How to Choose a Middle Name for Your Baby

5 Tips for Picking a Middle Name You and Your Child Will Love as They Grow

Asian mother holding newborn baby in hospital
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Just when you think you've won the baby naming battle you realize you have to choose a middle name for your baby. The middle name means something different to everyone. To some families it's a very important baby naming tradition. To other families, it's just a way to differentiate between all the other John Smiths out there. No matter your view on the importance of middle names, there are some tactics you can use to ensure that you pick the perfect middle name for your baby.


How to Pick a Middle Name for Your Baby

You're wondering if you should be creative, traditional or trendy but not sure where to start. Here are some tips on choosing the perfect middle name to fit your family, personal preference and style:

1. Be a Little Bit Wild 

The middle name is your chance to spread your wings a bit. Your baby won’t have to share their middle name very often, if ever. So if this is where you want to express your inner hippie chick or use that exotic name you read in a foreign novel but aren’t quite sure how to pronounce, now's the time to go for it.

2. Think of Your Family

Do you have a family name that you feel obligated to use, but don’t love? The middle name might just be the perfect place to look for a spot to park that family name. Some parents also use a last name or maiden name as a middle name for their child.

3. One Is Not the Loneliest Number

Don’t go overboard and choose every baby name you ever loved but don’t have enough kids to name in this spot.

You should be able to choose one solid name, perhaps two if you have a family tradition. But think of the nightmare it will present when filling out official paperwork with limited spaces.

4. Don’t Skip It

You might be tempted to simply go with the perfect first name that you’ve chosen for your baby.

But a middle name serves a few different purposes. First, a middle name can act as an important identifier in legal matters if there are others with the same first and last name as your child. Secondly, your child can choose to go by their middle name if they grow up hating their first name (this is actually the most often used reason people use in the decision to give a middle name to their child).

5. Initial Reaction...

Are you exhausted from trying to choose the perfect baby name AND middle name before you've even met your little one? Consider choosing just the first name and an initial for the middle name until you're ready to fill that spot. Some people choose to go with the flow and pick a middle name later that fits the initials they chose and better fits their child's personality. Starting with the initials is also helpful if you prefer to call your child by a nickname derived from their initials.

As you can see, there really are no rules when picking a middle name. It all comes down to personal preference and your personality (and maybe your baby's if you choose to wait until after they are born to name them).

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