The Ultimate Guide To Choosing A Name For Your Baby

The Ultimate Guide To Choosing A Name For Your Baby

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Introduction

Two babies holding a balloon each a baby boy with blue balloon and a baby girl with a pink one

Congratulations – you’re having a baby! Now comes one of the toughest decisions of your life. What do you name the baby? Romeo and Juliet may have said ‘what’s in a name,’ but the truth is, a name is important. It will stick with your little one for the rest of their life. No pressure!

Choosing a name for your baby isn’t the easiest thing to do. There are so many different things to consider, such as the meaning of the name and whether it works with your family surname. While we can’t choose the name for you though, we can certainly make the whole ordeal just a tiny bit easier for you! With that in mind, here’s your ultimate guide to choosing a name for your baby.

How To Pick A Name For Your Baby

The first thing to do is find different ways to name your baby. There’s literally inspiration everywhere you look – the trouble may be trying to narrow down the options! Here are just a few ways that you can choose a name for your little one.

Consider Naming Them After Some Of Your Family Members’ Names

Some sources may say that naming children after family members – including the prospective parents – may be out of style, but in reality, it’s one of the oldest traditions out there. 

For centuries, children have been named after family members. For instance, a child may be named after their grandfather or grandmother. They may be named after important aunts or uncles. It’s hardly a new thing, and it’s a fantastic way to honor an important family member. You may wish to name your child after a family member for a few reasons, including providing tribute to family members that have passed away, and honoring your ancestry. 

Things have changed a little since then, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to abandon the tradition. For instance, if you aren’t fond of using the family member’s name as a first name, you could instead use it as a middle name. You could even go down ancestry records and see if there are any naming patterns that you could use. 

You could even follow down the path of movies like Twilight: Breaking Dawn and combine two different family names together. Alternatively, you can look at alternative versions of the same name. For instance, Jack is often used as an alternative for the name John. Harry Potter is a popular movie which all sorts of names to draw inspiration from.

In summary? There are a number of ways that you can use family history to name your baby. You can name your child after grandparents. You could use the maiden name of the mother as a first name. If you want to name your child after you, they could be a Junior, you could use Roman numerals and refer to them as Henry II or III if it’s tradition to name children after their parents, for instance. Just look at Royalty – that’s what they did! If you’re using a family name, you can also make it more unique than the others in the family by giving them a distinct middle name. Your child can ever refer to themselves by their middle names later in life, if they wish.

Consider Naming Them To Reflect Your Culture And Style Of Names

It’s also a good idea to consider your culture. Are there any particular naming traditions in your culture that can influence the baby naming decision? For instance, let’s take Japanese names. In Japan, you will sometimes find that a lot of girls have names ending in Ko which translates to child. For instance, the name Satoko can sometimes be translated as wise child. A boy’s name will usually mimic their family position. In Japan, names may also be written differently but sound the same based on the kanji that they use.

Whatever your background is, there are dozens of amazing names for every culture and country. Whether you hail from Ireland, Thailand, Vietnam, Cuba, Poland, Africa, Korea, Norway, Tibet, France, Canada, The Polynesian Islands, Europe, or Armenia, you’ve got your work cut out for you. 

It’s worth looking into some of these cultural traditions and name styles. It can help to teach your child from an early age to embrace their origins and culture.

Of course, both parents may be from different cultures. What should you do in this situation? Well, you could combine names from both cultures, or use names that can be pronounced easily in the other person’s language. There are lots of ways that you can make a compromise that will work for your family.

It’s worth considering if there are any limitations that you need to keep in mind when you are naming your child. For instance, are there any religious traditions you have to maintain. Having these kinds of limitations can actually be very useful as it will help you to narrow down what will be the best choice for you.

Look At Baby Name Trends

One of the most common ways that people find baby names is by looking at the recent trends. Here you will find all sorts of inspiration based on the names that are popular right now. Sometimes they may be influenced by pop culture and others may be more classic names that have stayed in the charts for a long time.

Of course, you may be the kind of person that doesn’t want their child to share a name with many others in their class at school. Well, you can also use baby name trends to figure out which names you should avoid. Alternatively, you can check online for baby name lists related to a particular interest that you have.

