Cute baby girl

When expectant parents start planning for their new baby, one of the first questions is always, "What will we call her?" Sometimes parents spend such a long time agonizing over their child’s first name that they forget to spend any time brainstorming baby girl middle name ideas. Choosing a good middle name is actually pretty important. The middle name can give some extra personality to your baby’s name — one day, they may even decide to go by their middle name rather than their first name. The middle name also dictates your baby’s initials, so it’s important that you pick a middle name that works with first and last name initials.

Middle names are becoming more and more popular every year. According to the Daily Mail, middle names really started taking off about 100 years ago as a way to honor the family by using an ancestor’s name as the middle name to commemorate them. These days, families often choose a brand new middle name, so if you don’t want to choose an old name that runs in the family, you can pick any name you like. Here are some of the prettiest middle names for girls.

Anna

Sleepy baby

If you’ve picked a somewhat extravagant, unusual first name, it can be nice to create some balance by opting for a simpler, more classic baby girl middle name. Anna is the perfect option. Because it begins and ends with an "a" vowel, this name flows perfectly with just about any first and last name.

According to BabyNames.com, Anna is a Hebrew name that translates to mean "gracious" or "merciful." It’s an extremely common name — in the U.S., it was the 68th most popular girl’s name in 2020, according to Behind the Name. This means that it may not be a great choice for a first name, as plenty of other babies will share your child’s name — however, as a middle name, it’s a solid choice.

One thing to bear in mind if you’re planning on using Anna as a middle name is that your daughter’s middle initial will be an "A." So, if her first and last name initials are consonants, you may end up accidentally spelling a word with her initials. For instance, if her first name was Cara and her last name was Thompson, her initials would spell "cat." Whether you think this is a good thing or a bad thing, it’s definitely something to keep in mind!

Claire

Happy baby

Another sweet baby girl middle name is Claire. This is a pretty, feminine name that won’t overcomplicate the baby’s full name — after all, it’s only one syllable. According to BabyNames.com, Claire is a French name that means "illustrious" or "enlightened."

If you choose Claire as your daughter’s middle name, she will be in good company. A lot of female celebrities also have Claire as a middle name. Jessica Claire Biel, Zooey Claire Deschanel, and Ellie Claire Kemper are all examples. Claire is also the first name of many well-known celebrities, including actress Claire Danes who starred in "Romeo + Juliet" and actress Claire Foy of "The Crown," The name has become more and more popular in the states in the past few decades. According to Behind the Name, Claire is the 57th most popular name as of 2020.

Because Claire is a short and sweet name, we think it will work best with a longer first name to provide some variety.

Emma

Small baby

Like Anna, Emma is a simple, pretty name that slots in between almost any first and last name. This feminine, sweet name will add a little flair to any moniker. According to BabyNames.com, Emma has Latin origins and means "universal."

Emma has become extremely popular in recent years. According to Behind the Name, Emma was the most popular girl’s name in America from 2014 to 2018. In 2019 and 2020, it was the second most popular. If you don’t want your daughter to share a name with numerous other girls her age, it may be best to avoid using Emma as a first name — but it makes a beautiful middle name!

Plenty of famous women also have Emma as a middle name — especially famous women of history. Mary Woolley, the famous suffragette, Sarah Edmonds, a woman who fought in the American Civil War as a man, and Lillah McCarthy, a famous actress in the early 1900s, all had Emma as their middle name. Plus, we all remember that Ross and Rachel named their daughter Emma in "Friends!"

Mia

Mom and baby

Mia is a middle name that will work perfectly with almost any first name. The name has a Scandinavian origin, according to BabyNames.com, and means "of the sea or bitter." Since the 1960s, Mia has grown rapidly in popularity in the states. As of 2020, it’s the eighth most popular name in the country, according to Behind the Name.

There are a number of well-known Mias, including Mia Wasikowska, the actress known for "Alice in Wonderland" and "Stoker," Mia Farrow, the actress known for "Rosemary’s Baby" and "Hannah and Her Sisters," and Mia Hamm, a well-known American soccer player. A few celebrities also have the middle name Mia, including Pia Mia, the American singer, and Julie Warner, the "Family Law" actress.

We love the baby girl middle name Mia — but be careful about how it fits in with your first name choice. Some names that end in "a" may sound a little goofy with Mia as a middle name. After all, you probably don’t want your daughter’s name to sound like "Mamma Mia!"

