How To Choose A Name For Baby

The decision of what name to give your child is an important one that you will need to make as a parent. Although it has the potential to be enjoyable, the weight of responsibility that comes with naming another human being can make it feel quite intimidating. After all, that is the name that will follow your child around for the rest of their life.

It’s possible that you already have a pretty solid concept of the qualities you want in a name. However, your significant other, members of your family, and friends may have some thoughts of their own. It is not always easy to get everyone on the same page with what needs to be done. However, it is not necessary for the experience to be fraught with anxiety. It has the potential to be very enjoyable. Even if you’re considering giving your child a name that is more uncommon, this article will provide you with the information and advice you need to get through this process and choose the ideal name for your child.

Choosing Baby Names

You may have a long list of girl namesboy names, and gender-neutral names already started by the time you find out you’re expecting, but not everyone does. Some parents start from scratch with each child, and some even wait until the baby is born to choose a name. Each parent finds inspiration differently.

Many expectant parents begin with a specific category in mind, and there are many categories to consider. 

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Moms Share Advice On Picking Your Baby’s Name

Family Names 

  • Grandparent’s names 
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • Juniors or III, IV
  • Family traditions

Cultural or Ethnic Names

Place Names

  • Countries
  • Cities 
  • States

Names From Pop Culture

  • Actors
  • Movie characters
  • Book characters
  • Television characters
  • Video game characters
  • Musicians
  • Songs
  • Artists
  • Disney
  • Athletes
  • Politicians

Religious Names

  • Christian 
  • Jewish
  • Muslim
  • Virtue Names
  • Spiritual Names

Other Popular Categories

And many, many, more. 

It might seem overwhelming, but there are ways to narrow it down. You can go through an alphabetical list of names in a book and check off the ones you like, or you can choose a name you find appealing and look for others that are similar. You can also get your list started by asking family and friends for suggestions, or you can pick a category of names and go from there. There’s not a right or wrong way to do it, so go with what works for you and your partner. If one way doesn’t seem to be going too well, then switch it up and try something else.

Choosing a Middle Name

There is no compulsion for you to give your child a middle name. However, many families prefer to give one to their baby. The fact that most people experience less anxiety as a result of their middle name is a positive aspect of this.

There are a few situations in which the middle name is useful. Parents who choose to give their child a family name that is also shared by other members of the family may choose to give their child a middle name in order to help provide their child with a unique identity (cousins John Robert, John Joseph, and John Christopher can all feel as though they have their own name even though they are all named after grandpa). You can also use a middle name as a cover for a family name that you feel obligated to take but do not particularly enjoy using. This is an excellent use for a middle name. Alternately, it may serve as a venue for some lighthearted amusement and recreation. If you choose to go with a more conventional first name, the middle name is where you can show off your originality and creativity. Or, if you decide to go with a first name that is quite unique, you can give yourself a middle name that is more conventional.

You can give your child a safety name or a fallback name to use later in life by including it as their middle name. This is helpful in the event that your child grows up and decides they do not like their first name. If you give your child a first name that does not indicate their gender, you have the option of giving them a gender-specific middle name such as Avery Duane or Sydney Elizabeth. It provides options for children as they mature. In the event that it becomes necessary, having the option to fall back on a traditional middle name can help boost your child’s self-esteem as well as their self-confidence.

Choosing a Last Name 

When it comes to your child’s last name, you may not have a choice. In some states and countries, the baby must be given the father’s last name, if known.1 Sometimes it has to be the mother’s last name. Other places allow for more options, especially if mom and dad aren’t married.

Some families have parents with different last names who hyphenate them to indicate the joining of the two families (e.g., Mary Smith-Jones). Other families choose to combine parts of each parent’s last name to make a new last name (e.g., Davis and Anderson = Daverson or Andervis). And, some families do not use either parent’s last name. Instead, they give their child a completely different last name. 

Family Traditions

Family traditions can play a big part in baby naming. It’s possible that your family has followed the same naming convention for many generations. 2 For instance, the first boy in the family receives the middle name of the father’s father, while the second boy in the family receives the middle name of the mother’s mother.

