If you fell in love with a baby name that's turning out to be everyone else's new fave too, you're not alone. Even after scouring the web for hours and thumbing through mountains of baby name books, it can be easy to fall for a name and then discover it's been on the most popular list for the last few years – especially as a newbie parent. (Hey, it happens to the best of us.) We asked Jennifer Moss, baby names expert and co-founder of BabyNames.com, to give parents-to-be some advice when everyone else has stolen your baby name thunder – and offer some unique alternatives you'll love too.
Tip #1: Identify what you love about the name
Take what you love about Sophia or Ethan and apply it to other names. Is it the way it sounds with your last name? Is it the impression you feel it leaves on a person? Or does the name have some significance in your family that you'd like to hang on to? You don't have to completely abandon everything about a name just because it's popular—depending on what you love most, stick with a similar theme, the same kinds of sounds, the number of syllables, or even the first letter when switching to an alternative. Use TheBump.com Baby Name Finder to find name alternatives for some of your faves.
Tip #2: Get out the family tree
According to Jennifer Moss, parents should be open to new avenues when looking for an alternative. First stop? "Look in your family tree," says Moss. "At both first names and last. Last names are a great way to honor a whole branch of the family tree instead of just one person."
Tip #3: Think outside the box
Still haven't found a good alternative? Moss suggests you and your partner look towards people you've admired in your lives and start there. "Look to the people who have influenced you like teachers, mentors, and coaches," she says. Another tip: Consider place names—the city you met in, the towns you grew up in, where you honeymooned. Even street names can offer some inspiration.
Still no luck? Don't stress. With the help of Jennifer Moss, we rounded up the top 20 baby names and similar—but unique—alternatives to them.
Top 10 Girls' Names
Top 10 Boys' Names