    January 14, 2011 | 12:24 am

    thanks for sharing your good efforts keep it up good going

  37. kari
    January 14, 2011 | 9:44 am

    Neens! Love this! I stand in the shower constantly making up baby names. It’s like an OBSESSION. I have been naming the next one since I was pregnant with Eli. Heehee! Noah Ethan, Eli Hudson and ….. have fun!

    • Nina Badzin
      January 15, 2011 | 9:07 am

      Kari- I’ll bet you have lots of girls’ names picked out!

  38. Jill
    January 23, 2011 | 2:02 pm

    Love the list. It’s so true, I always wonder why people spend so much time naming the children something “super” original when it will probably only send their child into years of therapy because it will always be pronounced wrong or will rhyme with something terrible that they will be teased about for years! I like good strong names that also have a meaning behind them, and even better if the child has a link to the past with the name or at least the letter. I feel honored that both my girls made the list!!

  39. kksorrell
    January 23, 2011 | 7:01 pm

    I love this post! I love names, too, especially learning stories behind names. I am forever asking people how they got their names, or why they named their babies so-and-so. And by the way, my son has a Jewish name: Ephraim. (eh-from) No, we’re not Jewish, but I love that it’s an OT name. We’re Orthodox Christian, and there’s a Saint Ephraim that lived in the 300s. So do you have an MFA? I just got mine last year from Murray State University in Kentucky. It’s nice to meet another mom/writer!

  40. kksorrell
    January 23, 2011 | 7:02 pm

    PS you can check out my blog at

    • Nina Badzin
      January 28, 2011 | 3:38 pm

      Found you! :) What a beautiful blog. Love the earnest posts. No MFA for me. I majored in Poli Sci and Spanish, but I got a master in English Education and taught middle school and high school English for a few years. I started writing (with actual goals) in January 2007—exactly when my 2nd child was 3 months and I felt an itch to nurture the non-parent side of me.

      • kksorrell
        January 29, 2011 | 4:13 pm

        Well it sounds like you’ve been really successful so far! I’ve had a few poems published here and there, but since I teach full-time (and, like you, have a family), I don’t have as much time to write as I would like. I enjoy your blog and will visit often!

  41. maternity clothing chick
    February 3, 2011 | 12:24 am

    my third (and baby!) is already 1.5, but i’m still carrying around a favorite names list in my blackberry. my unused faves sasha and marco for boys, and i maya, kaia & talia for girls. tiana was on the list too, until disney rendered it hokey.

  42. Aviva H.
    February 4, 2011 | 10:22 am

    I too have always loved names. It’s funny that you wrote a story about a couple trying to name their 3rd boy. We had girls names we easily agreed on, but had three boys. Each was a struggle to name. As most people noted, it is agreeing on a name that is the hard part, plus the name shouldn’t be too strange but not too common, it should be easy to pronounce and spell, and it needs to fit with last names and sibling names, etc. If we were to ever have another boy, I think it would take us years to agree on a name (although I have always loved Matan).

  43. Natalia Sylvester
    April 13, 2011 | 12:40 am

    Thanks for sharing, Nina! I love that Maya made your “feminine but not flowery list.” One of the characters in my novel is named Maya and that’s actually a good way of describing her. She likes to act tough and she’s definitely not very girly, but she has her soft spots.

  44. […] a regular on this blog, then you can guess THE ONE baby issue I’m planning to discuss. BABY NAMES!Β  But we have a long time to start worrying about all that. Since I’m in the post-nausea/ […]

  45. […] this: Bryan has lost faith in my baby naming abilities. MY abilities! Aren’t I the person whose meanderings about baby names got reprinted on BlogHer and Nameberry? No decent person in his right mind would take away what […]

  46. Rambling Follower
    August 7, 2011 | 11:44 pm

    I am a HUGE name obsessor too.

    We have two sons, Gabriel and Lucas. If we had been blessed with a third boy he would have been Rafael James, with “Rafe” as the nickname

    Our girl names (before we knew our boys were boys) were Victoria and Juliet. Not so fond of Victoria any more, but I love the name Juliet and Elizabeth and Anne. I love Bella too as a name.

    I guess I like old-fashioned girl names!

    • Nina Badzin
      August 9, 2011 | 2:29 pm

      Hi! I love all the names you mentioned except Victoria, too. Gabriel and Lucas are great. Do you do Gabe and Luke or keep it their full names?

