Baby Boy/Girl Twins Lakeman-Foley, Siblings to Mila

Hello Swistle!! I’m a long time listener, first time caller!! Excited to seek your help, you are really the best.

I am 7 months into my second pregnancy, with boy/girl twins due late July. My wife and I have a 2 year old daughter called Mila Lou. Our last name is hyphenated and sounds like Lakeman-Foley.

Right now our finalists are Romy and Joaquin. We both love Romy, and are 99% sure our girl will definitely be Romy, but have no clue re MNs for her. Joaquin poses a bit more of a problem. We looove the name, but am unsure about having one child with a name that is more overtly Spanish than the others. I am of Spanish origin (Argentina specifically) and speak Spanish, but my wife does not, and we speak English around the house—though I do speak a little bit of Spanish with Mila, and my parents speak to her exclusively in Spanish. I love the Spanish pronunciation of Joaquin, don’t love the very harsh American “woh-keen” sound. I’d also like to call him Joaqui “hwahh-kee”, but fear it would turn into “walkie” in English. My brother and I both have Spanish names that are pretty in Spanish but eh in English… his name is Santiago nn Santi and he grew up being “Sohn-tee”/”Sohn-tee-oh-go” which I find not nice sounding. Same with me—Clara (Clah-ra) became Claire-uh in English.

It feels somewhat important to me to have slightly bilingual names—I would feel strange having a child called Lauren or Andrew or something really American sounding… I think it would feel like I was erasing my heritage. Mila felt like a really good choice for us because the pronunciation is almost exactly the same in English and Spanish. That would be ideal, but is hard to come by.

I digress. Anyway, at present we have a short list of names we both like, but would love to be introduced to new names and expand that list. The names are—Julian, Julius, Simon, Samson, Rowan, Leo for a boy, and Magdalena/Leni, Francesca/Frances for a girl.

We’d like to find first/middle combinations we like that go well with each other and with Mila Lou. I’m really interested in learning about other names that we may like based on those!! Not exactly sure how to categorize our “naming style” but maybe you will know!

Thanks, Swistle!!



This is the kind of question I just ITCH to answer, but I lack all the important qualifications: I don’t know how names are pronounced in Spanish, or what the common mispronunciations might be, or how those mispronunciations would sound to someone who knew the right way.

However, I do know from past comments sections that we have MANY commenters with experiences in exactly those things, and so I post this for them.

I will vote on a few things before I go:

1. The name Joaquin does stand out to me in that sibling group as being distinctly more Spanish. However, with Mila and Romy I think you may have hit upon a Happy Assortment sibling group: that is, it isn’t that Mila and Romy are the same style and Joaquin is different, it’s that all three are different from each other.

2. I think part of the package deal of the name Joaquin would be the spelling/pronunciation issues. I referred the other day to Joaquin Phoenix (I pronounced it kind of like Hwah-keen) and Paul had no idea who I was talking about until I spelled the first name. When Paul and I were expecting Henry, we considered the name Thijs (pronounced Tice, to rhyme with mice or dice): we’re both of Dutch origin (his grandparents spoke it fluently), and we liked the sound—but we decided we didn’t want the package deal of spelling and pronouncing it all the time, and so we put it on the list of potential middle names. But plenty of other families decide to take on the whole package deal and they make it work.

3. From your list of other candidates, I like both girl options: Magdalena and Francesca are a lot longer/fancier than Mila, but the nicknames make them more compatible (I might go with Frannie or Frankie for Francesca). I also like all the boy options.

4. For the twins, I particularly like the pairing Romy and Leo. Mila, Romy, and Leo seem like a very nice sibling group, and I like how the twins would share the long-O sound. I also like Romy with Julian or Julius.

5. Did you choose the middle name Lou as an honor name, or for sound? Since you don’t mention the former, I will assume the latter. In that case, with Romy I like: Romy Mae, Romy Kay, Romy Fay, Romy Laine, Romy Jane, Romy Joy, Romy Jean. For Leo I like Leo Joaquin best. Mila Lou, Romy Jane, and Leo Joaquin is my top group. I like that the twins’ names have subtle connections: the matching long-O sound of the first names, and then both with the middle initial J.

36 thoughts on “Baby Boy/Girl Twins Lakeman-Foley, Siblings to Mila

  1. Megan

    Is Romy pronounced Ro-my or Rah-my? It feels a little too masculine for me with Mila, unless you have a VERY masculine male name. I love the idea of Francesca/Frannie!!

