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Finding a Name For Your Baby

Jun 20, 2008
It's not easy choosing a name for your baby, but it may be one of the most important and exciting things you do during your pregnancy. In all cultures name is tied so closely to identity, that even the name we choose for our child can affect the perception others have of them, particularly the first impression. Unless you are already sure of the name you have picked for your child and in full agreement with your partner, naming can be a tricky and often time consuming task. Relatives, friends and well meaning strangers all seem to have strong opinions on names and everyone seems willing and excited to offer their 2 cents worth on name possibilities for your child whether or not you have asked. Here are a few tips to help you narrow down your possibilities or even to start afresh in the name you pick for your child:

Remember to allow enough time, so start early in your pregnancy in thinking about names so you have the luxury to change your mind several times before your baby's due date. You probably have some family jokes about the aunt or uncle you did not decide on a name before the baby's birth and had to quickly come up with something for the birth certificate before leaving the hospital. Any woman who's delivered a baby can vouch that after hours of labor and painkillers to follow delivery, we may not be in our best mental state to make a snap life long decision for our child's name if one has not yet been chosen!

One trick that some parents use during pregnancy is to try out baby names on restaurant waiting lists to see how the name sounds to them when a stranger calls out "their" potential name. Many websites also offer anonymous voting on baby names you are considering if you would like to weigh in on other's opinions, but would rather not have the pressured opinion of a family member.

Take the baby's surname into consideration. How does the name you have chosen flow with the surname? Does it become a tongue twister with tough sounds to put together, does it sound funny or does it flow naturally when said out loud? Depending on the name, it is sometimes harder say a first and last name if the first name ends on the same letter that the last name starts with. For example, a name that ends with "A" and starts with "A" on the last name might be a bit tricky to say together. Also, consider what the middle name will be and what the initials together may spell out. For example, if you are naming your daughter Elizabeth Ally Thomas then her initials suddenly become EAT, which she may not appreciate in later years.

Remember the name you choose for your baby will become his or her lifelong name, not just a baby name. Some names that sound adorable for babies may not sound so enduring for your son or daughter's job interview as an adult. Also, think about your baby's first day at grade school and do not pick anything that sounds like a name that could be an easy target for teasing on the playground.

Consider the possible nicknames that could be derived from your baby's name. Are these names you like? Even though you may not choose the nickname, others could if it is a typical nickname. Perhaps you like the nickname even better than the original name in which case you could do your baby a favor by picking the more formal name and letting them decide which name they prefer to go by as an adult.

Often parents feel the pressure from family members to use family names. Although family names have their value and can often convey a rich family heritage or honor a loved one, do not feel obligated to choose a name you do not like or does not convey the feeling your have for your child. If your family is dying for you to use your grandfather's name, Isaiah, and you do not feel this is the proper identity for your child, don't choose it. If you really would like a family name for your child but don't care for any of the possible selections as first name choices, consider it as a middle name.

Classic always works well because it has been time tested. If you like a classic name and it works well with the baby's surname, then you can not go wrong. On the flip side, don't try to be too trendy or cool. Names that top the charts some years are long outdated ten years later. We all know that certain names, like Gertrude or Mildred, go with a certain age and era. But, in their day these names were cool and trendy.

If you are considering naming your baby after a celebrity, make sure it is one that you admire with a good reputation. These days a celebrity cannot get into their car without all kinds of media attention to their every piece of clothing and mood. You may find your favorite celebrity is on the bad side of the press a few years down the way, so choose your name wisely.

Unique is great, but too unique is hard to remember. You want your baby to have a special identity but make sure it is not too hard for the average person to pronounce or your baby's name may turn into something else on the lips of others. Also, stick to the more straightforward spelling to avoid others spelling the name incorrectly or pronouncing your child's name incorrectly.

Most important, choose the name that you and your partner like the best, even if you have to keep it secret until the baby's birth. Chance's are nobody's going to criticize you for your baby's name selection once your baby has been born. As your baby's parent, you have your baby's best interest at heart, so do not feel pressured or guilty about not choosing Uncle Albert's name, even if he is promising a rich inheritance to a namesake. Although it may be worth considering for a middle name!
About the Author
Amy Jarman is owner of TummyStyle, a leading online maternity clothes and nursing clothes store.
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