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Kathleen and Michael are expecting their third child in a few months, and already have two sons named Alfie and Ned. If they have a girl, there are plenty of names that they could choose, but they are quite stuck if there is another boy on the way.

They have considered the name Otis, but are not sure if it fits with their other children’s’ names, and Michael has rejected the name Jock, which was also under discussion.

Kathleen and Michael like fairly traditional names which aren’t too common – Kathleen doesn’t want a Top 100 name, or a name which is rapidly rising into the Top 100.

They would prefer a nickname-style name to match Alfie and Ned, hopefully one which doesn’t start with A or N, and ideally would like a shortish name, as they have a reasonably long surname eg Bassingthwaite.

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Kathleen, I can sympathise with you having tons of girl’s names lined up, yet feeling stuck for boy’s names after having two sons. I have two daughters, and if we had another child, I would be brimming with ideas for boys’ names, but picking another girl’s’ name would be a bit stressful.

I feel confident that we would come up with an attractive girl’s name that sounded nice with our surname, fitted the middle names we have planned, and sounded okay with her siblings. But would I be able to pick a name that we absolutely loved, that thrilled us to the marrow, and that seemed to click into place absolutely perfectly? I’m not sure about that.

It’s possible that it will be hard for you to find a name that you instantly connect with and get excited over, and I think in that situation it’s only fair that you keep your expectations realistic, and your options open.

When you’re not feeling the love, then at least you can be business-like about it, and think about names that really work for you – that fit into your family, and that tick as many of your boxes as possible. You’re still a fair way off your due date, and you definitely have time to find a good name. Maybe even time to learn to love a good name!

First off, I wouldn’t dismiss Otis immediately if you like it. I think it’s a fantastic choice; it’s very hip and is nowhere near hitting the Top 100. And although it might not be an obvious match with Alfie and Ned, I don’t think it sounds bad with them either.

It’s a cute, spunky name, like Alfie and Ned, and being a surname form of Otto, you could see it as having a bit of a nickname vibe too (especially as Otto itself began life as a nickname). I think Alfie, Ned and Otis make a nice set, and Otis sounds great with your surname too.

However, if I haven’t managed to convince you, don’t worry, because there are so many fashionable and cute nickname names for boys that aren’t in the Top 100.

Two that are going like hot cakes at the moment are Lenny and Sonny, which have a similar popularity to Ned. However, if you are super nervous at the idea that your chosen name might go Top 100 one day, then these are a bit of a risk.

Three that are a similar level of popularity to Alfie are Gus, Jimmy, and Johnny. I must say, I think Gus sounds adorable as a brother to Alfie and Ned, and is another stand out choice with your surname.

Once we start getting into the less-common, but still familiar, nicknames, you might consider Jonty or Ollie. I’m seeing a lot of Vince and Joe lately, and Monty is one which seems like a perfect match with your sons’ names, and with your surname – it sounds quite posh.

Or you could go for something which is rarely used, such as Freddie, Jem, Kip or Kit. Freddie is ultra-cute like Alfie, and Kip has that same air of derring-do and adventure that Ned has.

However, I don’t think you should tie yourself down to thinking you must have another short form name, just because Alfie and Ned have one. There’s plenty of other names that will still blend in nicely with your family.

You could pick a name that isn’t a nickname, but has a cute, nicknamey feel, like Remy. Or a surname name that has a casual, nicknamey vibe, like Digby or Murphy. Or a nickname that doesn’t come from a name, like Banjo, Dusty, or Sunny. There’s also short simple names, such as Rex – that would sound really handsome alongside your boys, and very alpha male with your surname.

Out of the names I’ve mentioned, I think my favourites would be Otis, Gus, Monty, Freddie, Kip, Digby, and Rex, but if you are truly out of ideas, I think you should let your imagination go wild. Eliminate names you really hate, and names in the Top 100 if that bothers you, then let yourself consider any name that sounds attractive and fits with your family. The results might surprise you!

UPDATE: The baby was a girl, and her name was Pearl!

People’s favourite choices for a brother for Alfie and Ned were Otis (32%) and Gus (29%). If Pearl had been a boy, her name would have been Otis.