  2. Britni

    I would first think Romy was a boy – not a big deal, just throwing it out there. Mila is clearly girl imo, so I don’t know if it matters to you to have one “definitely girl” and one “? Unisex”.
    What about Eva, Lucia, or Ria?
    Eva was my favorite name for a long time.
    My husband mispronounces Joaquin as “Joe-a-keen” all. the. time. and it makes me cringe, but I really like the name.
    Length wise & bilingual wise I think Leo is a great fit. I might also suggest Luca.
    Good luck!!

  3. TheFirstA

    Romy is all-girl, I’m somewhat surprised by other comments that it seems male or unisex. You may get some Romy & Michelle comments, but I don’t think it should be a huge issue.

    I like Joaquin, but agree with Swistle that you’re going to have to be OK with the American pronunciation of it. I know native Spanish speakers hear a difference, but I just don’t-and I suspect a lot of native English speakers would probably agree with me.

    If you don’t want the hassle of Joaquin, then I like Simon & Leo best from your list. Rowan is out for me, unless you get rid of Romy. I think they are just too similar to use together. What about Felix? It seems like it would work equally well in both Spanish & English. The pronunciation in both languages is different, but I think it’s a subtle difference. Fee-liks in English & more like Fay-liks in Spanish. Or perhaps Francis for a boy? Similar to Francis, there is also Frank or Franklin.

    1. Squirrel Bait

      Agree about Romy reading all girl to me. Maybe people are associating it with the male name Roman…?

  4. StephLove

    I agree that all three names are so different from each other that the style become “eclectic,” which means you can pretty much use anything, so I wouldn’t worry about a style clash. If the pronunciation issues are souring you on Joaquin, I like Javier and think of it as similar. Or you could go with Xavier. I like Julian, Julius, and Simon for you, too.

    I recently learned Romy is a nickname for Rosemary, so I feel obliged to put in a recommendation for the full name. It’s so pretty and underused… I really like Francesca for you, too.

  5. Renee

    I feel like I’ve noticed a few diminutive Spanish boy names picking up speed here. Tiago and Téo to be exact. Would you be interested in those? Especially Tiago to honour your brother? I do also love your Romy and Leo set. Romy is definitely all-girl to me. (Remy, on the other hand, could go either way.) Joaquin would be problematic, I agree, especially if you’ll wince every time it’s butchered. But perfect for the middle spot! Other boy ones that might float your boat – Ruben, Tulio (nn Lio!)

    Mila Lou is incredibly adorable and I’d probably use both names all of the time! Could you do Romy Clare (for you!)? Or does that start to sound like Rome Eclair? Hmmm… Romy Bea? Romy Rae, Romy Reese (love alliteration), Romy Shae, Romy June.

    And then, if you weren’t set on putting Joaquin in the middle, you’d just have to continue the one-syllable pattern for Leo / Teo / Tiago. Frank? Cruz? Lane? Dean? West? Jay? Tate? True? I’m loving True as a middle – please use it!

    Mila Lou, Romy Rae & Tiago True :-)

  6. Percy

    I actually speak Portuguese, which is close to Spanish, and know some main differences between both languages. I apologize in advance for any spectaculary horrible suggestions.

    Luca – too close to Mila Lou?
    Marcus / Marco
    Dominic / Dominico nn Nico (or just Nico)

    Lina – too close to Mila?
    Nina (Marina) – too close to Mila?
    Blanca / Bianca
    Yara (Tupi name)
    Maiara / Mayara (Tupi name)

    About Romy not being girly enough, I digress. For me, Mila is “feminine girl name” while Romy is just “girl name”. Both are GIRL in my mind.

  7. Marissa

    Ooh, I love Percy’s suggestion of Domenico/Nico! So so awesome.
    I think Romy is spunky and cute. There are similar names like Remy (I know that can be boy, but it sounds girl to me) or Roxy/Roxie (could be a nickname for Roxanne/Roxana.)
    Or what about Nina? Lexie? Luna?
    Please remember to post an update when you can, I can’t wait to find out what names you choose!

  8. RL

    I really like the previous suggestions of Felix and Nina!

    I love the name Romy and considered it for my 3rd (who turned out to be a boy named Raphael instead! Which of course is a name that could work for your boy name, but I digress).

