Making a baby name list is one of the most exciting moments during pregnancy. It's such a thrill to think of something new and add it onto the ever growing file.
Choosing a name is supposed to be a time that is fun, interesting and joyful. It isn't supposed to be an angst-ridden period full of insecurity and doubt. Which is why it's so important that parents talk about their choices with people they love and trust, and who they know won't pressure them into choosing a name that they don't absolutely adore.
A mom can keep her list on her phone, on her computer, in her notepad...or all three! I used a notepad when I was keeping mine. There was something so special about physically writing down potential choices.
The names that I've included here on this list are fresh, bright, beautiful names with a true originality about each and every one of them. They're names which should light up the heart and make mom smile whenever she says them, and, most importantly, they're names that the child will be proud to walk through life with. I hope every mom finds a name here that their child can call their own!
The first words that come to my mind when I see the name Ellis are 'SO SWEET!' Pronounced EL-is and originating from an English surname, it used to be very much considered a masculine name, nowadays however, it's often given to little girls too. In 2017 in the US, the name Ellis was ranked at 736 for girls and 311 for boys.
While researching into this name, I encountered dozens of people talking about how Ellis has run in their family, and I can see why - it's definitely one of those names that really stands the test of time.
Probably one of my favourite girl names ever, the name Nova - pronounced NO-va - derives from the Latin novus which means 'new.' It was first used as a name in the 19th Century. I think it's practically impossible NOT to like it. I mean, it's so damn pretty, and the meaning is so bright and optimistic.
If you're having a little boy, and love this name, go ahead and use it! Nova is also considered to be a unisex choice, and from what I've read, parents who have called their sons Nova have always had nice compliments from people.
I know some people might think Kit is too short a name, but it's shortness is something I find enduring about this choice. Pronounced KIT, it's a wonderful name for a boy or a girl. For a boy it's striking and different and for a girl it's spunky and tomboyish.
One Kit that comes to mind is Kit Harington, the English actor best known for his role as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones. Actress Jodie Foster called her son, born in 2001 Kit. Interestingly, the name Kit was popular in the late 1800's and then again in the 1940's.
It's admittedly taken a while for this name to grown on me, but nowadays I'm so intrigued and taken by it. This feminine name is English in origin (I always thought it was a modern name from the US) and pronounced WIL-a. It's the feminine form of William.
WillaMightKnow, a commenter on the BehindTheName.com forum says that she loves having a unique name and that she gets lot of compliments on it. Her father's name was William which is why her parents opted for it. Willa is an uncommon choice, and a pretty choice to the more recognised name Willow.
I've always had a soft spot for the name River, since first encountering it through the late River Phoenix many years ago. Even at a young age I would think to myself 'there's something lovely and special about that name.' It first entered the US top 1000 in 1994, right after the tragic death of River Phoenix.
River is another unisex name which works just as beautifully on girls as it does on boys. One mom called her daughter Riverlee and said most people adore the name. Another mom called her daughter River Serenity while another opted for River Olivia.
If we can try and forget the Twilight connection for just a moment, this name is actually really, really beautiful and different. Pronounced EZ-may or EZ-mee in English, or es-MAY in Dutch, it means 'esteemed' or 'loved' in Old French. It's a strong but simultaneously feminine name
One of the things that really draws me to this name is the spelling, it's something you don't ordinarily see and for me that's always a plus. Esme also ages so well. I can envisage it on a baby just as well as I can envisage it on a 90 year old woman.
This is a name which was at the top of my naming list just in case we had a little boy. My partner wasn't all that keen but I had a plan on talking him round! Pronounced VIG-go in Swedish, it's an Old Norse name which is used in Norway, Denmark and Sweden. I've also heard of it being pronounced Vee-goh, VEE-goh and VIHG-oh.
You probably know this name best by it being from Viggo Mortensen, the actor who played Aragorn in Lord of the Rings. It's also the name of Taylor Hanson's fourth son who was born in 2008.
This is a name that always makes me stop in my tracks when I hear or see it. I can't but my finger on why, but it might be because it's just so different. It originates, to my belief, from Greek Mythology and is pronounced KAWR-a. From what I've been able to find, it means 'crown.'
