There has never been a better time to give a child an unconventional name, which means parents can get really adventurous, creative and bold with their choices.
When mom and her partner are choosing a name, she should go with her instinct: with what she thinks is right. People will have their opinions and if it's an unconventional name, she might find that they have quite a lot to say on the subject. Parents shouldn't let anyone badger them into choosing a name they don't feel is right for their child. A name is the most meaningful, most precious, most important gift parents can ever give to their child and it needs to come from them.
My daughter's name is Saga. It's quite a popular name here in Sweden, but go outside of Scandinavia, and it would be quite difficult to find it, and I just love that! Her middle names are Björk and Nelly (her big sister chose Nelly) both of which also work to set her apart from the crowd.
Mom will know the right name when she sees it, and I hope this list of unconventional choices can help moms on their journey to finding the perfect name for their little one.
There's something about this name that grabs me by the heart strings. It's simple, yet you can attach such profound meaning to it. Ever is a unisex name, and it's one I would strongly consider if I were to have another baby - boy or girl! Mila Jovovich recently opted for the name, calling her daughter Ever Garbo.
Ever is one of those names that you can't just walk away from. Meet someone called Ever and you want to know the story behind their name! It's a great attention grabber and it's unlikely to be a name that's easily forgotten.
One of my all time favourite Scandinavian names, Astrid is another one of those that you rarely come across outside of the Scandinavian countries. I for one would love to see that change! It's such a stunning, evocative name.
It's most famous bearer is, of course, the Swedish author Astrid Lindgren who created the brilliant Pippi Longstocking and countless other memorable children's characters. While it's most popularly used in Sweden where it's the 7th most popular name for girls, in the US it ranks at 714. It's a name that has a backbone to it. It's strong yet simultaneously feminine.
York is one of my favourite cities in the UK and I think giving the name to a child would be giving him a truly great gift. There is so much influence and strength and history connected to the name York that he would be proud to own it. You can of course refer it instead to New York city instead!
I've read comments where people have called it 'tacky' or 'stuck up,' but I really think they're missing a trick. If you love the name York, but find yourself hesitating, see how it would work as a middle name.
The name Fawn, I think of a girl who is delicate, creative and kind. It's such a soft, gentle, feminine name and I absolutely love spelling it as well as saying it out loud. It was way back in 1983 that Fawn made it into the top 1000 names for girls in the US.
It was most popular, unsurprisingly, in the 1970's. It's one of those sweet, dreamy, earth child names which, in my opinion, we need to hear more of! While it's a name that's typically given to girls, there's no reason why a little boy can't have it.
I met someone called Oslo over twenty years ago, and it's a name that has always stuck in my memory. It is, of course, the name of the capital city of Norway, but as a given name it's actually really rare!
If you have a connection to Norway, or just happen to love the country, it could be a wonderful, thoughtful choice. I have a friend called Bergen (another city in Norway) and she suits her name so beautifully. While I think Bergen can work well for a girl or boy, I think Oslo is more of a masculine option.
Athena is just one of the most gorgeous names! While the meaning is unknown, Athena who was the daughter of Zeus and the goddess of wisdom and warfare, is associated with owls and the olive tree. If you happened to have twin girls, Athena and Ophelia would work beautifully together!
Pronounced A-TE-NA in Classical Greek and a-THEE-na in English, Athena is a strong, regal yet feminine name that your little girl would be so proud to own. Interestingly, the 10th in line to the Danish throne is Princess Athena, the only child of Prince Joachim and Princess Marie of Denmark.
Wolf was a name that my partner and I were strongly considering if we happened to have a little boy. Wolfie is, I think, one of the cutest names that we have on this list, and if anything is going to really set your child apart from the crowd it's going to be this!
Wolfie is an especially rare choice, so rare that I've been struggling to actually find any information connected to it, other than the fact that it's generally used as nickname for Wolfgang. In 2018 18 out of 1 million babies have been given the name Wolfie.
The name Oracle is just stunning. Originating, quite simply, from the English word for prophecy, Oracle is one of those names you don't hear often enough. It's an absolutely perfect choice for parents who have a passion for everything mystic and unusual.
