Baby Naming Issue: Does Max C. sound like Maxi (as in Maxi Pad)?

Hi Swistle,

I’m due with a boy in July. We have a name ready for him already, but I’ve recently realized a potential problem and I was wondering, now that they’re working again, if it might be possible to use your trusty polling to help figure out if this potential problem is something I should worry about or not.

I’m actually surprised I hadn’t needed to write to you sooner because my husband and I were pretty far apart when it came to naming styles. Like many husbands, mine was partial to the names he grew up with in the 1970s and 1980s (particularly the girls he had crushes on – what is up with that?!). For a girl, he would be very happy to use the name Jennifer. (Me? Not so much.) We were able to find a name for this child in the end but literally only one. (This is not a “take options to the hospital” situation.) The only name we’ve agreed on is Maxwell (nn Max). I think it’s great. My husband thinks it’s great. We’re both happy. So what’s the problem?

I know Max is on the more popular side these days, though I’m not aware of any in my group of friends with kids. Still, I know there is a potential for him to not be the only Max in class. And our last name begins with C. So he may be Max C. I was in the shower the other day when I suddenly realized that Max C sounds like “maxi”. So now I’m concerned about “maxi pad” teasing. So my question is this: Does the potential for “maxi pad” teasing make the name unusable? Or, rather, would it stop you or your readers from using the name? I don’t want to saddle my child with something he’ll hate. Of course, being pregnant and hormonal means I could be blowing this out of proportion, so I’d love the feedback. If we need to go back to the drawing board, we need all the time we can get!



If there is literally only one name you and your husband can agree on, then our task is to see if we can eliminate/avoid any problems with it, not to rule it out for something that may or may not be a problem.

For it to be a problem, ALL of these things would have to happen:

1. He would have to be in a classroom with more than one Max.
2. There would have to be only one possible solution: to call him Max C.
3. “Max C.” would have to sound like “maxi” to other people.
4. “Maxi” would have to make those people think of “maxi pad.”
5. Those people would have to choose to use that as a taunting nickname.

ALL OF THOSE THINGS would have to happen together. When even the first thing on the list is something that may never happen—and if it did, the second thing on the list is not true.

My kids have periodically been in classrooms where more than one kid has the same name. There have been VARIOUS solutions to this, and I believe it is always determined via discussion. That is, so far I don’t believe any of the teachers have said, “Right. So I will call YOU this, and YOU that.” Instead it is “How shall we handle this?” Sometimes the solution is Madison L. and Madison H. Sometimes the solution is Madison and Maddy. Sometimes the solution is Maddy Jane and Maddy Rose. Sometimes the solution is Madison Elridge and Madison Arthur. Sometimes the solution is Maddy and MJ.

Even if your Max is in a classroom with another Max, AND even if Max C. would lead everyone immediately to call him Maxi Pad, ruining his childhood—EVEN SO, there are so many options that avoid this path. He could go by Maxwell while the other Max goes by Max, or he could go by Maxwell C., or by M.C., or by Wells, or by his first and middle names, or by his first and middle initials, or by his first name and middle initial.

I will put up a poll. I am concerned, however, that this will bring us to the phenomenon where a hundred people can say a name is great, but it’s hard to ignore the one person who says “Bleah.” Or where an author/actor/screenwriter can get a hundred glowing reviews, but it’s the one negative one that sticks with them. I could put up a poll for ANY ISSUE IN THE WORLD, even an issue where you would think NO ONE would vote that it was a problem (“Does the name Emily make you think of strippers?”) and SOMEONE would vote that it was a problem. Still, if a poll would help, I will put up a poll:

Is this a deal-breaking problem?
  • 2.8% - ( 32 votes )
  • 94.39% - ( 1077 votes )
  • 2.8% - ( 32 votes )




Name update:

Hi Swistle! You posted my question back in May. I’d held off sending an update because I felt as though “and we named him Max” would be the most boring update ever. I wondered if I should wait until he’d been through elementary school and let you know if he ever had to be referred to as Max C and the implications of that. But that seemed a little extreme. So instead I will tell you that we did name him Maxwell (nn Max) (probably not a surprise) and that your comments and those of your readers helped me feel MUCH better about choosing it. But I also have to tell you that I hadn’t been as excited about the name as I’d hoped I’d be (maybe because we came to it so early and had no other real contenders; I’m not sure), which was compounded by the fact that we were hearing the name Max a bunch after he was born (around in public places but also by a friend who had her baby a month later and also used Maxwell). But I was rocking him in the middle of the night the other night and the words “baby Max” went through my head. At that moment, a warm feeling came over me and I realized it was about the name. It took a while, but now I totally love it. (I still prefer that people not call him Maxi though. Ha!) Thanks again, Hettie

44 thoughts on “Baby Naming Issue: Does Max C. sound like Maxi (as in Maxi Pad)?

