If you’ve been asking yourself ‘what shall I name my baby?’ recently, then this is the blog for you!
Picking the name that you will be saying countless times a day and your baby will be using for the rest of their life – scary!
We asked our social media followers if they’d already chosen the name for their baby and found out that only half of them had!
So, to help the rest of you figure out how to choose a baby name you love, we’ve put together 15 top tips to help you pick something that the whole family will be happy with for years to come.
1. Try to avoid anything too trendy
This is going to be your baby’s name forever, so try to think about how it will sound in 10 years’ time, or in twenty. Will it have to be repeated and explained every time they introduce themselves?
Is it misspelt in a trendy way (e.g. Jakxsen or Rybekkah) that may just become confusing, does it reference a popular film (e.g. Elsa or Katniss) that you love now but will lose its meaning in a few decades?
Does it incorporate stylish punctuation (e.g. Prin’cess) that may end up being a hassle to explain? Obviously if an unusual spelling or name has a deeper family or cultural meaning then go for it – but if you are tempted to choose a name for trendy reasons we suggest giving it a pass.
2. Research the popularity of the name
It’s such a classic problem, you choose a name that is extremely special and unique – then you suddenly start hearing it EVERYWHERE.
This may not be a problem for you, but if you worry about accidentally choosing a name your baby will share with a lot of other kids you can check if names are trending up or down on several websites – why not try BabyNameWizard.com or Nameberry.com.
3. Think about your surname too
When thinking about how to pick a baby name ask yourself - does the baby name you pick clash with your last name, or even worse does it rhyme?
If your chosen name happens to create alliteration with your last name (e.g. Larry Lemon) or rhyme with it (e.g. Lilly Billie) it may not be the most practical choice for your baby.
Try saying the full name out loud instead of just looking at it on paper – this way you can see if it has a rhythmic flow or if it’s a bit of a mouthful.
4. Remember to check the initials
Children notice everything, even if you missed the fact that little Betty Ursula Morgan’s full initials spell ‘B U M’ her future classmates won’t.
5. Contemplate nicknames
Of course a nickname isn’t the most important thing when you’re thinking about how to choose a baby name, but again any obvious rude nicknames could prove an issue for your child in the future.
On the other hand a long name without any easy nicknames could be a bit more difficult in practice. If you can find a baby name you love, that has a really beautiful nickname too, you’ll have hit the jackpot!
This is something you could miss whilst considering names, so we recommend running them past family and close friends, just in case any unfortunate nicknames spring to mind.
6. Look up meanings
There’s nothing worse than choosing a baby name you love, only to find out later that it has a meaning you hadn’t been aware of.
Some meanings may really appeal to you, but others can be quite obscure – did you know Cecilia means ‘blind’ or that Barden means living near a boar’s den!
7. Don’t choose a name just to be unusual
For some parents a name just as unique as their baby is important. Chances are if you’re currently wondering what shall I name my baby you want your baby to be easy to distinguish from their classmates and feel special.
However if you choose a name just because it’s unusual you risk your child ending up with something that will divide opinion and may even go out of fashion in a few years.
The same applies to names with less common spellings - if it sounds like, or rhymes with, a more common name your baby will probably blend into the crowd anyway.
An unusual spelling might just cause them endless grief throughout their life so think carefully before going down this route!
8. Think about family names
Do you have other children? If you do it may be worth considering how the new names on your list fit with the names of your existing family.
If they sound too similar (e.g. Ellie and Ella) you may find yourself constantly reminding people who is who, if they sound too well matched (e.g. Bill and Ben) you may feel like you’re calling over a TV comedy duo not your own children.
Think about how it would sound calling them all down for dinner and see how the names go together.
9. People will come around
Family who shake their heads at a certain name will learn to love it. The second there is a cute little baby to hold as they say the name, any negativity they shared towards it as a hypothetical suggestion will disappear.
So, whilst listening to opinions and advice is good, don’t let friends or family sway you from a name you’re really in love with.
10. Test the name on friends
Even if you don’t want to reveal your choice to your friends and family it can be good to run it past a select few people, or even to an anonymous online group.
