Baby Names: For Life not just for Birthdays

It’s one of the most important decisions a parent will ever have to make: choosing a name for their child. Some decide to name their baby after close friends or family; others follow where celebrities lead. But, Student Parents has discovered a new trend that has taken hold in creches across the country: “Granny-chic” is on the rise.

It seems that vintage Victorian monikers we associate with our grandparents and even great-grandparents have recently become à la mode. Glance over the top baby names of the past decade and it’s clear: Charlie; Archie, Harry, Elsie, Emily, Ruby and Grace are now not only hanging out around the bingo halls and bowling greens but are donning baby grows up and down the country.

Of the most popular names of 2011 (see below); golden-oldies Ava, Alfie, Charlie and Isla all feature on the hot list.

Boys Names Girls Names
1 Oliver Lily
2 Jack Emily
3 Harry Isabella
4 Charlie Sophia
5 James Isabelle
6 Joshua Sophie
7 Alfie Olivia
8 Thomas Ava
9 Jacob Chloe
10 Ethan Isla

Yet, it seems it’s going to take a while for the latest fashion to  topple the Olivers; Joshuas, Olivias and Sophies that have dominatedthe playground  for the past decade.

Below are the most popular baby names from 2001-2011.

Wordle: Girls Baby Names

Wordle: Boys Baby Names

Data from

It appears it’s not just us mere mortals either who are embracing this vintage renaissance. Celebrities alike have jumped on the bandwagon as Lily Allen’s little Ethel, Billie Piper’s Winston and Tabitha Grant will all no doubt be rubbing shoulders at the local Alphabet Zoo. Not to mention Westminster nursery; overrun by the Cameron’s fashionable brood of Florence, Nancy and Arthur, sparring in the sandpit with Samuel Miliband.

Although according to, “Some of the older names are experiencing a resurgence; such as Stan and Esme which are becoming very popular again after a fairly prolonged period away from the limelight.  However, there are many other names that were very popular two or three generations ago which have virtually disappeared from the lists of current popular names.  Norman, Richard and Edna and Gertrude are prime examples.”

Those at have explained this trend in the  ‘100 year rule.’  They  argue that we have become bored with “names of our own generation and that  of our parents”, whereas  those of  our grandparents, those popular 100 years ago, seem fresh and new. In the case of fashionable baby names, the proverb appears to be doubly true: what goes around… eventually does come back around.

Back to the drawing board

With the apparent pressure on parents to choose a  unique and trendy name for their little ones, and with many now looking to the tried and tested traditional for inspiration; it seems clear that that special, unique name you’ve got your heart set on, may not that special after all.

In a study, by, it transpired that eight percent of mothers and fathers regretted the name they had given their child. Over half of those admitting to baby name remorse said that they had been swayed by fashion trends that were no longer relevant and a third said that the name had been original at the time of birth, but ended up being more common than they expected.

This can be especially true for student parents who are unlikely to know many people with young children or may be bringing up a baby for the first time.

Friend of Student Parents, Lucy Rayner told us about her experience with ‘name regret’. “Archie’s Dad came up with the name Archie Ray, two old fashioned names, because Archie has his Dad’s surname and we didn’t want a double barrel so shortened mine to Ray for a middle name. When he came up with the name I thought it was really old fashioned and original, and loved it because I hadn’t heard it being used now. So we chose it thinking it would stand out and nobody else would use it..but couldn’t have been more wrong! Archie is common now and so I do really regret choosing it now, I wish we’d just stuck with Ray!”

Currently pregnant with her third child, Saskia Hopkins-Middleton spoke to Student Parents about the difficulties she faces in choosing a name for her baby.

So here are Student Parents top tips when struggling with the difficult decision of what to name your baby:-

1. If you’ve thought of it, someone else will have too!

You may have had your heart set on what you think is a cool, unique, unusual name; just to discover at the school gates that your taste isn’t as ‘individual’ as you once thought. It’s like turning up at a wedding to find someone has ‘stolen’ your outfit. Deep breaths..take it as a compliment. Remember that unfortunately you don’t have a monopoly on baby naming brainwaves!

2. Think twice. Justin Case!

Make sure you consider every variable!  How will the forename and surname fit together? Is David Davis and William Williamson really the best your imagination can come up with? Have you thought of the hidden landmines and possible playground nicknames? Benjamin Dover, Barbara Wire, Rose Bush, Jo King, Tim Burr…you’re meant to be giving your child the best start in life, not ammunition for schoolyard taunts.

3. Are you local?

Don’t ignore the influences around you. Think…Casper, Bartholomew and Gabriel might have a tough time playing footie and guzzling pints down the pub with Steve and Trevor and Roy.  Parents are the ones who worry about a name standing out; kids are happy to fit in.

4. Do to others as you would have done unto you

While the names Sparrow, Zuma, Daisy or even Blue may seem precious when staring down at your bundle of joy: stop and think! Little Blossom may look all cute now, but ask yourself whether in thirty years time; when your little cherub has flown the nest and is seeking to assert herself in the real world, will she be thanking you for it? Remember a name is for life, not just for Birthdays.


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1 Comment

  1. I knew someone called Annette Kurtan. Poor girl!


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