If you are pregnant expectant parenting and wondering what on earth you’ll call your bundle of joy, here are some thoughts on how to choose a baby name that’ll work for your family. Preferably by your due date.
How does one go about choosing a baby name?
Have you been there?
You have a list of 5 awesome names, and your spouse is like.
With one of my babies, we didn’t have a name until a week before he was born.
With another, we didn’t name him until after he was born.
How To Choose A Meaningful Baby Name
Here are some tried and true ways to choose awesome baby names.
1. Choose names that run in the family, even way back
A great way to start thinking about names is to get family members to make lists of all the names they can think of that run in the family in both genders.
You may find a name or two you’d forgotten about but that are timeless.
I think this is a great tradition and being able to keep a name running in the family is special.
Now, that was way big back in the 1920’s but just not something I wanted to inflict on my son. Nor did I think papa would mind.
So, I shortened Buford to Ford and, voila, my son’s middle name was born.
You don’t have to confine yourself to family names or carry down a name to the fifth generation (is that not reserved for royalty?) but sentimentality has its place.
- Look on ancestry.com and scour your family tree. You’ll likely find some gems that stand out among the crowd, and it’ll help narrow down the top runners.
- Text family members and ask about their aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents growing up. The goal is to get a high volume of names.
2) Choose a baby name based on its meaning
I must admit, I cared less about the meaning of names than my husband did, at first.
Sure, I wouldn’t name my child something that had its origin in the word evil or ugly, but I wasn’t aiming for a name that meant something special.
My husband, however, didn’t want the name to simply be neutral, but he wanted it to be a proclamation over our child.
We had a name chosen for our daughter until the day before she was born. After researching the meaning more, we realized the first name we had chosen also meant Temptress.
That wasn’t something I wanted on a banner over her head. Ha! We changed the name and – the very next day – she came into the world early.
She was waiting on her real name.
- Start to think of adjectives that mean something to you and then search names that go along with those.
- You may be stuck between a few names and the meaning could push one over the top for you.
- Google “girl names that are flowers” or “names that mean beautiful” and it’ll help you narrow down the options.
Read: Baby Names Finder
3) Decide whether you’re willing to choose a super trendy name
Names come and they go.
Some, like Nancy or Jessica, tell you what age someone is without seeing their face.
Some are more classic. They come and go in popularity, but they’ll never be “so 2019” because they were here long before and will be here long after.
Sometimes their popularity ebbs and flows, but they are classic and traditional enough (in most languages) to stand the test of time.
➡️ Peter, Pedro, Pietro, Pater, all forms of the same name popular worldwide.
- Names that are unique and high up on a year’s particular list will be less likely to be timeless. And that’s okay. Just know what you’re getting into it before you do.
- Names that are “nickname” variations of a longer name (i.e. Archie is the legal name, not Archibald) give no room for tweaking as the child ages.
- In the interesting book Freakonomics, they posture that celebrity names travel up and down the socioeconomic spectrum. So choosing a celebrity name one decade might mean classy, and the next might mean “trashy.” Not sure about this, but interesting thought.
My grandmother said there were at least 5 Hazels in her classes growing up.
She was Hazel T.
There was Hazel R. and Hazel S., etc. etc. etc.
4) Choose a baby name that can’t be twisted into something noticeably embarrassing or rude
Does it rhyme with stupid, ugly, fat or witch?
If so, I’d rethink your decision.
Of course, there will be a myriad of ways for mean middle schoolers to make fun of your sweet innocent children. That’s why we don’t need to add fuel to the fire.
Ask yourself these questions…
Is this a name I want to give to express MY creative outside the box thinking? Will my child appreciate that?
Will my child hate this name as they grow up?
Am I choosing a spelling that is going to irritate them forever?
My mother’s maiden name was Rachels, hence my name, Rachel.
I used to think I should change my name to Rachel Rachels.
That’s weird, huh? I still think it would have been cool.
Related Reads For Your Near Future:
- Ultimate Newborn Sleep Schedule: Week By Week
- Sample Newborn Routine
- Printable Newborn Feeding Chart
- Newborn Feeding Schedule That Works
- How To Survive The Newborn Phase
Baby Name FAQ
We can’t decide on a baby name. Help!
One of our babies we could not choose a name, so we waited until he was actually born. Like, I was holding him.
The nurses will try to force you to find a name before their shift change (#askmehowIknow) but legally you have at least a few weeks (if not much longer) to choose. Don’t stress. It’ll come to you.
My husband and I cannot agree on a baby name. Ugh!
I feel this. My husband likes to joke that we are like that Blake Shelton country song… I name the babies, he names the dogs.
Is your husband vetoing all your choices, or is he offering up some of his own? Why not make a list (both of you) of 20 or so baby names that you like/are okay with, then work on narrowing it down together.
There IS a name you’ll both love. And you can always compromise on middle and first names, who gets to choose which.
We think our parents and family members will hate the baby name we have chosen, what should we do?
Our dear friend and former nanny just went through this. They decided to not tell family until the baby was born.
They kept it a secret and, at birth, announced the name. At that point, no one could argue. It was hard and they got snarky comments for 6 months or so about the secret, but they were so happy they did.
What if we choose a baby name and end up hating it?
No biggie. Just legally change it.
It’d be a lot of paperwork, but if you choose a name you really hate, you can always change it. Hope that helps take some pressure off.