Picking a Middle Name: 5 Mistakes Parents Often Make

My daughter's first name came easily to me and my husband. Her middle name, however, really stumped us. Should we honor my grandmother or throw that tradition to the wind and pick something hip? The fact is first names may get all the hoopla, but picking a middle name can be equally (if not more) tricky.

Here are five mistakes parents make when choosing a middle name ... so you can avoid them at all costs!

How to pick a middle name for baby

1. Choosing a middle name first. This often happens when couples want to honor a relative, only, well, Great Uncle Doodah's name isn't up to snuff for the first name slot. So you place it in the honorary middle spot, then start looking for a first name that sounds good with it. Only what sounds good with Doodah? Letting the middle name cramp your style like this is a trap, warns Laura Wattenberg, founder of BabyNameWizard.com and NameCandy.com. "Don't let a middle name you don't like dictate your style," she says. Go ahead and keep the middle name as is if you want, but make sure to choose a first name you adore, regardless of how well it goes with the middle. "A family namesake is beautiful and meaningful, even if it doesn't flow perfectly with the first name," Wattenberg explains.

2. Using a top first-name choice for the middle. "If there are only two names in the world that you and your partner agree on, think hard before using them as given and middle names for your first baby," says Watternberg. "Many parents do, only to wish they had one back for baby number two."

3. Thinking a middle name can "fix" a problem first-last combo. At the end of the day, Astrid Elaine Durst is still "Astrid Durst."

4. Not considering the initials. Unless you want your kid's monogrammed towels to say "ASS," don't name your kid Andrew Sean Smith, all right? 'Nuff said.

More from The Stir: What Your Baby Name Choice Says About You

5. Letting one parent pick the middle name as a consolation prize. If you and your partner can't agree on a first name, you may discuss the possibility of splitting your responsibilities: One picks the first name, the other the middle. Sounds fair, right? Wrong. "It may feel like a compromise to let one parent pick the first name and one the middle, but it's nowhere close to an even trade," says Wattenberg. "For most of us, our first name is our identity, and our middle name is a kind of a keepsake."

Which was harder for you to pick, a first or middle name?


Images via allthecolor/Flickr; © iStock.com/Kubrak78

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kayba... kaybayblee3

My husband and I did the whole pick a first name and other picks the middle. It worked out for us. We made sure what the initials spelt out, and how it just flowed. No regrets with any of our kid's names.

eem8605 eem8605

I chose names based on meaning that went together. Liam means strong willed warrior and Andrew means manly. My sons initials are L.A.D. which is a young man. It all fit together and flowed well. 

nonmember avatar krystian

My oldest daughter's name was chosen after my cousin who picked out, then her middle names are my,cousins middle names.

My twins, My husband has no choice about Brookes name. And no choice over the middle name, why? Because I had Brooke picked since one tree hill came on the air. And her middle name was my grandmother's name, and he had no choice. I was refusing to name My children after any of my husband's side.

Caydances name he chose, and caydances middle name is my oldest daughter's guardian angel names rose.

TheSi... TheSilence

With our son Felix Arthur Edmund we chose Arthur because we liked it and Edmund is the English version of my husbands name.

Our daughter Imogen Hermione Louise we chose Hermione because we wanted a strong female namesake and honestly I hope my daughter is a Hermione. Louisa was a name we considered for a first name but decided we loved the way Louise sounded with our daughters other names.

Benja... Benjamins-mama

My husband and I picked out names we both agreed on.   Our youngest has 2 middle names because we couldn't really narrow it down.  

nonmember avatar Celtic Momma

We chose middle names first. My husband is from a long line of Roberts. His uncle, grandfather, great grandfather, numerous cousins, great uncles, second cousins twice removed...get the picture? He wanted to keep the tradition alive with using Robert as the middle name. When I was pregnant with our daughter it only made sense to honor my side of the family. Both of my grandmothers were named Alice. So that is what we went with for her. All we had to do was pick a Celtic name (something else we agreed on to honor our heritage)that we liked and we were set.

nonmember avatar Gwynne

Until I married my initals spelled GAS. While hardly the worst thing to happen to a child it was still the fodder for teasing in grade school. So that was a factor when we thought of names to name our children.

nonmember avatar Victoria

My oldest son's name was the easiest because we knew somewhere in his name he was going to have his great grandfather's name and when he was born he ended up with two middle names because my grandfather died a month before he was bor. My youngest we decided on a middle name before we had a first name because we fpr aure thought we were going to have a girl and then we found out we were having a boy and could not agree. In the end my husband picked his name sonce I named the oldest one.

will-... will-n-rys-mom

My oldest is a Jr. And my youngest son was impossible to come up with either his first or his middle name. My SO liked Isaiah for the middle name, and John after his grandfather. So his name is Ryder Isaiah John.


My mom helped me name all of my kids. My dh had no say bc if he got it his way they would have meaningless, boring, and very popular names. Not to mention he could care less what we named our kids. Thus the naming responsibility landed on me alone until I recuited my mom for help.

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