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Anne and Kenneth are expecting a baby girl in a few weeks, and as Anne has had some pregnancy complications, there is a possibility the baby could come early. Apart from her other concerns, she’s worried that they are running out of time to choose a baby name. Anne and Ken already have a son named Will.

After lengthy discussions, the only names Anne and Ken have agreed on are Eva and Ivy. Anne likes pretty, feminine names that have a cute nickname attached. That’s why Eva seems like a good option, because both Anne and Ken like the short form Evie, but want a formal name for it. Anne loves Ivy, but doesn’t like that it has no nickname – just as Will’s name doesn’t. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it does mean that she’s still considering other options.

Ken has always liked Lily, but it’s too similar to Will in sound to consider using. However, they like the idea of using it as a middle name for Eva – Eva Lily.

Other names Anne likes that have been vetoed by Ken:


Names that Ken likes which have been vetoed by Anne:

Aerin (because the spelling will need constant explanation)
Georgina (the name of a friend’s daughter)
Lily (clashes with Will)
Harper (Anne worries it’s a short-term name trend)

Both Anne and Ken like the name Lulu, but don’t think they could use it as a formal name as it seems so youthful. That’s why Anne suggested Luella, but Ken doesn’t care for it.

Will has a family name for his middle name, and ideally Anne would like their daughter to have a family name in the middle as well. The problem is that there aren’t too many family names that really work with the names they are considering. Her mother’s nickname is Cally, which might work, while her sister’s middle name, Elizabeth, seems like a possibility. Another family name under consideration is Amy. Anne hates her own name, both first and middle, and definitely doesn’t want it used.

However, Anne’s willing to give up on the idea of a family name if it doesn’t work out. She also wonders what people think about using two middle names?

Some name combinations she likes with Ivy are:

Ivy Lulu
Ivy Harper
Ivy Luella
Ivy Elizabeth

Neither Anne or Ken are happy with their own names, which is why they are so anxious to get their daughter’s name right. Their surname begins with C and ends with L eg Caldwell.

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Anne, I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had pregnancy complications, but try not to add running out of time to your list of worries. We get a really generous amount of time (60 days) to register a baby’s name in Australia after the birth, so nobody should need to feel panicked about finding a baby name.

And it sounds as if you and Ken are making great progress – you’ve agreed on Eva and Ivy, and you’ve both agreed that you like Lulu as a nickname, but would need a formal name for it. That gives you two definite front-runners, and the possibility of having a “Lulu-providing” name.

Eva Lily seems absolutely perfect for you, as it has a nickname, Evie, that you both like, and you can also use Ken’s choice of Lily in the middle, while Ivy Lily is problematic. Eva sounds lovely with your surname, and seems like a natural sister to Will. Eva was featured on the blog earlier this year, and was judged by voters as a stylish classic, feminine but not frilly, beautiful or pretty, and easy to spell and pronounce. That’s a big thumbs up from the public, and a thumbs up from me as well.

Although Ivy doesn’t have a nickname, I notice that you write that you LOVE the name Ivy, while you say that you LIKE Eva. Now maybe you didn’t want to keep using the same word to describe your feelings for each name, but that was enough to make me pause.

I wonder whether you prefer Ivy to Eva, and it’s the lack of a nickname that is stopping you from committing to it? Because if you’re a naturally nicknamey person, it seems as if almost child can have a nickname, no matter what it has on the birth certificate. I know a little girl named Mary-Ann, and she goes by … Sunny! Because has such a sunny smile. Nicknames don’t have to come from the name, they can be bestowed for any number of reasons.

Apologies if I’m reading too much into this, but Ivy is also a lovely name that sounds nice with your surname, and seems like it could easily be Will’s sister. And if Eva ends up being Evie most of the time, there really isn’t a lot of difference between Evie and Ivy.

