Motherhood

What Should We Name Our Baby?

Seriously. Our second baby is due in less than a month, and we’re stuck. Will you weigh in?

Alex and I used to watch movies at night. Now we stay up late discussing baby names. For girls, we’re all set: Jane. But for boys, it has been oddly tough…

Luckily, we’re not alone. Alex actually wrote an article called The New Baby Name Anxiety this past weekend about how a lot of people find it tricky. One set of parents even created complicated Excel spreadsheets!

My dad says we should wait to meet the baby, at which point the right name will become obvious. But the nurse leading our hospital tour told our group of prospective parents, “Babies look like…babies. Come to the hospital with your name ready.”

Julian was our top name for ages. But it’s getting popular—look at the spike!—and it was one of top 100 baby names of 2012. Plus, our close friends just named their sweet son Julian, and we wouldn’t want to step on any toes. So we’re back on the hunt.

Here are three tests we use: NameVoyager will tell you how popular any name has been since the 1880s, and whether it’s getting more or less popular. (Warning: The site is totally addictive.) We also do the blind-date test, where you imagine someone being asked in twenty years, “Hey, you want to meet my friend ____?” It’s a good way to gauge the first impression of the name. And we also think: How does the name sound with Toby?

At the end of the day, here are six names we’re still debating. What do you think?
* We like Sasha, which is a nickname for Alexander. But does that sound like a girl’s name? Would he be teased?
* We like Nicolas, but it’s my brother‘s name. Would that be confusing, day-to-day?
* We like Elias (and the cute nickname Eli), but then our kids would be “Tobias and Elias.” Too much?
* We like Porter, but then it might sound like he has three last names. (Porter Goddard-Williams)
* Alex likes Rhys, which is Welsh, but I think the tricky spelling combined with a hyphenated last name might be too much for a little guy.
* And, of course, we still love Julian. But is the popularity a deal killer?

(By the way, if you say we’re overthinking it, you’re probably right:)

I’m so curious: Which baby names are your favorites these days? Do you care if a name is popular? How do you brainstorm names? Have you known your names forever, or did it take you ages to pick, too? We’d LOVE to hear any advice! THANK YOU!!!!

P.S. The top 100 baby names of 2012. And would (or did) you change your last name after getting married?

(Adorable baby from J.Crew)

  1. I think the name Eli is wonderful. Just unique enough while still remaining classic. Toby and Eli sounds great together. And I happen to love the first date test idea because someone once said to me “You should meet my buddy Eli” and here, 7 years later, I’m going to marry him!

  2. I forgot Nicholas was on the list! I like that one too.
    We waited to name our baby until we saw her (but we went in with some names in mind). I totally disagree with the nurse who said “babies look like babies.” We had one name we were leaning toward, but when we saw our little girl it just didn’t fit her. In the end, we chose a name I’d almost cut from our list a few weeks before.

  3. I like Rhys and Eli best. I LOVE the name Jane, but it’s out of the running for any of my children because Jane Weed is just asking for drug jokes.

  4. I love the name Rhys. We know a teenage Rhys whose last name is Jones. I am Welsh through my father’s side. My brother’s name is Bryn which is very common in Wales. We went with simple family names for our boys- Ben and Will, and a family name for our daughter-Susannah. By the way, we also have an adult friend Julian who happens to be Welsh also!

  5. I am WITH you!!! Brainstorming like crazy at the moment! As to Nicolas : my son’s name is Nikolay , which is a version of the first) , he LOVES it, at school at 9 1/2 he goes by NikOla or NIko . He loves it and so do I – it’s beautiful, different and not too complicated :)

  6. Ditto to everyone else on the Sasha being firmly in the girls’ camp at this point. And Porter Goddard-Williams sounds like a law firm, unfortunately…
    We have gone back and forth on the nickname-as-full name thing for our bun in the oven, and finally decided that you should just name your kid your most favorite name in the whole world- period. If it’s “technically” a nickname, oh well. I just couldn’t bring myself to name my son Elias if I just didn’t like it as much as Eli… so that’s my 2 cents on that- Since Elias/Tobias is a little much, just go with Eli! But my favorite name on your list is Nicolas. :) Plus I love family names. :) 2nd place to Rhys.

    Regarding waiting until you meet your baby before naming them- I have a funny story. My best friend is Rachel Taylor A_. Her parents decided that if the baby was dark haired, she would be Rachel Taylor, since to them, Rachel is a “dark-haired girl’s name”. If she came out blond, she would be Taylor Rachel. Well, she had a full head of black hair at birth, hence the Rachel Taylor, which promptly fell out and grew in blond- white blond. For all her life. Oh well! XO

  7. Rhys is a winner! ;) I think the last names (especially Williams) are fine for little ones.

  8. Joanna,

    I think no matter what you do, you will pick a name that other children will find a way to make fun of. My favorite SNL skit of all time is one with Kevin Nealon and Julia Sweeney, where they’re trying to come up with a name for their child, and he has a problem with every single name (“John? You want to name our son John? The kids’ll say, ‘I have to go to the bathroom, I’m going to go to the JOHN!'”) Makes me laugh every time.

    I agree that Tobias & Elias sounds a bit much, but you never use the full names! I had actually forgotten that Toby’s real name is Tobias. So I really don’t think it’ll matter. If you’re truly bothered by it, you can give him another name with Eli as a nickname, as others have suggested: Elijah, Elliott, or even just Eli! But my gut says that if Julian has been your #1 choice for so many years, just go with it. Maybe even feel your friend out to see if she would mind (would you mind if your baby came first, and your friend gave her baby the same name?) Also, will your baby and your friend’s baby be going to the same school? Just some thoughts!