Consider The Initials When Deciding On A Name

When you have found some names that you like, it’s important that you consider the surname too. What will your child’s initials be? Make sure that you consider whether the initials will be rude or problematic for your child. Don’t just consider the first and last initial either – sometimes the initials will include the middle name.

It’s best to think of the full picture so that your child doesn’t pay for a lack of foresight later in life. For instance, you should probably avoid calling your child Peter Isaac George, since the initials would be PIG. That could result in a lot of bullying at school!

It’s also worth thinking about the siblings in the equation. Some families enjoy giving their children matching initials, but adding a middle name beginning with a different letter can be a useful way to tell the difference between the two in terms of things like mail and paperwork.

Think About All Possible Nicknames You Could Give For All The Suggested Name Ideas

Nicknames can be really cute when it comes to babies, but you need to think about the darker side of nicknames too. Other kids can be cruel, and you don’t want your child to be ridiculed on the playground. For that reason, you and your partner should take some time to brainstorm some of the potentially mean nicknames that your child may end up getting. You may think that the name sounds great, but is it as good when someone has twisted it into a mean nickname? Maybe not.

Think about the nice nicknames that you can use too! What sorts of nicknames would you like to give to your child as they get older? Think about how these names would work with your surnames, and so on.

See if The Suggested Names Sound Well With The Surname

You will need to spell out or read out the name a few times with your surname. This will help you to figure out if the names both sound good together. It’s a good idea to ensure that the name flows from the first name to the surname. For instance, look for repeating sounds in the name and the surname. Look at the syllable count and the length of the name.

For instance, if you have a long surname then a short name will usually sound better. Ultimately though, if you think that the names sound good together, then that’s the main thing that matters.

Think Of Some Unique/Rare Names

Not everyone likes to use common names. That’s okay! For many people, using a rare or unique baby name is important to differentiate their child from the crowd. But how can you find these kinds of names?

Well, the most obvious answer is to first avoid the baby names that you find on the top 100 baby name lists. What you should do instead is look towards the ends of the long top 1000 lists, where you may find some rare hidden gems that will be just perfect for your baby.

You can also look for rare and unique baby name lists, or think of something based on your interests. A fan of video games? Look for inspiration in your favorite game.

Think of names based on particular locations, on things in nature. Use the things around you to find inspiration. You can even use names from a different culture than your own. You could use last names as first names – the possibilities are truly endless!

Consider Giving Them 2 Names If They Work Well Together

If you’re stuck on choosing between two names, why not use both? In many places such as in the US, people will use two names as a first name. For instance, they may choose something like Ellie May, or Norma Jean. This can often be used instead of a middle name. What’s especially great about this is that you could shorten the name into just two letters as a middle name.

For instance, think about Spiderman. There’s a character called Mary Jane Watson. She’s often called MJ for short. How cute is that? There are so many cute nickname opportunities when your child has 2 names as a first name – so long as the names both work well together.

Consider Classic Names

They’re called classics for a reason, after all! Classic names have been used for a long time and are staple names in society. Classic names are respectable and can have some pretty fascinating origins.

For instance, you could go with a name like Jane which has been around for centuries, and could be a reminder of literature, TV and pretty much anything in between.

If you are religious, then many classic names also originate from the bible. For instance, you could name the baby Rachel, or Mary. For a boy, you could use something like George or William. Hello, Royalty? There are a bunch of lists online that you can use as inspiration if you’re stuck!

Name Them With a Meaningful Name

How the name sounds is important, but it’s not the only aspect that you need to consider. It’s also really important to ensure that you choose a name that’s meaningful. 

Have a look at some names based on feeling. For instance, are you looking for a name to signify hope, since you are having a child after a time period of hardship? Then google that name’s meaning, and you will likely find something that will work perfectly for your child.

You could choose names based on mythological creatures or a Greek goddess. You could choose something based on literature or art. You could choose something that has some significance in meaning for both you and the future father.

The meaning doesn’t need to come from the literal meaning of the name either. For instance, you could name your baby after the person that introduced you and your partner to each other. You could use your maiden name as the baby’s first name. You could even name them after you or the father of the baby. 

