There are many stressful moments during pregnancy, but one of the most stressful, hands down has got to be choosing a baby name. You and husband have the full weight of deciding what your little one will be called for the rest of his or her life. Anyone who hates their name always blames their parents…and really who else is to blame?
Talk about no pressure, right? I’m kidding (mostly) but as a mom who has had to decide a person’s name—twice!—I have some tips for choosing a baby name to share with you.
For some people, how to pick a baby name seems like a ridiculous topic. If you’ve always known without a shadow of a doubt that you would grow up and have a baby Margaret or Henry, more power to you! You can skip this article.
However, for the rest of us, picking a baby name seems like a daunting task, which is why I put these tips for choosing a baby name together for you.
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Where to Get Baby Name Ideas
Before you pick a baby name, it helps to have a list of names to choose from for many people. If you have no clue where to even begin, start here! This is a list of places to get inspiration for baby names from.
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- Literature. Probably one of my favorite ways to find beautiful names is to search literature. Classics are a great place to start because names from those books will always be somewhat in style. Some literary heroes to choose from are Anne (Anne Shirley, from Green Gables), Christopher (Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh’s bestie) or Tom (Sawyer). One caveat: be careful—a name like Anastasia once represented a princess and now may be more thought of as 50 shades (sadly!).
- Personal heroes. Someone who commands your respect and you hope your child aspires to can be a great addition for your name list.
- Television and movies. With all the great shows out there, there are thousands of names to choose from. Start paying attention to your favorites and add them to a list.
- Maiden name. Many women choose to name their child after her own maiden name. This may work in some cases and not in others, depending on the name.
- Favorite cities. This is a fun source of inspiration for couples who love to travel. Where are your favorite places you have been? If they are name-worthy, add them to your list. Some examples are Florence, Peyton, Dallas, Austin, Lincoln or London to name a few.
- Seasons or months. You can choose a name based on your due date. Be forewarned that babies come on their own timeframe in most cases, so there’s a slight chance that baby January may be born in December.
Tips for Choosing a Baby Name
Now that you have your list of potential options, how do you narrow it down? What are things to think about before picking a baby name?
Choosing a name is hugely subjective and personal. That being said, please keep in mind these tips are general tips to think about while picking a baby name. There may be tips that don’t apply to you or ideas you disagree with, but all these tips for choosing a baby name are said with love on my end. 🙂
Pick something that will not embarrass them (or you). Yes, you want your child to have a unique name that sets him or her apart. But…how far apart? There’s a fine line between unique and outlier, so choose wisely. At the very least, give him or her a name that can easily be converted to a more standard nickname should they grow up and want to go that route.
Choose a name you can say. What I mean by this, imagine yourself standing in the middle of a Target aisle screaming their name as they run from you down the next maze of toys. Does the thought of calling them loudly make you cringe? If so, it needs to be off your list.
Think of the nicknames it will lead to. Some names are hard to shorten, and you end up with stupid nicknames. (That’s fine if you don’t want your kid to have a nickname!) I like my name… and I don’t mind my nickname – Car – but I know there was a time when my parents thought “WHY ARE PEOPLE CALLING OUR DAUGHTER CAR?” Here’s a great list of baby boy names with cute nicknames, and one of baby girl names with cute nicknames!
Practice saying it out loud. In the same vein, if you are torn between a few options, practice saying them out loud. Eventually one may start to sound like the right one.
Consider what’s popular. Popular names are popular for a reason. It might be a show, a celebrity, or a mass statement, but data clearly tracks and shows the rise and fall of names. Would it bother you to know that there are three other Mias’s in your daughters preschool? It might matter and it might not, but it’s worth considering.
Be selective with family names. Look, I get it. I totally have family members I could have named my kid after…but how do you choose which relative gets the honor? I have a friend who married a “third” (both his father and grandfather had the same name) and she told him while dating there would be no fourth. It wasn’t because she was mean or wanted to kill a family tradition, but more because she didn’t want to feel obligated or pressured to name a child after her father (then her mother, then his mother). Plus, the mail mix up can be insane!
Skip the puns. I love a good pun as much as anyone. However, puns have an appropriate time and place, and choosing your child’s name based off something that makes you laugh is not cool. Noah Fence, Anita Bath and Justin Case Drinkwater—yes, apparently these are real people’s names—probably don’t think very highly of their names.
Use technology to your advantage. Yes, you could totally google names all day long, or scroll through baby name forums for hours, but did you know there are more fun ways? For example, you can try a baby name quiz, or use a baby name generator.
For example, this website allows you to narrow down a name based on dozens of factors including level of popularity, religion, letters it must or cannot begin or end with and more! The Name Genie will not only give you suggested names based on your last name, but you can also submit incredibly specific baby naming situations or questions to the Genie and receive a response.
Related: How to Overcome Postpartum Anxiety
Trust your gut. At the end of the day, you know yourself, your family and the way you will want to raise your child more than anyone else on this planet. Give yourself grace and go with your gut.
What should I do if my husband and I disagree on a baby name?
You have the PERFECT baby name picked out. You’ve practically monogrammed her initials on everything in the house—the only tiny teeny problem is your husband absolutely hates it. Annoying, right? This is one of those situations where you both have to compromise. Yes, even if you are the one dealing with hormones and leg cramps—it’s his child too.
Ask your partner why he doesn’t like a certain name. Is it too trendy? Too feminine? Too similar to his ex-girlfriend?
Even if you disagree with his reasoning, it is best to try to find a name you can both agree on. Some couples split the naming between a first and middle name, while others compromise by giving the baby a nickname they both like. With all the millions of names out there, it’s absolutely possible for you to find one you both love!
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