It wasn't used as a given name in the English speaking world until James Fenimore Cooper used it for a character in his 1826 novel 'The Last of the Mohicans.' Variants include the German Kora or Nele and the English Coretta, Corie and Corrie.
I've been hearing this name every now and then for as long as I can remember, but it's only in recent years that I've found myself becoming really quite attached to it. Pronounced SUU-ren - though I've also heard the pronunciations SOR-in and SIRR-en - it's a Danish name and a variant of Severin.
One Soren that comes to mind is Søren Kierkegaard, the late Danish philosopher, existentialist and author. If you have children already, you will probably be familiar with Soren being the name of Lola's imaginary friend in the Charlie and Lola books by British author Lauren Child.
The name Fleur grabbed my attention when I heard it used in the Harry Potter books for a talented and beautiful French witch Fleur Delacour who married Bill Weasley. It's a French name that means 'flower.' In French and Dutch it's pronounced FLUUR and in English you'll hear it pronounced FLUR.
Despite its delicate meaning, there's something strong and resilient about this name. I was quite surprised to learn that it's actually quite a rare choice in France nowadays. It's most certainly one of those 'conversation starter' names. There are some who think it's a bit pretentious, but don't listen!
While not much is known about the origin of the name Tate, other than it being from an English surname, it's fresh and different and deserves to be used. Pronounced TAYT it can be used for either gender.
I was first alerted to this name when it was featured in the first series of American Horror Story where it was used for the character Tate Langdon portrayed by Evan Peters. It's simplicity really is one of its best qualities and it ages marvellously. Emma Bunton AKA Baby Spice and her husband Jade Jones called their son born in 2011 Tate.
This is a name I'll never get tired of hearing. Meaning 'dawn' or 'the one who is like the sunrise' in Latin, Aurora was the Roman goddess of dawn. I love it due to the Aurora Borealis, and I always think of the princess Aurora in the Disney cartoon Sleeping Beauty.
It can be pronounced in many different ways including ow-RO-ra in Spanish and Classical Latin, a-RAWR-a in English and OW-ro-rah in Finnish. This name is interesting, international and beautiful, and one of those rare names that just seems to carry magic with it. It's as perfect as perfect gets.
I get such good vibes from this name. It has a casualness about it that I just absolutely adore. While it's a popular choice in the Scandinavian countries, it's actually Greek in origin and derives from the name Jonah.
In Sweden they pronounce it YOO-nas. In Germany it's pronounced YO-nas and in England it's JO-nas. It's a handsome, masculine name that ages superbly well. There's a fair amount of people online raving about The Jonas Brothers, but to be honest, I don't think kids nowadays know who they are, so it's not something, I don't think, to be concerned about.
I've always loved the name Poppy, ever since I was little. It's such a friendly, classic, feel-good name that always makes you smile. Some people think that it's too 'cute' to work well for an adult, but I think that's just ridiculous.
Poppysmum talking on BehindTheName.com said she and her partner chose the name Poppy for several reasons, one being because the poppy flower is a very strong plant that can grow even on bare soil, and brighten up any stark, bare place. In the US in 2016 the name Poppy was given to 379 girls born in the US.
When I think of the name Jasper, I think of someone who is outgoing, optimistic, smart, vibrant and creative. To be honest, it's a name that has such a good feeling about it, I'm surprised it's not more popular. I'm also a big fan of the nickname Jas.
Latin in origin (I wouldn't have guessed that...) It's pronounced JAS-per in English and YASH-per in Dutch. Variants include Casper and Kasper. If you're passionate about nature, it's good to take in consideration that Jasper is one of the bigger national parks in Canada, with some of the county's most spectacular scenery.
I have been on the fence about the name Layla for some time, but the more I say it, the more I find myself falling in love with it. It's what I would think of as quite a whimsical, feminine name. Pronounced LAY-la, Layla is Arabic in origin and means 'night.'
Variants include the Arabic names Laila, Leila and Levla and the English names Lela, Lila and Leilah. What I like so much about this name is that it's a joy to say - it just rolls off the tongues so easily and it's such a soft name to say.