  47. Rambling Follower
    August 9, 2011 | 2:35 pm

    Gabriel is Gabe.
    Lucas for a few years now has gone by “Lucky.” Long story about how he acquired that nickname about age 8 but it has stuck. In fact, our nextdoor neighbors didn’t realize that WASN’T his given name! It suits him now.

  48. Rambling Follower
    August 9, 2011 | 2:39 pm

    p.s. One of my pet peeves is when siblings’ names don’t “match.” Actually, growing up ours didn’t. I am Allison and I have a sister named Teresa. No match.

    p.p.s. We adopted both our pets from different friends and thus didn’t name them. We have a girl dog named Riley and a boy cat named Wiley. I kid you not.

  49. Cara
    August 17, 2011 | 10:47 am

    I’m obsessed with names, too; however, for me, that obsession includes the combination of first name with last: The full name should flow well, sound pleasing to the ear, and “make sense.” Moreover, it shouldn’t make “negative” sense. For example, “Ava” seems to be very popular choice these days. A pretty name, no? However, IF (as in the case of an acquaintance of mine), one’s last name is Koff, one must steer clear of Ava.

    “Ava Koff,” you might be thinking: “Hmmm…not so bad.” BUT say it fast three times (preferably with a New York accent) and the reason for avoiding it will hit you! The problem with naming little Ava was that her parents wanted her gender and name to be a surprise, so they didn’t go over any potential names with anyone. For Ava’s sake, I SO wish they had!

  50. iowadogblog
    October 19, 2011 | 9:21 am

    I loved this post! I love names too. Even as a kid, when I didn’t think I wanted to have kids when I grew up, I would obsess over names. I would write lists of names. I would even list as many names as I could think of for each letter of the alphabet. We had the Big Book of Baby Names in our junior high library (Why? I don’t know–it’s weird. But hey, I’m the one who checked it out, right?) I would peruse that book for hours.

    I’m obviously a dog lover (from the name of my blog–my name is Andrea, by the way), so I absolutely love to name dogs, or think of dog names in addition to baby names. My favorite dog names are either classic or kind of dorky human names. Our boxer is named Gertie. Cute but not flowery, and it fits her spunky personality. Plus, we can call her Gertrude when she’s in trouble. When didn’t get to name Duke, and I would have chosen a different name for him–something like Alfred–Alfie for short–or Bernard. I like Stanley for a bloodhound and Mabel for a bulldog (see, with dogs, the breed matters too).

    Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is: Please Let Me Name Your Dog. :)

    • Nina Badzin
      October 19, 2011 | 12:08 pm

      I totally give you permission to write a post called “Please Let me Name Your Dog” and just do a quick link to my post. :) Seriously, it would be a cute post and you could talk about how you used to love baby name books, etc. Go for it!

  51. Please Let Me Name Your Dog | Iowa Dog Blog
    November 15, 2011 | 10:30 pm

    […] and I perused the book of names for hours. So I connected when I read Nina Badzin’s post Please Let Me Name Your Baby, and in a similar fashion, I would like to offer my naming services for canines. […]

  52. lauren
    December 26, 2011 | 4:05 pm

    Nina! Can you name my baby? It’s become the most insane process with me and my husband. I suggest something. He says “no”. Repeat 100 times. I have two boys, Asher and Jonah. Not sure what this one is until he/she arrives in April. I like hebrew/jewish names but like you mentioned, i’m not sure i have the balls to go over the top with it. I really love Vered and Avital for a girl. My boy names are Micah and Ari but my cousins who we are close to just used them! Ahhh. Suggestions?

    • Rambling Follower
      December 26, 2011 | 7:18 pm

      some ideas: BOYS: Gabriel, Avi, Elias, Silas, David,
      GIRLS: Ariella, Gavriella, Hava, Devora, Eve

    • Nina Badzin
      December 26, 2011 | 7:45 pm

      So fun that you found this post! I have to tell you, I’ve been VERY happy with Rebecca for my daughter. I got tons of compliments for picking something not heard as often these days but not “weird.” Other good names with Asher and Jonah:

      Noa (though I’m not a huge fan of gender neutral.)
      Dalia (my fav!)

      If I think of another favorite I’ll let you know. Did you see my post about naming our fourth??

