Welcome Naomi AnneUPDATE: Please welcome Naomi Anne! Amber says, “No matter how many names we both liked, I really wanted to have an M name. After looking at this list and the comments a hundred times, my husband pointed out Naomi. It’s nothing like Emma and Molly (or Amber or Michael), but there’s a strong M sound. Everything clicked into place. She’s Naomi Anne, the middle name for Michael’s grandmother, but also because now she has a double letter, just like Emma and Molly. Thanks to everyone for helping us find the perfect name for our long-awaited baby girl!

Amber writes:

We have two daughters, Emma Grace and Molly Rose. They’re just eighteen months apart. Emma will be 9 this summer, and Molly is 7. After many years of thinking we couldn’t have more children, we’re expecting a third daughter in August. While names were always easy for us, this time, nothing seems right.

Maybe it’s because we know SO many girls! Between family, school, sports, scouts, and church, it feels like we must know over a hundred girls, at least. All of the other names we liked when we were expecting Emma and Molly are taken: Ava, Nora, Sadie, Ruby, Daisy, Clara, Lila, Katherine/Kate.

We also have a long, Italian last name – four syllables, starts with a B, ends with an a. I really don’t like the way longer names, like Olivia or Amelia, sound with it. Also, we’re not especially Italian, so names like Rosa, Maria, etc. sound too Italian, if that makes sense.

Nicknames are a sore spot with my husband, who is Michael – NOT Mike. So we prefer names that either don’t shorten, or, maybe, by some miracle, shorten to something he likes. (Katherine/Kate is his one exception so far, but now it is our niece’s name.)

Other names seem ruled out because they’re too close to Emma and Molly. We loved Ella for Molly, but felt Emma and Ella were too match-y. We’ve also ruled out Gemma and Lily for similar reasons.

While I’m eager to avoid recycling a name, my husband strongly dislikes names he’s never heard of before. He also doesn’t like “old” names, and he’s not exactly objective about them. He thinks Hazel is old, but also Evelyn. (Never mind that we know two Evelyns under the age of five.) I don’t like made-up names, so Kaylee, Hailey, Kinsley, etc. are out, though he tends to like those just fine.

For a while, I wanted a name with an ‘M’ sound in it somewhere to match her sisters’ names, but as my due date gets closer and our list is blank, I’m willing to let that go.

What have we overlooked that would work?

Please read on for my response and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your third daughter!

If it helps, you’re facing the classic conundrum faced by experienced parents. We know what we like and what works for our family, but the reality of having named children and knowing so many more? That limits us in surprising ways.

But let’s talk about those limits for a minute.

Since your niece is Katherine-called-Kate, that name is out. But are Ava, Nora, Sadie, Ruby, Daisy, Clara, and Lila also the names of close family members? Or friends who are like family?

Because sometimes we do tend to cross out names that belong to, say, a neighbor’s kid or a maybe friend from work. And it can be awkward, in the moment, to repeat a name. But if you truly love Ava or Sadie or Clara, it’s worth considering that relationship. Neighbors move. We change jobs. If it’s not completely necessary to rule out a favorite, maybe you shouldn’t.

Still, I’m going to proceed as if all of those names belong to nieces and goddaughters and close friends’ children and make some fresh suggestions instead.



A storybook name with plenty of strength, Alice sounds like a sister for Emma and Molly.


While Charlotte is very popular, it’s not on your can’t-use list. (And I’m inclined to repeat my maxims about how even the most popular names are less common than they were before.) It reminds me a bit of Katherine, though there’s not necessarily a Kate equivalent.


Maybe slightly more modern – though the Garden of Eden is anything but.


If Ruby and Lila are favorites you’ve had to rule out, would Lucy offer some of the best of both?


Like Eden, Maren is a little more modern. It’s a Scandi take on Mary, tailored and strong.


Mila shares sounds with Emma and Molly, which could make it exactly right – or maybe too close? I think Emma, Molly, and Mila are fun to say together.


Stella – or Bella? – shares the Ls of Molly and the two-syllable, ends-with-a construction of Emma. It’s a mainstream favorite that’s still plenty cool.


For something completely different, would you consider Violet? Daisy is on your like-but-can’t-use list, so maybe another floral favorite would appeal?

I think my favorite is Maren. Different ending sounds make the three names distinct, but the shared M sound links them. The question, of course, is probably whether Maren hits that mainstream, but not repeated, sweet spot?

Readers, over to you! What would you name a sister for Emma and Molly?

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. I think Mila would work really well! I also love Alice.

    Names with an M:

    Names without an M

    Ava: Ada
    Nora: Nell(a)
    Sadie: Elsie
    Ruby: Pearl, Opal
    Daisy: Posie
    Clara: Lucy, Claire
    Lila: Isla, Leah
    Katherine/Kate: Margot (Margaret), Eliza (Elizabeth)

  2. Stick with “m” sound repeating…(too many nickname style?)


  3. What about Eloise? I feel like it has sounds from Emma and Molly, but sounds uniquely its own. It doesn’t have a natural nickname. I imagine it sounds nice with the last name (but can’t be sure). It’s probably bordering on a little long, but I think maybe not too long. I also like Avery, Alice, Tess, Hazel, Olive, Opal.

  4. To not repeat beginning letters or ending sounds/ letters…..

    Emma Grace, Molly Rose and….

    Claire Elizabeth
    Ruth Gwendolyn
    Alice Anne-Marie
    Jane Marie
    Janet Claire
    June Caroline
    Anne Charlotte-Mary
    Susanne Marie
    Joanne Marie
    Juliet Katherine
    Rachel Claire
    Fern Elizabeth
    Tess Katherine
    Nell Mary-June
    Quinn Caroline
    Gwen Mary
    Gwendoline, Gwendolyn Kate
    Gwyneth Anne
    Tanith June
    Bronwyn Jane
    Robyn Katherine
    Blythe Elizabeth
    Linden Claire
    Charlotte June
    Lauren Jane
    Caroline Claire
    Eden Elizabeth

    Exception, has long E sound, but does not end in Y…..
    Daphne Marie
    Phoebe Katherine