    I wonder if you could give a more overt Spanish mn to Romy?
    Romy Felice
    Romy Inez
    Romy Flor
    Romy Luz (and your mn for your boy could be Leo, for all to have the 3-letter L-middle names)

    As for other girl name suggestions, I have long liked the name Catalina (so feminine and think of all the nn possibilities!). Or other Spanish names could be Agatha/Agata, Paloma, Victoria or Inez.

    As to boys, what about:
    Nicolas (nn Nico) – love this!

  9. Shannon

    Just to chime in on Romy–that name is all girl, as far as my awareness goes. I’ve never met or heard of a male Romy.

    Any interest in Arlo? It’s got the Latin feel, is easy to pronounce in both English and Spanish, and would give you a four-letter theme with the three kids’ names. (Which I would love, personally!)

    If you decide to use Joaquin for the boy, there will be some butcherings of the pronunciation (I say Wah-KEEN, without an effort to aspirate the first syllable, since I don’t want to sound silly by overdoing it), but I’m not convinced that’s the end of the world. For one thing, most people are generally aware (some because of Joaquin Phoenix) that the name is pronounced in a particular, non-obvious way; so if anything, they’ll take the time to think before they charge into the incorrect pronunciation. Almost no one will ever call him Jokin’, for example. If you can live with Wah-KEEN (which I think is a likelier butchering than Woh-keen, which you mentioned), I think you will find that most people can manage that, and be pleasantly surprised by those who can do even better.

    I like Leo as an alternative! Not a huge fan of Leo Joaquin, as the two names bleed together for me, but Leo Lakeman-Foley is cool and fun.

  10. dregina

    We had this issue – we needed names that worked well in both English and Spanish and we liked Joaquin in Spanish but not with the English accent. We now have two boys – Victor David and Francisco Martin (nn Frankie). Francisco is an honor name for my FIL to boot. Other boys names we kicked around (some are very different in pronunciation between the two languages but we liked BOTH versions) :

    Gustavo (Gus)

    Girl names we loved but never had the chance to use – Valencia, Rosa and Paulina.

    I think Joaquin is incredibly handsome and our kids will be growing up in a more diverse world in which diverse names stand out less and are pronounced correctly more – but! I did let the name go for the exact reason you’re wobbly on it. Your taste in names is great! Congrats on the coming babies :)

  11. JMV

    Joaquin will be difficult for the masses to say, as are any Spanish names with R’s. I see people cringe with bad pronunciations of things like Maribel.

    I love the name Alma. Romy seems possibly unisex, whereas Alma is all girl. Mila and Alma are not too close to my ear.

    For your son, I like Nico. There’s a Nico in my kid’s daycare class & everyone, even the 2 year olds, says it easily.

      1. Andrea

        I didn’t realize how many names are pronounced differently until my sister married a Colombian. All their kids’ names work in both cultures but all of them sound so much better when my BIL pronounces them with his accent. Ana, Elena, Jubal and Lando sound closer to the same (Orlando) but Sebastian becomes a four syllable masterpiece and Efraim becomes this wildly cooler name (it sounds Arabic to me). Isabel becomes Eezabel, only better in real life. I especially love it when he talks to my son, Oskar (German spelling in honor of my German heritage). Oskar with a Latino spin just sounds cooler. I think any time you try for a name that works in two languages you are just going to have to compromise pronunciation a little.

  12. Kim

    I think that people are much more aware of pronunciation differences these days. I might assume that Clara was pronounced in the English style if I saw it written, but once you told me it was Spanish, ok. My Chilean friend oldest is named T@ti@na, nn T@ti with two hard t’s. I was sure (in my own head!) it would get slurred to Toddy, given American accents, but she’s 24 now, and nope. Joaquin is easier to butcher, but I don’t think it will be as bad as your imagining.

  13. Jd

    Romy is pure girl. I think Romy and Miladin are sweet. Personally I’d either use Joaquin and a slightly more international/Hispanic girls name or Romy and a more international boys name. Joaquin is one of my favorite names but I don’t mind the Wah-keen pronunciation that is so common in the US
    Romy and Victor
    Romy and Luca
    Romy and Nico
    Rosa and Joaquin
    Elena and Joaquin
    Lucia and Joaquin

    1. Renee

      Are you a ‘Jane the Virgin’ fan??? Love Rafael ‘Raf’ and Mateo.
      Might as well throw in Alba, Xiomara and Rogelio as well (though Xiomara and Rogelio would suffer the same challenges are Joaquin most likely, but love their nicknames Xo and Ro :-)

  14. Kim C

    Mila and Romy are gorgeous together and Romy is definitely all girl to me!

