Choosing a name for your baby can be very difficult – finding the right name for your family, the right spelling, the right meaning and that will match your new baby perfectly.  And people around you will have a variety of opinions on whatever name you choose!  Some families decide to keep their choice to themselves until the baby is born, so they don’t have to listen to other’s opinions.  If you want to try the name out with others, but don’t necessarily want family/friends strong opinions, consider joining a name based on-line forum and see what response you get.

You will possibly not make everyone happy with your choice, but remember it is your child and your choice.

On occasion people will have had a baby name preference for many years before they even start their family.  Even if you do have a name in mind that you’ve always been determined will be your child’s name, once you are pregnant or the baby arrives you may change your mind.    This is okay, you can change your mind up until the birth certificate paperwork is completed!

If you are choosing family names, consider family dynamics and whether anyone will be upset at your choice (you may not care if they are, but at least if you’ve thought about it, you will be prepared if they are).

Making a Start:

If you know the gender of your baby, that will help you focus your choice.  If you don’t know, then you’ll have twice as many choices to work through!

Remember you are dealing with pregnancy hormone side effects too, so you may find the whole decision-making process too much some days.

Discuss it with your partner, if you have one, and try to agree on your naming preferences.

Once you start thinking about names, note down ones you might consider so you can refer back to them (it’s also fun to look back at later on, and see what weird and wonderful names you originally considered!)

Pay attention when you are reading books, the newspaper or watching TV and listen out for names you like, or which might trigger something similar you could like.

Think about the history you would like behind the name – do you want a family name, one that is relevant to your religious or personal beliefs, or something else that has particular personal meaning.

If there’s a name you like, but it has some personal association you don’t like – perhaps it was a colleague you found annoying – don’t worry.  Once your baby arrives and you start to use their name, the negative associations to that name will fade.

Check back to your list of possible names regularly and cut out ones that you decide don’t fit.

Try to keep your list relatively short, otherwise the whole thing becomes overwhelming.

Do’s and Don’ts with Baby Names:

Of course, some of these are just opinion, but some suggestions to think about when choosing your preferred name/s:

  • Make sure the names sound good together and go well with your surname
  • Check initials to make sure the child’s initials will not spell out something unfortunate
  • If the child has siblings, say the names together out loud – make sure they don’t sound wrong together because you will be saying them together rather a lot
  • Do a search on-line to find the meaning (if any) of the name to decide if that’s the right fit.
  • Try babycenter.com/baby-names and see what you find out, and see how popular that name has been
  • Think about shortened versions of the name – will you use an abbreviated version, because other people inevitably will at some stage?
  • Some names are really cute for babies and children, not so cute for an adult. Try to imagine your child sending in a job application in 20 years’ time – will that name convey a positive message?
  • There’s a trend to using a well-known name but creating a different way of spelling it.  Nice to be unique, but remember your child will spend the rest of their life explaining the spelling to people, and responding to comments about the unusual spelling.  I know from experience, it gets tiresome!
  • The name needs to be pronounceable – put too many consonants in, or extra vowels and mix up letters and people will struggle to pronounce the name correctly, which is going to get frustrating after decades of it!
  • If you’re going to name your child after a colour/inanimate object/food group/pop group etc, your child may not thank you for it later
  • Naming after your favourite movie character/book character/musician might be regretted once you’ve moved on to another favourite
  • Try not to name your child after the latest celebrity baby/royal family baby – a lot of other people will be doing the same thing
  • Remember those middle school kids who loved to tease you about your name, or you heard them teasing others? Try to think what they might make of your child’s name – rhyming words, puns, similar sounding words.  However, kids will find a way to make fun of just about any name, so it’s impossible to avoid this entirely.
  • Theme names – personally I don’t like theme names, such as all kids in the family named after flowers, or all names starting with “B” etc. However, if you choose to go with theme names, pick nice ones!  It’s often better to give children their own individual name and own identity, not link all the names to one another.
  • Rhyming names for twins or multiples. Not keen on that either, but once again, pick nice ones if you choose to do this.

Once you have narrowed it down to a few names, try talking to your baby in utero using that name – see how it feels.  One might just feel more “right” than the others.  You can always keep several names on your shortlist until the baby is born and decide which name fits your baby best.

Take your time and get it right, it is your personal choice and you want to be happy with your decision.