What’s in a Name? The Art of Baby Naming

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row of ethnically diverse babies

Most new parents stress over what to name their newborn baby.  Many factors will need to be considered – from making relatives happy to avoiding embarrassing initials and nicknames.  Start discussing names with your partner as soon as possible.  Parents can research meanings and spellings of names with baby naming books or the internet.  Whatever name is chosen for an unborn child, parents should keep in mind a few things before coming up with their final choice.  Consider all choices for the name, because the name will stick with the child for life.

Many parents want to respect their heritage and traditions of their families and may consider family or ethnic names.  Some countries have strict baby-naming laws, but in America, almost anything goes.  You can use special names as first or middle names.

Choose a few names that you like and for a couple of days, talk to your unborn baby using the name and see how you like it.  Then move on to the next name.  Which one feels more comfortable?  Which sounds the best?  A shorter first name goes better with a longer last name and a longer first name goes better with a shorter last name.  You may not want to use first names ending in a vowel that are matched to a last name starting with a vowel.  The two names blend together and may not set the individual apart.  If there are siblings, say the names together since you will often say both names at the same time.  For example, “Billy and Sally, it’s time to go!”  Do they go together?  Write the baby’s name in print.  How does it look?

Sometimes an unusual name is unique and the person stands out in a crowd, but sometimes a name that is hard to say brings unwanted attention, having that person constantly repeat the spelling of the name and how to pronounce it.  You may consider a unique first name partnered with a simple last name or a simple first name partnered with a unique last name.

You may have to reconsider names because the initials spell out an unpleasant word or nickname that may potentially be harmful to the child.  Beware of trendy names like city names, last names as first names, vintage names, or even nature names.

Think of the child growing up and the business world he or she may be entering.  Business emails often link first initial to last name.  You may want to research a name to see if the name is perceived in a good way.

You may only want to share your top names with your partner.  No one should pressure you.  An important criteria is that you and your partner like it.  Choosing your child’s name is one of the most loving gestures you can give to your child.  Choose a name that makes you happy, can grow with the child, has special meaning to you, and one that suits your baby.  Once you lay eyes on your newborn, you’ll know which name to choose.