Choosing the perfect baby name has got to be one of the hardest tasks you will face. The pressure to choose the best baby name is huge, and names that you like, there is bound to be someone that hates the name somewhere.
Picking a baby name is such a personal thing, and many partners have argued long and hard of what to name their new baby.
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Things to consider when choosing the perfect baby name
There are a huge number of things to consider when picking a baby name, this is a name you will be stuck with forever, no pressure!
Choosing your Style
Generally families have one style of names and they stick to it. If you have more than one child, generally people choose names that go well together and roll off the tongue well.
You might have siblings named after nature like Rayne, Willow and Rivah, or you might go the traditional approach and have a Charles, Beth and John. Your names might all have a similar base language – all Hebrew, Tongan or African or have a similar theme in some other way.
It is not common to have a Rayne, a Charles and a Josiah all in one family, but if that is how you want to go, it is totally up to you.
Spelling Variations in Baby Names
There are so many variations of ways to spell some names, which one do you choose?
If you’re thinking about using a widely-used name but changing up the spelling, think again. Jaedynn still sounds like Jaden and Jayden and Jaiden and Jaydon, so is it really any less common? People are just likely to spell it wrong all the time.
Is it a name with an ‘h’? are there multiple places that that ‘h’ could go? Do you want the ‘h’ in there at all?
Convention in Choosing Baby Names
What name you choose is actually (almost) totally up to you. There are a few names that you can not legally name your baby
In 2011, the Pope warned parents against naming their babies after celebrities, fruit and popular sports cars. But generally, as long as the name is not offensive in nature, or is a title reserved for someone important – Judge, Doctor, Major – then you can usually use any name you like.
There is a legend in our country of twins being named ‘Fish’ and ‘Chips’ (they were ordered to change it) and a judge in New Zealand made a young girl a ward of court so she could change her name from ‘Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii’.
Trends in Choosing Baby Names
Names are one of those things that follows trends, there are names that slowly make their way up and then down the popular baby name lists, and there are a few that hold the top spot for a long time.
Do you want to be well ahead of the trend? The best option is to look back in history, really far back. Names follow patterns of popularity, and generally the popular names for your children are similar to the popular names when your great Grandmother was born.
At the moment made up names and off the wall names are all the rage, but when you look at the top 100 baby names, they are largely traditional ‘normal’ names.
There are very masculine names, and more feminine ones, there are gender neutral options and there are some that swap over the gender barrier. A boy named Sue is likely to just get him bullied at school (people can be so cruel) but a boy called Avery is less likely to have that issue.
Do you want a strong masculine name or a super soft feminine name? Or do you want something in the middle?
Choosing a Baby Name by its Meaning
Most names have a meaning, and to some people, the meaning is super important. Do you want your baby to be called a name that means “Blessed” or would you mind if it meant “Bitter” or “Cursed”?
Sometimes you can put the meanings of the first and second name together and get a meaning that works well together like “Bright and Pure” or “Blessed First Born”.
Sometimes the personal memories are much more important that a meaning from a book, or some names don’t actually have an official meaning.
How does the name sound?
Some names have multiple ways of saying it, my name is Dana – we say is like “Dah-Nah” others pronounce my name “Dan-nah” or “Day-Nah”. For a name with just 4 letters, there is much confusion.
Write the name down and ask other people how they would say it.
Say the first name with the middle name and last name over and over. Generally if you have a long last name, shorter first and middle names tend to sound better.
Three syllable first names often work better with a one syllable middle name, but two syllable first names can easily handle a 2 syllable second name.
If you have a long name you want as a middle name, try a shorter first name. George Archibald, Sam Montgomery or Belle Sophia for example.
When they are grown up
Having a baby called Binky might be cute when she is a baby, but try and think what like would be like if she became a supreme court judge. Think about giving your children a name that will serve them no matter what they decided to do when they grow up.
If you like the cutesy names, try giving baby a good grown up name, and using a cute related nick name for while they are little.
But then some of the strong manly names sound huge for a sweet little baby to carry – Bruce, Barry and Reginald for example.
Sources for finding the perfect baby name
There are many ways for you to discover the perfect baby name for your new baby. Here are the common ways for you to discover new baby names for your lists.
Random name generators are a great way of finding interesting name combinations. This generator asks for some information about you, your family and the names around you. This generator allows you to reduce the selection to languages and other variations. Nameberry asks for some inspirational names and goes from there.
There are SO MANY baby name lists online. All you need to search for is “baby names” and see what comes up.
Your family tree
Sometimes the apple need not fall far from the tree. Do you have a Granny or Grandpa that you would like to honor or remember? Sometimes looking back over the family tree can bring up long lost (and super cute) names that will tie your little one to their heritage.
Books and movies
Books and movies will always be an inspiration for baby names. Just avoid using names that will result in your child being mocked or marginalized. Mystique was a great name for a super villain, not so awesome for a baby.
Pippy Longstockings might be a step to far, but Pippa or Pippy would be lovely.
In the same vein, naming your baby after a famous person has its merits and its disadvantages. Avoid naming your baby the exact same thing as a celebrity, if your last name is Tatum, naming your baby Channing might not be the best idea, but if your last name is Smith, it might just work.
There is a real skill to blending names so that they work well. You may want to honor two people in your life, and sometimes combining the names can give you a special, unique name for your baby. I have met a baby called Shaydon – A combination of Shane and Donella.
There are always variations on a theme. While was off work having my Tahlia, I came back to work (I worked with moms and babies) to meet Carlia, Shalia, Marliah and Ahleah.
Choosing the perfect middle name
Not everyone has a middle name, and some people have several. There are no rules around how many names your baby can have, usually a baby will have 1-2 middle names.
The number you choose varies on how many family names you want to use, and well as how they fit together. Some cultures use the meanings of the middle names to tell a child of their heritage and family story. Others use the middle names to tie the baby to their grandparents or the mother’s maiden name.
If you are Scottish, the common thing to do is to give a child their mother’s maiden name as their middle name. Others will honor their dead by giving the baby a deceased person’s name.
Many families have a name that is passed on over and over again, these are often used as middle names.
Common middle names
There are some names that just lend themselves to being great middle names, they do tend to be short names like Mae or Marie, John or David.
Alliteration is when the names both start with the same sound. This can be a useful tool, or it can sound horrendous. It does depend on the names and the sound. 3 names all starting with ‘S’ that also have ‘s’ in the names will just sound like a bunch of hisssssss. But Tilly Tompkin might sound great.
Weird sounding combinations
Watch out for names that end with one sound, with the next name starting with the same sound as they all sort of bleed in to one sound.
Some last things to take in to consideration when choosing the perfect baby name
Before you make the final decision on that baby name, I suggest that you just run the name through these last few checks.
Make sure the initials don’t spell anything crude or inappropriate.
Check the name meaning and make sure you aren’t accidentally calling your child something horrible in another language.
Think about nick names
Think of the worst things that you can that rhyme with the name you have chosen, you can guarantee that is what others will come up with. If you want your child to be called a certain nick name, it is up to you to call them that too.
Say it out loud over and over
Make sure it doesn’t all bleed together, and that it isn’t hiding rude or unfortunate words or sentences. I met an elderly lady called Phylis McKraken. But she was known as Phil…
Check that spelling!
Finally check and double check that spelling before you send off those messages telling people of the name, or worse, the birth certificate!
All the best on choosing the perfect baby name for your new bundle, follow these tips and ignore the critics. You know best for your family!