  9. All these names are great, but Rhys has my vote! I think it sounds DARLING.

  10. Toby and Eli. So sweet… Sounds like a book title.

  11. Toby and Eli. So sweet… Sounds like a book title.

  12. I really like Porter, but if you are smitten with Julian, I say go with that. It is your child, and in the end you should choose a name that you are happy with, regardless if it is momentarily popular or someone else’s child has the same name. There are a lot of people on this planet, it’s bound to happen.

  13. What about simply Eli or Elli (because it looks better with double Ls)? Who needs a 3-syllable name when it’s fantastic at 2! I’m rooting for Rhys too because it’s just so chic! :)

  14. My vote goes to Nicholas (for personal reasons known to the author ;)) I don’t think it would be confusing, there’ll probably be some cute nickname for the newcomer. And don’t forget “My Greek Wedding”: Nick, Nick, Nick… :)) (hopefully you saw the movie)

    Since i’m new here, just discovered this blog and already loving it, let me send you greetings from Bosnia & Herzegovina. And pardon my English too ;)

    Ivana

  15. I love Sasha. I have a male cousin, Sasha. I call him Sash. I don’t think it is girly at all but that might be because my cousin. Who is 30 yo and has the most awesome name!!! For a guy!

  16. I love Sasha. I have a male cousin, Sasha. I call him Sash. I don’t think it is girly at all but that might be because my cousin. Who is 30 yo and has the most awesome name!!! For a guy!

  17. I like Rhys. I think it goes well with the full name and totally passes the date and good with Toby test :)

    My sons are named Brendan and Everett though so we may not be so good at matching!

  18. Have you thought of Nico has a nickname for Nicolas? Could be a way to distinguish, and I’ve always thought it’s a fun and creative alternative to Nick…

  19. You have a list of beautiful names!

    I agree with those who have posted before that when it comes to naming your child, you just have to go with what YOU love the most. With my daughter, we had a name we loved all during my pregnancy, and weeks before she was born my sister-in-law named her baby a name that was quite similar. Not wanting to step on any toes we found a new one (that I do love), but in retrospect, I have regrets. I wish I had just stuck with it and not worried about anything else.

    Good luck!!

  20. All of the Porters I know are girls.

    I love the name Rhys. Welsh names are so lovely.

    Our current favorites are Tamsin for a girl and Idris (Sid for short) for a boy.

  21. LUCA! (I do like El, but for some reason Luca popped in my mind as a good name for brother Toby.)

  22. Well being a Sasha (female), I can tell you this…I’ve only ever met female Sasha’s (maybe 5 my entire life), and 8 out of 10 times, when I meet someone new, their first response is “Oh my mom/friend/etc. has a cat/dog named Sasha”. Not the greatest nice-to-meet-you moment, let me tell ya. So, although I’ve grown to love my name, I would suggest against it. I think Eli is cute, but I really, really love Rhys! Different, cool and I think it goes well with your last names. Best of luck!

  23. Sasha – Sounds like girl to me (is that a regional thing?). Rhys – will always have to spell. Porter – Great name!
    Henry is a huge favorite of mine. And I always wanted Benjamin Pierce because I think Pierce is such a strong name. Got pregnant with twin boys who wound up being Albert and Andrew (Drew) instead of Pierce!

  24. Nicholas is awesome and I like that it’s a family name. And first date test? Who DOESN’T want to meet a Nick? :)

  25. I’d go for Joshua ;)

  26. I love Julian and wouldn’t worry about the popularity. When we named our son Wyatt we didn’t know any other kids and didn’t think too much about trends and popularity- just both Easy Rider fans :) Now I realize it’s actually become very popular, but you know that’s okay because it’s still a name that we love. Of course it’s still low on the charts in New England where we live and I’ve only met one other… I might feel differently if I had to deal with lots of playmates with our same name. Did you check for your state?

    We’re expecting a girl in two months and I’ve been having the same debate, loving one name but forcing another for the untrendy factor. I think it’s a mistake, if you really love a name who cares if it’s popular. Good luck!

  27. Sasha is very feminine. I haven’t visited your blog in a couple months & didn’t know whether you had found out boy or girl, and when I read the name “Sasha” I thought, “Oh! So they’re having a girl!”. It took me a couple confused seconds to catch on. The only man I can think of with a similar name is Sacha Baron Cohen (and he’s such a pig).

    I also think that Julian, although a decidedly male name, is very soft & feminine as well.

    Porter is fantastic.

    Why not just name him Eli instead of Elias?

  28. I love the name Rhys… it means, “enthusiastic or eager”, which I think is a great way to feel about life :)

  29. -I love the name Nicholas! I think is nice to use family names not confusing at all (But I have to say I am European).
    -Julian is nice too, but I would never call my son as a frinds son.
    -I likes Elias and Rhys. I don’t think Tobias and Elias is a probelm. But the spelling can be so annoying! Nobody know how to spell my surname or how to pronounce it.
    -To me Sasha sounds good, but I should say again I am European*

    (*I am Spanish and I live in Ireland)

  30. you have to pick what works for you. if you guys love julian, then choose julian. it’s certainly not the “michael” or “joseph” of baby names and your friends will (hopefully) understand. you’re the ones who have to live with this name!

    as for personal preference, i like porter. i think it sounds great with your last names and sounds adorable with “toby” too. oh and it definitely passes the blind date test ;)

  31. The name Sacha has a Slavic origin. In Europe- more specifically on the Balkans, Sasha is a male name. Nowadays it is considered to be a unisex name. It is usually used as a diminutive of the name Alexander (and Alexandra).