The same name has been passed down through generations in other families. It begins with a Senior (Sr.) and a Junior (Jr. ), and then it moves on to Roman numerals such as Michael Smith Sr., Michael Smith Jr., and Michael Smith III, and so on. If this is not something that your family does already, it is a wonderful opportunity to start a new tradition with your loved ones. This tradition can also be started by women, despite the fact that it is typically handed down from father to son in male-dominated families.

You may also wish to consider traditions that involve:

  • Giving a tribute to deceased relatives
  • Honoring your heritage and ancestry
  • Maintaining a brand of initials (the same initials for everyone in the immediate family)
  • Creating a unique name out of a combination of family first or last names

Birth Certificates and Legal Issues 

Every birth that takes place in the United States results in the issuance of a birth certificate. 3 In most cases, the parents, the attending physician or midwife, as well as the staff at the hospital or birthing center, are the ones who fill out and submit the necessary paperwork. There is no set amount of time that you have to finish this paperwork.

Parents frequently inquire as to whether or not they are required to choose a name for their child before they are discharged from the hospital. In most cases, the answer is not yes. Therefore, if you intend to give your child a name during a religious ceremony, this should not be a problem for you. You can, however, get yourself ready for this scenario before you give birth to your child by contacting the clerks who handle birth certificates at the local hospital or the Department of Vital Statistics in the state in which you reside to obtain information about the regulations that apply in your region.

The United States of America does not have as many rules as other countries do regarding the types of names that can or cannot be given to children, and the United Kingdom is one of those countries. The laws governing names in the United States are typically put in place for pragmatic reasons. Therefore, you should be fine in most respects. On the other hand, if you want to use a picture or symbol as part of your child’s name, you might run into some difficulties.

Note that babies who are born in hospitals typically receive a fancy piece of paper with their footprints and the relevant birth information printed on it. This piece of paper is not the official birth certificate for the child; rather, it is a keepsake for the family.

Religious Considerations and Naming Ceremonies 

Religious obligations for naming a baby vary greatly. Some parents give their baby the name of a figure within their religion, and some parents give their baby a name with a spiritual meaning. You should talk to your pastor, priest, rabbi, imam, or another religious leader about your specific customs. 

Many different religions hold a baby naming ceremony. In some form, this type of celebration is part of the Christian, Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, and Islamic faiths as well as other religions and cultures. It is a time to welcome the baby into the religious community and bestow blessings and good wishes upon the child. 

The ceremony may take place in a church, another house of worship, or at home. A religious leader, family members, friends, and other members of the community may attend. Sometimes the name given at a naming ceremony is the same one that’s on the baby’s birth certificate, and sometimes it is an additional spiritual name that is not on the birth certificate. 

Tips to Consider When Naming Your Baby

After you take into account family traditions, religious considerations, and any potential legal issues, you may finally have a first, middle, and last name that you’re ready to run with. You can do that, of course. But it’s worth considering a few more things before making it official. Here are some tips for making sure the perfect name is really “the one.” 

  1. Write out the initials. You may want to make sure that you aren’t giving your baby initials that spell something rude or odd such as Aaron Simon Samuels or Claire Octavia Wilson.
  2. Think about the nicknames. Take a look at all the potential nicknames people could give your child and make sure you not only like them but that you feel good about how they match with your last name.
  3. Consider sibling names. You may want to give your children names that all have the same first initial or names that sound well together since they’ll often be said in the same breath. Plus, it may be difficult to explain to your kids why one has a super unique name (say, Zaphon) when his brother’s name is Bob.
  4. Be careful with meanings. Some states and countries actually have laws that prevent you from naming a child anything that is considered a historical problem.
  5. Give thought to the uniqueness. Unique names are creative and fun. But, a name that is too unique can be tough to get through life with. If it is too difficult to spell or pronounce, others may avoid saying it. The child may have to repeat it and spell it out over and over again.
  6. Check for multiple spellings. You may not be sure of a specific name, but when you change the spelling, it can make all the difference. It can also make a difference in how easy or difficult it is for your child to spell and explain.
  7. Check for similar names. A similar name may strengthen your case for the name you love or make that fringe name seem more acceptable. It can fix an issue with initials, meaning, or nicknames, too. 
  8. Add a little diversity. If you aren’t sure about a very unique name or a very traditional name, balance it out with a middle name. Pick a conventional name for the first name and a unique name for the middle name, or vice versa. 
  9. Don’t be afraid to change a tradition. Some last names have made their way into the world of first names (Lennon, Avery). And, some boy’s names are becoming more and more common for girls (Hayden, Jordan). 
  10. Realize your geography may matter. You might love a name that is geographically bound, perhaps to a local celebrity or location. But, it may be looked at differently in different areas of the country or the world which may bother you or not. 

