I'm stealing my sister's baby name, it fills me with guilt but here's why I'm still doing it...

Stealing my sister's baby name was never part of the plan

Stealing sister's baby name mum and bump in a field
(Image credit: Future / Lauren Carbran)

Choosing a baby name isn't always a walk in the 'I've-had-it-picked-out-since-I-was-five-years-old' park. For many, it can be tricky, with variables such as what initials does it make? Does it go with our last name? Do I like the short version?

Some parents-to-be take to the internet and research like never before, landing on articles like our most popular baby names, unisex baby names, or even unpopular baby names - y'know, just to keep things interesting. Others, like our writer, 30-year-old pregnant mum-of-one, Lauren Carbran look a little closer to home... 

'I'm stealing my sister's baby name'

I’m Lauren and I'm stealing my sister’s favourite girl’s name. Even writing that fills me with guilt. Let me paint the picture for you. My 28-year-old sister is already that fun, cool auntie to my 2-year-old Chloe, who loves teaching her TikTok dances on her days off, and treating her to meals at boujee restaurants.

She lives her life freely - no partner, kids, pets or long-term commitments. When it comes to baby names, Amelie has always been her favourite girl’s name and most people who know her, know that. 

When we were younger, we’d walk through the park with our arms linked, reciting our baby name list. ‘I only have one girl’s name,’ she’d say. ‘She’ll be Amelie.’  'And mine will be Chloe,’ I’d reply. 

Stealing my sister's baby name images of family members

My sister in Auntie mode with my firstborn

(Image credit: Lauren Carbran)

Want to hear the funny thing? Chloe was never my husband’s favourite name, Amelie was. When I was pregnant with my first, we’d have heated arguments and sleepless nights over what to call her, but I knew she had to be Chloe.

When I fell pregnant a few months ago with my second girl, my husband asked if we could call her Amelie. Disaster. ‘But it’s my sister’s favourite name,’ I said, awkwardly. How could I do that to her? Eventually, we settled on Amelie as the middle name and an alternative name we both loved as the first. 

But one morning I woke up and something didn’t sit right with it. That’s it, I thought, by switching them around it naturally rolled off the tongue – and perfectly matched with Chloe. It was then that I decided to take my sister’s favourite girl's name – and admit full ownership of it. 

Next on my agenda: talking to my sister. One evening as we relaxed on the sofa, I blurted it out. “You know I love you and you’re the best sister ever and we’ve, um, finally decided on the baby’s name… and it’s Amelie,’ I word-vomited at speed. She looked surprised. ‘You’re choosing my girl's name?’ she replied, bluntly. I explained everything.

Stealing my sister's baby name images of family members

Me, my husband and bump

(Image credit: Lauren Carbran)

Although she gave me permission to take her girl's name, I’ve still been trying to find an alternative, just in case any top Amelie. Googling names inspired by cities, flicking through Chloe’s books for inspiration and even swiping through the Babyname app (AKA Tinder for baby names) with my husband. But nothing comes close.

I’m not the only one on the baby name thief list. In Feb 2022, Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott were one of many celebrities who changed their baby's names. The couple welcomed a baby boy called Wolf, the same name as her ex-friend Tammy Hembrow’s son. A month later, she announced they were changing his name and in January 2023, he was re-named as Aire. 

Then there’s Rachel from the TV series Friends, who steals Monica’s baby name, Emma, right after giving birth. Struggling to find a name that sticks, she hears Monica’s favourite girl’s name and starts crying with emotion.

‘Take it,’ Monica says to Rachel. ‘Oh honey, but you love that name,’ Rachel sobs. ‘Yeah, but I love you more,’ she says. Like Rachel, is it okay to call dibs on a baby's name because you ‘got there first’, knowing it’s not been attributed to a child yet?

While many say your baby’s name is your choice, for the ‘victim’ losing their favourite name, it can be hard to let go of. After all, your favourite baby name can help you form an emotional attachment towards having children and allow you to visualise your future in your head.

But over time I’ve come to realise that choosing the name Amelie is a beautiful thing – as she grows up, I can tell her that her Auntie helped me choose her name and I know that my sister will form a special bond with her, because she’s her little Amelie, too.

If you've already nailed your baby name, then take a look through our pregnancy cravings - there are some weird and wonderful foods, the stages of labour as well as our midwife-approved 20 ways to have an easy labour.

Lauren Carbran
Freelance baby, kids & parenting writer

Lauren Carbran is an award-winning journalist with a passion for all things baby, kids and parenting. She’s been writing about the subject for over ten years, for the likes of Mother & Baby, Baby Dove, Asda Baby & Toddler Club, Refinery29, Evening Standard and House of Fraser. She also writes about beauty, lifestyle and wellness for publications such as The Guardian, Metro, HuffPost, Daily Express, Top Sante and Holland & Barrett’s Healthy magazine.