  32. First of all congratulations! If ever I will have a baby boy, I’ll name him Sebastian. Ferdinand or Lorenzo.

  33. I love LOVE Rhys! But Jane? Nobody wants to be a Plain Jane!

  34. SAWYER. I don’t know why you look like you would have a Sawyer…or, Nicholas

  35. SAWYER. I don’t know why you look like you would have a sawyer.

  36. Julian! At the end of the day, popularity shouldn’t sway your decision. If its a name you’ve always loved, it’s THE ONE. I’ve felt the same way for Julian for the past few years now. When my mother in law just informed me how popular it was now, I gotta say, I became infuriated. Ha! I work at a school and do not know of one kid named Julian so it threw me for a loop! My only obstacle is getting my husband on bored with it. We all have our battles I guess!

  37. My ranking:

    1. Porter
    2. Elias or even Levi (which rhymes with Eli)
    3. Rhys
    4. Nikolai instead of Nicholas or Dmitri (with the possible nick-name of Mitya); they’re both Russian names to sub for Alexandre/Sasha

    Good Luck! :)

  38. I love Nicholas or Eli (as a name, not just a nickname). Elliott would be cute too! Julian makes me think of Jonah which I also love. Boys names are tough!

  39. How about asking Toby about it? I got my name from my older sister because she decided that the baby in her mom’s belly was going to be named Carolin. Back then my parent’s didn’t even know if I was going to be a boy or a girl but they couldn’t bother my sister with that. So luckily I turned out to be a girl and of course I got the name my sister picked for me. I couldn’t be happier because my parents were gonna name me Anna after a great-grandma and even though I like the idea of that, I am glad that I’m not one of the thousands of Anna’s out there that are my age. I’m much more of a Carolin :)

  40. I went into labor thinking that she was going to be Nora but the instant she was born, I just knew that she was Josephine. We call her Josie. I think you should go in with your top 3 and TRUST ME you will know when he is here. Babies DO NOT look like babies…

  41. -I think here in the states Sasha might be too girly. (I hate saying that)
    -My brother in law is named after his Uncle, and it’s lovely. They made the spelling different by one letter, but either way, I think that is very sweet.
    -Tobias and Eli is cute! What about just Eli?
    -Porter seems to popular for my taste :)
    -Rhys, not sure
    -Love Julian despite the apparent growing popularity :)

  42. someone said Milo and I think that’s cute. What about Walter?

  43. someone said Milo and I think that’s cute. What about Walter?

  44. I think your dad has got it. I was going to name my baby Edie, but she came out looking like a Winifred (May) to me. I waited post-delivery on all of my kiddos by the way, including our daughter lost at 6 months (Minnie June). I think they still have lots of personality to share fresh out of the womb which may sway the vote. Oh, but I will add a vote for Rhys or Porter.

  45. All of your names are lovely! I must vote for Alexander (Sasha). My son is Alexander (Alex for short) but I also loooove Sasha. I love that Alexander is such a classic name, that it’s got Greek roots (I’m Greek) and that he’s Alexander the Great! Sasha. I vote Sasha!

  46. Sasha! I love traditional names, especially with a regional nickname. It’s fun to have an “unusual” name, even if there’s some snickering when you’re a kid.

  47. Happy you like the name Jane! That is my name, and now I love it, but I didn’t until I was maybe 17.
    Julian gives me a strange reaction… the first association I have now is Julian Fellows of Downton Abbey. I LOVE the boy’s name Luca… or even Lucian or Lucius, both family names. Nicolas is classic. I also adore longer names like Nathaniel, Benedict and Sebastian (Seb!)

  48. I normally don’t comment on blog posts, but I couldn’t resist because we were in the exact same dilemma 3 months ago. We wanted a sweet, classic name that wasn’t very popular for our little girl. We decided we wanted to choose a name that we had heard of but never known anyone with so that it was known, but not popular. Using these criteria we finally chosen Evelyn for our little lady. Then, popularity lists came out and it was in the top 50 and we were so sad and shocked!!! We couldn’t believe it because we had never known anyone with this name, and I’m a primary school teacher so I know LOTS of kids and it had still never come up. Needless to say, we decided that we chose a name based on what felt right for our little girl and we did it before we ever even looked at a popularity list. So, my whole point in this is, choose what feels right for this little one and don’t focus on lists! Even if your boy were 1 of 4 Julians, he’d be your favourite by far!

  49. hi!
    me and my husband was sure for the first baby’s name: Riccardo (I love the shortname Ricky) but for the second (arrving for the end of august) we cannot decide between Fabrizio (Fabry) and Giammarco (Giamma, or Gimmy).
    Ricky allready call him Giammarco..
    Suggestion..let Toby decide his brother’s name!
    kisses from Italy, Laura

  50. Sasha is totally a boys name, it’s Russian and I love it. I’m due with baby #2 in mid July as well and id be all over sasha if his father permitted it. However, I don’t think he’s on board for that one. We also don’t know the sex of the baby either, and are using Jane as our girls middle name.

  51. We struggled with boys names and had our girls name figured about two seconds after we got the positive. In the end we wrote out a list of names (strangely most of them started with H) and about an hour after our son was born we pulled out the journal I had written them in and my husband just looked at the name Holden, which up to that point was a last-minute addition, and it just felt like it worked. In the end it filled all of our criteria – sounds boyish, doesn’t have a nickname (like nick, will, ben) and it sounded like a good, strong name. I also have a weird thing about boys names that end in ‘n’, so again that all fit the criteria. But I do remember it all being very stressful. It was great that in the end it all came together and I now love his name.