Arguing With Your Partner About Baby Names

You may find that you and your partner do not see eye to eye when it comes to baby names. Do not panic. It is fairly normal. It’s also a great reason to start talking about baby names really early on. The more time you have to talk about it, the less stressed you’ll feel.

One method that works well if you have a partner who is continually rejecting names is to ask them for a list of boy and girl names that they like. It certainly narrows your choices, but it can prevent a lot of frustration when you don’t otherwise know what they consider to be a “good name.” Your partner’s list can also be a starting point. For example, if your partner has Paula on the list of girls names, but you’re not fond of it, you can consider variations of that name. Maybe you like Paulina instead, or Paul for a boy.  

Sometimes arguments can get heated. If you can’t decide on a name together, you can agree on another way to name the baby. For example, some families allow the mother to pick the girl names and the father to pick the boy names. Or the mom can choose the name of the first baby and the dad can name the second baby. You may also agree to have someone else such as a family member, choose a name. Perhaps each grandparent can submit a name, and then decide on one as a family. The good news is that baby naming doesn’t usually get to this point. 

Dealing With Family and Friends

If you want to get input from your family and friends, that’s great. You can take all their suggestions and go through them. You may end up with a surprise and fall in love with a name you’ve never considered.

Of course, getting advice isn’t always pleasant. Sometimes family can get pushy about a name or find reasons why they don’t care for the name you are leaning toward. Family and friends are usually not shy about sharing their feelings. They may try to get you to change your mind, so be prepared. If you can ignore their objections and not let their negativity sway you, then go ahead and tell them what you’re thinking. But, if it would really bother you to hear negative things about the name you love, then you can keep that name to yourself until after your baby is born. 

You may also want to consider how well your family handles change. If you anticipate your family becoming upset because you’re going to break a tradition, you may want to warn them in advance. That doesn’t mean you have to tell the name you plan to use. It just means they’ll have time to get used to the idea of change. Be understanding if they are disappointed, but stay firm in your commitment to your baby’s name.

No matter what, your family and friends will get used to the name you choose even if they have serious objections in the beginning. If you and your partner love the name and feel confident in the choice, then go with it. Your family and friends will adore your child, and the name will grow on them. They may even find that they love the name after spending a little time around it.

How Popularity Is Determined 

The popularity of baby names in the United States comes from actual birth data and birth certificates of babies born each year for over 100+ years. The Social Security Administration (SSA) collects the information and makes it available on its website. You can search the top names in the nation by gender and by state. 

The popularity of a name can be useful information as you begin your search for the perfect baby name. It’s helpful if you’re looking to give your child a trendy name, and even more helpful if you’re hoping to avoid an extremely popular name. It’s also a good idea to check the state lists since the popularity of a name can vary significantly from one part of the country to the next. What is popular in one state may be uncommon and unique in another.4 

Other Uses for Baby Name Data

Expecting parents aren’t the only ones who search for baby names. Researchers look at baby naming data to find trends over time.5 They can see how music, movies, books, politics, religion, and other sources influence the popularity of baby names.

Authors also use baby name data when they’re writing a book or story. It is a great way to choose historically accurate names for characters. Since the data is from birth certificates, the author can know, with a fair bit of accuracy, which baby names were common when their story is taking place. 

An interesting note is that the Social Security naming data goes back for many decades—into the 1800s. The state data, however, only goes back as far as 1960. So, it may be a little more challenging to find a regional name using only the data from the Social Security Administration.

What To Do If You Can’t Pick a Baby Name?

If you’re really struggling to find a baby name, ask your parents and friends for ideas. Ask others to write down name suggestions on slips of paper and fold them up so you can’t see. Once you’ve collected enough, you and your partner can open them up together and see if any of them stand out

Struggling To Pick A Baby Name

Once the delivery of the baby is complete, the next pit stop is to select a name for your baby which is modern, sweet and simple, and has a deep meaning at the same time. The difficult part of choosing a name is that there a lot of friends and relatives who will have their own suggestions. While naming a baby, it is important to remember that the name will be carried by the child for the rest of their life. Hence, it has to be one which is well thought of and convincing before it is finalised so that your child is thankful to you for giving him/her a good start.

