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How to Name Your Baby & Why the Name Matters

July 5, 2015

Many parents would likely agree naming their child was the hardest, or one of the hardest, aspects of welcoming a new baby into the world. If you think about it, it really is tough! Choosing a name, a moniker, the word which your child will forever be called—it’s serious business.

Choosing a Name for Your Baby

So, the next question would be: how do I name my baby? How do I choose a name? What’s the process like for deciding on a name? While there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” solution, here are some ideas on where to start and how to come to a decision: Seek inspiration, ideas, and names from a variety of sources. Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas of great places to look for names, and even inspiration that may lead to names:

  • Buy a baby name book; they exist for this very reason (two options here and here)
  • Literary names: Read through Shakespeare’s character list as well as other literary hero and heroines. There are even baby name books out there that list just literary names, like this one.
  • If youre religious or like religious names turn to the Bible and other books of scripture for ideas.
  • Pull out a calendar. Days, months, seasons and more can work as names.
  • Look at history books. Countless name options and ideas can be found within the pages of history books.
  • Take a look at your family. Dig into your family history, or perhaps consider a close relative, like your father or grandparent. A family name may be the perfect fit for your little one, and in the process, may be the best gift or honor you can give a family member.
  • Keep a running list. You’ll find that once you set out in search of a baby name, ideas will come to you at random times. Maybe you’re in the checkout line at Target and the cashier’s name strikes a chord with you. Or, you hear a celebrity’s baby name on the news. Whatever the situation and wherever it comes to you, log all of these names in a list (even just create a note in your phone where you can add names) as they pop into your mind.
  • Consider the last name. Remember The Wedding Singer? Drew Barrymore’s character’s married name would have been “Julia Gulia.” Make sure to say the first and last names together to avoid any awkward combinations, and just to make sure they flow together. If you’re also selecting a middle name for your baby, be sure to say the full name (and initials) aloud so you can hear how the entire thing sounds together.
  • Block out dissenters. You know who we’re talking about. Those people that will probably hate just about every name you come up with. Or, those who have to rain on your parade when you’ve finally found the perfect name with something like, “Oh wow, you probably want to rethink that name choice.” Whether it’s your neighbor or even your sister-in-law, if you have people who may make the naming process even harder, just don’t discuss names with them or choose to keep the name secret until baby arrives. It will be a lot harder for most people to critique or criticize a name when they’re holding a snuggly, adorable baby.

Why a Babys Name Matters

Juliet Capulet, of the famed Shakespeare work Romeo & Juliet, said, “”What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

This monologue has been quoted time after time, for centuries, especially in relation to naming a child. Quite a bit of time and maybe even disagreement with your partner can go into the naming of your child. So the question remains—does the name of your baby matter? The short answer: Yes.

Now, the question is why? Research shows that a name can have a lifelong impact on a person, from childhood into adulthood, according to several studies. It’s a delicate balance when it comes to choosing a name—you want to have free reign to name your child as you so desire, while not naming your child something that will get them teased, or have their name constantly mispronounced.

As you consider names for your child, keep in mind the tips we shared above. More than anything, when you choose a name, be confident with your choice and always remember why you chose that name. It’s your child, and parents usually know best. A name may have a lifelong impact on a child, but so can a parent who instills in their child confidence and the ability to rise above teasing or mispronunciation.

Tell us: what did you or what are you planning to name your little one?

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2 thoughts on “How to Name Your Baby & Why the Name Matters

Avatar for Lacey Pappas

Lacey Pappas

So true! So much pressure!

Avatar for Angela Silva

Angela Silva

We’ve done all of the above and still haven’t decided on a name! These are all great tips though,. Once we started keeping a running list it’s been easier to go back to ones we were considering and realize we don’t like it or sometimes we read a name on the list and it sounds better the second time. Lots of pressure!