    I really actually think Elias is fun with Tobias. Toby and Eli are a really lovely sibling set! On the baby name wizard website you can find names that work for siblings as well as find out popularity.

  52. Porter is nice. What about Owen?

  53. My husband and I were recently at dinner seated next to a family with an adorable toddler named Parks. I think it is such a cool variation of a more popular name Parker. Unfortunately, Parks does not go with our last name, but I thought I’d throw out the suggestion!
    I vote for Porter from your list.

  54. You’ve always loved Julian? Then call him Julian, whatever your friends did. You should not get influenced/reluctant, because of what other people have chosen for their kids. Same for Nicolas, I wear the same name as my aunt and I’m fine with it, plus he’ll be proud to think you named your baby after him. :)

  55. Elias for a boy. That’s what we would have named our daughter had she been a boy. And I adore the name Tessa.

    Toby and Elias
    Toby and Tessa

    Works, I think.

  56. Porter has always sounds like an overweight old man to me. Definitely doesn’t pass my blind date test.
    Eli!! Simple but unique.

  57. I totally dig Porter. If we have a boy we’re liking the name Booker, yeah he might be called booger, but my husband’s name is Dash and he was called something women use for cleaning purpose. ;-)

  58. Why not skip Elias & just go with Eli? I am a female Eli (short for Elizabeth) and I love it!

  59. So to be honest, when you named Toby, Toby, I thought it was such a goofy name…now I just love it! Think it is adorable and is on our “maybe” list for the bun in my oven (!!!!). Elliott is #1 and Nicholas is #2 (Toby #3), so clearly I love the name Nicholas and I think it is adorable that he would be named after his Uncle! So special when you use a family name and a family connection. Seems like Toby loves his Uncle so I am sure baby will too! Sasha is way too girly, Tobias and Elias..kind weird but Toby and Eli is just adorable, Porter..yep, too many last names (but cute!), Rhys and Julian..ehh. So my top names are Nicholas and Elias ;) I’ll throw Elliott out there too though!

  60. Have you read today’s Washington Post article? It highlights baby names across socio-economic and political lines. Confirms some of the same conclusions as Freakonomics.

    “Liberal elites use esoteric cultural references to demonstrate their elevated social position just as conservatives invoke traditional signals of wealth and affluence.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/06/04/republicans-and-democrats-cant-even-agree-on-baby-names/

  61. Rhys Or Porter for sure. Each name just sounds HANDSOME.

  62. I love Julian. I wouldn’t worry about Sasha sounding too feminine – if you like the name, go for it. There are many guys named Sasha, its a great name, and who cares what people think? They’ll get used to it and it’ll help to open the door for others who want to use names that are considered too this or too that. Nicolas is my third favorite from your list.

    Can’t wait to find out what you go for!

  63. Even if it is very popular, I love Julian; but my second choice would be Nicolas.
    Good luck Joanna !

    Chloe

    Ps: Jane is a beautiful name :)

  64. How about Elijah instead of Elias, then you still get the cute nickname Eli! :-) x

  65. I have a brother named Rhys, and he’s awesome and i love the name and the spelling although it can be a little tricky. My mom went in for a parent/teacher conference when he was in 2nd grade and the teacher kept calling him “Rice.” My mom corrected her and when she asked Rhys about it later he told her that he didn’t want to correct her because at the time he had a lisp and he didn’t want her to call him “weese.” Isn’t that the saddest thing. poor little guy. We laugh about it now and he can now say his R’s just fine. (-:

    Also, I go to a Russian church and although i’m not Russian i have gotten very used to Sasha as a male name

    I don’t think you can go wrong with Nicholas, even if it’s your brothers name.

    I think Toby and Eli do sound great together, but I can imagine worrying that Tobias and Elias is a little much. You could just go for straight Eli, name him the nickname

    good luck!

  66. Eli or Porter! XO

    Our 3 year old is named Graham, my mother in-law’s maiden name. Our 9 month old is Archer, we actually watched the animated show ARCHER during my pregnancy and loved the name. Of course, we were convinced we wouldn’t use it because we thought I was having a girl!

    SO excited for you guys! You have the best mom blog on the block!

  67. i have just started my 9th month of pregnancy. we’re having a girl. will call her Mila. But when and if we have a boy, we’ll call him Dylan.

  68. i love when names have a connection to family. My father’s middle name is Lewis (spelled like the explorer) and I’ve always thought it would make a great first name for a little boy. Also a variant of Rhys, is Rhett which I don’t think is too popular but is definitely a unique boy name (I’ve only ever met 1 Rhett)!

  69. My favorite definitely is Nicholas. Classic and with personality, is a beautiful name.

  70. name him Roman! that’s my favorite guy’s name :) or maybe James?
    Roman he’s guaranteed to be a ladykiller with a boyish smile and James is sweet and handsome.

  71. if you love eli but wonder about elias, why not just name him eli?

  72. if you love eli but wonder about elias, why not just name him eli?

  73. IMHO….you do know when you meet your little person for the first time. We went in with our top 5 names with our first daughter and then knew Annika is who she was. The second time we knew right away. She was Gemma. The precious gem we had been searching for.
    AND…both names were discovered while watching movies. I love movies for finding names. The credits are awesome with all those names. all those creative types and their cool names, specially foreign films.
    One thing that helped us was counting syllables….is that right? Syllables is what you call it? Like Jane is one and Annika is 3, Gemma is 2 and there are rules that you can only mix so many syllables together between first and last name to make it roll off the tongue easy. I love Toby and I have a sneaky suspicion you will find the perfect little brother name. Sending you lots of good juju!