Video: Tips for Choosing the Perfect Name for Your Baby

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12 Tips For Choosing A Baby Name

There is no right or wrong or a set procedure on how to pick a baby name. It depends on the taste and preferences of those who influence the selection.

Following are a few tips that will help you in choosing the right name for your baby.

1. The Sound Of The Name

Ensure that the name you select is not harsh on the ears and does not sound odd when called out loud. The name should go well with your last name. However, avoid picking first names that rhyme with the last name.

2. Avoid Trendy Names

Trends come and go. Although it is a temptation to which many people give in, a name that might be in trend today, especially if it belongs to a superstar or a sports person might not be relevant tomorrow. Classic is always better.

3. Look For Unique Names, But Do Not Go Overboard

It is always good to have a name that is unique and rare. You do not want ten other children with the same name as you child in the classroom. However, in the quest for finding something unique, do not mix and match and create names which will have no meaning and sound irrelevant.

4. Be Gender Specific

When you choose name for baby boy, let it be a name that will suit a male. What might sound cute in the beginning might turn out to be awkward in the long run. The same rule applies when you choose name for baby girl.

5. Find Something Meaningful

A name with a deep meaning is always appreciated. Try to find a name that is simple, yet conveys a deep message or meaning. A lot of people look for names of famous mythological characters or events to name their child after.

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6. Honour Your Tradition And Culture

Choosing a name which reflects your traditions and culture is also an option. You can also name your child after a famous family figure that has had an impact on you or in line with someone or something that is an important part of your culture.

7. Pay Attention To Nicknames And Initials

A name that can readily have a good nickname is always a hit. A nickname that easily stems out of the existing name will come handy for you, your child’s future friends or partner. Also ensure that the initials of your child’s name do not end up sounding funny or spell a disaster.

8. Keep It Short And Uncomplicated

Extra- long names can cause frustration, especially when your child goes about filling all those forms in the future. Let the name be easy to pronounce and spell, it will save your child the unnecessary trouble of correcting people time and again.

9. Will The Name Be Equally Attractive As An Adult Name?

A name which sounds perfect when for your child as a baby might not remain that way when the baby is all grown up. Choose a name which will be as enterprising as an adult as it is when your child is a baby.

10. As The Parents, Are You Convinced With The Name

While both the parents will have their own choice and preference of name, it is necessary to reach a common conclusion instead of forcing or imposing a name that your partner is not happy with.

Parents-to-be discussing baby name options

11. A Name That’s Aligned With The Stars

If you believe in astrology, you can always ask an astrologer to suggest the beginning letter of your child’s name which will be as per the conjunction and alignment of the stars and planets at the time of your child’s birth. This will narrow down the options and make it a little easier for you to select a name.

12. Inspired By A Famous Personality

You can always go for a name that has been an inspiration to you while you were growing up. A role model, a famous historical personality, a legend whom you admire the most. Keep in the mind the geography in which you live and will your child fit in the surroundings with that name. Avoid being too inspired by movies while making the selection.

Naming your child is an important milestone. It is a gift that will stay with your baby forever. Selecting a name can be a cumbersome process, especially when there are too many people involved in it. It is important to be patient and thoughtful while choosing it. Irrespective of what others say, the parents should put in thorough research before finalising their baby’s name. It is never too early to start, and your quest for the right name can begin before you bundle of joy is born. So get your pen and paper ready and get down for some fun searches with your partner.

A Word From babycare

Choosing a name for a child can either be an exciting or stressful experience, or both. It’s possible that you’re feeling the pressure of having to give a child a name that they’ll have for the rest of their lives. However, despite the fact that you should definitely put some thought into it and take it seriously, you should also take the opportunity to have some fun with it and get creative.

You have the option of giving your child a name that is rich in meaning and tradition, that has significance in history, or that expresses an independent spirit. However, you should also make an effort to select a name for your child that will be appropriate for him or her throughout infancy, childhood, and into adulthood. No matter what you decide, there is a good chance that your child will adore the name if it is one that both you and your partner adore and about which you feel really good. Choosing a name for your child is a momentous occasion and a significant choice; therefore, you should have faith in your judgment and take pleasure in the process.

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