Sophia

Sleeping baby

The name Sophia is of Greek origin and means "wisdom," according to BabyNames.com. Other spellings include Sofia, Sofiya, and Sofea. In the United States, Sophia has had a huge surge in popularity since 2000. As of 2020, according to Behind the Name, it’s the fifth most popular name in the country, and between 2011 and 2013, the name was the most popular girl’s name.

There are plenty of well-known Sophias that your little girl will be able to look up to. Sophia Loren, for instance, is a famous Italian actress who shot to fame in the 1960s. Sofía Vergara is the Columbian-American actress who played the hilarious Gloria on "Modern Family." And there’s Sofia Coppola, the respected film director behind "The Virgin Suicides," "Lost in Translation," and "Marie Antoinette," to name a few.

Sophia is a lovely choice for a baby girl’s middle name as it’s soft and feminine and rolls off the tongue.

Ivy

Baby learning to walk

If you’re looking for a middle name for your daughter that’s a little more unusual, why not try Ivy? According to BabyNames.com, Ivy is an English name that comes directly from the plant. Ivy became popular in America in the late 1940s, but since the early 2000s, the name has risen in popularity in the states. As of 2020, it is the 58th most popular name, according to Behind the Name.

Ivy is a classic, retro name, and if you choose it as a middle name, your daughter will have plenty of well-known women in history to look up to. Ivy Compton-Burnett, for instance, was a British novelist who wrote books about Edwardian England. And, of course, we all know Poison Ivy, the famous DC character! A few celebrities also have the middle name Ivy — most notably, Melissa Rauch of "Big Bang Theory" fame.

We think Ivy is a gorgeous middle that will both look and sound stunning!

Ella

Dad and baby

Ella is a beautiful girl’s name that is perfect for a baby girl’s middle name. According to BabyNames.com, Ella has Spanish origins and means "young girl." The name also means "goddess" in Hebrew. The name can also be short for Elizabeth or Eleanor, and it could even be short for Cinderella for parents who are major Disney fans.

If you choose Ella as a middle name for your little girl, she’ll have plenty of famous namesakes. Ella Fitzgerald, for instance, was a famous jazz singer who rose to fame in the 1930s and ’40s thanks to her stunning voice. Another famous Ella is Ella Raines, who was a 1940s actress known for black and white films like "Phantom Lady" and "The Suspect." There’s also Ella Baker who was a civil rights activist in America. As for famous people with Ella as middle name, you may be surprised to learn that ’50s actress Gloria Saunders had Ella as a middle name.

According to Behind the Name, Ella was hugely popular in the late 1800s. Even though Ella dipped in popularity in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, it’s making a comeback. As of 2020, the name is the 15th most popular.

Louise

Baby sitting up

Louise is a pretty common middle name — in fact, according to Ancestry.co.uk, it was the most popular middle name for girls in the U.K. in 2017 (via The Sun). According to BabyNames.com, Louise is an English name that means "famous warrior." While the name may be popular as a middle name, it isn’t nearly as common as a first name. In fact, in the United States, it only reached the top 1000 names in 2016 after falling off the charts in 1991. As of 2020, the name is the 689th most popular name, according to Behind the Name.

Even though Louise isn’t the most common name out there, there are plenty of well-known Louises. Louise Lasser is a well-known actress who starred in "Girls" and "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman." There’s also Louise Redknapp, who is a British singer.

We think Louise is a lovely choice as a middle name. It goes well with names that end in an "a" vowel like Anna or Emma. Plus, it has a classic, retro feel that we totally love.

Aria

Cute baby smiling

Aria is a beautiful girl’s name that feels a little unusual without being too out there. According to BabyNames.com, the name comes from the Italian word for "solo melody," and the word is still used to describe solos in operas today. For fans of television, Aria will probably remind you of either Aria Montgomery from "Pretty Little Liars" or Arya Stark from "Game of Thrones" — both great namesakes for your daughter as far as we’re concerned! You may also remember actress Aria Wallace from "iCarly," "The Perfect Man," and "Roxy Hunter."

The name Aria has only recently become popular in the United States. The name started appearing in 2000, and since then, it’s become one of the most popular names around. As of 2020, it’s the 26th most popular girl’s name, according to Behind the Name.

Aria is a super versatile name that will work well with most first names — plus, it will add some Italian flair to your daughter’s name.