  74. Eli or Julian!

    Good luck!

    xo Nadia

  75. We picked out the name Nicholas for our 3rd child who then turned out to be a girl (named her Kyra after watching the movie, Xanadu). we saved Nicholas for our 4th but used it as his middle name. Cody, which wasn’t very popular 25 years ago, is now very popular. I vote for Nicholas!

  76. We named our son Rhys (18mo now). Some, well, most people don’t know how to pronounce it but I still wouldn’t have spelled it any other way. To me, Rhys is the correct spelling for a male, and much more classic and masculine. Other than pronunciation, the name has always been received very well=) Still love it of course! Good luck!

  77. My boyfriend’s name is Sacha (spelt the French way, which is almost exclusively masculine), and I love it. Plus, he swears that in grade school, he was never given a hard time about it being too effeminate. So, I don’t think you can go that wrong with it! Good choices!

  78. Oh I agree how naming a boy can be so tricky!

    My husband and I have a long list of girl names that we both liked but still can’t find ONE boy’s name that we both agree on. Luckily our firstborn is a girl.

    Anyway, I like Julian from your list. It may be getting popular, but as long as it is not in the top 20, it should be alright.

  79. Oh I agree how naming a boy can be so tricky!

    My husband and I have a long list of girl names that we both liked but still can’t find ONE boy’s name that we both agree on. Luckily our firstborn is a girl.

    Anyway, I like Julian from your list. It may be getting popular, but as long as it is not in the top 20, it should be alright.

  80. Oh I agree how naming a boy can be so tricky!

    My husband and I have a long list of girl names that we both liked but still can’t find ONE boy’s name that we both agree on. Luckily our firstborn is a girl.

    Anyway, I like Julian from your list. It may be getting popular, but as long as it is not in the top 20, it should be alright.

  81. Oh I agree how naming a boy can be so tricky!

    My husband and I have a long list of girl names that we both liked but still can’t find ONE boy’s name that we both agree on. Luckily our firstborn is a girl.

    Anyway, I like Julian from your list. It may be getting popular, but as long as it is not in the top 20, it should be alright.

  82. Did you know that there is an all boys private school in Charleston called Porter-Gaud? That is what I automatically think of when I hear Porter Goddard and its hyphenated, too. But, I still do like the name Porter a lot! I like them all actually, even Sasha. I have a guy friend named Mckenzie which is Scottish but is a common American girl name. He stood out for it at school, but in a good way. And its a great story. He will always have an interesting fact to share about himself if all else fails.

  83. I LOVE the name Eli-and chances are that not many people would be calling them “Tobias” or “Elias” anyways. I love the name Aiden (or Aedan, Aidan..). What about a more traditional name like Henry or Charlie? Those are cute too, I think! congrats on your new baby :)

  84. I knew a kid very well who’s parents named him Alexander with the intention of him going be “Sasha” but by high school everyone called him “Sash” (open a, pronounced like s”ah”sh). It was kind of cool, just a thought!

  85. I love Sasha ! I don’t find it girly at all ! For the story, I grew up in France and was obsessed with Pokemon, the cartoon, and over there the hero’s name was Sasha, not Ash ! I always loved that name, it reminds me of a dedicated, passionate guy haha !
    If you want to go with Eli, I would pick Elliott over Elias ( which I find too feminine ).
    Bonne courage !

  86. I love Sasha ! I don’t find it girly at all ! For the story, I grew up in France and was obsessed with Pokemon, the cartoon, and over there the hero’s name was Sasha, not Ash ! I always loved that name, it reminds me of a dedicated, passionate guy haha !
    If you want to go with Eli, I would pick Elliott over Elias ( which I find too feminine ).
    Bonne courage !

  87. Eli is great, you could always use the name Elijah instead, which is a name that I’ve always liked but won’t use because it doesn’t really go with our last name. As for Nicolas, I love the nickname Nico so you could use that to avoid confusion!

  88. I’m with your dad, you’ll know which name is right when you see the baby. Any name can work, it is the love and feeling behind it. If you go with Julian or Nicholas, you will find a special nickname to use when you need to discern who’s who. The name Sasha makes me think of Emma Goldman.

  89. We’re having so much trouble naming our boy, too! We had so many lovely girl’s names and we were THRILLED to find out we’re having a boy, but now we are so stuck! We love Noah but it’s ranking at number two lately… a dealbreaker for sure. Now we like Peter but for some reason are having trouble settling. I love Julian and Elias- Tobias and Elias is fine, because they’ll go by Toby and Eli! Too cute!

  90. Ohhh, Sasha has been my top boys name for pretty much ever. And luckily my husband likes it too. I think if you pronounce it Sah-sha it sounds feminine, but Saw-sha is less so. That’s just me though.

    Also, kids will find ways to make fun of LITERALLY EVERY NAME EVER. So I wouldn’t worry too much about that. I mean, I knew a kid named Justin Case.

    That aside, I think Rhys is an excellent choice as well. Best of luck!

  91. Wow, naming a child is such an intense experience! Thanks for sharing. I would like to think that my parents put this much thought into it. One’s name is how one is presented to the world, it’s important! I can see myself going crazy with this if I had a child.
    Sasha is lovely, but it does sound feminine. Nicolas deserves his own name. Porter does sound like another last name. Rhys – I wouldn’t know how to pronounce that! Elias is lovely, and so is Julian. I’d probably choose Elias. In case you’re in need of new ideas, look at some unisex names (I like Holden or Rowan).