When I think of a little girl called Oracle, I imagine a child who has a vivid imagination and a boundless sense of creativity. If you're looking for a name that isn't peaking on the rating charts, Oracle could be the choice for you! It 2015 it was ranked at 12,341 but nowadays it's not ranked at all.
Different and lovable are words that come to mind when I see the name Otis. It's such a fun, quirky name that can't help but make a great impression. In 2016 it was given to 221 boys in the US making it a perfect choice if you want something you're not going to hear every day.
Apparently, the meaning of the name Otis is wealthy. It's not what I'd had in mind, but I can imagine worse meanings! Otis has its heyday back at the turn of the 20th Century. It's a charmingly old-fashioned name that deserves to be heard!
The Norwegian photographer Daria Endresen is a friend of mine, and from the day we met I found myself besotted with her name. Meaning 'rich,' it's a reasonably popular name in Italy, Romania and Poland.
Interestingly, I've found out that several women changed their name from Daria to Kristaria later in life, primarily because they felt that people didn't 'get' the name Daria. A beautiful variation on the name Daria is Derya which means 'ocean' in Turkish. One forum user on BehindTheName.com opted for the gorgeous combination of Daria Beatrix and said her daughter is immensely proud of her name.
Merlin is such an underused name! The last time it was in the top 1000 names for boys in the US was1972. Interestingly, it had its peak in popularity in the 1920's. You can't argue that Merlin is a very unique name, and to be named after a legendary wizard...well, I can think of many worse things!
Speak it out loud and you'll notice how easily it rolls off the tongue. When it's said with an English accent it's particularly wonderful. As well as being associated with the greatest wizard of all time, Merlin is also a breed of falcon!
I went to school with a girl called Gaia and she was the coolest thing since time began. She was so cool that I can't even remember a time that anyone said 'hah! GAY-a!'
Her parents were hippy to the core and were adored by everyone. Gaia, as you may well know, means 'earth' so it's a perfect choice for any environmentally conscious parents. It's a beautiful name with just the right amount of 'exotic' about it to make heads turn. Gaia isn't one of those names that you really don't hear much, which makes it all the more special.
Love. But I can't tell you why. It's another one of those names that I've just fallen for. I've read about a couple of different meanings for the name Reed, which originates from an English surname. One is 'red' and the other is 'clearing.' Though of course it can be a nature name and stand for the reed plant, a tall grass which grows by wetlands.
It's more popular than I thought it would be in the US, where it was ranked at 381 in 2017, the highest position it's held since it was first a recorded name in 1881.
I fell in love with the sweet and calm sounding name Casper when I watched Casper The Friendly Ghost on my 10th birthday. It's one of those names that stays with you forever.
Casper is the Dutch and Scandinavian form of Jasper, and variations include the Norwegian Kasper (think I prefer this spelling actually), the Spanish Gaspar and the French Gaspard.
Casper is a popular choice in Sweden, where it's ranked as the 67th most popular name for boys. It's also in the top 100 in the Netherlands and Norway. Cas is a cute nickname that you could opt for.
North was another option for my daughter, but I didn't manage to win my partner over with it. Kim Kardashian is, of course, well known for calling her first child North, but her decision hasn't made a dent in the rankings. The last time North was in the top 1000 names was actually way back in 1885!
I can't fully express how much I love the name North. It's pure, strong and easy to spell and pronounce world over. It's likely to make an impact on anyone who hears it. It's also a self-descriptive name and an undisputed unisex choice.
There was a girl called Iris at my university. She was potentially the most mysterious person I've ever encountered, so whenever I encounter this name I can't help but start to wonder about her and what she's doing. Iris means 'rainbow' in Greek, and it's from the Greek meaning that the Iris plant adopted its name.
Some people complain Iris sounds too much like a grandmothery name - I suppose because the name was popular in the 1930's - but I've read countless accounts from women who are only too happy to have the name Iris and adore its uniqueness.
A good friend of mine had her first child last year and called him Magnus. I've been meaning to ask her why that name. It seemed an unusual choice for someone in the North East of England.
