10 Tips to Choosing the Best Baby Name
A new baby is truly a miracle. From the moment you learn of the little one’s existence, you begin to dream and plan. Will she be a doctor? Will he be handsome and intelligent? Parents-to-be spend countless hours dreaming of the baby they will soon meet and discussing the most important thing of all – what should we name our baby?
This question is equally entertaining and stressful. Fortunately, there are ways to focus on the joy of the situation rather than the anxiousness it might bring. Just remember, your child will be perfect, and your name will be, too.
#1: The Deeper Meaning
What is really in a name? We all know the old adage about a rose by any other name, but what does a name really mean? Many baby names are taken from languages that do actually have deeper meanings, and some might not have the exact meaning you are seeking. If you think a name sounds beautiful, but means “the weak one,” you might want to head back to the drawing board.
By the same token, if you are just starting your search, consider names based on something the baby might represent – without smothering the poor child with your expectations. More than one baby has been given a name symbolizing hope or happiness.
#2: The Impression
What impression does the name make on others? If you’re considering giving your son or daughter a name that is tricky to pronounce, you might reconsider. Some parents think it is adorable to match first name and last name. This is usually just confusing to everyone involved.
In general, long surnames are best paired with shorter first names and vice-versa. Remember, you child is going to have to write out the name on every piece of paper they turn in for the rest of their life. Take pity on them if their last name already contains more than seven letters.
#3: The Memories
Maybe a name sounds beautiful until you realize that your husband’s ex-fiance had the same name. It’s a pretty safe bet your husband would feel the same way about your ex-finaces’ names. If a name leaves a bad taste in your mouth, you probably don’t want to taste it every time you speak to your child. Find something more palatable.
Many times religion will have some say in the naming of a child born into that faith. Some religions feel that a child’s name should come from a deceased relative, while others feel strongly about having a name associated with a prophet or saint. Religious aspects are important to consider, but often are easily resolved with a middle name or a bit of creativity.
Should your baby be named in honor of someone else? Perhaps the first son should be named after his father. If this is the case, be sure to give the child a nickname early on as to avoid having two people with the same name living in the same house. Middle names are another common way to honor relatives or parents.
Some parents sort through baby girl names and settle on a wonderful name just to discover that the baby’s initials spell out something undesirable. While this may seem trivial to adults, it can mean a great deal to a child suffering through school with cruel taunting over her initials. On the flip side, some children are given specific initials to continue a family tradition or to honor a relative.
Some names lend themselves easily to nicknames. If you think the nickname is desirable, encourage its use early on. If you prefer the child to go by the full name, you and your little one may have an uphill battle against well-meaning strangers. Another area to consider is any nickname that future classmates might dream up based on the way a name sounds. If there is anything remotely funny about a particular name, you can count on eight-year-olds to find it.
Sometimes the lines between gender specific names are blurring. This may or may not be a good thing for your baby. More girls seem to be receiving baby boys names. A boy never wants to be in the same room as a girl with the same name. It is up to the parents to plan ahead as much as possible. Also, even if you know the gender, bring a few extra names to the hospital just in case. Ultrasound “uh-ohs” have definitely happened.
To break the mold, you might consider a unique spelling of an otherwise traditional name. Of course, there are already many accepted ways to write many baby names, so this will probably not be a problem. Do consider your child in this decision however. If a baby name is spelled so unusually that friends and family have a hard time remembering just how to spell it or even pronounce it correctly, you might have gone too far.
#10: Easy to Live With
Most importantly of all, you want to pick a name you and your little one can live with happily. Are you comfortable saying the name out loud? Does it sound right when you yell it out the back door or up the stairs? Is it too reminiscent of anything or anyone you really don’t want associated with your own blessed child?
Remember, too, that baby names can become a burden to a child if he feels he must live up to extremely high standards. If a child was named for a legend in your country or culture, will she be able to handle the pressure?
Like pregnancy, selecting the perfect baby name is a unique experience for every parent. Parents with more than one child can tell the tale of wading through the mired mess of baby names each time a new child was on the way. The bottom line is to have an open mind and heart.
Even with the best planning, a brand new baby can easily catch a parent off guard. Many a parent has first laid eyes on their newborn and declared the child needs a totally different name than the carefully planned one. Enjoy the planning and most especially enjoy the joys of parenthood.