Another word of caution though. Make sure that the name is legal in your particular state or country. Some locations won’t allow you to name your child after certain historical events or figures, such as Jesus and others similar to it.

Things To Ask Yourself Before Choosing A Name For Your Baby

Before you finally choose that perfect name, there are a few other considerations that are worth making. As we have already established, a name is a huge decision to make. It’s not a matter of just choosing any old name and going with it. Think about these few things before settling on the perfect name for your little boy or girl.

Is The Name I Have Chosen Too Popular/Common

In many respects, there’s nothing wrong with choosing a popular or common name for your baby. After all, they’re usually popular for a reason, and your child isn’t likely to face much ridicule from a name that many of their classmates have.

Popular names also aren’t likely to be ones that your child will be embarrassed of later down the line. It also has one extra added benefit – your child will find their name on all of the random objects like keyrings when they visit the beach.

Here’s the thing though. Having a name that’s too popular can be both a blessing and a curse. It can certainly be an issue when your child is the 4th Olivia in their class and they always get confused when the teacher is calling the name. Are they talking to your child, or one of their classmates? You may worry that your child’s name doesn’t reflect how unique your child is.

There are a few things that you can do to check if your child’s name is too popular. First of all, look at the SSA. This means Social Security Administration, and this will tell you some of the most popular baby names that you can find for that given year.

Look at the names that are popular in your specific state too, since some names may simply be more popular in your specific state. Double check the spellings and figure out whether the name sounds like a popular name. You can also simply google the name to figure out how popular it is. Some websites may even give you lists of projected popularity. 

Another thing worth noting is that trends can change. Trends are fleeting, so your name choice may not be popular now but it may rise in popularity a few months or years from now.

Ultimately, it’s hard to completely avoid the risk of a name becoming popular, so you may as well choose something that you like. You’ll find yourself running around in circles if you just say no to every single name that you see on a trending baby name’s list. You don’t need to force super rare names either. Choose something that’s natural.

Do I Like The Sound Of This Name

One of the most important things to consider when you are naming your baby is whether you actually like the sound of the name. Think about it this way. Kids are hard work, and there will likely come a time when you need to shout their name to get their attention.

Perhaps they aren’t listening to you, and you need to keep on saying that name. Can you imagine yourself shouting your child’s name up the stairs for the rest of their life? Try repeatedly saying your child’s name in a wide range of different tones.

For instance, how does it sound when you are disciplining them? How does it sound when you are trying to grab their attention? Make sure that you’re finding a name that you enjoy saying, something that you like the sound of.

Another thing to note is to not give in too much to family pressure. Don’t settle for something that you don’t really like because your family or friends have coerced you into using it.

This will be your child – not theirs. Of course you want to hear their input, but it also shouldn’t be the single most important factor when making your decision. You will never please everyone.

A name that your grandmother likes may not be popular with your sibling or your mother. Your opinion is the one that matters the most, so don’t settle for something that you don’t really like.

What’s The Meaning Of The Name

Not everyone enjoys looking for name meanings when they are naming their child – that’s okay. It’s okay to base your choice on whether the name sounds nice, or whether it has any family significance. Of course, it’s also important to consider the meaning of the name sometimes when that name means something unfortunate.

For instance, the name Lola translates to lady of sorrows, which may not be the best thing to call your child. You may not put a lot of significance onto a meaning, but other people may be more inclined to look into something like that.

At the same time, try not to get too bogged down with a name’s meaning. If you like the sound of the name and it isn’t problematic, don’t be afraid to use it for your child. It’s just something that you may wish to factor into your decision.

Am I In Agreement With My Partner To Use This Name

Am I With An Agreement With My Partner To Use This Name

It takes two to make a baby. It’s only fair, then, that both parents are in agreement over the name. Of course, this is often easier said than done. You will often find that prospective parents will disagree on name choices.

For instance, your partner may not like your name choice because they have other family members with the name, or because they knew someone in school with the same name that they weren’t fond of. 

Sometimes it can certainly be a lot easier for one of the parents to make the final choice about the name. You can compromise on this by allowing the other parent to focus on another decision.

