Naming a child can be tough; there are literally thousands of names for you to choose from, so it can be challenging to settle on just one. Needless to say, picking a middle name poses the same challenges because unsurprisingly, parents want to find something perfect. There’s a lot to consider. From ensuring the middle name complements both the first and surnames of your baby to picking something that exudes sentiment. In light of this, we’ve put together a quick list of things to consider while choosing a middle name for your baby to help make the process easier.

Honoring someone you love

The middle name of your baby is the perfect chance to honor someone who means a lot to both of the parents. Perhaps this could be a deceased relative? Or a group of relatives embodied by your mother’s maiden name? Or, a living family member you admire? Alternatively, it could even be a historical role model of yours, like Florence Nightingale or Neil Armstrong.

Don’t feel as though you have to use the exact name of the person in question. Instead, you could use something that represents them; their values, their interests, their talents, etc. A great example of this is using botanical names to describe someone who had a love of nature or specific months or seasons like April or Summer to represent the birthday of the honoree in question.

Being adventurous

Middle names are perfect for getting a little more adventurous. More often than not, parents feel far more comfortable ‘letting their hair down’ with a child’s middle name, rather than their first time — and who can blame them? After all, it’s the kid who has to live with their creative and whimsical decision! Alternatively, if you feel bold enough to choose a more exotic first name for your child, some parents opt for a ‘blander’ middle name. That way, when your baby grows up, they can go by their middle name should they prefer.

How do the initials look?

You’ll be amazed at how many parents make the mistake of not checking whether the child’s initials spell out something embarrassing! Common culprits include B.U.M, F.A.T, etc. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a deal breaker, but it’s certainly something to consider before you make your final decision. Whether we like it or not, our initials stick with us for the whole of our lives. For example, it’s not uncommon for workplace emails to be assigned based on initials. Not to mention, it’s becoming increasingly common to give personalized gifts, featured your loved one’s initials. The last thing you child wants in years to come is to be given a customized tote bag plastered with “A.S.S.”

What about places?

It’s not just people you can honor with your baby’s middle name; you can also pay tribute to a specific place. Perhaps there’s a unique location poignant to both of the parents — where you first met, where you got engaged, where you first lived together, etc. Alternatively, some parents like to use this as an opportunity to mark your families heritage. Names like Africa and Asia are especially popular for that reason.

How does it sound?

Name experts suggest parents test out the name by saying the entirety of the potential baby name aloud. When you do this, you’ll get a feel for whether the names ‘sound right’ together. Typically, middle names sound much better when they have a different syllable count to the first name. So, if possible, we recommend pairing a longer first name (something with two or three syllables) with a shorter middle name (usually boasting one syllable).