By Lisa Milbrand
September 11, 2014
Group of Toddlers Sitting Looking Up
Credit: Nejron Photo/Shutterstock

I'm always intrigued when I talk to parents about their baby naming strategy.

Some people simply pick a name without regards to popularity—and are often very surprised when they find out that the name they thought was so original was in the top 5 names for that year. (The mom of one of the three Olivias in my daughter's class said she was shocked that there were so many.)

And then there are others who won't pick a name if they know it's in the top 1000—even though, quite honestly, if you avoid the top 10 names for your state, you're probably golden. I've even been asked by readers to remove references to their beloved baby names from blog posts or stories, as if my single blog post is going to be responsible for breathing life back into the name Louisa. (Honestly, I wish I was even close to that influential!) This crew is also more likely to choose creative baby name spellings to make a their child's name stand out—even though Aydyn is still pronounced exactly like Aidan.

One distressed UK mom even took to the discussion forum website to explain how she wants to change her 4-year-old daughter’s name—Esmée—just because she share’s it with two other girls in her class. “I gave her a name which, I thought, was very original as I hadn't heard another girl called it in about 20 years. Only to find when she started nursery another girl called the same but (spelled) differently. (My dear daughter) Is due to start full-time education in September and there will be two other girls with the same name so three in the class including (my dear daughter),” this mom wrote under the username Chesternut. Quickly, other parents comments came flooding in discouraging the mom from doing so. Many spectators made the point that the name now belongs to the 4-year-old and Esmée is the only one who should be allowed to change it. "Totally hacked off and really upset by this," Chesternut continued. "Am I being unreasonable to change my (dear daughter's) name before September? I love her name but HATE it's so common now."

Personally, I'm more in the first camp. The names we picked for our daughters were picked to honor beloved family members, and if those family members were named Sophia or Olivia or Isabella, that would have been that, popularity be damned. But if we'd chosen another baby naming strategy, simply picking baby names that we loved or ones we thought had a lovely meaning, we may have been more conscious of where they sat on the charts.

So where do you stand on this issue? Would you choose a top 10 name, despite the fact that your kiddos would likely find others with the same name in their class? Or would you consciously try to avoid those above a certain point on the popularity list? I'm intrigued to see where you all draw the line!

Still looking for the perfect baby name? Try our Baby Name Finder, or email me at with your dilemma, and we'll try to solve it on this blog.

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