A Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing a Baby Name

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In January 2013, we learned we were having a boy.

Since then, Cameron and I have both been asked a hundred times if we had thought of a name. The short answer is this: We have thought of names, but we will not be sharing the final decision until he is born!

My personality is agenda-driven. I like to-do lists and checklists. Before I start a task, I like to know where things are going instead of just jumping in. I’ve been reading blogs and books and articles regarding choosing a baby name. I have gotten a lot of tips from all over the place, and I have created the following step-by-step guide for choosing your baby’s name. Bear in mind, these are just my personal ideas and opinions! I’m no expert, and I haven’t done this before.

Choosing Your Baby’s Name

Around the 4th month, you will find out whether you’re having a boy or girl. (If you aren’t finding out the gender, you’ll just follow the steps twice!)

The first few steps are just to get you thinking. THEN, you’ll start keeping track of real, possible options.

1. Consider your last name. Do you have a short last name, like Smith, King, Jones, or Green? If so, you should think of names that are at least two syllables or that are more “interesting”. Is your last name longer, like Stachowsky? Then, you should think of shorter, simpler names!

2. Are there family names that have been passed down for generations? If your husband is a “Junior”, do you want to continue the tradition? Ask your parents and your spouse’s parents if there’s a family name that people are expecting you to use. My younger brother’s name is Wesley, which is my paternal grandfather’s middle name; however, my folks are not tied to the name and don’t expect us to reuse it.

NOTE: Just because your family expects something does NOT mean that you have to use a particular name! Remember, it is YOUR (and your spouse’s) child!

3. Look through lists of names that are in your home. For example, Cameron and I went through our Netflix account and looked at all of the actors’ and actresses’ names! Perhaps, you could look through your lists of Facebook friends, the authors in your personal library, or an old yearbook. When you come across a name that you like, say it out loud WITH your last name! Some names may sound fantastic alone but sound a little strange with your last name. Create a list of 10 names that you both like (don’t go overboard!).

4. Wait a few weeks to let those names settle. Revisit the names, re-say them with your last name, and see if any of them jump out at you. You should be able to knock off a few names from your list.

5. At this point, hit up a “meaning of names” website like www.babynames.com and search for the names on your list. You wouldn’t want to pick a name that means “dying insect” or something like that! This should shrink your list a little more.

6. After you have a short list, do a Google search for each name to make sure you aren’t using the name of a serial killer or porn star. Of course, I know that there are lots of people in the world named “Michael Jordan” who might have been given that name BEFORE Jordan became popular. You can’t change the future, but this is something you CAN control.

7. Next, think about nicknames and how those nicknames would sound with your last name. Benjamin Dover sounds fine until you call him by “Ben”. Just be mindful of possible nicknames! Kids can be cruel in elementary and middle school.

8. The “nickname” check should whittle down your list a little more. One consideration at this point is to ask the soon-to-be grandparents if there are any names, from your list, that bring back horrible memories for them! Maybe, in 8th grade, your mother was beaten up by a little girl named Monica. Then, you may reconsider naming your child Monica. The odds are in your favor here (meaning, your parents will probably be fine with all your options), but it IS something to think about!

9. Almost there! The middle name should have a nice flow to it. Also, recognize that your child, when he/she gets older, may decide to go by his/her middle name. One important aspect to the middle name is the way it affects your child’s initials. Brandon Adams is alright (although BA has a certain connotation), but if his middle name is Ray, you’ve moved into BRA. You’ve also made his official monogram BAR. Think about it.

10. The last suggestion I have, once you’re down to just a few favorites, is this: either picture the baby in your stomach or imagine yourself holding him/her. Say each name in a sweet, motherly, calming voice. “My sweet little _____” or “Well hi there ______!” Eventually (maybe not until you actually meet your baby in person!), one name will stand alone. It will just fit. And you will know that you’ve put in some good thought and planning.

Any other ideas that you’ve tried? I’d love to hear some feedback!

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2 responses »

  1. Congrats to you! Being a mommy is the best job and one of the greatest gifts! I wish I had kept track better! Good idea. Blessings to you! Shannon
    ihavenogreaterjoy.wordpress.com

    Reply
  2. Thank you so much!

    Reply

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