    Love the suggestions of Alma and Petra for a girl too. What about Anya?

    I do really like Joaquín but there will be pronunciation problems I think. Nico, Leo, Arlo and Marco are all great suggestions. Love the matching ‘oh’ sound with Romy.

    Boy/girl twins! How exciting!

    Good luck!

  15. Jean C.

    I definitely think of Romy as a girl name!

    Maybe for a middle (or potential first) you would consider Gloria, which works in both English and Spanish? It’s my infant daughter’s name and I can’t get over how perfect –and unique– it is for her. It’s also very feminine, and maybe a good match for Mila?

    I’m partial to Leo from your boy names. If you end up using Romy and Leo, I think it’ll sound nice nice that all 3 kids have 2 syllable names that all end in a different vowel sound.

  16. beep

    Like many others, I like Leo best for you with Romy ad Mila. Leo Joaquin is nice if you want to use Joaquin without as much hassle.

    I’ve been thinking about names that work well in both Spanish and English. It seems to me that there are many that work in both, but often with different pronunciations/accents, e.g. DAY-vid/Dah-VEED or RO-za/RO-sa. So you may want to redefine your project a bit to finding a name for which you like both pronunciations. I was trying too to think of ones that are more similar in both languages… e.g. Victor, though not the same in both languages, seems closer to me than many.

    For your daughter’s middle name, I love the Jane/Jean/June suggestions as well as Luz, which has a beautiful meaning as well as being short and nicely Spanish. How about Leo Joaquin and Romy Luz?

  17. M

    I have a two month old son and we chose a name that is known but not super popular in Spanish, and pretty much unheard of in English, but easy to pronounce–or so we thought. Turns out spelling and pronunciation are often off, and only just slightly enough for me to notice it but not obvious enough to correct it (it would sound as though we were saying the same name to English speakers). My suggestion is that if you even think Joaquin will bother you, you’re already on to something, and you should go with your instincts! I have resigned myself to knowing that Spanish speakers will get his name right and it will sound as beautiful as we intended it, and English speakers will do their best and any variations will be so subtle that I will learn to adjust. ;)

  18. Geneva

    My vote is for Romy and Leo. Those work well with your daughter’s name, and feel like a perfect twin pairing. I like the suggestions of Romy Inez and Leo Joaquin to honor your heritage. That’s a perfect naming solution in my book!

  19. Loveandbabyfever

    My vote is Romy & Leo. Otherwise I suggest Mattias, Sebastian “Bash”, Marco, Simon.

    It would be fun if there initials were opposite. Romy Lucia & Leo Ramon for example.

  20. Celeste

    I love Joaquin.

    I like Romy and it says girl to me. But Esperanza is my all time favorite Spanish name for a girl. However. That’s a long last name you have. Two syllables seems the way to go here–it works with Mila, and it works with Joaquin. My second favorite is Pilar, but it’s too similar to Mila.

    I think Romy is a great fit.

  21. Dana

    I agree on Romy as a clear girl name, and I also love it. I also find that Romy and Mila feel very similar in style to me. It seems like, Joaquín aside, you’re looking to go less distinctively Spanish on the boy’s name, right? I love Joaquín, but I definitely think that the American Wa-keen is the least of pronunciation worries, and that you’d have to deal with Joe-kwin and joe-a-queen and so on. For me, that would be a dealbreaker.

    I think Leo is lovely, as is Teo. With your sibset I also like Hugo, Rafael, Rhys and Ruben (I’m generally not a fan of matching initials for twins, but for some reason I’m feeling it here!). I particularly like that Rhys would give each kid a long-I sound in a different syllable location.

    Can’t wait to hear your choice!

    1. Dana

      Or, okay, I was thinking maybe you could go the route of a name like Agustín, and establish that in Spanish (or among family) he’s called by his full name and in English he’s called Gus.

      And THEN I thought maybe you could go the same route with Joaquín by leaning into the Joe – calling him Joe or Jo in English and Joaquín in Spanish. Romy & Jo. I’m into that.

      I have a handful of English/Spanish bilingual students who prefer to use an English pronunciation of their names in school and a Spanish pronunciation with family. Not exactly the same scenario but enough to make me think a two-name deal could work.

      I think if I were going a full name/nickname route though, I’d want to parallel that with your daughter. Maybe Rosemary to Romy then, or I also have a student named Romina, which feels more parallel.


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