I thought Magnus - pronounced MAG-nas - was originally a Scandinavian name, but it's origins are actually in Late Latin and it means 'great.'
Magnus is a popular choice in Norway, Iceland and Denmark and the more I say it aloud, the more I love it. It's strong, regal and memorable. In 2016 it was given to 293 boys born in the US.
Olympia is just such a special, whimsical, different name. I get a shiver down my spine whenever I look at it or say it out loud. Yes, it's a bit of a mouthful and it might seem a bit over the top, but don't let that stop you from using it! Serena William and Alexis Ohanian called their daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.
Olympia was Alexander The Greats' mother, and it's after her that the Olympics were named. It's ideal if you happen to be a sporty family! Adorable nicknames that you could opt for include Oly, Ollie and Lia.
Originating from an Irish surname (was not expecting that...) and meaning 'intelligent' Quinn is a unisex name (wasn't expecting that either) though it seems to be ranked higher as a girl's name than a boy's. In 2017 it was ranked at 75 for girls in the US, whereas for boys, it was ranked at 369.
I love the simplicity with the name Quinn, and the fact that it starts with a Q - so few names do! When I think of someone called Quinn, boy or girl, I think of them being sensitive, understanding and in connection with their emotions.
Poppy is such a vibrant, memorable name that I always associate with happy little girls with so much love and joy to give to the world. It's a sweet, summery name that has all of the potential to make people smile. An alternative spelling you could opt for is Poppi.
Connected of course with the red poppy flower, which is renowned for being a resilient plant, the name Poppy is English in origin and makes the top 100 names in several countries, including England where it's ranked at 13. In the US in 2016 it was given to 379 girls.
This unisex name is absolute perfection! It has a true brightness about is quite difficult to find. I've discovered several gorgeous variations of the name including Skye, Skyla, Skya, Skylia and Skylar. Skyler White from Breaking Bad did put a bit of a downer on this name for a little while, but if you can forget about that it's all good!
Easy to pronounce and difficult to forget, it doesn't matter where you live in the world, Skyler can be a great choice for the little one in your life. It's adorable for a youngster and thought-provoking for an adult.
One of my favourite names on the whole list, and despite what you might have thought, Wren can be used for a boy or a girl! My sister's nickname used to be Penny Wren when she was a kid and it's stuck.
Pronounced REN, Wren is from the English word for the little songbird. It's sweet and special. It's not a name that shouts out at you, but that's what I love about it - it's understated in the best way. A commenter on the BehindTheName.com forum has a sister called Wren Rose which I think is a stunning combination.
This is the name of my vibrant, brave, curious four year old step-daughter...but I'd never heard it before coming to Sweden in 2016. Pronounced TEE-rah, it originates from Old Norse and is the female version of the name Tyr.
You might remember Tyr from lessons in Norse Mythology. He was the god of battle. Tyra Banks put the name in the spotlight in the US, though she pronounces it TY-ra which has, admitedly, an equally strong sound and feel to it. In the Sates it first appeared on the charts in 1949 at position 2109 in case you were wondering!
I used to do Judo with a kid called Niko - pronounced NEE-ko - and that lad was a firecracker. Alert and energetic, he was someone you'd never forget. So when I think of the name Niko nowadays, I always envisage a little boy with limitless energy and life in him.
This Finnish form of Nicholas (which I think is one of those underrated names) has dozen of variations, including the Romanian Nicu, the Greek Nikos and the Dutch Niek. Being a variation of Nicholas, Niko shares the meaning 'victory of the people.' In Japan you'll find Niko means 'sunshine.'
I've always loved the name Uma. It's beautifully unusual and right up my street! I did actually suggest Uma for my daughter, but my partner wouldn't have it. Meaning 'flax' in Sanskrit (I always thought that it was German in origin for some reason...)
Uma is one of those names that you very rarely hear being used, unless you just happen to be in Bosnia where it's quite popular. In 2012 it was given to 77 girls in the US. A commenter on the Behind The Name forum gave their daughter their daughter the gorgeous combination name of Uma Isabella.