As we mentioned before other people may realise the unfortunate words the initials spell out or know of a certain celebrity that shares the name.
They may also be able to point out names that others will struggle to spell or pronounce, or names that just confuse people.
So, we recommend listening to some honest advice, and even if you decide not to take it onboard, at least you will be prepared for any confusion that comes your way!
11. Don’t stress over name associations
It can cause a few ructions at home if the name your partner likes happens to be the same as the boy who teased you at school, or if the baby name you're considering for your daughter is the same as the mean boss who fired you.
But negative associations will disappear and be replaced with thoughts of your perfect baby as soon as you lay eyes on them, so don’t give up on a beautiful name just because it reminds you of one negative experience.
Pop culture name associations are another story. You may want to do a quick google search to make sure your child doesn’t share an exact name with a celebrity (especially if it’s a celebrity who was involved in a big scandal).
It may turn out that this association is one everyone reminds you about time and time again. That being said Pop culture can change everyone’s opinion about a name overnight, so you’ll need to be prepared for name associations to change along the way, whatever name you choose.
For example, when Kourtney Kardashian picked the name Mason for her first child the popularity skyrocketed and it’s celebrity associations quickly changed. The safest bet is to pick a name you love so you can be confident in your choice no matter which celebs come and go.
12. Imagine your baby with this name when they are an adult
Your baby will grow up. A name that is adorable on a newborn may just not be appropriate for a working adult.
Think about Boo becoming a lawyer, it may be unfair but some names just don’t get taken seriously.
If you really love a cute name, perhaps pick a more traditional middle name as a ‘back up’ that your child will be able to use for work. And that brings us perfectly onto the next tip.
13. Consider the middle name too
Not only does a well-chosen middle name give an alternative for your child later in life, it also gives you the chance to honour a family member or pick another to create the perfect full name that really flows.
Often the middle name works as a double name – the possibilities for this are endless. It works well to choose two short syllable names (eg Sadie Mae) or alternatively a long syllable followed by a short syllable (eg Riley Jean).
14. Does your baby suit the name?
Definitely think about the name before birth. But once your list is down to your top three you can wait, and actually get to know your baby before choosing a name that suits their personality.
You have six weeks after the birth to register their name, so take this time to make sure it suits them perfectly before you make your final decision.
15. Make sure your partner also loves the name
If you have a partner, one or both of you may have to sacrifice your favourite name so you can choose one that pleases you both. It’ll be worth the sacrifice to avoid resentment and make sure everyone involved feels respected and happy.
And a final bonus tip for you on how to choose a baby name – don’t stress, whatever name you choose will be perfect. There’s a lot of pressure to choose the ideal name, but at the end of the day you’ll love whatever you decide once your little one joins you in the world.
Just remember that you can always use a nickname, middle name or even last name instead if you really do change your mind later. Try not to obsess, just go with what feels right – trust in that mothers’ intuition!
Now you know about all the things you need to consider when picking a name for your baby – why not use the checklist below to get started:
- Look to family names and family traditions. Why not try out the name generator website for some great ideas
- Honour your heritage by researching some culture-specific names that hark back to your ancestors, religion or your culture
- Consider place names as a popular inspiration
- Think of names from popular culture, we don’t mean celebrity or character names here, but perhaps songs, artists, film stars, etc
- Research historical names, such as names relating to mythology or astrology (think powerful names like Venus or Luna), or modernised versions (e.g. Harmony from the goddess Harmonia)
- Try out names inspired by nature – maybe colour names like ‘Blue’, seasonal names like ‘Winter’ or floral names like ‘Lilly’.
- Don’t forget to consider traditional names – they don’t have to be boring, you can try searching through some ‘vintage’ names to inspire you.
If the seven pointers above don’t help you why not check out the social services administration website - you can search the most popular baby names from any year since 1879! It’s fascinating reading and will fill you full of inspiration. Or why not head over to our Instagram page to see the names some of our lovely followers have suggested.
For all of those who are still asking how to choose a baby name, we hope we’ve helped. And for those who are overflowing with great ideas, please feel free to add your own suggestions to our Instagram list.
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