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Tips On Choosing A Baby's Name

Mar 26, 2008
Baby experts, teachers, and sociologists all say your baby's name will impact on his or her personality. These same experts also agree that baby's ability to interact with his or her peers (ugh, let's refer to baby as 'she' and 'her'!) is also affected by her name. So a name is one of the most precious things you will give your baby - no pressure then! Here is a list of things to consider.

- Want to be different: Maybe it was certain celebrities who started it, but many parents nowadays want to give their baby a unique name by either changing the spelling of a more traditional name, or making up something completely new (and often weird). Change the spelling and you are unlikely to change the sound of the name, so when teacher calls for Katey then Katy and Katie will also come running. Your baby is already unique, there is no need to cause her problems in later life when she will be fighting a losing battle to get her name spelt correctly on official documents like a driving license.

- Invented names: The celebs can get away with calling their offspring names like Apple (Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter) and Moon Unit (Frank Zappa's child - no idea whether that is a boy or girl!) because their wealth will help to insulate them from any teasing. Your baby will only be a cute bundle for a comparatively short time and that name that sounds cute when he is 6 months old is unlikely to suit a strapping hunk over 6 foot. Dr Mehrabian, author of The Name Game, says that unusual names rate lower in all categories: a person's success, cheerfulness, and morality.

- Initials: Make sure the initials of all baby's names do not make up a word. Or, if they do, make sure it isn't a word that will cause your child embarrassment in later life! Also, there are some surnames that don't go well with certain initials - P Green for example.

- Puns: Most of us have heard the song 'A Boy Named Sue'. Great song, bad idea. Some names are amusing when coupled with certain last names. I worked with a girl called Hazel Nutt, and knew a nurse called Rosie Bottom - readers in the UK will smile at the that, those across the pond should substitute 'Butt' for 'Bottom' to see the point. Both girls joined in the laughter each time someone new heard their names, or was the smile really a grimace?!

- Compatibility: Experts say you should opt for a short first name if the last name is a long one, and vice versa. Also, if your last name starts with a vowel, avoid a first name that ends in a vowel, apparently the two names tend to run into one.

- Name Meanings: If you can't decide on a name from the short-list you have drawn up, try looking at the meanings of the names to see if one stands out. If you want to give your baby two names, perhaps you would like them both to have the same meaning? Or maybe opposite meanings? Zoe and Eve both mean 'Life'; Melanie means 'Dark', whilst Phoebe and Lucy both mean 'Light'; and Mia and Marianne both mean 'Wished for child'.

- Twins: Choosing names for one baby is hard enough, but twins! The suggestion in the last paragraph is useful here. Tasmin and Tammy both mean 'Twins'; Patrick and Archie both mean 'Noble'; Carl and Brian both mean 'Strong'; Cheryl and Charity both mean 'Dear'; and of course there are many names that are also the names of flowers.

Take time to choose the name you will give your baby. The name you will give her is a gift, make it one she will be proud of.
About the Author
There is more advice about choosing a baby name at our website, and learn about the dates of the various Chinese Year Signs and the personality traits of babies born in each of the signs.
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