Was hoping to get some advice about naming our baby girl. I'm 24 weeks pregnant and we are not finding out the sex before. We already have a boys name picked out, Maxon Leroy Barnhart. We cannot decide on a girls name. I can't decide whether or not we need to go in a more feminine route because Barnhart is a more harsh sounding last name or not? So far the only name we can come up with that we both like is Samantha...but I'm not in love with it. My husband likes Sloane but I can't decide if it sounds nice with Barnhart. Also I would like to use the family name of Anne as a middle name but don't necessarily have to if it doesn't fit. I think we like more traditional names with a twist to them like using Maxon instead of Maxwell. And of course if it can be shortened easily to a nickname (like Max) that's a plus but not necessary. We would love any advice with your name expertise, thanks!


There are so many letters from people who aren’t finding out the sex now. I’m not under any illusions that this is the way it is now, but I do think it’s a name nerd thing maybe? Like you get to extend your fantasy that you could name your child all the things for just a little bit longer? Either way, I’m into it.

Having said that, I don’t think of Barnhart as being particularly harsh – most last names have a somewhat masculine bent to them on account of the whole thing of surnames being basically more men’s names. In any event, Samantha Barnhart has a great ring to it – but it does seem like it will get shortened to Sam and that might be a bit harsh.

So what I’m thinking, especially since you want “traditional names with a twist” is that we need to focus on unusual sounds here. I already pimped Naomi last week, but I’m really into it right now. Along these lines, how about Sarai? She’ll definitely be the only one and you know it sounds great with Maxon.  

Or if you’re feeling Greek about it, how about Eleni? Similar but different.  Adeline is seriously popular, but not at the same time. You could hit a serious sweet spot? 

Maybe I’m not getting it though. Maybe what you really want is a last name.   Sloane Barnhart isn’t bad, but it is the kind of name that would be said first-and-last all the time, I think. “Sloane Barnhart said so!”  “You know who’s in my history section? Sloane Barnhart”. If it’s almost but not quite, how about some last names? Delaney or Campbell? And then, even though I know it’s not where you’re aiming, Erin suggests itself all over again. Erin and Maxon. It’s not popular or trendy, it’s definitely feminine, and even though it violates every one of my rules – not only are there similar syllables but the accent starts the same way – it seems to work, somehow. Could it work for you?