I like the middle names you are considering for Ivy. Ivy Elizabeth is a nice way to honour your sister, and Elizabeth has tons of nickname options if you wanted a nickname – including Lily, and at a small stretch, Lulu. There was a celebrity baby named Ivy Elizabeth this year, which got a “perfect” rating from more than 60% of the public. Ivy Lillian also occurs to me. Ivy Harper is fresh and modern, but doesn’t sound quite right to me – maybe because it makes me picture someone trying to play the harp on a clump of ivy …

Ivy Luella seems like a good compromise with Ken (in the same way Eva Lily is a compromise on his name choice), and naturally gives you a Lulu nickname. Ivy Lulu is even more straightforward, if you can both agree on it as a middle name. I’m sure you’ve already thought of these, but names such as Lucinda, Louisa, Luna, and Eloise could also give the nickname Lulu, either at the front or in the middle.

I think Lulu is one of those cute nicknames that can be given simply as a mark of affection, like Mimi or Coco or Bunny. If you’re both really keen on Lulu, but can’t agree on a name which leads to Lulu, why not use it anyway? Ivy, nickname “Lulu”? Short for “Love u little ‘un” or anything you like, really!

As far as using two middle names, I’m totally in favour if it makes everything easier for you. For example, suppose you weren’t 100% happy with Ivy Elizabeth, or with Ivy Harper, but Ivy Elizabeth Harper just sounded perfect to you. Or you felt that Eva Lily was too short, but Eva Lily Amabel was a lovely balance, and also honoured Amy, or Ivy Luella Amabel gave you the option of Lulu Belle as a nickname, which idea pleased you. Then two middle names make perfect sense.

But if trying to co-ordinate two middle names and choose a first name as well stresses you out and makes you more anxious about everything, then forget about it. Keep it simple – and sometimes two middle names does actually simplify things.

Basically this what you have to do now:

– Choose between Eva nn “Evie” and Ivy. Focus on which one you love more, rather than which one seems most convenient.
– Possibly decide how committed you are to using Lulu, and think of ways you could get there, such as by middle name, or just using it because you want to. Don’t be afraid to be creative.
– Choose a middle name, or two middle names, to go with the name of your choice. If slotting a family name in causes you too much of a headache, then by all means don’t worry about it. I guarantee that in later life Will won’t be taunting his younger sister with, “I’ve got a family name as my middle name, and you’ve only got a middle name mum and dad really liked that co-ordinates well with your first name, so nyah, nyah nyah!”

That’s pretty much it. And there’s no real reason why you have to lock in all these decisions before your daughter is born. If you have a pretty good idea of the two or three names you will probably end up choosing between, the final decision can be made at the hospital, or even after taking her home and getting to know her for a bit. There’s a chance you’ll look at her and immediately know she’s an Eva and not an Ivy, or an Ivy and not an Evie, and if that doesn’t happen, then you’re still pretty much on track.

I know you don’t want your daughter to dislike her name, and although I can’t promise anything in that regard, you’re not making any obvious errors that I can see. Both names you are considering are pretty and stylish, and I don’t think her life is going to be any different whether you choose Eva or Ivy. In fact, they are so equally good, you could probably toss a coin over this.

I have no doubt at all that if you went into labour right this second, you would have very little drama in choosing a baby name once she was born. And if the worst happens, and you take her home and still can’t choose, write in to the blog again and we’ll have an emergency baby naming brainstorm!

UPDATE: The baby’s name was Ivy!

POLL RESULTS: The public were evenly divided between Ivy and Eva, with 50% of the vote going to both. Their choice for a middle name with Ivy was Ivy Elizabeth, which gained 60% of the vote – more than twice as much as the next name combination.

As far as the nickname Lulu went, 52% of people thought you needed a name such as Lucinda or Louisa to be nicknamed Lulu, 23% thought that it could be a nickname which had no relation to the name on the birth certificate, 19% thought that Lulu could be a nickname which came from the middle name, and 7% thought that the first name needed to be only vaguely alike, such as Elizabeth or Lillian, in order to receive the nickname Lulu.

(Picture is a poster for the Little Lulu TV show)