  1. Lettucehead

    Haha! I’m so sorry, because I can tell this issue is bothering you, but this situation is textbook “pregnancy-brain.” Please believe me – many of us have been there! Frantically worrying if we will do some unfortold damage to our beloved child if we chose this name or that name.
    But, really, please believe – it will be OK!!!
    You would still name a girl a ‘B’ name (Beverly, Bettina, Beth) even if there were a possibility of that child marrying a person with a last name of Samuels, yes? But if she changed her name after her marriage, her initials would be ‘B.S.’
    There are so many ‘what ifs’ in having a child. Max is a great name and it all will be fine.

    1. Bonnie

      My name is Bonnie S….! I am B.S. Nobody every brings it up. If I’m signing myself with initials I always make sure to put my middle initial J in as well. Lol.

  2. alli

    Who would be doing the teasing? My thought is the demographic would be preteen boys or at least school age kids. “Maxi pad” is an older lady technical term that I would be shocked if kids knew the term and also weren’t embarrassed to say it themselves. It’s not an issue. My aunt said she didn’t want to name her children with the initials BM. I stared blankly at her trying to figure out what the issue was. Once she pointed it out I still thought it was a reach.

      1. Kristin H

        I totally agree. I would be surprised if anyone younger than about 25 even recognizes the term “maxi pad.”

    1. Emily

      Yep, even in my generation, none of referred to pads as maxi pads. It almost sounds as outdated as sanitary napkins. ;) and even if he is Max C, it would probably only be in elementary school. By junior high or high school, when kids might actually know and use it, most kids aren’t still going by first name last initial.

      But I understand. I really love a name that starts with a B and wanted to use a family name that starts with a J as the middle name, but don’t want initials to be “BJ.” It’s easy to talk yourself out of a name! I love maxwell and would use it! And chances are, he could very well be the only Max in his class.

  3. Lindsay A

    In junior high I had a guy friend with the last name “Maxey” and he was called “maxi pad” as an everyday nickname among his football teammates. I never got the impression that it bothered him, and he generally played along making “extra protection” and “with wings” jokes. He does have sons now, and he wasn’t so scarred that he chose not to pass on the last name. :)

    In this case, I would not let the issue be a deal breaker. I would, however, let it guide me to a middle name that sounded particularly good with just “Max,” so rather than “Max C” he could be “Max ____.” (Max Ryan is all that’s coming to mind but I’m sure there are lots of succinct, pleasing combos!)

  4. Kas

    Maxwell is a great name, even better that both you and your husband love it! I don’t think Max C will be an issue. Congrats and goodluck

  5. British American

    I thought this was going to be about the middle name starting with a C – which wouldn’t be a problem. Even with the last name, I think it would be fine.

    Maxi actually makes me think of skirts more than pads.

    I agree that if there was another Max in his class, you could have him go by Maxwell or Max-Middle Name or by his initials.

    Even though I have noticed that sometimes schools will refer to all the kids in the class as “First Name Last Initial” even when there are no duplicates. This has happened with my kids with name tags on the desk or door. I still think Max C. would be fine though.

  6. Maree

    I have three boys, they love a good joke about virtually every bodily function. They are pretty gross really (in a funny pre-teen boy way). There is absolutely NO WAY any of them would mention something as horrendously, horribly, embarrassing as a pad in public. I’m pretty sure they would walk across hot coals to avoid it in fact.
    Do you have Maxi-Taxi’s in the US (or Maxi-Cabs)? That is what Maxi made me think of. BUT Max C. did not make me think Maxi, it is a tongue-twister though.
    One of my kids had a ‘double’ once in his class – they went by full first + surname. It wasn’t an issue at all. I would go for it.

  7. Megan M.

    *sigh* Is it really an absolute disaster that your child maybe, might, one day be compared to a maxi pad? Why do we have to teach boys that being associated with anything “girly” is the worst thing that can happen to them? Why must people behave as though periods are nothing but gross and unmentionable?