      • lauren
        December 26, 2011 | 11:28 pm

        Hi Nina! Thanks for the list. I need another opinion. I’ve kind of been into Avital and Vered for a girl but I’m a little gun shy since it is obviously Israeli and not too secular. I sort of want to just GO FOR IT but i need encouragement. What do you think? Also loving Dalia. Going on my list! Also, Ezra for a boy? Trying to get past my image of the Ezra I grew up with (wasn’t a fan). Thoughts on my names? thanks! This helps so much (especially since my wonderful husband isn’t helpful with this IMPORTANT job of naming our child!)

        • Nina Badzin
          December 27, 2011 | 7:22 pm

          Ezra is great and goes well with Asher and Jonah. My friend’s baby is Zev—another great name! Strong! For girls, I love Avital, but I’m not crazy about Vered . . . if you lived in Israel I’d feel differently about it. I know Ezra and Avital are Hebrew as well, but those names are Biblical whereas Vered (true for Talia and Dalia too) are really modern Israeli/secular names. I almost named my daughters Talia but the nurses at the hospital always said ta-LEE-a. We live in Minnesota, not Tel Aviv. What could I expect? That said, when I meet a little girl named Talia I tend to regret not using it.

          That’s my two cents!! Keep me posted. You have to promise. Also–how did you find the blog? Through Nameberry?

          • Lauren
            December 28, 2011 | 7:46 pm

            Hi Nina. I promise promise promis to follow up but I’m not due until April so we have some time to go! Not sure howi found your blog. Must have been doing a google search for Jewish baby names or something! So glad I found you though. And a huge mazel tov on the birth of your fourth! Every pregnancy I say it’s the last but here I am again (I’m not a great preggo person) so I especially appreciated your blog on your 4th pregnancy. Thanks again for your name advice. Lots to think about.

        • Nina Badzin
          December 29, 2011 | 4:43 pm

          Wait! One more idea! Aviva . . . and you could call her Vivi . . . just a thought!

          On Tue, Dec 27, 2011 at 7:21 PM, Nina Badzin’s Blog wrote:

          > Ezra is great and goes well with Asher and Jonah. My friend’s baby is > Zev—another great name! Strong! For girls, I love Avital, but I’m not > crazy about Vered . . . if you lived in Israel I’d feel differently about > it. I know Ezra and Avital are Hebrew as well, but those names are Biblical > whereas Vered (true for Talia and Dalia too) are really modern > Israeli/secular names. I almost named my daughters Talia but the nurses at > the hospital always said ta-LEE-a. We live in Minnesota, not Tel Aviv. What > could I expect? That said, when I meet a little girl named Talia I tend to > regret not using it. > > That’s my two cents!! Keep me posted. You have to promise. Also–how did > you find the blog? Through Nameberry? >

  53. saquina
    February 29, 2012 | 8:58 pm

    I always wanted to name my son Noah Naftali. My husband wasn’t too crazy about the name but eventually he started to love the name Noah (but couldn’t do anything with Naftali), so, we decided to name our son Noah Mikeil (Mikeil is my father-in-law’s name – he adopted my husband when I was 6-7 months pregnant, although he’s raised him but never had the money to legally adopt him… my husband wanted our child to have the last-name of the man he called father. I’m glad it went through before Noah was born because I didn’t want to go along having to change his name and birthcertificate etc so shortly after he was born). πŸ˜› We thought, if we’d have a girl to name her Sophie Lynn… (twin girls would’ve been Eleanor Marie and Elizabeth Ann – my mother’s name is Marianne and mother-in-law’s middle name is Ann)… Ah, I love every excuse to look for names in baby books etc. =))

    • Nina Badzin
      March 1, 2012 | 4:36 pm

      All great names you have here! I could seriously talk about names all day. It’s kind of a sickness, really. πŸ˜‰

      Stop by my blog: Follow me on Twitter: @NinaBadzin

  54. Katharine
    June 7, 2012 | 8:23 am

    What do you think? Juliet Sage or Rayna Juliet? Other kids are Isaiah Samuel and Sasha Rose. Surname is Kline. Love the blog!

    • Nina Badzin
      June 7, 2012 | 11:10 am

      While I love the name Juliet, I like Rayna too and it fits much better with Isaiah and Sasha. Great names by the way!! So Rayna Juliet is perfect! (I’m not a fan of Sage.)

