By Lisa Milbrand
April 08, 2014

Reader Carlie isn't quite sure about the boys' name she loves:

I am due April 13th and having a hard time finding a boys' name I love. I do not know what I'm having. If it's a girl her name will be Alana Louise but if it is a boy I'm a little lost. I live in Hawaii and have fallen in love with the name Kainoa, But I am unsure if I want it as a first name or a middle name. I'm looking for a good name to partner it. Please help!

Hope we're getting this name advice to you before it's too late! I like the name Kainoa—it has a great meaning, "strength of the sea," and too cool nicknames, red-hot Kai and Noa. I think it's a great name, and I'd definitely put it in the first spot. But deciding what to do for the middle name is probably a bit trickier, right? You could go in the direction of a more straightforward middle name, and names like James, Shane, and Zane could fit the bill. You could also go with another nature-themed name, like Bay, Sage, Dune or Ford. If you do want to keep with the Hawaiian names, Tane (the name of a Polynesian sky god), or Tai, a Maori name that means tide, might pair nicely with Kainoa. Or you could always split the name into a first and middle—Kai's a very popular name, even among people not blessed to live in Hawaii (you lucky dog!), and Noa is a different spelling of the Biblical Noah.

My favorites would be Kainoa James, Kainoa Bay, or Kainoa Tai.

What do you think, readers? What middle names would you suggest with Kainoa? Or would you have put Kainoa in the middle spot?

If you have your own baby name dilemma, share it in the comments, or email me at (You can also start your hunt with our Baby Name Finder!) And don't forget to like In Name Only to keep up with the latest in baby names.


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