10 Tips To Pick A Middle Name For Your Baby

Parents often have definitive ideas for first names but choosing a middle name for their child might not be easy. Middle names are not mandatorily used across the globe. However, they are quite common in some parts, such as the English-speaking world. In other languages such as Chinese and Swedish, too, middle names may be used, though not recognized legally. Therefore, whether or not to have a middle name is for the parents to decide. If you have already decided to give one to your child, this post is for you. We discuss the various aspects of choosing a middle name and share some useful tips to help you pick the perfect name.

In This Article

Is Giving A Middle Name To Your Baby Necessary?

Giving a middle name is completely a matter of choice. You may choose to give your baby a middle name or skip it altogether. In fact, several cultures such as Indians and Scandinavians do not have the tradition of using a distinct middle name. Instead, they might use their father’s or mother’s name as middle names. Some parents opt for a double-barreled first name and skip the middle name altogether, while others use middle names to honor family traditions.

Why People Give A Middle Name To Their Baby

There are several reasons why a new parent would choose a thoughtful middle name for their baby.

  1. Family tradition: Some families use a common middle name or a name from a common theme such as Biblical names. Parents may even choose to use the mother’s maiden name as a middle name for all the children. Mick Jagger’s daughter Karis Hunt Jagger has her mother Marsha Hunt’s maiden surname as her middle name.
  2. Honoring an ancestor: Some parents also opt to use a middle name in tribute to a beloved ancestor or a loved one. This person may be a family member or a close friend.
  3. Maintaining family heritage: This concept is most applicable when the parents belong to different cultures or nationalities. You can pick a name of each culture and use one of them as a middle name. Heidi Klum, German-American model and actress has a child named Leni Olumi Klum with her husband Seal. Leni is a German name honoring Heidi’s heritage, while Olumi has possible Yoruba origins from Seal’s culture.
  4. Making the first name unique: If the first name is quite common, you can use the middle name as an identifier. The best example of this is if the child’s first name is Peter, you can use Parker as a middle name.
  5. Personal meaning: From the place where you first met your partner to a special moment in history, a middle name with a personal meaning can have infinite choices.
  6. Reflecting personality: Though your baby might be too young to decide their personality, you can use a personality trait from either of the parents’ behaviors to choose a nickname. For instance, if a parent loves spending time at the beach, you can use middle names such as Ocean or Kailani, which are associated with the sea.
  7. A future choice: A middle name is an alternative name for your child. In case in the future, your child decides to change their name, they have a readymade choice for them.
  8. Adding flow: Sometimes a middle name enhances the first name and grabs attention. When someone says it aloud, you can hear the gravity and gentle flow of the name.

A middle name serves many purposes. If you are interested in giving your baby a middle name, you might want to keep some tips in mind.

Tips For Choosing A Perfect Middle Name

Choosing the perfect middle name for your new arrival should be child’s play when you have some tips and tricks up your sleeve. These easy tips will help you select the best names and avoid wrong choices.

1. Keep the initials in mind

The middle name’s initials should complement the first and last names. They should not spell out something undesirable or unintentionally funny. For example, if the first name of your baby is Sheila and her last name is Xavier, avoid choosing a middle name starting with E.

2. Say the name out loud

Some names sound good in your mind but when you say it out loud, you can hear if there are any discrepancies in the pronunciation. Saying the names out loud can also help you decide if the flow and sound of the name is good. You will know how easy or difficult the names are to pronounce. Alliterative names may sound good but when you say them out loud, you may realize that they are difficult to pronounce. For instance, Lily Eliana may be a good name combination but it is difficult to say out loud.

3. Alternate the syllables

If the first name has one syllable, choose a middle name with two or more syllables. Moreover, if the first and last names have similar number of syllables, you can choose a different number of syllables in the middle name for a lilting effect. For instance, if the first name of your baby is Matthew and his last name is Chester, his middle name can be of three syllables such as Abraham.

4. Balance modern and traditional

If the first name is traditional, you can select a modern middle name and vice versa. It will provide a balance and make the name sound approachable. For instance, if the first name is John, you can choose the middle name as Phoenix. On the other hand, if the first name is Kaylee, the middle name could be Elizabeth.

5. Complement the first name

You can choose the meaning or any other aspect of the first name to derive an appropriate middle name for your baby. For instance, if your child’s name is Elizabeth, you can choose another Biblical name such as Hannah or a name from royalty such as Anna as her middle name.

6. Consider heritage

If the parents are of different cultures or religions, you can choose a middle name that celebrates their heritage. For instance, if one parent is American while the other is Chinese, the first name can be an English name such as Anne, while the middle name can be Chinese such as Chang.

7. Use other name choices

Many times, parents are left with leftover names from their first name choices. You can now use one or several of these names as middle names. For example, if you had shortlisted John and Bryan as first names but decided on John, you can use Bryan as a middle name.

8. Try unisex names

Unisex names are rising in popularity with many parents opting for these gender-neutral choices. If the first name is traditionally masculine or feminine, you can try a unisex middle name. For instance, if your baby is named Daisy, you can try middle names such as Angel or Beverly.

9. Avoid trends

Names like Khaleesi or Rhysand may sound in style in recent times. However, think about how the name will age after a few years. As a name is the lifetime companion of a child, it is better to use a classic and popular middle name instead of a trendy one.

10. Try invented names

Invented names have been around for a long time and have gained great popularity. If you wish the middle name to honor both grandparents, you can easily combine them and create a new name. For example, if one grandfather is named Edward and the other grandfather is named William, the middle name of your baby could be Edwill or Willward.

Discover More Names

When you have to choose a name for your baby, a few hundreds of names may not be just enough. Keep digging our mine of baby names until you find that one precious gem.

Choosing a middle name for your baby is a way to make their name meaningful and deep. You can choose to follow family tradition, honor a loved one, remember a special place or occasion, or simply pick a name that sounds harmonious in combination with the first and last names. You could even use double-barreled names or two or more middle names if you are unable to settle on a single choice. A middle name could reflect the parents’ personalities or their creativity, too. Hence, a bit of thought into selecting a middle name can go a long way in your child’s life. These tips will help you choose a perfect middle name for your little one.

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Nisha Bharatan is a writer with six years of experience. After completing her engineering from Savitribai Phule Pune University, she did content marketing courses to complement her interest in writing. Nisha discovered her passion for writing in 2016 when she started documenting her journey into motherhood. She has written for various web magazines and websites through the years in different...read full bio