What's In A Name: A Beginner's Guide to Baby Naming Considerations

Blog > What's In A Name: A Beginner's Guide to Baby Naming Considerations
Posted on: May 25th, 2017by Nicole Huppenthal

A Humorous, Yet Practical Approach

You've done it. You have a wonderful bundle of baby joy growing inside of you. Perhaps you already know that you are having a boy or a girl. Or maybe, just maybe, you've left it to be a surprise for the big day. You've made it through the excitement of telling family and friends, having a baby shower, planning the nursery. But there is one minor detail that you may not have finalized yet for baby's arrival. Unfortunately, Baby Girl (Insert Last Name Here), Sweet Pea, Little Ninja, and all of the other adorable pet names you have come to call this resident of your womb will no longer cut it once he or she makes the grand entrance. Alas, you need to come up with a name for this sweet baby.

But what's in a name? How important is it really to come up with "the perfect" baby name? It is only the name that the baby will carry for his/her ENTIRE LIFE. No pressure moms and dads out there. And certainly, by this point, family and friends have given their two cents and little anecdotes to "help you along." But really, where do you start in deciding upon such a huge token for your little one?

There are hundreds of thousands of potential baby names to choose from. Endless blogs to peruse boasting "the perfect baby names for this year." But what really matters in choosing a name? Keep reading for some considerations and examples that may help guide you in this process.

1. The Name Plate

Imagine twenty-five or thirty years down the road. Your son or daughter has successfully finished their schooling or training program for their career. They have interviewed and gotten the job. They have paid their dues and moved up the ladder to the coveted corner office of their company. Now imagine the name plate on their door and at the corner of their desk. Will your child's name fit in their future professional or career world?
Maybe skip these names:
Penny Anna Nickle Richardson. Forever Thompson. Audacious Miller.
Names of strength:
Ian, Ethan, Annabelle, Candace and hundreds of others

Honoring Loved Ones

You really adored your great grandmother. Your whole family is still heartbroken over the loss of your great aunt. You grandfather was a wonderful man and you want to carry on his memory. Your family is hounding you (yes, families hound, even when you are nine months into carrying their future blessing and you are exhausted and emotional. Sorry to break it to you, they hound). But, her name was Gertrude. Penelope. Eleanor. Or dear grandfather was called Beauregard. Archibald. Barnaby. Now, slow down, this isn't to say that these aren't wonderful names, or that everyone will dislike names of this style. However, if you do, here are some suggestions. 1) Honor that family member by using the name as a middle name. You can still carry on family tradition without using the primary name to do so. 2) Another consideration if it is important to you and your family is to use it as your child's first name, but always be armed with an appropriate, loveable, or trendy nickname to help ease the burden. Gertie. Penny. Lena. Bo. Archie' Nope, sorry. A better choice nickname may not exist for Barnaby.

3. All Things Initials and Monograms

Perhaps the obvious, but easy to forget, consideration are those pesky first letters. This may not affect many, but it is always necessary to think about what your child's initials will be with their given name. Amanda Sue Smith may be a name you want to avoid. As well as Francis Allen Thompson, for apparent reasons. Kids are cruel. Heck, even adults can be spiteful. Another quick consideration in this realm of initials and monograms is to remember that when fancy tote bags and bathrobes are monogrammed, the last name initial is typically in the prominent center, surrounded by the first initial on the left and middle initial on the right. So, by the same token, maybe Faith Theresa Anderson should be avoided as well. Of course, initials and monograms can't make or break the 'perfect name,' but it doesn't hurt to think down that road just a little bit.

4. Yelling for Child Out the Back Door

Let's skip all the clearly practical considerations for a moment and leave some space for brutal honesty. Yes, you will try to be a perfect parent with obedient children. Yes, there will still be some instances where you are yelling out the back door and across the neighborhood, trying to bring your children home like a group of loose cattle. Imagine yelling your potential names in your head right now. Will screaming 'Pickle! It's time to come home!' sound ridiculous? Maybe. Also consider how long it will take to wrangle the cattle if they all have lengthy five syllable names? Even if you are in love with the name, is there a practical way to shorten it? (This alludes to an unlisted consideration of wanting a nickname for your child). Yelling 'Mackenzie!' or 'Benjamin!' may get exhausting if you have four children with long names. It's a good thing you thought ahead and know that these names have easy, shortened counterparts. 'Mac' and Ben! It's time for dinner!'

5. Pronunciation Problems

Gone are the days where we have to worry about being able to personalize items and trinkets for our children. With the Internet and vast supply of retailers available, it is never impossible to find a tote bag or collection of pens with any given name on it. However, your child will go through school and work and always have people trying to pronounce or spell their name. Why make things more difficult than they have to be? Especially if your last name is a doozy, consider skipping alternate spellings for your child's sake. Olyvya. Emmyliee. Kiele. Olivia. Emily. Kyle. Please.

6. Does it feel good to you?

Now let's go back to what really matters. What do YOU and YOUR PARTNER want to name your child? What is important to you? What can you live with? And what just does NOT work for you? It's wonderful to have doting family and friends that want to assist you every step of the way. But at the same time, this is your baby. You've worked hard and will be the one working hard to give him/her the best. You get to choose the name. Choose one that makes you smile, that swells your heart with pride, that you can see yourself singing in lullabies or substituting in for bedtime stories.

We've gone through a lot of different things to think about. You are no doubt ready to go through various websites, blogs, and baby books to find the name that fits for you. One more thought to leave you with before you go. There are HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of names to choose from. Start simple. Sit with your partner and make a list of names that work for both of you. Once you have a long list, each of you take a copy and choose your top ten names. Then compare the lists. Only the ones that you both have chosen as a top name should move on to the next round of consideration. Continue this process until you are armed with 'the name' to take to the hospital (or top three names if you like having backups). And just remember, once that bundle of joy makes his/her appearance to the world, the entire list might go straight to the garbage can because 'he just doesn't LOOK like a Frederick' and you might end up back right where you started. Best of luck to you!

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