Baby name needed: Girl name for Lydia’s sister

A reader named Beth is expecting her second daughter in a few weeks. She writes:

My first is named Lydia and we have a very Polish last name. After what has been an excruciating process, my husband and I have come up with three names we can agree on. He loves Sylvia, as do I, but I wondered if it was too sing-song-y with big sister Lydia. I would probably want to nickname her Sylvie for that reason. We also like Stella, but I think the name is fast becoming the new Ava, Sophia or Ella. Francesca is the wild card-we like it, just not sure if it would fit well enough. What are your thoughts, and if you have any suggestions, they would be welcome!

One thing I noted was Beth’s use of the verbs like and love. She and her husband “like” Stella and Francesca, but they “love” Sylvia. I think that difference is key.

Over and over again I see people return to the name they loved after putting it aside to consider the dozens of names they liked. (As if all the lesser names had to be ruled out before a decision could finally be made.) If Sylvia is the one name Beth and her husband both love, perhaps that fact is more important than anything else…?

But let’s put diction aside for now and look at each name individually.

Is Sylvia too close to Lydia? It has the same length, the same rhythm, the same ending. I think I’d be against the pairing if not for the nickname Sylvie. That knocks off a syllable, alters the rhythm, changes the ending. If Sylvia will be known as Sylvie, well, that might just solve the problem.

I think it’s smart to be wary of Stella. I’m not sure that it has the momentum to become as popular as Sophia or Ava, but you never know.

Ah, Francesca! I’m a big fan of the Fran- names, so I get excited when I learn that someone might be using one. I think Lydia and Francesca fit together quite well. Even better than Lydia and Stella, actually. If this were a beauty contest, I’d probably give Sylvia/Sylvie the tiara, but I’d make Francesca the first runner-up.

I’d hate to make the naming process any more excruciating than it’s already been, but a few name suggestions did come to mind as I was typing:


Do you have an opinion or suggestion you’d like to share with Beth? Please comment below and/or cast a vote in the poll (sidebar).

Update – The baby has arrived! To see the name Beth chose, either scroll down through the comments or just click here.

11 thoughts on “Baby name needed: Girl name for Lydia’s sister

  1. There are 2 Stellas at my daughters’ school (of only 80 children). There is another in my girl scout troop. I don’t think I’d go with it. Francesca is lovely and might go very well with a Polish last name. I would be wary of Sylvia only because it does go so well with Lydia. Then again, eventually this baby will be an adult and not paired with Lydia…

  2. I say if they love Sylvia, go for it! My sister and I have rhyming names, Tracy & Stacey. It wasn’t a huge issue growing up, and I think Lydia and Sylvia are much less matchy-matchy than Tracy & Stacey (we’re not twins, btw but we are close in age and people often thought we were – otoh, people think my 3 youngest are various combinations of twins or even triplets and their names are Ciaran, Simon and Malachy so I think that it was just as much being so close in age and size that did it as they matching names).

    Francesca is one of my all time favorite girls names. Right now I’m also liking Astrid instead of Stella.

  3. Thank you so much for the feedback ladies. I shared this post with my husband, and he too is grateful for your opinion. This certainly gave us food for thought and will definitely help us reach our final decision!

  4. I wouldn’t bat an eyelash at Lydia and Sylvia.

    Here are some other ideas:
    – Bernadette
    – Clarissa
    – Penelope

  5. I like Sylvia and don’t think it sounds terrible with Lydia–but, to avoid the similarity, and you’ll be calling her that anyway, why not just name her Sylvie? It’s an absolutely valid name, the French form of Sylvia. Lydia and Sylvia isn’t a big problem–but Lydia and Sylvie isn’t a problem at all!

  6. I love Sylvia, but it is very close to Lydia. If it were me, i would just go with Sylvie (which is just as nice), to avoid the similarity! Lydia & Sylvie are gorgeous!

  7. I think Sylvia is a great name! It goes great with Lydia! The only similarities they have our both have a Y and they end in an “uh” sound…like a lot of other baby names. A lot of my female family have names like mine that end in “uh”, but we still love them even though sometimes its confusing. (Mainly I have a cousin with a name that rhymes with mine.) As long as it isnt rhyming its good! Go for Sylvia! (and keep Sylvie as a nickname.)

  8. A total of 43 votes were cast in the poll. (I left it up for about 3 weeks.) Here are the results:

    Sylvia (nn Sylvie) – 20 votes
    Stella – 10 votes
    Francesca – 7 votes
    None of the above – 6 votes

  9. Just heard from Beth! Her pick is a surprise — last-minute contender Elise, with the middle name Violet. Here’s what she says:

    Thanks for all of your help and to your readers input. Funny enough, we still hadn’t made a decision at the hospital until the morning we were discharged. We had initially settled upon Francesca, and was pondering middle names when I suggested Elise. Well that opened a whole new can of worms when my SIL raved about loving that name, then my husband suggested we use it for her first name. So I pulled a middle name out of the air and at the eleventh hour we settled upon Elise Violet. And it suits her perfect. It satisfied the little old lady charm I like in names, unique enough that I don’t hear it used much, yet it’s a real, actual name. The only drawback, since riffing on names has trended and invented names and creatively spelled traditional names is the norm, some people hear “Ahleese” instead of the short e sound when pronouncing it. But feedback has been extremely positive, usually prompting a “I had an aunt/sister/old friend name Elise, you don’t hear it anymore…” type of response. Hope you like it as much as we do. It took some getting used to, especially since we switched gears so late in the game, but I think its a good complement to big sister’s name.

    I love the name Elise, and I think it fits very well with Lydia. What a great choice. Congrats, Beth!

  10. When we were trying to name my Lydia’s twin, Elise came up, but we discarded it as too close to Lydia. We used Audrey instead. Fast forward 3 years, at the girls’ preschool, there’s another Audrey, and she’s about to be a big sister to… Elise!

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