42 Fresh One-Syllable Middle Names for Babies

Dec 1st 2014

 baby name roundups by theme

For some lucky parents, their baby's middle name is a no-brainer. Maybe they have a name they've always loved, a family tradition to pass on, the perfect maiden name to use, or a relative to honor.

This list is for the rest of us. We know that choosing a middle name can be a bit of a struggle. Besides already weighty factors like considering family names, pinpointing your style, and avoiding embarrassing initials, the biggest concern is often how the name sounds as a whole.

So how do you find that lyrical flow between the first and surname? The most sought-after choice is a one-syllable middle name, which sounds great between two or more syllables in the first and last name. A trick we love is to use names that all have a different number of syllables, like Isabella Mae Johnson or Noah James Anderson. A short and sweet name in the middle is a tried-and-true favorite for good reason.

Our examples above include incredibly popular names. But we'd like to inspire you by sharing middle names that are neither overused nor completely exotic. In this brave new naming landscape, we think the middle spot is a great place to choose something a little less expected that both you and your child can both be proud of. Taking an informal look at names from birth announcements across the country, we discovered a few real-life, fresh one-syllable names that are made for the middle.






Claire or Clare

Gray or Grey





Rain or Rayne





Sky or Skye









Blaine or Blayne

Blaise or Blaze








Gray or Grey










Do you love a one-syllable name in the middle? What are your favorite fresh choices?

25 Precious Baby Names Inspired By Gemstones

Dec 1st 2014

Stirring Up Baby Names

Originally appeared on The Stir

baby wearing a tiara

Spider-Man and Great Gatsby star Tobey Maguire may not have known it at the time, but when he and jewelry designer wife Jennifer Meyer named their daughter Ruby Sweetheart Maguire in 2006, they were pioneers of a growing trend. Much like leaning on the rainbow for inspiration, parents are now turning to names of jewels for their precious little ones more and more.

Interestingly enough, this isn't the first time they've been in vogue! In the Victorian era, parents believed naming their child after a gem would bring their daughters and sons luck and prosperity. Couldn't hurt for moms and dads to shoot for the same goal today! Here, 25 of the most viable, bejeweled baby names for girls and boys ...

1. Amethyst - The purple birthstone for the month of February has real potential to rise in popularity, perhaps as a result of rapper Iggy Izalea, who was born Amethyst Amelia Kelly. It's also the first name of the protagonist in the children's novel The Ordinary Princess.
2. Ruby - Perhaps thanks to Tobey Maguire, the fiery July birthstone broke into the U.S. top 100 recently, hitting #93 in 2013. (Meanwhile, it's #1 in Australia!) By the way, Maguire isn't the only star to name his daughter Ruby -- Rod Stewart's daughter also shares the honor.
3. Pearl - The birthstone for the month of June may have been considered a grandma name a generation ago, but it entered the top 1,000 in 2010 and has already risen more than 200 places. Maya Rudolph named her daughter Pearl Minnie Anderson in 2005.
4. Opal - The birthstone for the month of October is considered on par with Ruby and Pearl, in so far as its potential to rise in popularity. Parents who opt for the name may be bestowing hope and good fortune on their little girl, as the Romans believed both were associated with the stone.
5. Mica - The flinty mineral may not be exactly a precious gemstone, but it falls into the same family and is rising in popularity as a name for girls. As for boys, the name is generally spelled Micah.
6. Coral - Slowly rising in popularity, the oceanic name was first used in the Victorian era. It was also the name of Nemo's mom in Finding Nemo.
7. Onyx - The gemstone-inspired name is generally reserved for boys, but it's also gotten a big bump for girls lately.
8. Amber - The golden gemstone is also a girl's name we're hearing more and more, either due to Johnny Depp's fiancee Amber Heard, Amber Riley from Glee, or Amber Portwood from Teen Mom.
9. Emerald - Parents looking for a unique pick with sweet symbolism, this may be it. May's deep green birthstone is supposed to open one's heart to wisdom and to love and be good for strengthening relationships. Aww!
10. Diamond - The stone that Marilyn Monroe so famously called a "girl's best friend" remains the go-to choice for engagement rings. It's also rising in popularity as a baby name, up 72 spots between 2012 and 2013.
11. Bijou - Most notably, the name John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas and then-wife Genevieve Waite gave their daughter in 1980. The still unique French name literally translates to "jewel." It could also be spelled Bijoux. 
12. Beryl - The name of a sea-green jewel and the villain in Sailor Moon is especially popular with Brits, but also on the rise here in the U.S.
13. Jasper - The Twilight character Jasper Hale may have had something to do with the recent jump in interest in this name of a variety of quartz. 
14. Jade - TV chef Giada De Laurentiis named her daughter Jade in 2008, and Mick and Bianca Jagger chose the precious green stone name for their daughter in 1971. 
15. Esme - French for esteemed, beloved, and emerald, it's also a nod to a character from J.D. Salinger's 1950 story For Esme, With Love and Squalor. The name is also a character in Twilight, and Michael J. Fox chose it for his daughter born in 2001.
16. Esmeralda - The Spanish variation of Emerald and the character in Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame. Also, the name for the Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes' newest addition! 
17. Garnet - Up in popularity this year, the red stone name actually means pomegranate.
18. Crystal - One gemstone name that has been used consistently for years (and hit peak popularity in the '80s!).
19. Agate - Parents who opt to name their daughter after this gemstone -- which is said to attract strength, protect against bad dreams, stress, and energy drains -- could consider the nickname Aggie. Another variation is Agatha.
20. Jett - Currenty on the rise, both George Lucas and John Travolta opted for this mineral name for their sons.
21. Goldie - On the decline, the name may bring to mind Goldie Hawn for some, but it was also recently chosen by actress Ione Skye and singer-songerwriter Ben Lee in 2009, as well as Steve Madden last year.
22. Citrine - While it may be too unique to actually wrack up any stats, the golden yellow quartz name is being used here and there by parents looking to branch out from the traditional gemstone names.
23. Topaz - November's birthstone comes in many colors, but we often think of the London blue topaz. It's said to have healing and energizing properties and also to bring good luck, which makes it a lovely, rarely used baby name. Fun fact: In the Dodie Smith novel I Capture the Castle, there is a character named Topaz Mortmain.
24. Silver - This precious metal, unisex name is making a comeback overall. No longer just for hippies, it's considered another option for parents looking to jewelry-inspired names for their babies!
25. Gemma - The name -- which means "precious stone" in Italian -- entered the top baby names list in 2008. It's also the name of One Direction's Harry Styles' older sister and Sex & the City's Kristin Davis' daughter.