    My rant against sexism and toxic masculinity aside, I don’t think “Maxey” is an unusual nickname for a Max and most people will have heard that somewhere before and not necessarily immediately jump to “maxi pad.”

    1. Maree

      Hi Megan,

      I agree with you. In fairness to my boys though (if this is a response to my comment above yours) they would be equally embarrassed by anything related to male puberty. Just a very sensitive topic for kids of a certain age.

  8. Stephanie

    Honestly what I hear first from Max C is Mack C. Also not awful and that’s assuming he even ever goes by his first name-last initial.

    I think it’s just fine.

  9. Rachel

    I don’t ever see this becoming a problem BUT don’t forget there are other nicknames to go with. I LOVE “Wells” for example.

  10. Squirrel Bait

    I agree that maxi pad is sort of an old-lady term and it’s unlikely a jerky elementary schooler would go near that word/concept anyway. It seems natural for you to already be worrying about your kid and his future, and at this point his name is one of the few areas about which you can worry since you don’t know anything else about him yet — personality, hair color, voice, etc. All kids seem to receive some amount of grief from their peers — does it help to think he might be teased about something you don’t even know about yet? Maybe not. But regardless, I don’t think the potential to be occasionally called Max C. is a problem at all. Plus, in adulthood, it will never, ever happen.

    1. Shannon

      Ooh, another great point (“in adulthood, it will never, ever happen”). I was teased in elementary school for getting glasses before anyone else did. It was major for me then. It’s now a distant memory I rarely think about–it’s like it happened to someone else. The few months (at most) Max endures of schoolyard teasing about his name WILL, eventually, be a distant, amusing memory.

  11. Carol

    My great grandfather’s name was Maxey (as far as I know, not short for anything), and every once in a while, I think, “That’s a great name!” and then it takes me a few minutes to remember why I wouldn’t use it. But Max C. is different, and I agree with everyone saying it’s not a problem for all of the reasons above. But but, just a note to say that even if it ends up being Max-i phonetically, the associations might fade away for those who know him once they are faced with a child with the name.

  12. Jenny Grace

    I think Maxi has gone over to skirts and dresses and is sort of out of usage with pads. I think people just say “pad” mostly.
    Like, I might hear someone refer to her dress as “my new maxi”, but have never heard of someone refer to a pad that way, “Hey do you have a maxi I could use?”
    Anyway, I think it’s a non-issue, truly.

  13. JD

    Max C is not going to be an issue for all of the reasons listed.
    My friend just named her baby Saylor – and told no one until the baby was born. Right away her MIL said she hated the name because she thought Saylor would be called Seamen (spelled differently). My friend freaked out, investigated changing names, asked everyone she knew about associations with Seamen, then decided her MIL had a dirty mind and got over it.
    If kids are going to tease one another they find a way regardless of what you name them.

    1. Shannon

      Your last sentence is spot-on. There is no such thing as a tease-proof name. You could name the kid Charlie, and he could STILL get a nosebleed and wind up being called “Maxi Pad” for the rest of the school year!

  14. Katalina

    My child was in preschool with a Max and all the kids called him Maxy. I mentioned it to his mom to see how she reacted, in case she didn’t know. And she replied “that’s what we call him at home too!” And his last name didn’t start with C. He’s a cutie and he wore the nickname well.

  15. Shannon

    Unless I’m remembering incorrectly, I think the FIrstName LastInitial formula (e.g., “Max C.”) only happens when teachers are addressing kids, if then. Right? (And actually, I teach night classes, and when I have two students by the same first name, I either call them by full names–“John Jenkins”–to differentiate, or I just make unambiguous eye contact and use first names only.)

    There were about a zillion Michaels at my schools, so many that even the FirstName LastInitial formula wasn’t enough to distinguish them, and each of them was still just called “Mike” by his friends. And by the time we reached an age when maxi pads might be relevant, they were onto calling each other by last name for coolness reasons.

    I think a kid would have to be really, really motivated to find a way to associate your son with a feminine-hygiene product to go for Max C.! And, as pointed out already, no name you could possibly choose will protect him from the other kids’ teasing, as teasing at that level is oh-so-often completely baseless anyway! :)

  16. phancymama

    Does Max C sound like maxi? Yes, especially when speaking fast. Is it going to be an issue in his life? No, I highly doubt it. There are so many other strategies to handle Max C. And lets face it, if a kid is going to call him Maxi Pad, they will do that regardless of whether he is Max C or Max M. (Still not a deal breaker in my opinion, and if it happens, it won’t be an adult issue anyway)
    Maxwell is a fabulous name too, I adore it and not using it is my only regret for not having a boy. ;)

  17. Oana

    I have a 4 year old named Max and his nicknames are MaxMax or Maxy. I am not bothered by the idea that someone might think …pad when I say Maxy. Kids will tease whatever the name.

