Tips and Hints for Deciding on Baby Names
Congratulations! You’re going to have a baby!
There are plenty of emotions after finding out that you’re pregnant. Your mind starts running a mile a minute, trying to figure out everything you have to do to prepare for this life-changing event. But before you get overwhelmed, take a moment to celebrate.
A baby is an exciting new addition to your life. Preparing for a baby can be one of the most fun parts of the experience — especially picking out a name. In Australia, you have to register a Birth Registration Statement (BRS) within 60 days that includes your child’s name, so you have some extra time after birth if you still can’t decide!
Many people turn to a baby name guide for ideas. But with so many options to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. Fear not; there are a few foolproof tips to make sure your little one gets the perfect name.
Here is a guide to choosing the right baby name.
Baby Names: Timeless vs. Trendy
Like clothes, decor, and music, baby names, too, are subject to trends. Baby names are always seeing an ebb and flow of what’s considered trendy, often triggered by society and pop culture.
Anything from a hit movie to a new celebrity baby can skyrocket a name into the top ten. And that begs the classic question of whether to give your future child a name that tops the charts or something more timeless.
Trends are meant to gain popularity and fall again, giving rise to something new. That’s why most experts recommend choosing a name that can stand the test of time. You don’t want to pick a name you love now but might sound outdated in ten years.
A classic name doesn’t mean boring. Many aren’t often used, allowing your baby to have something that stands out from the crowd but won’t go out of style.
Unique Baby Names: How Unique Is Too Unique?
Nobody wants to spend time agonising over what name to choose only to find the one they settled on isn’t as unique as they thought. Your heart may drop to find another child at school or in a playgroup has the same name as your little one.
But you shouldn’t let wanting uniqueness to take over your name choice. A name that is too unique may lead to unpleasant interactions in the future. Your child may be taunted at school or have to explain how to spell their name to everyone they meet.
Most experts recommend avoiding gross misspellings of classic names or adding punctuation that doesn’t have a purpose. Purposely misspelling common words to create a name may also cause some confusion.
This doesn’t mean you can’t choose unique baby names. But, for the sake of your baby, don’t go too unique.
Factor in Your Style
One of the best tips to find a name you love is to find your name style. Your style is the kind of name that you like. But how do you go about finding your style?
First, you look through baby name books or name websites. Of all the names you see, write down the ones you like. Don’t try to group them or put a lot of thought into the name; just write down which ones you gravitate to.
Once you have about thirty or more names written out, start making connections. Do you have a lot of unisex baby names or are they traditionally baby boy and baby girl names?
Do they share a common theme like belonging to nature like Dhalia, Sage, and River or musical names like Aria, Melody, and Viola? Are they classic like William, Elizabeth, and Arthur or more contemporary like Quinn, Lola, and Beckett?
Your list may include a lot of names relating to colours or birds. Or perhaps you’re drawn to location and literary-inspired names.
You may notice more than one theme emerge because the themes may overlap. You may like contemporary nature names like Aspen and Meadow over classic nature names like Pearl or Myrtle.
Finding your style and theme can help narrow down your options so you find the perfect name you and your baby will love.
Don’t Forget to Consider Nicknames
When choosing your baby’s name, it’s a good idea to keep potential nicknames in mind—both good and bad. Whether you like the name shortened or not, your child is bound to have a nickname bestowed on them. Thinking ahead can prevent unwanted names.
Consider good nicknames, like what you, your family, or your child’s friends may use. These are typically shorter versions of the name you choose; like Emily to Em or Marcus to Marc.
If you don’t like how a name sounds shortened, it’s better to nip it in the bud early. But you must also keep in mind any bad nicknames that may result from the name you choose.
Unfortunately, schoolyard taunts can be creative as they are cruel. So it’s probably worth thinking of ways the names you love can get twisted into a unwanted nickname as well.
The Middle Name Is Important Too
A lot of parents-to-be spend most of their time thinking about their baby’s first name. It is, after all, the name your child will most likely be known as. But you shouldn’t forget the importance of the middle name.
You’ll want your baby’s middle name to nicely flow with the first name you choose. The flow between the two can help accent the first name. A middle name also gives you a chance to get creative or honour your family.
The middle name can be a little more fun and less traditional. Here’s a great place to add a little bit of you and your partner’s personalities.
But if you’re going to go the traditional route, you can use the middle name to start or continue a family tradition. Here’s where you can name your child after a parent or grandparent. Or if you have a long line of a certain name, you can use it here.
One reason the middle name matters: initials. Many parents focus so much on the names they like that they may let the baby’s initials slip their mind. But the initials created by the names you choose should be a consideration as well.
Be wary of unintentionally spelling out a swear word with your child’s initials. You should also check if the initials spell out common abbreviations like L.O.L. or F.M.L. before settling on a name.
To avoid this, write out the first and middle name combinations along with your baby’s last name. Make sure you’re not spelling out anything obscene by accident. It may mean the difference of your baby not getting any personalised gifts in their life.
Who Else Shares That Name?
When you make your list of names, it’s worth doing some research to figure out who has made those names famous. Chances are if there’s a famous person with the same name, your child will get constant comparisons.
Be sure to google the name you’re considering along with the last name to see who shares that name. You may not get anything of note; maybe a couple of people in a few different cities living their lives.
But on the off chance the results are negative, you’ll have saved you and your child a lot of headaches. No one wants to accidentally share the name of an international crime lord or an adult film star.
Where to Look for Inspiration
With all these tips, you may still ask how to choose a baby name and where to start looking. The truth is, inspiration can strike you from any time and come from anywhere. Here are a few places to start looking for names.
Try looking through your family tree. Older names have made a comeback in recent years, but they aren’t as popular are some of the trendiest names. With an older name from your family tree, you can have something unique with a personal connection.
You can also honour you or your partner’s culture with a baby name. A name that’s common in your family’s culture will offer uniqueness while honouring heritage. The middle name is a great place to honour the village that may help raise your baby.
For more information, you simply have to look around the world. Nature, athletes, geography, and history are all great sources for inspiration. You can also consider a name with special meaning to you and your partner, like the location you first met.
The Foolproof Baby Name Guide
Picking out a name is a big decision, but it’s not one you have to fret over. Of course, you should give a name a lot of thought. Your baby will, after all, have that name for the rest of their life.
But choosing a name should be fun and get you excited to meet your new little one. So don’t let all of the choices overwhelm you. There may be millions of names out there, but you only need a few to stand out before you fall in love with the right name.
If you follow the tips in this baby name guide, you’re sure to find the perfect baby names for your future little one.
It takes a village to raise a baby. Are you looking for parental support? Our resources may help support you on your parental journey.