How to Pick the Perfect Baby Nameby Jasmine Gurney
Probably the most difficult decision you make whilst pregnant (or even after you’ve had the baby). Choosing your baby’s name can be a lot of pressure, after all, it’s stuck with them for life. Picking a name is one thing, but agreeing on a name, whether it’s with your family, other half or your friends, is another. Someone will always have an opposing opinion, know someone with that name, have your chosen name on their own list or just not see the baby with that name. But ultimately, it’s the parents’ choice. If you’ve narrowed down your names to a small selection or simply don’t know where to even begin, this guide could help you decide on the perfect name for your baby.
When thinking of names for your baby, the first place to start is how the name sounds, against your surname, against middle names and in general. How it sounds when called out, you won’t want the name to sound too harsh on the ears, be too hard for others to pronounce or is too similar in spelling or rhyme to the surname. Using this tip, it’s also a good idea to think about whether it would work for both a baby and an adult. If you choose too cutesy, it may not be suitable for them later in life, and too ‘old’, it may feel to others seeing a baby with such an adult name.
It can be a good idea to look at sites such as the Office for National Statistics to see how baby names have trended over the years and see what age people with the same age are now. Names from the 50s etc, may not be that popular anymore and therefore not feel suitable for your baby now. By the same measure, you may not want to name your baby something that is too trendy. Trends come and go and although there is a temptation to, you may not want your child to be just one of 15 other children in their year group with the same name.
Wanting to be unique and not follow the crowd can be quite a challenge when trying to pick the perfect baby name. Look for names that have meanings, whether it’s something from religious texts, something exotic with a beautiful meaning in another language, a place, after your favourite poet, writer, celebrity, singer etc, without being too ‘of its time’ or just the name of a relative who’s passed, or to honour a friend or loved one. Mixing and matching names can bring confusion later in life when it comes to your child having to constantly spell out their name to people or tell them what it means.
There are many names that are gender-neutral or can be used for both a girl and a boy, such as Billie/Billy, Alex, Kerry. You don’t have to be gender-specific when naming your child but always consider the implications further down the line if naming your boy too feminine a name and vice-versa. Children can be cruel and often find the smallest of things to use against them. This goes for adults too, unfortunately.
Use middle names to your advantage. Remember, you don’t just have to (or need to) pick one name. If you like a handful of names, or you can’t choose between just two, there is no harm in naming them both! Whether it's a two-part first name or first and middle name, you can decide later on, or let them decide which name they’d rather be known as when they’re old enough.
Another thing to keep in mind when picking the perfect baby name is what their initials will be. There’s nothing more embarrassing to a child than having P.I.G or similar initials that spell out something else, so pay close attention to what their initials of your chosen names will spell out. Another little thing to note is to think of all the possible nicknames that could be made from and decide what you’ll use, as they may later prefer to be known by the nickname over their given name.
The best baby names are short, uncomplicated and easy to spell/pronounce. Extra-long names can cause frustration, especially when they’ll fill out forms and have to write their names of things and complicated names can cause embarrassment when they have to continuously correct people spelling or saying it wrong.
While both parents, friends and relatives will have their own opinions and choices of their preferred name, it’s necessary to reach a common conclusion with the baby’s other parent (if in the picture) rather than imposing a name on your child that your partner doesn't like. If all else fails, you can always pick a name out of a hat!