Traditional and Modern Baby Girl Names

Published: 18th August 2010
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Picking your unborn baby girl's name is a pleasure and a pressure. You want to pick the right name so they aren't teased and fussed over, but you want them to stand out and not be one of the five Jessica's in the class. With so many name options, it can be a little daunting. Girl names today run the gamut from the very traditional baby names(Jane or Emma) to the wildly creative (Apple or Suri), so the first step is determining your own tastes when it comes to names. Are you a wild child or a buttoned-up conservative?

Laura Wattenberg, author of The Baby Name Wizard and creator of and, says that "We're all shaped by the tastes of our own communities. But the biggest factor that seperates traditional and contemporary namers is the same as for other arenas of fashion: age. Older moms tend to choose more classic names, younger moms newer, trendier names."

Girl names like Nevaeh might be more to your liking, says Wattenberg, or anything that ends with a long-vowel sound. "Especially "ay" and "iy," and the endings -n and -ee," she says. "That gives you names like Brylee and Kailyn." Nevaeh, which is a kind of made-up name, is the hallmark of a truly creative baby girl name says Wattenberg. "The hard-core creative namers make up new names from scratch," she says. "There's no limit to modern name creativity. The name Nevaeh was created by spelling "heaven" backwards, but now you see even that name being respelled to Nevayeh."

When it comes to baby girl names, Wattenberg -- who also writes the "Ask The Name Lady" column for ParentDish -- says that traditionalists are hopping in their time machines. "Traditionalists are jumping back through the generations to find classic names that haven't been heard from in a while, says Wattenberg. "That includes Victorian-era favorites like Amelia and Oliver, and Old Testament names like Eli and Gabriel."
If those monikers are too old-fashioned for you, you may be a wild child when it comes to naming your baby.

Another way to come up with creative baby girl names is to step across the gender line and give your child a name that was once considered only for baby boys. Names like Riley, Jayden and even Owen can -- and have been -- applied to baby girls. Wattenberg says that unisex names are becoming more and more popular as parents abandon so-called single-sex names like George, Edward, Margaret and Anne.

The bottom line, says Wattenberg, is that there are very few rules these days when it comes to baby girl names, or baby boy names, for that matter. However, moms and dads still need to be aware that a name is the very first impression your child will make. "In your children's generation, a wide range of names will be accepted," she says. "They've never known a world of John and Mary, or even Mike and Jen. But names do send signals about culture, and the more eye-catching the name, the stronger those signals will be."

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