      Good luck!

  55. Lauren
    June 7, 2012 | 9:38 am

    Hi Nina! I wrote to you months back asking you to help me pick a name for my baby due in April. I was looking for a Jewish name but one that was also secular enough to fit into the mainstream. If you remember my sons were name Asher and Jonah. Well turns out in April we met our beautiful daughter and settled on a name after a good 8 hour discussion in the hospital. We named her Hannah Liat. Hannah after her great grandfather, Herman, who passed away only weeks before her birth. And Liat because I wanted that Jewish twist and loved the sound and meaning. I’ve enjoyed your blog and thanks again for your suggestions!

    • Nina Badzin
      June 7, 2012 | 11:34 am


      Mazel tov! I absolutely remember you. I’m so excited for you that you had a girl. Of course I’d be excited no matter what, but there is something extra special about having the chance to experience a son and a daughter. I have two of each and feel extraordinary blessed. Hannah Liat is a beautiful name! You get the biblical and the more modern Hebrew. It’s perfect!

      Thanks so much for checking back in! Nina :)

  56. stephanie Kim
    July 10, 2012 | 3:17 pm

    You and I have the same obsession. My daughters are Jocelyn Sadie Elizabeth Kim, Sadie my husbands choice, and Arden Estelle Brenner Kim. Our next little girl will be Ensley Ellla Grae.

    • Nina Badzin
      July 10, 2012 | 11:27 pm

      I love that since your last name is sort of a first name, too, it sounds like they have four names!

  57. A Blogging Facelift | Nina Badzin
    August 21, 2012 | 7:01 am

    […] For the sake of coherence, I’m going to refer to the interviewer throughout this post as “Stephanie.” And that’s because in the 80s when I constantly watched Grease 2, I wanted my name to be something “normal” like that movie’s main character, Stephanie, instead of one of Christopher Columbus’s ships. (Please know: I now give my parents kudos for the name Nina, which is easy to say, easy to spell, and original without trying too hard. My detailed thoughts on modern baby names is here.) […]

  58. Laura
    August 23, 2012 | 5:58 pm

    Love this post. I too have a slight obsession with baby names. Well, names in general actually. I could talk about them all day. I’m glad to see my favourite name, “Asher”, is on the list. I have never known anyone named Asher, but I absolutely ADORE the name. It is unique, yet simple. My husband, unfortunately does not share my love for this name, but I’m hoping that if we ever have a boy, he will change his mind. Right now, we just have one baby (a girl), and as much as I do like her name, I could not find a girl’s name that I liked as much as Asher….Oh, and btw, I think Ayalet and Yael are also beautiful names and we did consider them, but I knew everyone would misspell and mispronounce them, so in the end I chose something more common.
    Laura recently posted..Dear Rude (Possibly Drunk) Random StrangerMy Profile

  59. Abby
    October 20, 2012 | 8:33 am

    Doing the obsessive quest for perfect name for our baby girl to be born in a couple of months and stumbled upon your blog. I’m really liking the names; Nina, Susannah and Willa. We already have a son, Ezra. Since you are a Nina, what are your thoughts?!

    • Nina (@NinaBadzin)
      October 20, 2012 | 12:22 pm

      Hi Abby!

      First, I love your name. I would have used it for a daughter, but there is already an Abby Badzin in the family and Badzin is not exactly a unique last name. Now, I have to tell you, I love the name Nina. You probably already read this in the post, but I like that it is a little different without being “weird.” I think it works with Ezra. Susannah is great too and also works well with Ezra. I’m not crazy about Willa. Nina, Susannah, and Ezra have a more non-trendy, classic feel, whereas Willa sounds much more “NOW” but maybe will feel more dated in 20 years.

      What about any other Hebrew names that would go well with Ezra? I just had a post on about baby names for the editor who is expecting a girl and likes Hebrew names. I’m linking it here: There are great ideas in the post and also in the readers’ comments.

      That’s my two cents! You will have to report back on what you decide!

      Thanks again for stopping by!

  60. The Muse and Other News | Nina Badzin
    June 24, 2013 | 12:28 am

    […] a regular on this blog, then you can guess THE ONE baby issue I’m planning to discuss. BABY NAMES!Β  But we have a long time to start worrying about all that. Since I’m in the post-nausea/ […]

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