Which of these baby names would you consider? Any others inspired by gemstones?

Image via Corbis

You Hate Your Baby's Name -- Now What?

Nov 30th 2014

Stirring Up Baby Names

Originally appeared on The Stir

You've pored over dozens of baby name books, scoured countless sites, and solicited help from friends to find the absolute perfect name for your baby-to-be. You fill out the birth certificate information and head home. But when you get there, you can't help but notice that your baby doesn't seem like a "Sarah" or a "Jed" or a "Hudson." It just doesn't suit him or her. Or maybe you've just come to the conclusion that you really don't even like the name any more.

You're suffering from a case of baby name remorse. It happens. And it's more common than you think.

The question is: What do you do now? 

According to Laura Wattenberg, author of The Baby Name Wizard: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby, finding the perfect baby name is one of the biggest stresses for parents-to-be. The need to be unique, different, and yet still conventional is hard. After revealing a pregnancy, and then the gender, the name is really the last secret parents can keep before the stork arrives. And often times, they struggle with the decision.

"When it comes to baby names, there is too much choice now," says Wattenberg. "And that turns into a perfect recipe for anxiety and regret." With countless choices, the standards of finding a perfect name are higher, and the need to be competitive is increased.

But sometimes, the name you've chosen just simply doesn't match the child you meet. "Some names are just hard for a newborn to live up to," she adds. "That's putting a lot of pressure on a newborn. But remember: If the name does not fit your baby, it might fit your 10-year-old, or your 30-year-old, so don't give up just yet."

But if time goes on and you continue to have that "what was I thinking" feeling about your baby's name, here are some things you can do:

1. Pinpoint why. The first step is to understand exactly why you no longer like the name you've picked. "Often times, parents have chosen a creative name and were dismayed at the reaction they got from family and friends," says Wattenberg. You announce your baby to the world and you're met with some unenthusiastic "Oh's." That's a surefire reason to feel uneasy about the name. Other times, parents find that the name has become far too popular. You may think that your baby Mia or Noah is one-of-a-kind, but chances are there'll be a couple more like-named kiddos in your baby's daycare. That's never a good feeling.

2. Consider a nickname. Maybe your little Christopher is more of a Topher, or your Avery is more of an Avy. Play around with the name and see if the alternatives are more fitting.

3. Use that awesome middle name. There's a reason you've chosen a middle name for your child, and it could be that the second name is much more suitable than the first. This is a great idea, especially when your son is a "Junior" or beyond. Choosing a second name might be the way to go.

4. Shorten it to their initials. Jacob Daniel can be J.D. or Elaine June can go by E.J. Consider abbreviating the names for a more unique spin, says Wattenberg.

5. Introduce a new name as a nickname. Have "New Name Week" at home, says Wattenberg. With older children, have everyone go by a different name for one week. If your child likes it, and you do too, it'll stick.

6. Don't be embarrassed. If you truly feel that the name you chose no longer "fits" your baby, don't wait too long to "change" it, and don't be afraid of what people may think. And don't worry about confusing your child. Chances are, you already use so many names for her (baby, booboo, love, honey, etc.), that throwing one more into the mix won't hurt one bit, says Wattenberg. As far as your family and friends go? "Send them a funny re-birth announcement," Wattenberg says. Take control of the name change and don't be scared to share the good news.

7. Remember: Ultimately, it's your child's name. "There's a point of jurisdiction," says Wattenberg. "Eventually, the name no longer becomes the parents', but the child's." At one point, whether it's when they're three, or 12, the name no longer becomes your property. It's their identification, their title, and their personal self. If they've grown to like it, changing it isn't really an option.

Did you ever regret your baby's name?