  92. What about Eli on its own? It’s a name in its own right and gets rid of the Tobias/Elias problem!

    Have you ever read Swistle’s baby name blog?
    Swistle.com/babynames
    She addresses readers conundrums like this almost daily. Also very addictive!

  93. Rhys and Julian are perfect choices. Classic, charming, and not overused. Don’t worry about the spelling of Rhys, as Welsh and Gaelic names are now very common. Also don’t worry too much about your friends – go with the name you love. With second babies, it’s almost impossible to find a name no-one else has used as your circle of babies is so much bigger – many of your friends have one or two kids and you now know so many kids through daycare, the park, etc. Try not to worry about the popularity thing… log off nameberry immediately. With our second child (we have two girls), we were stumped as we’d used our favourite girls name on #1. I tortured myself trying to find something that wasn’t in the top 100 or 200, and as a result didn’t choose the name I really wanted (Chloe and Eleanor were my top choices). So as much as you can, don’t obsess over the popularity thing. Re your other names, I think Elias and Tobias are too similar. We named our first daughter Beatrix (Bea for short) and didn’t take into account how similar it was to our dog’s name, Ruby. Don’t do it. I would also nix Nicolas. Choose something special for your boy and give him Nicolas as a middle name if you want to honour your brother. Porter does sound like a last name and sounds a little clunky with your last names. Sacha is nice, not my cup of tea, but not a name people would make fun of. Good luck with your decision!!

  94. Here’s my favs lately: Everett, Huck, Penn, Holden, Kick and Arlo for boys and Ellis, Elsie, Micah, and Tillie for girls. Whatever you pick will truly be perfect!

  95. I think Porter, Rhys, and Elias are wonderful names for boys!

    Personally I’ve always been a fan of Penelope, Evangeline (too much?), Lily, and Lisette for girls,

    then Ivan, Vincent, and Victor for boys :)

  96. You have set yourself two themes to keep. Either Shane (means and sounds the same as Jane, but masculine- only not too masculine, just like :”Toby”) OR August (great meaning, cute nicknames; Gus or Auggie- just like Toby. or “Auger” if he’s a bruiser. :-) I vote for August. I like how Tobias and August Goddard-Williams and Toby and Gus/Auggie Goddard-Williams sound.

    Don’t worry. Your baby WILL suggest a name. :-)

  97. Our second child boys name (we had a girl) was… Elliott. I still love it and you’d get to use the nickname you liked to boot!
    I should add though that I love all your other options too! Good luck.

  98. Here’s our second child boy’s name (we had a girl)… Elliott. I still love it and you can use your preferred nickname to boot!
    I should add though that I love all your options too. Good luck!

  99. love Eli and Porter!

  100. We did not decide our second until she was born. We had a list and my 10 year old niece told me which one she liked best, Iris, and the fact that she helped is so special. Our last child, a boy, which was secretly kinda sad for me (3 daughters, how cool would that be? But nope.) I could not decide because I thought nothing measured up to my girl names running list. So I let my husband decide and he told me on the day he was born, totally special and scary at the same time! But I knew I would be all hopped up on endorphins and baby love I would love the name no matter what. SO…Jack it is.

  101. Don’t worry about how Tobias & Elias sound together because Toby & Eli sound great together and that’s what they will be called.

  102. Don’t worry about how Tobias & Elias sound together because Toby & Eli sound great together and that’s what they will be called.

  103. I really like Elias, especially if you’re planning on using Eli for short. What about Ellis if you’re worried about Tobias and Elias sounding too much? It’s still quite similar :)

  104. Our little one went 5 days without a name, we had Riley or Ethan and were convinced by them but our daughter was adament right from the word go he would be Leo (which we really weren’t keen on!) Sure enough when we met him our two names kind of didn’t sit and we agonised, one day we tried one, the next another… over the next few days his little character began to unfurl and sure enough he had been Leo all along, it was him. 2 yrs later and there couldn’t have been a more apt choice, a loud lion full of bravado and pomp and a real softy really when it comes down to it. I’m so glad we took the time, despite everyone’s comments, it is worth waiting til you are absolutely sure. A name is more than a label it’s for life and it’s who you are!

  105. Toby and Eli for definite! Without dount! Would you call them both by their full names all at once? I never hear you speak of Toby as Tobias he always seems Toby…. unless the two little bandits were being really bad then Tobias and Elias will have everyone cracking up when they’re meant to being ticked off. I love it, a memorable pair of little dudes and such a stronger combination, a force to be reckoned with!

  106. Of the names you’ve listed here, I love the name Rhys. I don’t think it would be too much with the hyphenated last name because Goddard-Williams is easy to pronounce and sounds good together. I love the name Julian even more, but it’s popularity and close vicinity to your family would probably cause me to rule it out if I was in your position. Have you ever considered the name Jonah?

  107. Of the names you’ve listed here, I love the name Rhys. I don’t think it would be too much with the hyphenated last name because Goddard-Williams is easy to pronounce and sounds good together. I love the name Julian even more, but it’s popularity and close vicinity to your family would probably cause me to rule it out if I was in your position. Have you ever considered the name Jonah?

  108. I like the blind date test.

    My tests are picturing the name at the top of a resume (even if resumes are just holograms by the time your child has a resume….)

    and visualizing it on a campaign sign.

    Those offer great clarity for me when I’m thinking about a name.

  109. With a double-barreled last name, wouldn’t you want something shorter on the front? Porter (and even Julian) seem so weighty with a hyphenated surname. The PGW combo, especially, is a bit unwieldy.

