How Do You Name Your Baby?
Making a list of baby names is easy. Picking one that your baby will carry for the rest of their life is harder.
Making a list of baby names is easy. Picking one that your baby will carry for the rest of their life is harder. There are lots of names I like, but wouldn’t necessarily give to one of my children.
Some parents go to great lengths to select baby names. They research name meanings and trends. They scour their family tree for ancestral names to pass on. They make and compare lists. Some may even go so far as to collect data through name surveys. While the idea of picking a name based on collecting and analyzing data may seem a bit extreme as depicted in NPR’s “How Not to Name Your Baby,” many of us do this informally on a smaller scale.
I remember making my new list of girl names at the beginning of my second pregnancy (before I knew I was having a boy) and searching prospective names to see what others were saying about them. I didn’t want to ask anyone directly for their opinions but I secretly wanted to know what random strangers might think—and I only wanted to know during the list making stage. Usually once I’ve decided I might use a name, I don’t want to hear negative opinions about it.
Even though I didn’t bust out a spreadsheet, I did consider name associations and the trendiness factor (I like unique but not too unique names). I skipped baby name books, but used baby name apps as well as online baby name resources to check rankings. However, my concerns were more about initials and potential nicknames. Sometimes as adults we may over think things and worry about our kids being picked on for things we were teased about. I love my parents and I love my name, but they didn’t realize my initials spelled D.A.M. until I was in school. I didn’t want to overlook that with my own kids!
With my married name starting with a Z, I steered clear of girl names that started with the letter “E.” Even though I really loved an “E” name, it eventually was crossed off the list. I also tried to avoid spelling anything with their initials. I thought XYZ might be interesting for my son, but there weren’t any “Y” names I liked for his middle name. Really, that could have gone either way—he could have loved it or hated it. And despite my love for The Wizard of Oz, we avoided all “O” names as well.
As far as nicknames, we considered them but didn’t focus on them too much. I mostly like to think of nicknames that we would use rather than what other kids might make fun of some day (though I didn’t completely ignore that). I mean, how were my parents supposed to anticipate some kid calling me “Dorky” instead of Darcy?
I’m not sure how some parents can wait days—or more—after giving birth to decide on a name that is fitting. That would stress me out, I think. It’s funny though, both of my children were named before they were born and their names seem to suit them perfectly. I couldn’t imagine them by any other name. I always thought naming our kids came easy, but the truth is I put a lot more thought and effort into it than I realized. In the end it was truly about picking names we liked and we thought sounded nice—even when I’m yelling their full name.
What factors do you consider when choosing a name?
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