Sharing Spares: Choosing the same baby name as your friend

Q: My husband and I are expecting a baby this summer. After we named our first baby we decided we would use our ‘spare’ name next time we have a child. Now there’s a glitch. A very close friend is having a baby in a few weeks and she is naming her baby our ‘spare’ name. My husband insists that it is fine if our children have the same name.

Is it in poor taste to go ahead and use the name we chose even though a close friend will have a child with the same name?

A: Choosing a name is an exciting and personal choice for new parents to make.  There is no reason why you can’t use the name you have chosen, even if your good friends are using it as well. If they ask, just explain to them that you had always planned to use this name for a second child when you were choosing names the first time around.  Plenty of children share the same first name, even when their parents are close friends. Hopefully, Sara H and Sara T will grow up to be good friends as well. Good luck!


  1. Jazzgirl205

    When dd was born, there was a very popular name. DD used the feminine version as her middle name, one friend named her son that, and another friend used it for her son’s middle name. No problems.

  2. Heather

    I probably wouldn’t wait for them to ask. If you really are close friends, I’d say “Oh, I can’t believe you’re also going to have a Sara! Did you know we are naming ours that too??” and then you will all laugh at the coincidence. If you don’t say anything, they might feel uncomfortable but not want to bring it up.

  3. Joanna

    Even if the LW changes her child’s name to avoid any potential issues with the friends, chances are that when the child starts school s/he will nonetheless meet up with other kids with the same name, unless of course it’s very unusual, so….

  4. Sara

    Recently my sister-in-law and her husband gave their son the same name that my husband and I will name our son. My husband is the second and his son will be the third. I was shocked. What do you think of this?

    • Elizabeth

      I can see why you would be miffed or find it odd, however no one retains ownership of a name. The may have their own reasons for preferring that name, and you don’t have to change your plans on account of them. Kids will develop nicknames, so I wouldn’t worry about any confusion between the two kids. It also sounds as though you do not yet have a son–and unless you are currently pregnant with a boy, it is not a given that you will definitely have one. You are certainly entitled to your feelings, and I do empathize and understand where you are coming from, but it would be inappropriate to say anything to your SIL.

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