We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
Landing the perfect first name for your baby may be your number one challenge. But choosing a middle name – assuming you want your child to have one – is another important decision for your family.
Here are some tips for making the most of your child's middle name, with help from a our site survey of nearly 4,500 parents.
Does my child need a middle name?
Nope. It's really up to you. In responding to our survey, 9 in 10 parents said they gave their baby a middle name – but there's no downside to going without.
Some parents say no to the middle moniker based on family tradition: "I have a double first name and no middle, and my daughter will have the same," says one mom.
Others find it unnecessary. "I don't have a middle name and my two sons don't either. I don't really see the point."
Why give kids a middle name?
Here are some of the reasons many expecting parents put time and thought into choosing a middle name.
Honoring a loved one. About 60 percent of our site parents responding to our survey said they chose the name of a close friend or family member as their child's middle name.
"We used my late uncle's first name as a middle name. I was very close with my uncle, growing up. He was a great guy and would've been a great role model for my son."
It's also a handy strategy when you dearly love Grandma or Grandpa and want to honor them, but can't quite imagine your child going through life with their name as a first name.
Alternatively, use a relative's middle name as a middle name if the first name isn't to your taste.
Following family tradition. In some families, a common middle name runs like a thread through several generations, making it an easy choice.
"My husband's middle name is Roy. It's very important to him to pass it along, because it's his, his father's, and his grandfather's middle name, and it was his great-grandfather's first name."
And if your family tradition involves naming the first boy after his father, the middle name takes on extra importance as an alternative name.
"My oldest son goes by his middle name because he shares his first name with his dad."
Preserving cultural heritage. "We wanted a Japanese middle name to honor my heritage, and we gave my father the honor of picking the name."
Differentiating a common first-and-last-name combo. Let's say you have a super common U.S. last name, such as Wilson, and you're planning to name your son James, after his grandfather. A middle name can distinguish him from all the other James Wilsons in the world – and give him another name to choose from if he decides he wants something different (see "Offering kids a choice," below).
Adding special meaning. There are endless ways to go with this one. A couple might choose a place name that's special to their relationship or family history, like Sierra, Austin, Georgia, or Paris. Or a name that has other personal significance:
"To honor my husband's love of Christmas, we chose the middle name Noel," one mom writes. Another says, "We're such science geeks, we were excited to use Galileo as a middle name."
Offering kids a choice. Want to give your little one another option for later? As one mom-to-be explains, "We're giving our baby a very 'normal' middle name since her first name will be so uncommon. I love her first name, but if she hates it, I want her to have something else to go by."
Similarly, a child with a popular or traditional first name may one day appreciate having an unusual middle name and decide to do a switcheroo.
Settling baby name battles. If you and your partner aren't seeing eye-to-eye on your baby's first name, the middle name can serve as a peace offering.
"I really loved Axton for a first name, but my husband wasn't sold on it, so we compromised. I got the first name and he got the middle name. Our baby is going to be Axton Jet Culp. (My husband is a huge New York Jets fan.)"
Including two family names. About 15 percent of expecting couples tell us they want to pass along both of their family names but not burden their child with a hyphenated last name – so they'll use one as the middle name instead.
Will I even use my child's middle name?
In our survey, 70 percent of parents report using their child's first and middle names together at least some of the time, and 20 percent say they use the middle name alone at least some of the time. One of the main reasons? Love.
"I call my daughter by her middle name when I'm feeling especially emotional, like when we're talking and cuddling," says one mom. Another says, "I sing 'Frère Jacques' to my son with the words 'Are you sleeping, Liam John?'"
Parents also use the formality of the first-and-middle-name combo to get their kids' attention – especially when they're in trouble. There's nothing quite like a ringing, "Jonathan Benjamin!" to remind your child that you asked him to pick up the blocks in the living room, not sprinkle his Legos on top of them.
Many parents use both names in both situations: "I use my son's full name when I'm feeling especially affectionate – and when he's doing something naughty."
And some parents use the middle name just because they like the sound of it: "I like to put it with her first name. It flows really well."
Tips for choosing a middle name
Before you fill out the birth certificate, here are some tricks for vetting and avoiding the pitfalls of potential middle names.
Say it out loud. Try saying your child's full name, including the middle name you're considering.
Maybe you don't care how it sounds, or you think you don't care. But if you're still deciding between names or want to put the names you've settled on to the test, saying them aloud can help.
- How do all the names sound together?
- Is the complete name hard to pronounce or understand?
- Do the rhythms and the sound flow or is the name a bit awkward as a whole?
- Do the vowels flow? When a middle name begins with the same vowel the first name ended on, the sounds can bump into each other, making the combo hard to say – as in "Ava Anne" or "Eli Isaac."
- Do you like the rhythm? It's a matter of taste, but many suggest choosing a name trio with alternating syllables, such as 2-3-2 (Stella Josephine Olson) or 3-1-3 (Mateo John Hernandez).
- Do you love the whole thing when you hear it?
Take initials into account. Monogrammed towels may be old-fashioned, but initials can still be important. For example, when Winifred Talia Field and William Tomas Flores (initials: WTF) or Riley Anne Thompson and Roland Arturo Turner (initials: RAT) are old enough to realize what their initials spell, they might wish their parents had chosen differently.
Consider the digital future. Google full names to see how common they are. When it comes to establishing an email address, having a more unusual full name could give your child an advantage. It'll be easier to get a good one for Emma Rooney Smith than for Emma Rose Smith.