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How to Name Your Baby

Aug 22, 2007
Where do I start?

Once you find out you are pregnant, one of the first things family and friends start chatting about is a name for the baby. Everybody has a favorite they want you to consider, and there may be pressures from some family members to follow family traditions, or to recognize a family member in the baby's name.

One thing you can be sure of is there will be no shortage of suggestions!

The name you choose will be with your baby for life, so you should choose with care and select a name your child will be proud of.

The two main choices seem to be whether the name will be a popular name, or a unique or unusual name?

The internet is full of sites with lists of popular names, top 10 lists and so on. But that doesn't necessarily make it any easier as there are sites with 70,000 names and meanings to choose from! Too many choices can be overwhelming.

Choosing an unusual or unique name can be done by:

* Making up a name

* Searching for existing unusual names

* Looking at the environment around us i.e. plants, flowers, seasons, places, fruit, colors, other cultures

* Greek Mythology

* Biblical names

* Changing the spelling of a common name [i.e. Stacy can be Stacie or Staci].

Some of the sources of information that can help you choose include searching the internet, baby name books,
after someone special like family or close friends, discussions with friends, co-workers or other parents.

The internet is becoming very popular because it is easy to search thousands of names in most cultures [including their meanings] and there are many resources including software that will generate interesting names for you.

If you know the gender of the baby before it is born [more common now], then the decision over choosing a name can be a lot easier as you don't have to come up with a boy and a girls name.

* One of the first decisions you will make will be how many names the baby will have? When making this decision, you may need to think about whether you should consider family members such as grandparents, relatives who have passed away, good friends
etc.

Satisfying several considerations may mean you need 3 or perhaps 4 names. You may also choose to incorporate a special persons name as part of your child's name. You will also need to decide what the baby's last name will be [will it contain one of the parent's last names, or both].

* Then you will need to decide if you want a popular name or a unique name [or names]. If it is a popular name, it will be readily accepted, however, it will also get lost with all the other children with the same name. A unique name will tend to make the child more special and stand out.

* Do you want a long name or a short name? If you have a long second name, a shorter first name will be easier to pronounce. Say the name aloud many times and see if you are comfortable with it.

* You won't know how masculine or feminine your child will turn out so choosing a very strong name for a boy, or a very soft name for a girl may not be what they like, so some parents choose a unisex name as a middle name, so if their choice for the child's first name doesn't seem appropriate, the child can choose to go by their middle name.

Examples of unisex names include Tracy, Robin, Chris, Ashley, Jamie, etc

What if I have twins [or more?]

When babies are born together, you have to decide if you want to recognize the fact they are born together, or whether you want to emphasize their individuality.

If you want to recognize the bond they share, be careful of names that begin with the same letter as this can cause problems such as identifying their belongings when they are younger, or their mail when they get older.

Identical twins are often confused with each other, so having similar names only makes it worse.

Giving them very different names shows you see them as separate individuals with their own personality, and intend to raise them that way.

Make a List

You and your partner can sit down and write a list of names that each of you like. Once you have had an initial brainstorming session, leave it for a few days and then come back to the list. Look at the names again. Say them aloud to yourselves a few times.

Do they still sound right?

Now add more names to your list that you may have researched from the internet or from baby naming books, from family, friends, or co-workers. If the list is long, agree to drop some off as you add more to it.

After you have researched lots of names and been given plenty of suggestions, start reducing the list progressively until you are left with 3-5 names each for boys and girls [assuming you don't know the gender].

Keep coming back to those few names, saying them out aloud several times to become familiar with them. Each time you come back to the list of names, either cross one name off, or make a final choice from the remaining list.

Eventually you will reduce the names to only one, if you haven't both already chosen that name.

Still can't Agree?

As both parents will have come from different backgrounds, have different tastes, maybe different cultures or different religions, you may have difficulty agreeing on a name.

What do you do?

It is assumed that both parents have used the process above and agreed on the number of names for their baby, whether the name should recognize someone special, whether the name will be long or short, and if it will be after another family member.

Both of you had to put your initial choices on a list and then add to that list. Go back to the list and see if there were any common names or similar names you both liked.

Try varying some of the names or spelling them a slightly different way.

Now leave the list a few days and then both come back to the list and see if you can agree. If not, add a few more names, perhaps create some new names or add some unique names. Leave it a few days and then both come back to the list.

If you still can't agree, drop some names off, and both add some new names.

Keep the list a workable size, and you will soon agree on a name.
About the Author
Steve Nickson has a website with more information on parenting, child safety, and cute, unusual, baby names at Unique Baby Names
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