Ultimately though, you should try to find some kind of middle ground. You should honor your partner’s wishes, but you need to draw the line somewhere between you both. Give it a lot of thought and write out a list of prospective names, and look through them together.

Consider If It Works With The Names of Their Siblings

You may think that this is an odd thing to consider, but it’s actually pretty important. When people refer to your children, they may refer to them as a collective. For instance, they may refer to them together, like Ben and Jack, or Lucy and Emma.

How unfortunate is it, then, when your children’s names are Sam and Ella? Put those two names together and you have some pretty unfortunate connotations.

Instead, think of some names that sound good together. Say the names out loud and figure out how they sound. This way, you will then know if the names will work together. This is especially important if you have twins!

Having names with a running theme is pretty cool too. For instance, you may have them both start with the letter E?

Will My Child Like The Name I Have Given Them

It’s always the parent’s final choice on what name they should give their child. With that being said, there’s someone more important that you need to consider when you are making your choice.

You need to think ahead a little – is this name going to be one that your child can wear with pride? Is it one that they will feel confident wearing, or will they feel embarrassed to tell people their name?

Consider if the name is one that’s going to cause problems for your child later down the line. Is the name one that will cause them to be ridiculed by their peers? Is it one that they will have a hard time trying to spell? Is it one that will be mispronounced a lot?

These are all things that you need to think about. Consider whether the name will truly suit your child. 

Here’s another thing to consider. Right now, you are naming a baby. You may want something cute that reflects how they currently look. But your little one isn’t going to stay a baby forever.

Eventually, your child will grow up into an adult. It’s not something that all parents want to think about, but it’s necessary to remember that you are naming an adult, not just a child.

Overly cutesy names may not be the best choice for an adult, especially as they become a professional worker. Picture the name at every stage in their life – not just as they are a baby. You need to give your child a name that they can be proud of, not one that they will be ashamed of as they get older.

It can also help to think about your child’s future email address. It may seem like a strange thing to consider, but hear us out.

Let’s say that you want to name your child Max Oron. What does that look like in an email address? [email protected] It’s not a good look, especially if your child is trying to apply for jobs. It’s a really small thing that you may have never thought about before, but it’s incredibly important as it can reflect them as a professional.

Is The Name Appropriate

Finally, take some time to consider whether your baby’s name is appropriate, as this name is going to follow them for the rest of their life. Think about the big picture here. Not just the name – think about the initials, the name and how the whole name flows together with the surname.

Stay away from a full name like Arthur Stewart Smith, since the initials will be ASS. Can you imagine the kind of fun that your child’s friends will have on the playground with initials like that?

Consider whether the name has any connotations that will be bad for your child. If your last name is Swift, is it really a good idea to give them Taylor as a first name?

Imagine all of the groaning that they will have to do as they explain to the millionth person that ‘yes, I was named after the pop singer Taylor Swift. My parents were big fans.’

Stay away from giving your child identical names to celebrities or historical figures. You can use them as inspiration, but as we just mentioned, explaining that their name is identical to a famous person’s can get tedious very quickly.

Finally, stay away from any names with bad associations. You don’t want to name your child after tyrannous dictators or people that have been known for their bad actions.

Stay away from names that have been associated with well known crime syndicates – Google can tell you more about that!  Check the law too, since it may be illegal to give your child a certain name.

Check the laws of the state. Oh, and it’s probably a good idea to avoid putting a symbol or a picture in your child’s name. Imagine spelling it, or putting it on legal paperwork! Be smart when choosing the name, as it will stay with your child for as long as they live.

Summary

A baby boy named Jonathan and a baby girl named Erica

Choosing a baby name is a huge challenge. There are a lot of things to consider in order to ensure that you have a name that both you and your future child can wear with pride. By following the guidelines mentioned above.

Make sure that you are choosing a name that’s appropriate for your child, both as a baby and an adult. Think about the associations with the initials, and think about whether you like the sound of the name. If you have fully considered all of your options, you are sure to find something perfect for your little one when they enter the world for the first time, and beyond.

 

We publish nothing but the best information & advice for parents. We're parents ourselves and love sharing our experiences with everyone.

We publish nothing but the best information & advice for parents. We're parents ourselves and love sharing our experiences with everyone.