    Are you okay with Porter being called Port? Porty? (Port-o-potty?). Because it will happen.

    Could you call your Julian “Jules” to differentiate from your friends’ baby?

    As others have said, you can name a child Eli without the Elias. Or Ian, perhaps.

    If you like Rhys, have you considered Reese? A little easier on the spelling front (and impossible to be made into a nickname, for what it’s worth).

    Nicolas is a lovely name as well. Could yours go by Nick to avoid confusion? Or Nico?

    On the bullying front—Sasha wouldn’t be teased out here on the west coast, but Porter might!
    Then again, kids will find a way to tease whatever name you choose! Best of luck with it.

  110. Names in our family that I adore:

    Pellyn (my baby’s name… we call her Pellie). I would name a boy Pell.
    James
    Townsend
    Tanner

    My father, grandfather and brother are all James Townsend Tanner… so all three are favorites of mine… is that a little weird to recommend to a stranger in the blogging world?

  111. The ‘blind date’ test is fabulous! Also try the ‘yell out’ test – would people crane their necks to see who answers? (Surnames often fail this one.) How comfortable would you be yelling out ‘Porter’ in a crowded railway station?
    Carolyn

  112. Elias is one of the top five Arabic names in North Africa. I love Nicolas and Rhys.
    X

  113. Personally, I really think you should name him Julian. You’ve both loved the name. Your friends would hopefully be flattered that you love it as much as they do and I have to think that you might regret (just a smidge) not using it if that is the only reason.

    Otherwise, Elias is a family name for me and my new baby nephew was given that name. I love it!

    Whatever you do pick will be perfect and he will take ownership of his name just like Toby has. :)

  114. Love this, and loved Alex’s article, too! I would just like to say: not over thinking it. I keep a list of dog names. DOG NAMES. Because it’s your thing, your heart, yours to call out over treetops for dinner. So it’s alllllllllllright, I say, to think about it ESPECIALLY for your kiddos (I don’t even have kids yet)!

    ALl of your choices are GREAT, and as a teacher, I have only had one kid with one of your names, and he was grand.

    I don’t think Nicolas would be a problem. And, he’d have a fun connection with his ostensibly cool uncle. Radical!

    I have two sets of friends with twin boys w/great names:
    Graham and Ellis (also does Eli!)
    Brooks and Gherig (They’re into baseball, obi)

    Other boys names I enjoy:
    Clayton
    Eamon
    Keats
    Jake
    Robert (Bobby. Everyone likes Fun Bobby!)
    Hayes
    Russell
    Bruce

    GOOD LUCK! WIshing you a happy and healthy delivery!
    Katie

    PS – my dogs are named Gidget Oanasis and Riggins (he just goes by Riggs and she’s G-Money).

  115. Love this, and loved Alex’s article, too! I would just like to say: not over thinking it. I keep a list of dog names. DOG NAMES. Because it’s your little creature, your heart, yours to call out over treetops for dinner. So it’s alllllllllllright, I say, to think about it ESPECIALLY for your kiddos (and I don’t even have kids yet)!

    ALl of your choices are GREAT, and as a teacher, I have only had one kid with one of your names, and he was grand.

    I don’t think Nicolas would be a problem. And, he’d have a fun connection with his ostensibly cool uncle. Radical!

    I have two sets of friends with twin boys w/great names:
    Graham and Ellis (also goes by Eli!)
    Brooks and Gherig (they’re into baseball, obvi)

    Other boys names I enjoy:
    Clayton
    Eamon
    Keats
    Jake
    Robert (Bobby. Everyone likes Fun Bobby!)
    Hayes
    Russell
    Bruce

    GOOD LUCK! Wishing you a happy and healthy delivery!
    Katie

    PS – my dogs are named Gidget Oanasis and Riggins (he just goes by Riggs and she’s G-Money).

  116. ugh, the “girl’s name” and “teasing” factor get so tedious! my sister and her husband named their baby boy Vyvian Utah and I think in today’s world he’s going to be JUST FINE. they live in a pretty hip town full of unique names for babies, but seriously, can’t the world just grow up!? there’s no such thing as a gender or a sex for a NAME. sasha is a rad boy’s name. hello sasha baron cohen?! hottie and hilarious, he’s way cool beyond any teasing anyone could ever come up with. (i’m sure someone else has mentioned him, didn’t have time to read all the comments.) i think if the parents love the name and are proud of it, the child will embrace it and be confident and cool amongst his or her peers. i wish you well joanna! i am pregnant again too and thinking of names is so important and fun. i love sasha and rhys :)

  117. I must smile because it is not so long ago we had this “problem” before our baby´s birth. Since we didn´t know the sex we had to choose both girl and boy versions. Here in Slovakia people cannot use some words as names so there is no chance to find Apple or Ireland among people. After all we chose three names and when our girl was born she got name Veronika. It is definitely her name and whatever name you choose I wish you that feeling that you found HIS name at last. Bless you :)

  118. a says...

    Porter is my dogs name… so no to Porter. Love the name Rhys… my first real boyfriend’s name was Rhys… he was sexy and magical and fun!
    I love the names Ryder, Wyatt, and Wilder….
    I think Julian is a very strong name as well… go with your gut!
    xoxo

  119. My two boys names that I LOVED are

    Lake

    and
    Malcolm
    (I had a girl last year and went with French-y Nadine)
    CONGRATULATIONS AND GOOD LUCK, Joanna! :)

  120. I love all of your name choices, except Porter. I hate it, I’m sorry. I agree with whomever said above that it reminds them of steaks and beer, and while I absolutely love both of those things, I would not want to be named after them. I do however love, LOVE, Sasha! I did study Russian in college though, so maybe my associations are a little off from the average American, but I honestly think it’s lovely. I also like all your other choices, and really can’t see you going wrong (that is, unless you choose Porter).