    1. Kim

      And honestly, IME, they don’t with names as much, any more. They can still be little wretches to each other, but my daughter doesn’t think any name is weird.

  18. Elizabeth

    As Swistle notes, even if there is more than 1 Max, your son could likely go by Maxwell. I know a couple Max’s and they are Maximilian (not sure of the spelling).

    Also I would think Max C. would mostly be written — I was Elizabeth B. a lot, but can’t remember ever being CALLED Elizabeth B. If someone is speaking it is usually pretty clear to whom, even in a classroom setting.

    Use the name! It will be fine!

  19. Liz

    My class had several Anthonys. Anthony, Ant, Tony, and Brody (his last name)

    My sister, Jennifer, was one of four in her class (born 1963). They were Jennifer, Jenny, my sister’s last name pronounced funny, and JennyMackenzie

    My Stepfather is named David, and has two friends also named David. When they are together they are David, Duv, and (last name of the other David)

    In other words, no first name last initial needed

    1. Swistle Post author

      It is the reason I worry about polls misleading parents or causing them worry. Wow, THIRTEEN people think the situation is so extremely dire, the parents need to START OVER—even though there are NO other names they agree on! And yet…I don’t see anyone in the comments giving a reason for that position. So my guess is that those votes can be considered lightly: either glitches in the system, voting errors/misunderstandings (i.e., someone means to vote that it’s not a problem, but accidentally votes that it is), or silly joke votes.

  20. WR

    FWIW, Goofy’s son is named Max (or goes by Max, guess it could be short for something like Maxwell) and Goofy calls him Maxxy. He seems pretty well adjusted….for a cartoon character, I mean. :-P But in all seriousness, I don’t think I made the connection between Maxxy and maxi pad while watching Goof Troop or A Goofy Movie when they came out.

    1. Brittany

      I was going to say the same thing! Hearing it used as a nickname, Maxy is cute and I didn’t think anything else of it.

      I’m also with the commenters who think maxi pad is a fairly outdated term and maxi is used commonly to describe far more than just hygiene products, which dilutes the association even more. And that’s if he even went by Max C or Maxy.

  21. Alice

    I agree with everyone – avoidable situation, AND even if it happens, still not overly problematic or the first association I’d make. I would absolutely not touch a perfect name for this reason (and I’m a fellow pregnant lady who wrote in with a similar problem!).

    As has also been mentioned a few times already too, I first go to “Maxey” when I hear “Max C.” (or however the diminutive would be spelled!) rather than Maxi (pad).

    Use the name with confidence! It’s a great one!

  22. Annie

    I agree that a) there’s no such thing as a tease-proof name (although some are admittedly worse than others), b) that elementary/middle school kids are mortified at the thought of periods, and c) “maxi pad” is an old-fashioned phrase by now. I’m in my early 20s and all of my girl friends just say “pad” (but it might be a regionalism).

    Use the name! Max is a great name!

  23. Ami

    Ha! My 10-year-old is in a class with three boys named Max, and he’s good friends with two of them, including “Max C.” I have literally never thought of “Max C.” as “Maxi,” nor has that been a thing with the kids, that I know of.

  24. Ess

    I haven’t read all the comments yet, but I have a Max and we all call him Maxi/Maxxie/Maxey as a nickname. I had one joking comment from a relative who said,”like Maxi Pad!?” And I said, brightly, “Naturally.” And left it at that. Everyone calls him that and no one bats an eye and I think it’s adorable.

  25. The Awktopus

    I’d say you have nothing to worry about! I know someone named Max C., and it didn’t even occur to me until just now that it kind of sounds like “maxi.” I also agree with the commenters who mentioned that kids don’t even call them maxi pads anymore. If anything, they might associate it with “maxi dress” or “maxi skirt,” but I don’t think that’s something he’d get teased over.

  26. LK

    This update gave me the warm fuzzies. I have a daughter, Nora. It was the best name that my husband and I could agree on. And I also started hearing it EVERYWHERE right around the time she was born. Now, a few years later, we occasionally hear it at the playground but it no longer feels like it is everywhere.


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