Featured, Pregnancy Baby, Baby Names

How to Choose a Baby Name

Following on from Mia’s post yesterday, she thought it would be a good idea to explain how she and Fred chose their baby’s name, and perhaps give some tips to other mums (and dads!) who are struggling.  Below are some of the things they considered (most of them provided by Fred as he is way more practical than Mia, who is tempted by anything that sounds nice without thinking of the implications it could have in later life).

Is the name popular?

Some people like to give their child a popular name, while others would prefer something that’s a bit more unique.  Mia was one of four Mias in her year at school (and ended up being given a nickname by her friends), while Fred didn’t have this problem.  This is definitely something to think about when choosing your baby’s name.  Will you mind calling out the name Emma at the school gates and having four children turn their heads to look at you?  If so, check out the top lists of baby names and pick something outside of the top 100.

How does the name sound with your surname?

One key thing to consider here is how the name sounds alongside your surname.  Kids will tease each other for any old thing, and you don’t want to give your child’s friends ammo by naming him Harry Barry or Finn Ginn.  Choose a name that flows well with your surname, not one that sounds like it was given to a child for the lols.

Do you like the shortened version of the name?

When Mia was bombarding Fred with a list of baby names she liked, one of the things he kept doing was working out what the shortened version would be.  This was how Mia’s favourite boy name, Malakai, was scrapped as Fred disliked the shortened name Mal.  In some cases, you won’t mind the name being shortened (a lot of parents call their daughter Charlotte, with the intention of calling her Charlie for instance), but a recent Mumsnet study found that 6% of parents regretted what they named their child due to hating the shortened version of the name.  If in doubt, do as Fred did with Mia; work out what the shortened version of the name will be and decide whether you’re happy with it.

Do the initials spell out something weird?

You’ve found the perfect name for your baby, you and your partner are both in agreement, but then you check out the initials… Petunia Ingrid Grayson doesn’t sound so lovely now you know her initials spell out the word P.I.G.  Plus, you can guarantee that if you’ve noticed the embarrassing spelling, your child’s classmates will too.  Don’t do this to your child – add an extra middle name in if you’re dead set on the names you’ve already picked, or choose something new that isn’t quite so unfortunate.

Does the name remind you of anyone?

Another thing worth considering is whether the name reminds you of anyone else.  This could be as simple as an ex boyfriend or a girl you disliked at school, but it could also be the name of a celebrity.  If your last name is Beckham, do you really want to call your daughter Victoria?  What about Harry Potter?  Bill Gates?  If the name reminds you of someone, whether real or famous, it probably won’t work.

Will the name work as your child grows up?

While your baby may currently be a newborn – or even still a bump – in 18 years time, they’re going to be an adult, and this is something you should definitely consider.  Some names that sound cute for a tiny baby sound ridiculous for a grown-up, and it can take a strong personality to overcome this.  Avoid names like Kitten or Boo; use them as nicknames instead.

Does the name fit in with your other children?

Most of us have heard of the Duggar family who have a massive 19 children, every name starting with the letter J.  While this is an extreme example, it’s a good idea to check that the name you’re considering works with your other children’s names.  For example, if you really like the name Ellie, but already have an Ellen, it’s probably not going to work.  Likewise, if your current children have traditional family names, is a modern name going to fit in with them?  This is obviously a personal decision, but still worth considering.

Is it easy to spell and pronounce?

This is one thing that a lot of new parents don’t consider, but it can cause a lifetime of frustration for a child (and adult) who’s constantly having to correct those around them.  While this will partly depend on your culture, it’s worth thinking about how easy the name you’ve chosen is to spell and pronounce.  Ask some of your close friends for advice if you’re unsure.

Are you both onboard with the name?

Finally, it’s important that you and your partner settle on a name that you are both happy with.  If your partner hates your favourite baby name, don’t force it.  They may have a very good reason for it, and it’s worth listening to their opinion, otherwise you’ll only cause resentment.  One good option here is for you to both create a list of names you like, and see if there’s any that you agree on.  Use a baby names tool to help you on your way.  Oh, and as Mia mentioned in her last post, unless you’re desperate (and truly want their help), don’t ask your family for their input as it will only make the whole decision making process even harder.


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