  121. I love androgynous names! Sasha is my favorite. I’m also partial to Jonah for a boy.

  122. Err, we named our French Bulldog Porter, and only because I did some digging on YOUR blog last year and found it on a list you posted! It is a fabulous name, but people do ask us if we named him after a beer :) (although we do also love porters).

    How about Theo?

  123. Err, we named our French Bulldog Porter, and only because I did some digging on YOUR blog last year and found it on a list you posted! It is a fabulous name, but people do ask us if we named him after a beer :) (although we do also love porters).

    How about Theo?

  124. Hi, What about Cornelius for a boy and Lavender for a girl.
    Just a suggestion, both lovely names but whatever you call your new baby it will be yours to choose and im sure it will be perfect.
    Love your blog been following for a couple of years and never made a comment until now! Babies names are such a hotbed of suggestions.
    good luck with the new baby and love to Toby. x

  125. Maybe I´m the only one, but Julian reminds me a lot of the name Adrian. Noble, sweet, soft but historical character. Could be another option…

  126. julian…DO it! also love the name nicolas! :)

  127. I love Rhys! My second fave is Porter, then Julian.

  128. My husband’s grandfather’s name was Oakley. He was in English class with F Scott Fitzgerald as freshmen at Princeton. I love the name!

  129. Sasha is a lovely boy’s name in my opinion–though I do think your average person on the street would think it’s a girl’s name, unless of course they’re Slavophiles. Another option is Sasho, which is the Bulgarian nickname for Alexander (Sasha, I’m sure you know, is the Russian nickname).

    Whatever you choose, I know you won’t regret it!

  130. I like Nicolas best from your list. I think it’s nice (and special!) that he’d get to share a name with your brother.

    Initial reactions to the others: Sasha = feminine, Elias/Tobias = a bit much, Porter = chubby/pig?? (sorry, just my word association), Rhys = how is it pronounced?, Julian = great name but you already seem to feel a bit guilty for considering it since your friends used it (although I personally don’t think that should matter)

  131. Elias sounds great! and yes, Sasha sounds a little feminine.

  132. Elias sounds great!! and yes..Sasha sounds too feminine. :)

  133. Jane is perfect for a girl, I love it! For a boy I’ve always loved James. I think it’s strong and classic, plus Toby and James sound like awesome brothers. Nicholas is great too though. I wouldn’t worry at all about it being weird that it’s your brother’s name; if anything it will be a special thing he shares with his uncle!
    Take care :)

  134. naming your baby after your brother is only confusing if you’re living in the same household as your brother. ;) (And even then, it’s doable. Just look at all the kids named after their parents) Nick is a good name! :)

  135. I personally would go with Porter, but I love last names as first names. My daughter is named Rooney :) Her middle name is Jane, which I LOVE!

  136. I adore Porter, that is just lovely.

    My parents had a name all picked out for my sister but when she was born it just didn’t fit. They ended up not officially naming her until her checkup a week later when the doctor offered to help. He said he has seen a lot of babies, held her up and said “she looks like a Rachel to me.” My parents loved it, and it was never even a name they’d considered before that. Using the expertise of someone who has seen a LOT of babies seem like a smart choice.

  137. I LOVE Sasha (does’t sound girly to me) and I also like Elias (I don’t think the “Tobias / Elias” thing is really annoying) :)

  138. Boys are hard. We have two, and had the same problem both times: all boys names are either super common or super weird. The sweet spot in the middle is not as easy as it used to be, what with a lot of Biblical names getting more popular.

    Ours are Asa and Linus. We also liked Chauncy (family name), Jarvis, Clive, Judah, Emory/Emerson, Edmund (Teddy!), Lucien, Cornelius, Florian.

    Heavy on the WASP names, that.

    For girls, I love French and Greek names: Elodie, Althea, Delphine, Ianthe. So chic.

    BTW, Name nerds is my favorite baby name website.

  139. Porter has been on my list for ages as it’s a family name. I don’t share it with many people because I swear they all want to steal it! ;-). I also have a Noah which has gained A LOT in popularity too, but I still love the name and it’s good to look by state also for popularity as it could be much lower in your particular state http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/state/
    Good Luck!!

  140. Sasha and Julian are my TWO FAVOURITE boy names. No kidding!!! My son is an Oscar and that was what we felt in our gut, but we tried Gus for a week and Finn. In the end Oscar was THE perfect name for him. Mind you there aren’t many 11 year olds out there with that name. But it’s becoming popular and we don;t mind. If you love it it doesn’t matter if it’s top 100. My daughter is Violet and we’ve NEVER met another Violet – even though her name is in there. Choose what you both love.

  141. Nicholas but call him Nico!

  142. Nicholas is one of my favorite names! Wish I could have used it (our last name has 3 Ns in it… didn’t want to go overboard there). We named our son Elliot, which is not too popular, but not too weird. We also felt like it fits a little boy and a grown man.

    I’m having a girl in August and we’re naming her Matilda — nickname Tillie. We JUST settled on this name and I tell people that we’re 90% sure that this is what we will call her, but you just never know… she might not look like a Tillie when I see her! Picking a name is serious business and I know you’ll find the right one for your new bundle!

  143. Toby and Eli so just adorable together and definitely not too much. xoxo