Zoe

Baby and her mom

We absolutely love the idea of using Zoe as a middle name for a baby girl. Not only is the name pretty, but it also means your daughter will have "Z" as an initial — which we think is pretty cool. According to BabyNames.com, Zoe is a Greek name that means "life," which makes for a lovely name for your new baby!

Zoe can also be spelled Zooey, like the J.D. Salinger character or "New Girl" actress Zooey Deschanel. Famous Zoes include actress Zoe Saldana known for "Avatar," "Guardians of the Galaxy," and "Star Trek," actress Zoë Kravitz known for "Mad Max: Fury Road," "X-Men: First Class," and "Big Little Lies," YouTuber Zoe Sugg (aka Zoella), and TikTok star Zoe LaVerne. There are also a few famous women with Zoe as a middle name, such as Rachel Zoe, the fashion designer.

According to Behind the Name, Zoe is currently quite popular in the United States. As of 2020, the name is the 41st most popular name.

Brooklyn

Laughing baby

Thinking of choosing a more unusual middle name for your daughter? Why not opt for a "place" name like Brooklyn? Brooklyn has actually become a pretty popular name in the United States in recent years. As of 2020, it’s the 54th most popular name, according to Behind the Name. The name is taken straight from the area in New York City, so for parents who met or live in Brooklyn, this name is perfect.

There are a surprising number of famous Brooklyns out there. Victoria and David Beckham, for instance, named their son Brooklyn. Jim Bob Duggar and Michelle Duggar used Brooklyn as a middle name for their daughter, Josie. There’s also the famous model Brooklyn Decker.

If you don’t fancy Brooklyn as a middle name, there are plenty of other "place" names to try as a middle name, such as Miami, London, Paris, Adelaide, Phoenix, Dakota, Aspen — the list goes on!

Lily

Smiling baby on rug

If you aren’t a fan of place names, you could also try naming your daughter after your favorite flower. Lily, for instance, is a beautiful middle name. Even though Lily is an English name that refers to the flower, it’s also a classic name. In England, the name has been popular since the 1990s, and in the United States, the name was popular way back in the 1880s. In the 2000s, the name became extremely popular, reaching the 15th position in 2011. In 2020, it was the 35th most popular name, according to Behind the Name.

Of course, there are a few well-known Lilys in literature that make it a great baby girl middle name. One of the most famous is Lily Evans, Harry’s mother in the "Harry Potter" series. Lily is also the name of Alyson Hannigan’s character in "How I Met Your Mother," and the name of Cam and Mitch’s daughter in "Modern Family." Other famous Lilys include Lily James, the actress known for "Cinderella" and "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again," and Claudette Colbert, the 1920s actress who was nicknamed Lily.

Want to try another flower name? Other options include Rose, Jasmine, and Azalea.

Daphne

Baby drinking milk

Daphne is a classic girl’s name that has a Greek origin. According to BabyNames.com, it means "laurel tree." As ancient Greek legend has it, Daphne was the human personification of the laurel tree who turned into a tree when she was pursued by Apollo (via Britannica). There are quite a few well-known Daphnes. Daphne Du Maurier was a famous British author known for writing "Rebecca" and "My Cousin Rachel." Daphne is also a character in the "Scooby-Doo" franchise and in Netflix’s famous "Bridgerton" series.

According to Behind the Name, Daphne has been slowly growing in popularity since the 1990s, though it had seen a peak in 1962. As of 2020, the name is the 414th most popular name in the country. We think Daphne is a beautiful middle name for your daughter that is unique, old-school, and sophisticated. It’s perfect for families who want a name that alludes to classic mythology, but that also has a modern ring to it.

Marianne

Sleeping baby with cute outfit

Marianne is another classic name that is perfect for a baby girl’s middle name. According to BabyNames.com, the name is originally French and means "of the sea or bitter" — the same as Mia. Marianne was a popular name in the United States in the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s, reaching a position of 139, according to Behind the Name. However, as of 2020, the name is no longer in the top 1,000 baby girl names, so it’s definitely a unique choice.

You probably know the name best thanks to some famous literary characters. Marianne Dashwood, for instance, was one of the main characters in Jane Austen‘s "Sense and Sensibility." Marianne was also the main character in Sally Rooney’s "Normal People," which was made famous by the Hulu TV series in 2020. The name is also famous for the Leonard Cohen song "So Long, Marianne."

We think Marianne would make a lovely middle name for a baby girl with a relatively short and modern first name as it would provide a nice contrast.