There's something about the way that the name Lucas sounds when I say it out loud that I really, really like. It's a sweet sounding, yet exceptionally strong name with so much promise. It's also one of those names that's timeless.
While many of us know the English pronunciation LOO-kes (the same as Star Wars director George Lucas), it can also be pronounced LUY-kahs (Dutch), LUY-KA (French) and LOO-kash (Portuguese). The origins of this name are a bit unsure. It might come from a Greek word that meant 'wolf,' thought it's also said to be associated with the word 'light.'
I've always loved the name Ingrid - the way it sounds, the way it spelt, the intrigue around it. Originating from the Old Norse name Ingríðr, which means 'Ing is beautiful.' It's a name that you'll hear being used in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany.
I'm used to the Swedish pronunciation ING-rid, though it can also be pronounced ING-ree (Norwegian). ING-grit (German) and ING-greet (also German). In the US in 2016 the name Ingrid was given to 320 girls born in the US. Some people say it's too 'strange' sounding, but that's exactly why I love it - it's different.
Heath has to be one of my favourite names for a little boy. Pronounced HEETH it originates from an English surname which denoted one who lives on a heath. Nowadays we know it best as being the name of the actor Heath Ledger.
In the US in 2016 it was given to 247 boys. Girls can also be called Heath but more than 99.9 percent of the people with Heath as a first name are male. I love the idea of twins being called Heather and Heath. A longer version of this name that you could opt for is Heathcliff.
I've never met someone called Paloma before, I don't imagine many of us have! It's not one of those names that you hear every day. Spanish in origin and beautifully graceful, it's pronounced pa-LO-ma, and means 'dove' in Spanish. The name Paloma was given to 287 girls born in the US in 2016.
The majority of people I've encountered who would use this name happen to be fans of musician Paloma Faith Blomfield (yes, Paloma IS her real name!) who was born to an English mother and a Spanish father. The daughter of artist Pablo Picasso was also called Paloma.
The name Roman is a name that grows on you. That's the case for me anyway. I never used to think much about it, but nowadays I really see its potential. It's a name you'll hear used predominantly in Russia, Poland, Germany and Croatia. This name means exactly what you thought it would mean - Roman.
Some people think it's a pretentious choice, because of its association with the Roman Empire, but I'd say just don't listen to them! It's strong, distinct and memorable. When I think of a boy called Roman, I think of someone bright, joyful and kind.
This name is just so gorgeous! Pronounced REE-ah - though it can also be pronounced RAY-ah - it originates from Greek Mythology. Rhea had an important role to play in the Greek Myths, for she was a Titan and the mother of Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hera, Demeter and Hestia. The name also plays a role in Roman Mythology, as Rhea Silva was the mother of Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.
In 2016 the name Rhea was given to 285 girls born in the US and more than 99.9 percent of people with the first name Rhea are female.
For some reason I always associate this unisex name with the US despite it originating in England. Pronounced CHAYS it comes from a Middle English surname meaning 'chase' or 'hunt.' It was also originally a nickname for a huntsman.
I've read comments from people who say it sounds too much like a name for a dog, but come on! People call their dogs everything from Max to Penelope! A more feminine version of this name does exist. It's spelt Chasey and is pronounced Chasee-ee. Though spelt as Chase it was given to 62 girls born in the US in 2015.
I know that this name is a bit of a mouthful, but in my opinion that's something that makes it special! And it does flow beautifully. You'll hear it being used predominantly in Italy, Russia, Greece Spain and Romania.
In Italy it's pronounced va-len-TEE-na - this is the pronunciation that most of us are familiar with. While Valentina is in honour of Valentine's Day, I've also read of it being derived from the Latin word valens which means 'healthy,' 'strong.' It's unique enough that you won't hear it every day, and, despite its length, it is very easy to say.
Our last name is a name that was first used in the Old Testament, and it's been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the Protestant Reformation. Pronounced EZ-ra it's a name which is practically impossible to get wrong.
There's a lot of debate going on online about whether or not Ezra is a suitable name for little girls In my opinion, nowadays pretty much anything goes. If you want to call your girl Ezra, go right for it! When I envisage someone called Ezra, I think of a child who is quiet yet strong-willed and adventurous.
References: BehindTheName.com, NameBerry.com