You don’t want to be THAT parent that regrets their child’s name. So how do you find the perfect name? Well, unless you’re going with a junior or a name you picked out when you were twelve, it’s going to take some thought. Let’s go through a few things you should think about when choosing a name.
Figure out names you can’t use
First, you’ll need to rule out names. Names that you probably shouldn’t use are usually one of the following:
- Names already in your family. (which sucks if you have a huge family)
- Any of your exes or ex crushes.
- Anyone that was mean to you in school.
- A name that someone close to you is saving for their kid. (Don’t be the jerk that takes a unique name from your BFF when she’s been saving it since she was ten.)
Which names do you NOT like and why?
You won’t like a lot of names because you associate them with people that you don’t want your child to be like. You never realize how many people you hate until you’re trying to name your kid.
So figure out which names or types of names you don’t like and why you don’t like them. It will help you steer towards baby names that work for you.
Which sounds do you like?
If you decided that you don’t like girl names that end in Y or Lyn, that really narrows down your choices. This is what happened to us. So find out which sounds you DO like!
Do you like boy names that end in den? Or names that start with J?
I don’t know how we didn’t pick a J name because almost every name I loved started with J.
Do you want a popular name or unique?
So you have three basic choices when it comes to popularity of baby names.
A popular name is one everyone is going to recognize and be able to spell easily. The downside is that your little Noah is going to be one of four Noahs in his class. (Yes, Noah was the most popular boy name last year.) But when a name super popular, most people tend to like them. You won’t have too many people saying “Oh, I hate that name!” while you’re baby name shopping.
A unique name really stands out and your kid can make a lasting impression as one of a kind. But they’ll probably end up having to spell their name over the phone several times and everyone will mispronounce it. Other kids might pick on them for their name on the playground. Later on in life when they apply for a job, statistically a lot of unique names on resumes get skipped over. But conversely, it can make them stand out in a pile of Michaels and Emilys.
The third option for the perfect name (and the one that we ended up going with) is picking a name that isn’t popular but widely recognized. So a lot of the names on our list were popular at one point but not anymore. Names like Monica, Rory, River, Jillian, and June.
A good way to check popularity of a name is to look at the top 1000 for the last couple of years on the Social Security website.
Do you want a name with a meaning?
We weren’t really big into the meaning of names when choosing for our baby. But I know a lot of people are. My name means victory because it’s derived from the Greek goddess of victory, Nike.
But maybe you want a perfect name with a more personal meaning. You can name your baby after a relative or a loved one. Or if there’s something that means a lot to you, you can choose a name that matches that meaning. For example, if you’re having a rainbow baby maybe you would like Iris because it means rainbow in Greek.
You don’t have to pick a name based on meaning though. And even if the name you picked means something boring like “broom,” the only way people will know is if they’re googling the meaning of it. No one just knows what names mean unless they’re obvious like Hunter.
Baby name books are really good for finding the meaning of names.
Put it all together
Match up your names you’re considering with a middle name and your last name. Don’t forget to see how it sounds with the baby’s siblings names and with your names.
Try saying each name as if you were introducing your kids or signing a card from your family. Does it sound cohesive? Does it sound like it belongs? Or does it stick out and not work? Maybe it’s too similar to a sibling’s name and you’ll end up yelling the wrong name half the time when one of them is drawing on the walls with crayons.
Compromising with your partner
Unless you’re doing a sperm donor situation, you’ll probably need to compromise with your partner about the name of your child. But that doesn’t just mean you both have to absolutely love one name. It’s nearly impossible to find a name both of you 100% agree on. There are a few ways you can compromise.
If you know you’re having more than one kid, you can name one and your partner can name the next. Or vice versa. Flip a coin or you could just claim the first kid because you’re carrying it.
One of you picks the boy name and one picks the girl name. This only works if you haven’t yet found out if it’s a boy or girl yet. We decided on middle names first. I picked the middle name for a girl and he picked the middle name for a boy.
Each of you comes up with a list of names. Compare them to see if any match. If not, see if there are any you would agree to from the other list. This is how we ended up picking Toot’s name (no her name isn’t really Toot.) We both had names we LOVED. But we decided on one that was lower on both of our lists. And now we love it. (Although I secretly still wish her name was Jovie. That was my perfect name.)
Things to avoid when naming a baby
- Names that sound like stripper names.
- Initials that spell words like ASS or FAT.
- Something too similar to siblings names.
- A first name that rhymes or clashes with your last name (Unless you’re really into that. Then go for it.)
- A name you associate with something bad.
- Names that are actually diseases. (Someone at my OBGYN’s office seriously wanted to name her daughter Chlamydia. Seriously.)
- A name that comes with a nickname you don’t like.
Do you have the perfect name for your baby picked out?
And how did you pick it? Let me know in the comments below! I want to hear your baby naming stories!
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Get a Free Baby Name Decider Printable!
Grab your free printable to fill out with dad-to-be. Write down all of your favorites and find some common ground!